First, I would like to say to all the well-intentioned bees on here — its not our place to judge. This woman is asking for moral support and advice on getting through a hard time. She isn’t asking for our opinions on whether she should be getting married. Unless someone is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, I don’t think it is our role to say one way or the other if someone should get married, especially when she didn’t ask! We are very careful to respect all different kinds of brides here – I think young brides (as long as they are of age) also deserve that same careful respect.
Okay, off my soapbox.
I will be getting married at 22, but I’m 21 right now. I’m lucky to have the loving support of my family, but my friends sometimes don’t understand. I know how stressful and discouraging it can be to try to defend your relationship. So my first peice of advice would be, STOP. Stop wasting your energy trying to prove something to your families. Unfortunately, they aren’t likely to understand just through the things you say. What’s more, this negativity and drama that I know is very upsetting certainly isn’t a good use of your engagement. You should be spending your engagement, as you said, building a strong foundation for a great, long-lasting marriage. This kind of family drama can drive a couple apart. So, for the sake of your relationship, stay focused on your happiness and your unity. By doing that, you will prove your maturity and the strength of your relationship to your parents without having to argue about it.
Basically, you may not be able to make your family see that you are ready for marraige, but by doing the right thing – focusing on your impending marriage rather than the drama – they may end up seeing it after all. But I wouldn’t make that your goal. As much as the support of family is important, what’s more important is the reason you are doing all of this. Don’t lose what you and your fiance have in trying to please others. Part of being an independent adult is making your own choices for your own reasons and taking responsibility for them rather than just blindly doing what is expected of you by your parents. Not to say they aren’t wise, but you should take ownership of this choice, and realize that its yours, not theirs, and therefore all that truly matters is what YOU think about it.
To answer a few bees who said "What’s the rush?" I will tell you what I told a friend just hours ago about my own engagement – to me, marrying my FI is an "of course". Of course I will spend the rest of my life with him. Of course I want no one else. Of course we’ll build a marriage and a family together. What else? I’m sure many of you can relate to this, though I understand we all have different relationships and come at them in different ways. For me, I know our love is true and lasting, bottom line, so I would marry him tomorrow, or I would marry him in 10 years – it honestly doesn’t make much of a difference to me. We are already fully committed. Having said that, we chose our wedding date based on what works best for us. We decided that, knowing we’ll of course be married, we’d rather be married before we live together, before we move to a new city. Since its an "of course", the question is less, "What’s the rush?" and more, "Why wait?"
365, I just want to say that I understand, and you have my support. Be prepared, however, for a tough road ahead. The answer to the question, "Why wait?" is very different for you than for me, I’m afraid. I can’t imagine that not having the support of your parents will bode well for you in many ways, particularly financially. Don’t feel like postponing the date would be admitting guilt of some kind, or letting them win. If its the right choice for you and your future husband, then make it.
Good luck and congrats!