Today, it’s pretty common for a couple to be together and live together for a near decade—if not longer—before getting married. There isn’t the same sense of urgency to tie the knot that there used to be. I know that perhaps as recently as 20 years ago, if a couple dated for three years without getting engaged, people started to question their commitment to each other. There would be all this pressure around the man to propose—friends and family would drop hints that he needed to sh*t or get off the pot, as the lovely old saying goes. I’m so glad that timeline is no longer considered normal. I honestly believe that it takes around three years to really know someone—at least—and would be terrified to walk down the aisle towards a man I’d known for any less time than that. People say the honeymoon phase ends around year two, but I honestly think it goes into year three and a bit beyond (if you’re wondering whether or not you’re in it, there are signs). The point is, it’s perfectly acceptable and beneficial to wait a long time to get married. And when you do, the wedding will be a bit different. Here is how the weddings are different when you’ve been together for ten years.
The guest list is more targeted
In your early twenties, if you get married, you may want to invite everyone. It seems like you have so many friends, and don’t want to leave any of them out. If you are with your man for over a decade, and get married in your late thirties or early forties, your guest list gets much shorter. You realize a lot of your friends from your twenties are no longer friends. It makes creating a guest list a lot easier.
So details can be more intimate
Since everyone at the wedding will know you and your partner very well because you have been together so long, you can have some more intimate details and inside-jokes in the décor and setup. You know most of your guests will understand and appreciate them.
Planning is a little easier
Planning a wedding is never easy, but it is easier when you’ve known your partner for a decade. You just have such a deep level of communication at that point. You know each other’s wants and needs very well.
When tiffs come up, they go away just as quickly
If little fights do come up, they go away just as quickly. You’ve been together for a decade so you know how to fight efficiently now. And it doesn’t feel like the end of the world to disagree—you move on from it swiftly.
It’s less of a production
When couples who have only been together a couple of years get married, there is this sense that they want to prove their love via the high production of the wedding. A decade-old couple doesn’t feel the need to prove much—they’ve proven it by staying together that long. So there may be less giant ice sculptures or highly in-demand DJs.
You’re happier with a simpler venue
I’ve noticed couples who have been together for a long time are also happy with a simpler venue that younger couples. In fact, they may prefer a venue that has meaning, like a friend’s back yard, a neighborhood park, or their high school auditorium!
OR a small destination wedding
I also see an uptick in small destination weddings amongst couples who’ve been together for a long time. The beauty of getting married a bit older is that your friends are older too and finally have the money to travel for destination weddings.
All of that air of secrecy and surprise between bride and groom—that’s gone. It’s a cute little thing couples who have been together just two or three years do, but brides-to-be who’ve been with their man for over ten years take him dress shopping.
Dealing with in-laws is easier
Being a bride-to-be and dealing with in-laws is stressful when you’ve only known said in-laws for a couple of years. Creating boundaries with them feels very delicate. Meanwhile, when you’ve been with your man for a decade, you’re part of his family now. You can talk to his parents as if they are your own.
It’s more of an excuse to hang
The wedding becomes more of an excuse to hang with everyone you love and rarely see, more than a big production on the day. So, super long-term couples may make week-long event of the wedding, just making time to see everyone from out of town.
You may be paying for it solo
While your parents may see the need to help pay for it when you’re in your twenties, they may not feel so compelled once you’re in your late thirties and early forties. You have money now and they know it.
So the budget may be smaller
So, since the parents aren’t chipping in as much, the budget is smaller. You and your partner have to work together closely to save money and be financially responsible.
But you don’t mind the smaller budget
Most couples don’t really mind the smaller budget if they’ve already been together for a decade. It makes things a little tougher, but because they didn’t need the whole massive production anymore anyways, it’s not devastating the way it would be to a young couple.
It’s more for you and him: not a show for others
The wedding itself—the actual big day—is more a reward for the couple than a show for others. It’s their little gift to themselves to celebrate the life they’ve already built together.
Everyone’s more relaxed
When a rather young couple is planning a wedding, there is that question in the air: will they make it down the aisle? Or will some of the wedding-planning fights cause them to break up? Things can feel fragile. But it doesn’t feel that way when a couple has been together for a decade. Planning a wedding can’t break them now.