Curious about the latest marriage statistics? According to Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research (via Huffington Post), the average age of women getting married for the first time is now 27. Thank God. This is the highest this number has been in over a century. In 1960, the average bride was 20, and almost half of 18 to 24 year-olds were married (LA Times).
So why do I say, “Thank God?” Learning this released a sense of pressure I didn’t even realized I was feeling. And then I looked around at my friends and on Facebook, and I realized that, yup, those stats seem about right. Only one of close my friends is engaged. She’s 28. As for the rest of my friends, way less than half are in serious relationships and the rest aren’t even close. And that’s totally okay, and statistically, totally normal.
Remember in Sex and the City (the show, obviously, because they never made movies out of the show, ever) when Carrie finds “Big” (her ex’s) wedding announcement in The Times? Or rather, her friend Charlotte finds it and tries to hide it from her, but Carrie grabs it and she reads it out loud and her heart breaks in a million pieces? Here’s the scene, just in case:
I recently attended the wedding of one my boyfriend’s close friends. It was very lovely and wonderful to meet some of his old friends that came from across the country and see those that I’ve known for some time now. It was an especially happy occasion as the bride (my boyfriend’s friend) was healthy and well after having been through a health crisis over the last couple of years. I’m not sure what prompted it, but at some point I mentioned death (not related to any specific person, but just the general idea of it) and was roundly rebuffed by said boyfriend thusly, “death is not an appropriate topic of conversation at a wedding.”
To which (I actually said nothing), but internally thought WHAT?
What else do you think about at weddings besides death? Okay – perhaps that’s overstating it, but you are promising to cherish and love and blah blah blah UNTIL YOU DIE. That’s the whole point. Weddings, to me, are very much focused on death even if it’s not the thing that people are explicitly talking about. Admittedly, discussing end-of-life choices at a wedding is probably too macabre, even for the Morticia’s among us, but it’s impossible to escape the fact that death is inherently a part of weddings. (Also, it should be telling that Births, Deaths, and Marriages are all lumped together as vital records.)
Becky here, straight from the altar to share firsthand my thoughts and newly acquired wisdom regarding the wedding planning process – and how not to go crazy, homicidal and/or suicidal as you prepare to tie the knot.
1. Get Over Yourself. Someone wants to marry you! That’s awesome. You deserve love, congratulations, well wishes, and maybe even a crock pot on this momentous occasion. However, you have not been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. You have not been elected President of the United States. You have not published The Great American Novel. You have not Cured Cancer. Furthermore, your wedding day will (hopefully) NOT be the best day of your life. There are (hopefully) many, many, MANY more days of joy, transcendence, emotionality, and pride on the horizon. You have so much to look forward to, like family, babies, travel, career success and more. You’ll be sharing it all with the person you love, to whom you will be married.
So be grateful, above all else. Don’t act like you’re the sh*t. Don’t make unreasonable demands of your friends. Don’t indulge in psycho-drama with your mom, wedding planner and assorted relatives. Conduct yourself with humility, sanity and perspective, and you will find that the wedding planning process and all the loved ones around you will morph into more sane versions of themselves as well.
Wedding blogs are big business. In a study that no one did with results that I am making up completely, more people look at wedding blogs than wedding magazines for inspiration and help with their weddings. In another study that doesn’t exist and is based purely on my own life experience, a lot of readers of wedding blogs are single women.
Marriage. We may not all want it, but let’s be honest… most of us do, right? Whether it’s just a simple courthouse ceremony or the whole Puffy White Dress package, I think it’s a pretty safe claim that for most women, once they have found a partner they want to share their lives with, making it legal and/or sealing it in the eyes of God becomes a step they find themselves wanting to take. It may not have ever even been a conscious wish or goal; you might have totally been one of those eye-rolling “I’m never getting married” people, and you might have meant it—right up until a few months, or a few years (or a few hours), after you met the person who somehow managed to change your mind. But for most of us, once we find that person, and we feel that love that just swallows us whole, and we entangle our lives so completely with somebody else’s—we find ourselves wanting to make it Official.
Honestly, I’ve never considered if I’d prefer to be married by a certain age. Unlike the popular claim from so many ladies on reality television, I haven’t been dreaming of my wedding day since I was a little girl. The idea never even crossed my mind as a child. I guess I assumed that since getting married was something grown-ups did, I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a while.
I continued to not think about marriage through college, even as former high-school classmates got engaged and married. “Huh, that’s weird,” was my typical response when these wedding photos popped up on Facebook. I was studying for psych tests and writing papers about ethical issues in sports in my early twenties; how did these people have time to become adults and get married?
Dear Engaged People with Single Friends,
As you embark on the exciting, yet probably headache-inducing journey that is wedding planning (I used to have cable and a reality TV addiction so I know how it goes) I implore you to consider one tiny little idea that could benefit all the single ladies (and gentlemen) that you plan to invite to your nuptials.
Assign us a date.
Please. I’m not kidding. Seriously.
I have a feeling that what I am going to say is going to piss a few people off, so I may as well not mince words and just be blunt: if you do not give everyone invited to your wedding a plus one, you are a total fucking asshole.
Whoa, right! “How dare you, whatever the fuck your name is! [It's Almie.] Fuck you! Do you have any idea how expensive weddings are?”
I do. I read wedding blogs like it’s my job, and it’s not my job, so it’s actually a little sad. A lot of people, rightfully appalled by how much weddings cost, especially in this economy, are doing a lot of DIY. If you don’t want to do that, then maybe try not buying a thousand dollar wedding dress. Seriously, what the fuck is that? By all means, I love fashion and expensive things, so if you want to spend your own money on that, that’s fine, but don’t get all surprised when you realize your wedding bill is adding up faster than the Sesame Street Count.
The holidays are the second most popular proposal time after Valentine’s Day, and modern couples are doing it differently.
Are you a traditionalist or would you go for something different?
It all started during our anniversary dinner. Brad and I were drinking the most delicious Tempranillo out of those luxurious long-stemmed, goblet wine glasses and staring dovey-eyed at each other when Brad started, “Can I tell you something?” He said.
“Sure…” I said, expecting him, honestly, to tell me all sheepish and boy-like, about how Assassin’s Creed 3 really stokes his creative juices. He’s a screenwriter…and a nerd, and statements like this are what most often follow the precursor “Can I tell you something…”
“I’ve been thinking about marrying you,” he said.
I am open mouthed.
“And since I’m not very good at shopping, I was thinking maybe you could help me….”
“…help you buy a ring?” I garble out.
“Yeah,” he said, blushing and looking down.
Adorable, adorable, wonderful man.
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