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You Asked: To Marry or Not to Marry?

Dear Sugar,

I’m 22 years old and my boyfriend is 27. We've been dating for a year and a half and we want to get married next year. I know some people might think that for us to get married after only two years together is stupid and too soon, but the thing is, we can’t live without each other. The whole weekend - date thing is not enough time anymore for us, we want to be together every second of everyday. We don’t have any kind of problems with trust, cheating, or communication. He is really responsible, mature and family-oriented. Our only concern right now is that we don’t know what to do about the wedding. Moving in together is not what we want first because our families are very religious and it’s not really my thing either. He really wants me to be his wife and I really want him to be my husband.

However, right now we don’t have the amount of money needed to spend on a decent wedding. I have thought about eloping, but I have always dreamed of a big wedding. We have also thought about getting a small loan, but then I would just feel guilty about how we spent the money. We might be able to have that kind of money in a few years but we don’t want to wait any longer. My parents and his parents can’t really help much financially so DearSugar, please help me out, I need some input from some other people besides my family and friends because they have me so confused. — I Already Do Dana

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear I Already Do Dana —

It sounds like you and your boyfriend have already made up your minds about wanting to get married, so don't listen to what other people say. Some couples elope and get married the same weekend they met, and stay married forever, and then others wait until they know each other inside and out but still get divorced 35 years later. There is no magical potion to make a union work, you just need to follow your heart and take a chance.

Weddings do cost a lot of money, you're right about that, so you have to make a decision here. Is the wedding day itself more important to you than the marriage itself or is not waiting any longer what really matters to you? Once you answer that question, you will know what to do.

If you choose to quietly get married, say in city hall, you can always wait to have your reception when you feel more financially secure. If you already know that taking out a loan in order to have your dream wedding will make you feel guilty, don't do it. If you're worried about how you're going to pay back the money, you won't enjoy your wedding.

I think the best thing to do is to sit down with your boyfriend, talk about what's important to each of you, write out a pro and con list, and go from there. Good luck to you in whatever you choose.


Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Well, this is where your wants and your needs have to be looked at. You want to get married, You want to have a big wedding, Do you NEED a big wedding? Our wedding cost 3000, that included everything (flowers, food, rentals, church, organist,photographer, DJ) even my dress (which was hand beaded, silk, and 80% off at a wedding outlet) When i look back on it, 7 years later it was just as amazing as weddings i have been to since that cost 10 times as much. Havent you ever seen a wedding in a movie or on TV, on the beach or even in a tiny church, or heck hall that was so moving and beautiful and perfect? To me spending tons of money on one day was just not "us" we used the money we would have used to start our life together. Its not about the size of the wedding, its all about the size of your love, and if its Big....everyone there will feel like they are in a cathedral.
subhuman-error subhuman-error 9 years
My mother got married about a year ago on the beach in Hawaii, just her and her fiance and a priest were present. When they came back to Seattle they had a huge reception party with all their friends present! You can have a very private, modest wedding and still have a blast at the reception.
miosotis miosotis 9 years
I'm almost in this same situation right now and we don't know what to do yet. I think that what vanyvrgs said about making your vows now and giving a great party after 5 years when renewing your vows is a great advice. I'm considering to do a civil marriage and a very simple ceremony in the church (no invitees) and after a week or two to give a party in a small town near my hometown (parties in small towns really cost less in my country). Well, I hope you make a decision you won't regret. I understand that a great wedding is important for you, but remember that this is not the most important thing. In my opinion, if your bf is the right guy for you, the most important thing is the new life that will start with your marriage (since you and your bf have never lived together, it'll be a new life). And I think this is what will make you happy and not a wonderful wedding.
Katerkins Katerkins 9 years
I think marriage after two years of dating is perfectly legitimate. I can't imagine getting married so young (I can't even commit to a hair color at this point) but that's obviously a personal decision and very dependent on the relationship and the people involved. As people have said above, it sounds like it's just a matter when to get married, not IF to get married. Some people want the formal wedding, fancy dress and the flowers and to have all their friends be there, but I had friends who got married in city hall and then had all their close friends and family come to a bbq in their backyard. It was cheap but still intimate and a lot of fun. Just depends on what the two of you want.
sass317 sass317 9 years
My husband and I were lucky enough to have parents who were able (and willing) to pay for our wedding- but we would never have eloped. We are both very close with our families and after two of my husbands best friends eloped and we saw how upset it made a lot of people we knew we couldnt do that. However, if our situation had been different- we would have gone to the courthouse with just our best friends and parents and then had a great party at a family member's house, plain and simple. And either way, at the end of the day you are married- thats what really matters.
pink_magnetism pink_magnetism 9 years
If you and your boyfriend want to get married now, there is no reason why you can't. It just depends what you want more. Do you want a huge expensive wedding even though you will have to wait several years? Or do you want to be married now to the person that you love, even if it means a smaller cheaper wedding?
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
A wedding does not a marriage make. My first wedding was pretty big...not so much in cost compared to today's standards (probably $15,000-$20,000) and my husband left me 11 months later (said he knew the day we got married it wasn't gonna last. We had been together 3 years before we got married. WTF!) My second wedding cost $6,000 and I knew my husband for 4 months before we got engaged and a little over a year by the time we were actually married. As to the expenses thing I would have to say that it is cheaper to be married...kinda like having a roomie is cheaper than living alone. You have to decide what you want out of life and go from there. If you want to live with him and are unable to do so out of wedlock than it sounds to me like you need to be married. What does it matter how that comes about. If you want the big party do a civil marriage (or small church ceremony) and plan for your formal wedding on you 1 or 5 year anniversary. Move in together and split the bills but set aside the extra that you would be paying if you each lived seperately and before you know it you will haved saved enough for the wedding of your dreams!!! Good Luck!
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Girl, you dont have to splurge on a big wedding. And two years isnt short, but 22 is a little young. But after all the planning and scheduling you'll be a bit older. Just make sure you guys agree on all the main things first, kids, money, religion, etc. And kudos on not moving in together just based on pressure! And I dont know what "you probably won't have the money to be married" means. It seems like its cheaper to be married with taxes and bills being split etc. Whatev!
luvmycpt luvmycpt 9 years
i dont think it matters how long you have dated. My husband and I dated for three months before we got married and its been 4 years. We are just on the same page about how serious the commitment of marriage is. Anyway, we eloped before he deployed to Iraq (he left 4 days later) and then we had a big party when he got back and I still got to wear a wedding dress etc. So you can always save up and have a renewal of vows later..the important things is that you are married to the person you love!!
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 9 years
Although I agree that a big wedding won't a better relationship make, I do know of some people that eloped and regretted it (not the marriage but not doing it how they wanted it) cause they never got that large wedding thing with all the people that they loved. So I guess, I would think about it greatly and see what is more important since you can live together until you get the funds for your dream wedding. I know, I know that is not your thing. Either that, or do it now and make a vow that you will renew your vows in 5 years and have a great party and start saving now for it.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Oh, jeez! First, calm down. Second, go down to the court house and get it over with, a big wedding will not a better relationship make.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I agree that it boils down to what you want more. A big wedding, or to be married to the person you love. Personally, I think if you are really dying to get married to this person the choice would be obvious. What's 4 hours of one day compared to the rest of your life?
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
Dear is so right. There is no magic potion and the fact that couples who marry as soon as they meet and stay together is just as prevalent as couples who wait for ages until taking the plunge only to divorce further down the road. You and your boyfriend should go with your hearts, and other people will follow.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I'm not sure what either of your daily work schedules are like, or what type of careers you have, BUT if you are both very determined and have your minds made up, and would like to have a nice wedding...why don't the both of you maybe consider picking up a second job (maybe even one that you could both work at for extra time together) and put together a wedding savings account where you just put your entire second checks into the account and by no time you should be able to have a very nice wedding if you keep it small and inexpensive. Beautiful dream type weddings can be cut down in price many different ways and done right can be fairly low in cost.
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 9 years
My boyfriend and I have been dating for six years in the beginning of April. I am 24 and my boyfriend will be 25 on Tuesday. We also know that we are going to get married, but we decided to wait until we have enough money. A lot of our friends did not wait and they are loving married life. But for us, we know that we want to be together forever so we figured, what's the wedding going to prove? We also took into account the fact that studies show the longer you wait until you get married, the more likely your marriage will succeed. I don't take that as the absolute truth, but as a child of divorce I want to make sure we are both grown-up enough to handle the responsibility of taking this next big step. Best of luck to you and I hope that helps!
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
I got married (one year to the day after I met my husband, by the way), and we were broke, too. We had plenty of money as far as regular living expenses, but there was no way we could shell out thousands and thousands of dollars for our wedding (and parents couldn't help, either). We had a lovely wedding with about 80 people for under $2,500, and we couldn't have been happier about how things turned out.
cariann cariann 9 years
I guess it depends on how *big* you have to have this wedding, and how frugal you are willing to be. There are all types of ways for people to give money instead of gifts. You can set up a bank account just for that purpose. You can also find really great deals on wedding dresses at consignment shops or ebay. There really is no need to give out favors to anyone. There are plenty of ways to have things like an iPod do all of your music. Only have flowers for the women in your party and the MOB/MOG. Programs do not need to be printed. You know how to do your hair and makeup. You probably have a relative that can handle the photography. And if you get married in your church, especially around a holiday (Easter?) I'm sure the church will already be decorated, so you don't have to worry about that. Really what is important is that you two are married. Check out They have tons of ideas and forums for help. Even local stuff, to help you navigate that, or if you think you might want to leave town. Good luck, and congratulations!
Brooklynbee Brooklynbee 9 years
Just have a casual wedding, no one will mind. There is no rule that says you have to spend $50,000 on a wedding. My husband and I had a GREAT wedding and we didn't spend a fortune. We are lucky enough to have very creative and generous friends, so one friend was our DJ, another friend was our florist... we did hire a professional caterer and photographer though. We made our own wedding favors (customized CDs) and all our guests said they had more fun at our wedding than at any other one!
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
I've never understood the need for big weddings. If you have plenty of money to throw around - great go nuts but if you can't afford it why would you go into debt. Its your love and your relationship that matter not how much your dress costs or how many limos you rent or how many guests you can cram in. My parents had no money when they first got married they had to have a small civil ceremony and they have been married for 36 years now. Save your money for all the other expenses you will like mortgage payments.
LuciLu LuciLu 9 years
that is a great point citizenkane, people think about the wedding first, but not about the huuuge responsibility that comes along with livign together. that should also be discussed in great detail before any wedding is planned.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
It sounds like the question is not whether to marry this guy or not...its a question of you guys not having the funds to get married like you want until a few more years down the road. Weddings can be huge and not expensive at all. Be creative and save what you can.....HOWEVER, my mother gave me great advice a few years ago: If you don't have the money to get married, you probably won't have the money to be married.
Marci Marci 9 years
It doesn't sound like you have any doubts about marrying the guy; your question really comes down to the actual wedding you would have at this point. And THAT really depends on how important the big wedding is for you. No one can answer that question for you. You can always marry now and when there's money down the road, have the wedding you always wanted.
swtsunkisses88 swtsunkisses88 9 years
To me, the amount of time dating someone doesnt matter, the connection and chemistry does. I dated someone for a few years and the connection I had with him doesnt even compare to the closeness I feel with my current guy. But who said you have to get married to be 'closer' to your man? You dont need to be officially set-in-stone married to find that, you just need to explore your options. It already sounds like you guys are mentally married. Yes, the living together thing could be an issue, but all you really need to do now is brainstorm ways to see each other more frequently to fill that need. A ring on your finger doesnt need to be present for that to happen.
ReverendZelda ReverendZelda 9 years
My wedding cost around $6,000, had about 100 guests and was just beautiful. If you try hard enough and are willing to make some small concessions you can have a lovely day.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I think this is great advice. There is never going to be any sort of sign for what is right and wrong for the two of you, that's something you two need to decide on your own. Some people marry after two days, two months or two yrs-you can only trust in each other in knowing if it will last. It sounds like being apart during the week is taking a toll of both of you for your won reasons and living together is not an option. If it's that emotinally unbearable to be apart you might have to reconsider your options.
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