To want to get married first?

(87 Posts)
MadInfoScientist Wed 07-Aug-13 10:17:55

I know, it's an old chestnut, but it's keeping me awake at night!
DP and I have been together 5 years, living together for 3 years, engaged for just over 18 months. We are both 34; he was married once before (briefly), I've never been married.

Lately, DP has been feeling 'broody' (?), and wants to start trying for a baby starting now. I am not comfortable with this; though I am not really a traditional sort, I do want DP to make the committment to us as a couple first, and not just because we have a child together. DP is not at all marriage shy, he is just really keen on being a dad, which is lovely, but I guess I don't understand why we can't just have a nice, small wedding ceremony that's about us first, then start trying?! It's not as if I am dying for a huge wedding...the registry office with close friends and family will suit me just fine.

I know that some people view marriage as 'just a piece of paper', but still, it's important to me. I like the idea of saying our vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family, and commemorating that committment to each other. Anyway...he is lovely, and he's not pressuring me in a nasty way, but I feel like I'm letting him down. Am I being unreasonable??

runningforthebusinheels Wed 07-Aug-13 10:34:07

I planned my wedding in 4 months. It wasn't a massive wedding, but lovely and relatively inexpensive. I could have done it quicker - the registry office dates were available. I hired the upstairs of a really fab restaurant for the reception meal.

The only thing you'll find is that you can't get a wedding dress specially made for you - I was called a 'short-notice bride' in the bridal shop. But I got a great dress off the peg.

karinmaria Wed 07-Aug-13 10:34:43

Cross post. Need to get better at typing! Seeing as you've talked about marriage and a wedding and he thinks it will take ages, you can give him the time frame you think is viable and ask him if that would be ok for him so you can start TTC straight after.

FWIW I planned my wedding for 100 people in 5 months and actually did nothing for the two months in the middle. If you're happy with a registry office and a nice meal that will take only as long as it takes to give notice of your impending marriage - 2 weeks!

flowery Wed 07-Aug-13 10:34:45

If you've been engaged for 18 months surely you have a date in mind, or at least an approximate date? Just wait to ttc until after then, or if you want to ttc now, bring it forward a bit. Much easier to both plan and execute a wedding without small DC around anyway, and surely if you are both intending a big wedding with lots of planning, you ought to be doing it now anyway.

MadInfoScientist Wed 07-Aug-13 10:36:05

I think I just needed the push here, thanks. We've talked about this in very brief, light hearted bits, but really, it IS really straightforward, so there is no reason why I can't just say it in a serious discussion. Seriously...I am NOT normally so reserved with my opinion...this just seems to bring out the wishy washy in me!!

I am off to do some work...so I'm not disappearing! I'll check back in a bit!

sparkle12mar08 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:36:11

Like the others, if you've been engaged for 18 months why isn't there a date set and planning already in progress? That's what getting engaged means, it isn't an end in itself. If it's just a bit of paper to him then tell him you can get that piece of paper in less than a month in a civil ceremony and if he won't do it, then there's your answer. I have a nasty feeling he's stalling you deliberately. I would not for a moment consider having a child without being married. See what his reaction is if you tell him that - no marriage, no children.

VinegarDrinker Wed 07-Aug-13 10:36:15

So the last 18 months of being engaged you haven't actually done any wedding planning? Do you want a wedding or a marriage? If the latter you can plan and do it in a couple of weeks. If you have fixed ideas about a big day with all the trainings then yes, it may take a while to organise. But if you do want that I'm not sure why you haven't started planning already? Isn't that what being engaged means?

LRDYaDumayuShtoTiKrasiviy Wed 07-Aug-13 10:36:44

mad - sorry, wasn't trying to be picky, just thinking!

To be honest it does sound as if the two of you are pretty good together - you just need to sort this one out.

I expect if you make it clear the two of you can throw it together fast, he'll understand.

Btw, he does get that he can plan it, right? It is really bizarre (IME) planning a wedding as you fall into very stereotyped roles of who does what, but there's no reason he shouldn't also get into it and it'll halve the time it takes. It's not like you need a lot - the thing that might take longest at this time of year is getting a date at the registry on a sensible saturday, but even that might be negotiable depending when your friends/family would be free.

MimiSunshine Wed 07-Aug-13 10:37:07

NBU at all, but what is the reason you have been engaged 18 months and are yet to plan a wedding? He presumably asked you so why not just say, “How about we get married in November and start trying at Christmas?”. I worked with a woman who planned her wedding in 6 weeks and definitely had the big white wedding so if you want a relatively small one its doable.

Me and my BF are just a bit younger than you guys have talked about the future and both agree we want marriage and babies but he has hinted that he’d like a baby first “because we’d have to wait longer otherwise and we can get married any time”. Like you I’m not terribly traditional but I also want us to make the commitment to each as a couple before committing to a baby so i just said that i won’t be having any babies until we’re married.
It wasn’t a ‘here are my terms – its a deal breaker’ situation and we haven’t directly talked about it again but i know he’s taken it on board as every now and then he talks about ‘our wedding’ and mentions something he’d like.

SofiaVagueara Wed 07-Aug-13 10:39:51

I think you are right. I do question the logic of people who think someone is a suitable parent but aren't prepared to commit to that person for life.

If you have a child with someone you are making a bigger commitment than marriage. You will be linked to that person for life. You can divorce a bad husband or wife but a bad father or mother will still be your child's parent.

If you don't feel sure enough someone to marry them then you shouldn't feel sure enough about them to have a child with them.

I would be tackling this with your DP because if he is dragging his heels about getting married to you I would wonder if at the back of his mind he has the idea he might not stick around.

Do you really want to be left holding the baby without the financial security that marriage would give you? It's highly likely that having a child will negatively affect your pension and earning power, and if you don't get married you won't have the security of knowing these sacrifices will be recognized by the law and you will be recompensed accordingly should the worst happen and you split.

Nagoo Wed 07-Aug-13 10:40:09

I planned my wedding in six weeks. You can do it smile

MadInfoScientist Wed 07-Aug-13 10:41:59

LRDY I love the man loads, and he's lovely in so many ways, but I do NOT want him planning our wedding! grin

No...you're all right. As I said, our talks about this have been really too lighthearted, and no decisions have been made...I really have been lazy about wedding planning! I have never been the type to want a big wedding...I'm way too low maintenance, so I guess it has made me really lax on the planning. DP is nearly as bad, so having children should be interesting for us someday, eh?

DontmindifIdo Wed 07-Aug-13 10:44:52

realistically, you could be married before Christmas. How about that as a deadline? Start 2014 married and ideally pregnant too.

If you want a small registary office do, why not call today and find what dates they have available in November/December? Write a list of who you think you'd want to invite, get calling round hotels/nice pubs with rooms to have a meal and you could present it to him this evening as started planning. If he doesn't like that, then you can talk through other wedding options/prices, but it would give you a starting point. (once you start planning a wedding, you can get it done relatively quickly if you aren't all that fussed about details)

ineedtogetoutmore Wed 07-Aug-13 10:46:05

I was married before I had my dc but wouldn't have minded the other way around so I can see where youre dp is coming from. But the point of thos thread is that you don't feel comfortable with that so you should come to a compromise youre both happy with.

would you be happy with a smaller quickly organised wedding?
we had a small wedding 23 guests i wouldn't have had it any differently but it only took 4 months to plan well it actually took 2 days of phone calls and emails to plan but we had to wait 4 months for the venue.

my friends who have had bigger weddings have been a year in the planning and spent over 10-15k on them.

also is your dp worried about the cost of a wedding and having a baby right afterwards? if so a smaller wedding will cost less but depending on what you want even a small wedding can run into thousands.

I think you both need to talk properly and find a compromise youre happy with even if thst means going to the registry office one afternoon and grabbing two witnesses off the street

KRITIQ Wed 07-Aug-13 10:51:00

Elope with a couple friends/family as witnesses. Job done!

DontmindifIdo Wed 07-Aug-13 10:52:36

Oh and I know someone who'd got her wedding planned within 2 days, she didn't get married for another 11 months, but she'd called up, booked the church and venue, written the guest list, looked on line and picked/ordered invites, called the local florist and booked a visit to talk flowers, called a wedding dress shop and booked an appointment to buy a dress, booked hairdressers all by the time we saw them for a Sunday lunch, they'd got engaged on the Friday. She said didn't understand the months of fuss other brides did...

(although to be fair, she wanted to get maried in the church she went to as a child and there was only one hotel in the village, so she didn't have months of trapsing round venues to find one)

Shrugged Wed 07-Aug-13 11:04:31

We got married a week before my due date, having never wanted to be married, but it suddenly struck us that it was the easiest way of settling the legalities before our baby arrived. Admittedly it was just us and two witnesses in our lunch break, but all it involved was a couple of phone calls, a minimum notice period, and a visit to the local registry office with some documentation. You could easily add guests and a nice meal or party in a pub without much more trouble or time. It really doesn't have to be a frenzied odyssey of frocks, florists and 'bridal fayres'! And low key can be very romantic...

Just sit him down and say "I love the idea of us having a child together, but I want to be married when we have it (when we conceive?). So, let's have a small wedding and just invite x,y, and z. We can talk to the church/registry office and see what dates they can do us. How about it?"

It doesn't sound like either of you are being unfair or unreasonable, he's probably just worried that if you have been vaguely "engaged" for 18 months and haven't done anything about setting a date, then "after we're married" means about the same as "when pigs start to fly" and he doesn't want that to happen.

Jan49 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:16:57

I think you've both been dragging your heels since you've been engaged for 18 months and not planned the wedding yet. What's the point in getting engaged if all you do is err get engaged?

I don't feel comfortable with the idea of having children without being married - probably because I'm an older generation and getting married first was the norm for my generation - but also marriage protects you better legally.

I don't think you're letting him down. If anyone is letting anyone else down, it's him, by agreeing to marry you but then pushing for a baby and not planning the wedding.

KatAndKit Wed 07-Aug-13 11:22:17

I am having a big wedding and it took less than a year to plan. Could have been done quicker but i wanted the school holiday date. My parents married three months after getting engaged. It does not have to take two years. Many venues will have late availability especially if you don't require it to be a Saturday. You can use coast, phase eight,monsoon, john Lewis etc to buy a dress off the peg or even bridal outlet shops or secondhand.
if it is the legal security you want you can go to the registry office with two witnesses on a weekday in your jeans.
i did things the other way around and had the baby first but if being married first is important to you then you must stand your ground. It will make your fiance pull his finger out if he is so keen to start a family. If he is the procrastinating type and you ttc first then the focus will be on the baby and that could put the wedding back another couple of years.
in your situation i would tell him you are also keen to start a family but the marriage is important to you. Suggest you both get on with it as soon as possible and then try for the baby in the new year. You could easily plan a nice hotel wedding in time for Christmas.

eurochick Wed 07-Aug-13 11:22:59

You don't have to spend years planning a wedding. We were engaged for 7 months (but our alternative date would have meant 5 months). My BIL/SIL got engaged at Xmas and married at Easter. We both had weddings with 50-100 guests and a full reception and so on. You could easily be married by Xmas if you want to be, and if you don't mind being pregnant at the wedding, you could start to ttc a couple of months before that.

littlemrssleepy Wed 07-Aug-13 11:27:50

I wouldn't have children without being married, although its for the legal protection rather than any moral reasons. It is still probably the norm for one parent's life to change more than the other's - in our case it's mine. Whilst its getting back on track, my career will never be what it could have been. My earning potential has gone down, my pension pot has taken a beating. As is often the case, having kids has done wonders for DH's career - he now earns twice what he earnt 6 years ago before having kids. I don't want to get into the rights and wrongs of that - there are some things I would change with hindsight but (financially at least) it has worked out great for us a family. However, if we were ever to split and we weren't married, I would be well up the proverbial creek without the protection of marriage, especially if it were acrimonious. Your personal situation might be very different - maybe he will be the one who makes career sacrifices, or you'll be one if the few (in my experience!) who are able to share things a bit more fairly.

meganorks Wed 07-Aug-13 11:31:36

Not sure why you are engaged with no wedding plans. To me you get engaged when you are ready to get married even if the wedding is going to be a couple of years away while you save. I don't think being engaged alone is any firm commitment. So would say YANBU on that front to say marriage first.

I say this as someone who has had kids pre marriage though. For me I knew the commitment was already there so happy to have kids first. Now engaged, wedding next year.

sicutlilium Wed 07-Aug-13 11:33:40
CunningAtBothEnds Wed 07-Aug-13 11:42:13

I think if you want children time is not on your side. Unless you fear he will wrong you or never marry you, then I would prioritise children.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 07-Aug-13 12:21:25

I know two people who got engaged on NYE and one was married in April and the other in May. Both had "big" weddings with all the trimmings.

Admittedly the April one is an Events Organiser so has lots of contacts but the May one was a junior doctor so really busy with non wedding things and still managed it.

I reckon if you were flexible about dates and venues you could be married in (unpopular) November. If things work out you could be seeing in the New Year on Orange squash! wink

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