Jenny's (possibly dodgy) advice column: When should I get married?

I was recently chatting to a 27 year old friend.  I mentioned that I had five kids which she thought was amazing and then said she'd love to have babies.  We got to talking about how she and her boyfriend would like to get married and would like to be married before they had kids.  But they couldn't get married because they didn't feel like they had enough money for a wedding etc.  to get married.

My answer.  You should just get married.  You will never, ever feel like you have 'enough' money.  No one (generally) feels that they have hit a point in life where they have enough.

There are bigger issues about getting married than having enough money.  Truly.  A big wedding and mortgage do not determine the quality of a great relationship.

Like, do you trust the person?  Do you like them?  Are they your best friend?  Do you laugh together? Do you feel like you can commit to the person?  Do you feel like you have lots in common that will sustain you through your life?  Do you share things that you feel passionate about?  Do you feel like they are going to be FOR you, whatever comes?  Have you been honest?  Had a fight?  Resolved conflict?

If it's looking good, then don't let money stop a good relationship moving forward.  We've never had lots of money, so we wouldn't be here 18 years later if we had waited until we had 'enough' money.  And we wouldn't have had 18 years of enjoying our life and family together.

Wedding BBQ in the backyard I say people - go for it!

PS Oh and with the money you do have, spend it on marriage preparation - don't worry about the photographer.  You only look at the one photo on your mantelpiece and the rest of them sit in the album for most of their life.


Tasmanian said…
Have you done the dishes at each other's parents house, just normal family things surrounded by the other's family so you can see how they relate to each other? Do people you trust who are older and have been married for a long time think that you are a good match? Have you talked about how you think you will raise kids, who will work, who will do housework, how you spend money? These are the things my sisters all suggested I talk about when I was 20 and engaged. They had been married for 10 years each and were a bit concerned about this young thing and her handsome prince dashing off to the altar with zero money after "dating" (?!) for less than a year. But they also prayed for us. We are in our 14th year of a very happy marriage :)
I totally agree about not waiting for the money thing. Be better to spend the money on a house deposit etc than an extravaganza of a wedding, anyway. A wise person told me that the important part of a wedding day was the "I do's" NOT the dress, flowers, photos etc. they are all superfluous.

Sarah said…
Where's the 'like' button for this post?

I've had similar conversations with friends in long term defacto relationships. I ask them, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life with your partner?" They answer, "Yes! But...(the money for wedding issue)". Totally go the backyard wedding, I say. Marriage is wonderful, but weddings are not worth the stress, especially when you can still have a wonderful day on a much smaller budget.
Kath said…
Not dodgy as far as I can see, just countercultural.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for this. I'm a thirty year old Finance Manager who has been helping my parents financially. Am blessed to be in a wonderful relationship with a man who also had been helping his parents. I've been trying to steer recent conversations about marriage towards the fact we should save for the wedding, house etc before even seriously thinking of getting married. Your article has snapped me back to remembering what is really important. THANK YOU :-)
Sandra said…
I wish we'd had a BBQ in the backyard. It would have been a lot more fun.

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