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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

When Will We Realize Marriage Is More Than A Big Wedding?

Like most other women, I’ve always wanted to get married one day. 

When I was younger, marriage was a faraway concept, but something I counted on. Magically, when I’d enter my late twenties, I’d fall in love with the perfect guy, have an awesome wedding, and boom — I’d be married. Now that I’m in my twenties and marriage doesn’t seem as far-off as it once was, I find myself thinking about the concept of marriage, and a wedding, more and more. 

But let’s be honest — when I do fantasize about marriage, it’s usually not about married life itself; I often find myself daydreaming about what my wedding will be like: The perfect dress, a stunning venue, and all my loved ones around me, celebrating myself and my S.O. What’s more to want? 

For many people, fantasizing about the wedding might be enough to run down the aisle as quickly as possible. This has definitely been the case for countless celebrities — including none other than Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, whose extravagant, Dolche & Gabana sponsored wedding (yes, that’s right: a sponsored wedding) felt like it came out of nowhere. 

It’s not just celebrities that have normalized extravagant, rushed weddings. TV shows have also contributed to the glamorization of marriage, glossing over the commitment and time needed to establish a solid, long-lasting marriage. Shows like The Bachelor have always been known to rush relationships to engagement, but new shows like Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum have stepped up the pressure for marriage. The entire concept of both shows is to choose someone to marry within a short time frame, ending in multiple beautiful, extravagant weddings. As an audience, we’re constantly sitting and watching couples who barely know each other say “I do,” thinking, is this normal now?

Maybe I’m different than the people on these TV shows and celebrities rushing into marriages. Sure, a wedding sounds like the perfect day and the whole idea is so romantic and glamorous — leading many to create wedding Pinterest boards or playlists — but I haven’t let the vision of a wedding distract me from the daunting concept that is marriage.

The truth is: marriage is a huge commitment — not just an excuse to have an extravagant wedding. Not only are divorce rates rapidly increasing, with almost half of marriages ending in divorce in the US, but it takes time to truly understand someone, and learn if you’re growing together or apart as a couple. The 20s are a time of so much change — personally, mentally, and professionally — so why not ride it out together for the time being and get married when you’re actually ready to settle down?

Marriage is a moving target — you won’t be the same today as you will be in 10, 20, even 50 years. There will be new stresses in your life that you’ll have to navigate as a couple, and new ways to discover more about yourself. Once that magical wedding night is over, you’ll face the realization of having chosen this person to be your companion forever — with only one complex, devastating, and painful way of getting out. Regardless of what happens, you’ll be tied to this person forever.

And when you do get married, you won’t need flamboyance and large crowds to have a memorable wedding day. Smaller weddings are often more intimate and special — Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and even Britney Spears’ weddings are prime examples. Even though these celebrities can afford a big wedding, they preferred to spend the day with their nearest and dearest, making the day more meaningful. Because sometimes, when it comes to weddings, less is more.

Instead of being blinded by the extravagance and beauty of a wedding, acknowledge the investment needed to actually get there. You can still have your dream wedding, but first, make sure you’ll have your dream marriage. Maybe that means waiting another few years to have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, but hey — it’s better than jumping into one of life’s most serious commitments before you’re ready.

Abby is a National Writer for Her Campus and the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at Waterloo. As part of the Wellness team, she covers topics related to mental health and relationships, but also frequently writes about digital trends, career advice, current events, and more. In her articles, she loves solving online debates, connecting with experts, and reflecting on her own experiences. She is also passionate about spreading the word about important cultural issues such as climate change and women’s rights; these are topics she frequently discusses in her articles. Abby began producing digital content at BuzzFeed, where she now has over 300 posts and 60 million overall views. Since then, she has also written for various online publications such as Thought Catalog, Collective World, and Unpacked. In addition to writing, Abby is also a UX and content designer; she most frequently spends her days building innovative, creative digital experiences. She has other professional experiences ranging from marketing to graphic design. When she’s not writing, Abby can be found reading the newest Taylor Jenkins Reid book, watching The Office, or eating pizza. She’s also been a dancer since she was four years old, and has most recently become obsessed with taking spin classes.