You have been alone for several years; now you have found that special someone with whom to share your life. As you begin your wedding planning, you will find that you have many more decisions to make than younger brides. Your body has changed and the gown that looks great on a 25 year-old will not look the same on a 50 year-old. You may have children and possibly grandchildren to consider. You may have a home and/or investments that you want to leave to your family. You or your groom may have health issues. All of these things and more need to be considered before you say "I Do."

Wedding Gown: Many older women find choosing a wedding gown to be the most difficult part of planning their wedding. Unless you work out regularly, you may not want a revealing gown like those found in most bridal salons. Instead, look for gowns designed for cruises and for party dresses or consider having a dress made.

Children: If you have children, either still at home or grown, you will want to provide for their futures. If you have young children, you should have a will that includes guardianship provisions if something should happen to you. You may or may not want your new spouse to assume guardianship. Perhaps a sibling or your parents would be a better choice.

Assets: You may want your personal assets, including investments and property, to go to your children in case of your death rather than to your new spouse and his children. If so, you should talk with an attorney and draw up both a will and a pre-marital agreement to assure that your wishes are fulfilled.

Home/business: You and/or your future husband may own a home or a business. If one or both of you have homes, you will need to decide where you will live and what you will do with the other property. You might choose to live in one of the homes and either sell or rent the other. Or, you may decide to sell both homes and purchase one together. This is sometimes a better option if one or both of you lived in the home with a previous spouse.

If one or both of you owns a business, you may need to contact an attorney to draw up a succession plan if you have not yet done so. The plan will include instructions about the future of the business, including future ownership and how the assets of the business will be handled. If the business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership, the business will automatically dissolve upon the death of the owner, so you will want to be prepared.

Health: If one or both of you suffer from a long term health problem, you may need to determine how the expenses of the illness, as well as any future care needs, will be handled. If one of you has health insurance through a former spouse's employer, you may lose it when you remarry.

Debts: One or both of you may bring debts into the marriage. If the debts are significant, you may need to maintain separate bank accounts and keep your assets separate until the debts have been satisfied. If one of you has a poor credit record or a past bankruptcy that could adversely affect both of you if you commingle your finances.

Pension Payments/Survivor Benefits Payments: If you or your fiancé receive survivor benefit payments or pension payments related to the retirement of a deceased spouse, you may lose those payments when your remarry, so be sure to find out. This is also true for military retirement and survivor benefit payments.

Social Security: If you are receiving Social Security survivor benefit payments on your deceased spouse's earning record and you are under age 60, you may lose those benefits if you remarry. If you remarry after age 60 (50 if you are disabled), you will continue to collect benefits.

Sharing your older years with a new spouse can bring great happiness but getting to the altar successfully will take some careful planning to be certain that you are not unpleasantly surprised by the loss of income, insurance, or other issues. Therefore, take some time to visit with your attorney and an accountant to make sure that you are fully prepared to enter the next phase of your new life.

Copyright © 2007; Glenna Tooman; all rights reserved