Post # 1
My fiance and I got engaged young. We started dating when we were 16, and he gave me a promise ring on my 17th birthday. He proposed on Valentine’s Day after we’d been dating for two years, and we were both 18 (my rule, for posterity’s sake, and so my dad didn’t have a heart attack). Because of all this, I’ve always been seen as a “young bride”. You know the reaction — the double-take when you say “fiance” instead of “boyfriend”, the questions about your age, the shocked look. At first, it bugged me, but now I’ve gotten used to it, and I kind of even like breaking the stereotype.
Which brings me to the real thing that’s bugging me: by the time we actually get married, my fiance and I won’t be “young” anymore. For financial reasons (and pressure from both sets of parents), we’re not getting married until we both graduate from university. By the time we actually tie the knot, we’ll be 22 — and will have been engaged for almost four years. And yes, I know that 22 is still considered to be getting hitched early. But it’s…kind of frustrating.
I think part of it is our long engagement (no one likes to see couples who meet each other after you get married before you — which is already happening to us!), and part of it is just losing that shock value with people. Their first reaction when I tell them I’m engaged is that wide-eyed look, and then they as what the date is. When I mention that we’re waiting until we graduate (another 3 years), their eyes kind of glaze over and the usual comment is about how “sensible” and “practical” we’re being. Which is TRUE, but still. I even get this from other brides who come into my work to get things printed for their weddings, which irritates me a little. Just because I’m having a long engagement doesn’t mean I’m not excited!
Do any of the rest of you “young brides” feel like, after a while, you start to like the shock value when you tell people your age? Would you miss it if people stopped having that reaction? Or am I just being an attention you-know-what?
Post # 3
I never got the “shock value” of being young and engaged (22 when engaged, 23 when married) possibly because I don’t come across as young. But even when I got the occassional comment, I never really cared if they thought i was too young! I much prefered if they thought i was older. Being told you’re sensible and practical is a compliment I think!
Post # 4
Well, I don’t know if I would say you’re being an “attention you-know-what” but I think maybe you should take some time to refocus on your relationship rather than how other people see it. We’re having a 2 1/2 year engagement and yes, people are less excited to talk about planning with it so far off. But honestly? I’m grateful! Because once they want to talk about planning, I’m going to have to deal with the 35847684367893467 things that we’re doing that more traditional family members will frown upon. I love this time when only my close friends want to talk about planning!
Every couple is different. Because we got together at 14 and never broke up, we have had many MANY couples meet and date after us, and get married before us. It doesn’t bother me because I know why we’re waiting, and I stand by those reasons. Their relationships aren’t “better” for moving faster, they’re just different.
ETA: We were 19 when we got engaged, and will be 22 when we get married. There wasn’t any shock value for the people that know us, and while I couldn’t care less what people think, it’s good to know that our families stand behind us.
Post # 5
I do not think there is any appeal to getting married young. Live life. I think the more you go through, the more you know yourself and the more ready you are to be with another because you have experiened things already. What I mean is- if I had married my first boyfriend- yikes! I have gone through so much since then, and life experience changes you and helps you to realize better who you are.
But that’s just me. I do not see getting married young as a “better” thing. My grandpa always said to “date as much as you can before you choose.” While this was NEVER my intention (I wanted to marry my first) I am so glad it worked out this way. While it was a pain in the butt going through those years, I am better because of them. I have experienced being completely alone, experienced going on spontaneous road trips to Cali, experienced making mistakes. The list goes on. Maybe getting married young would be good if you are one of those lucky people that knows all about themselves at a young age, but for me, I am that much better for our marriage because of just a few extra years under my belt.
You are still young, and I guess I think that waiting is a good thing.
Post # 6
My husband and I were engaged for 3 years because we were waiting until we finished college. Some people didn’t take us seriously because of the longer engagement but who cares? It isn’t their relationship, it is yours. A lot of people still think that getting marreid at 22 is young.
Post # 7
@cbee: I didn’t see the appeal in getting married young either…until I got engaged at 18. My life plan was to not even date until I was finished university, and I’m happy that that didn’t work out, because now I get to spend more time with the love of my life. : )
Post # 8
The only experience I had with that was when I told a store clerk I was engaged and getting married in 2 months and she gave me the “are you crazy for getting married so young” look (btw, I was 4 days shy of my 28th birthday when we got married). She finally asked how old I was and I told her and she was like, “Oh, I thought you were one of those young kids getting married.” Bless that woman. I wanted to hug her and give her a kiss for thinking I looked like I was still in my early 20s. LOL
I really don’t think the shock value of your age is something you should worry about. Ejs was totally right when saying being sensible and practical is a compliment. Do you want people going, “HOLY CRAP…You’re only 19 and getting married? Are you crazy???” (the shock value version) or do you want people respecting you for being sensible and practical? My parents were married at 18 and 19 and I still shake my head at the thought of getting married that young. It worked for them, they’re coming up on 32 years in June, but it’s DEFINITELY something they never recommended. My dad would have been FURIOUS if I had even considered getting married before I graduated college…which worked out fine for me beings I never wanted to get married until I was atleast 25. lol
Also, remember that age is mostly just a number. Everyone seems young to someone. Getting married at 19 may seem young to someone who got married at 23….and someone who got married at 23 seems very young to me considering I was married at 28…and to someone who is 35, getting married at 28 may seem young. It’s all relative.
Post # 9
I find it a bit odd that you’re anxious for some sort of knee-jerk reaction from people. Congrats & well-wishes, I would think, are more common expectations. Since I personally view an engagement as the period of time it take to plan a wedding, having an extended engagement seems pointless to me.
Post # 10
@twalila: Well, I am a little odd. : p I think it’s mostly that I’ve gotten defensive about it — I’ve gotten used to having to defend my choices & my wedding to people, and I guess that I don’t feel “relieved” that I don’t have to. Instead, I feel like all the defending I’ve done is all for naught? Like I said, it’s weird. And I don’t really expect congrats, because most people just go from knee-jerk shock to “oh, how nice that you’re being practical and waiting”. As for the engagement being the period of time it takes to plan a wedding, that’s your opinion and it’s fine, but I personally view it as a symbol of your commitment. When you’re 19 and you say “boyfriend”, people picture a fling, which is why we decided to step it up to “fiance” (which then started the other issue — I can’t wait until we’re finally married!).
Post # 11
I understand what you’re saying about shock value. Most people think I’m an undergrad when they meet me (no I don’t wear UGGs and tights with a too tight shirt) but I do dress casually since in my dept we work with some nasty stuff (everyone dresses casually). So I have started noticing people’s reactions when I say, nope, sorry I’m one of your teachers, and kinda started to like the shock. Different situation but I get what you’re saying.
Post # 12
Ok really honest opinion here, not meant to offend anyone…
If you know you love eachother and want to spend your lives together, what’s the rush to say you’re engaged? Can you be committed to eachother without a ring? From your post, it sounds like maybe you liked the attention and now it’s starting to wear off and other people aren’t taking you seriously? This is just my opinion, but when somebody tells me they’re engaged, but they are waiting for 3+ years (bc of school, etc), then why not wait to be officially engaged until then? Enjoy college! It doesn’t mean you have to run around and behave badly but why tie yourself down with picking out china patterns? Enjoy eachother and your relationship while you’re still young!
I would personally be wary of being really focused on weddings right now, this is the time in your life to develop personal interests and hobbies and explore a world full of possibilities…don’t get so caught up in “wedding world” that you forget about what’s most important in life.
Everyone is different and every relationship is different and if this is the best for you, that’s great! You are truly lucky to have found the love of your life. But with a long engagement, I think you’re going to find less attention until much closer to the actual date.
Post # 13
A lot of people look at me weird when I tell them I’m engaged. I’m 22 but I guess I look a bit younger (maybe I’ll enjoy that when I’m older lol). I think most of it is my friends who are still in party mode and I’ve never been a huge partier so to my fiance and I it was the perfect decision for us. He started University late so he’s wanting to wait until he’s done to get married like you guys and I don’t really enjoy people brushing off my wedding just because it’s far away either. I’m still crazy excited and if I could have it tomorrow I would, but in the long run it makes more sense to wait and save up money. Regardless of when the wedding is though, people should still say congratulations and it sucks that some people are kinda rude and focus too much on your age instead of showing their happiness for you.
Post # 14
@PinkPinstripes: No offence taken. : ) We got engaged because both of us felt that we needed a word to describe each other that conveyed more than “boyfriend/girlfriend” does (especially in University, where most peoples’ significant others’ change every second week). So…I guess you could say we did it for the “attention”, but it was more that we wanted to be taken seriously (which, like I said above, didn’t really work, enter defensiveness and now the general feeling of loss when something I’ve been working to defend, i.e. getting married young, is perceived as “gone”). We also got engaged for ourselves, because it’s a symbol of commitment to both of us, and it’s important to us. Neither of us treats the engagement period as the “wedding planning time”. : ) In fact, the only time I usually think about it is when I’m off from school (like I am now). When in school, I’m not picking out china patterns — I’m studying, going to class, and holding hands with my fiance in my spare time (which isn’t much). Being able to call each other “fiance” means a lot to us, because we don’t see each other that much (usually about 4-5 hours a week)…it’s a symbol, a word, a commitment we can lean on during our time apart (and no, it’s not as bad as an LDR, but it’s what’s right for us). As for having time for hobbies and finding out who I am…I think I can find out who I am whilst wearing a ring on my finger, and I don’t have much time for hobbies anyways. I read, I chat with my fiance, and I make cards, and that’s pretty much it.
Post # 15
My fiance and I are both young, he graduated high school the year after I did and went into the Army while I’m here in college, we just got engaged this February, but we aren’t planning on getting married til next summer when I am graduated. I kind of know how you feel about being young and everyone questioning if we know what we are doing. I also know how hard and frustrating it can be to wait so long to get married, and I wish all the time that we could get married sooner.
I know it’s important to want to please the parents, but I would still say do what you feel is right for you. If you think it is best to wait til then to get married then go for it! But if you feel like you want to get married sooner and that it would be ok for you and your fiance to do so then I say do it!
Post # 16
@summerlove22: “I’m still crazy excited and if I could have it tomorrow I would” EXACTLY! : ) Why can’t people understand that? Sigh. Thanks for giving me those words.
@troubled: Yeah, after a while the shock value kind of becomes a bit of an inside-joke-slash-something-to-defend…you get used to it, I guess, just like anything else. And just like anything else, when you perceive it as “leaving”, you feel a little bit of loss. Thanks for understanding.