We’re getting married in our twenties — this is how we’re finding it

Marriage. Something myself and many of my girls would often thoroughly plan from as little as the age of nine. “Married at 21 when we graduate, babies at 22, and so forth” then became something many of me and my girlfriends would confidently profess from the age of 15. A decade later and it’s actually happening to us.

Planning and managing life alone as a millenial can be daunting, from careers, finances, mental health, and so forth — the list is endless.

But what about planning life with someone else, for the rest of your life?

I speak to three brides-to-be who share their experiences during the lead up to their big days as they are engaged and soon to be married, things they have learned, and advice they would give to future brides.

Rachel:

It’s a bride, it’s a wife, it’s a Mrs to be.

I realised it all changed when my fiancée got on his knee and asked me to be his wife. We were no longer boyfriend and girlfriend, titles had changed and we were now planning a life together. Marriage admin and planning our lives together made it very real. It also got real when his family came over to do the knocking (aka kookooko, in Ghanaian culture this is when the groom along with members of his family goes to the bride’s home formally announcing the groom’s intention and marriage plans) and our families where now on the journey of becoming one.

Our first date was when I knew he was the one. From early on we just clicked, we had different interests but we were both eager to learn about what made us who we are and I loved that. To the point, we loved talking so much that we got kicked out of the café on our first date and we had to move to a bar. Then when he met my parents and friends, it was confirmed and when a friend whispered in my ear “He’s the One!” I totally agreed.

It’s all about the Elizabeths baby. Weddings are very…very, very expensive and only until you are planning one do you truly realise how much elizabeths are spent. We set ourselves a budget early and what was necessary and unnecessary to us. We also have great parents, family and friends who are supporting us along the way.

Two key things I have learned along the way is that we have amazing friends and family that are so supportive not only monetarily but with their time and efforts. Secondly, I have learned how strong I am, weddings can be stressful and you can be tested so staying prayed up is important.

Finally, I would say to all the future brides and those looking to marry, it’s not all about the dress. I have contradicted myself here, it is about the dress (that’s what we all look forward to) but there is MORE to it than that. You will wear your dress once, but you will have your husband forever. So focus on that, remember why you are marrying and why you said yes.

Abi:

I realised that my life had changed when my mother told me my brother is going to move into my bedroom when I leave the house. I think that was the moment it sunk in that when I’m married, home is going to be with my husband; not my mother and brother who I´ve lived with all my life. Home has always been with my immediate family — and now I’m about to create my own family. It’s still sinking in that I’m e moving out soon. Thus far that has been the most dramatic change above everything.

I knew he was “the one” when we booked our first holiday to Seville. We had been friends for sometime then but only officially a couple for a few months, yet we were planning a trip together for months away. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that it was risky, because I couldn’t foresee my life without him, even in those early moments of our relationship. What confirmed it even more for me was when I met most of his whole family in the Dominican Republic. I felt so comfortable and welcomed and that was the moment when “if” we get married started to become “when” we get married.

It has been a lot more difficult that I envisioned financially planning the wedding day. I’ve spoken to 5 different wedding planners because I wanted to make sure I was getting the best deal. But at one point it seemed as if the prices were getting more and more expensive. The stress of financially planning can take away the enjoyment of being engaged. For partly this reason my partner and I have taken a step back from wedding planning, and are concentrating on building our careers to enable finances not to be an issue once start paying venders.

Key things I’ve learnt are that my friends and family love me! Not that I did not this before, but this love has been highlighted to me in a way I have never felt before. In the first month of my engagement, it was like it was my birthday every single day. Everyone has and continues to be so supportive of our relationship. It´s made me realise how much my family and friends are so important to me. I´m happy I´m having a small intimate wedding so i can celebrate it with my nearest and dearest.

I learnt that i am a bridezilla. I never thought I would be but I am and i´m not even ashamed about it anymore. I like to be in control. I´ve cried several times at the thought of my wedding not going to how i´ve planned it in my head. It’s ridiculous that the moment he gave me a diamond ring, my plans for a simple backyard bbq style wedding has now turned into a beach wedding in the Dominican Republic!

Advice for future brides: Don’t make decisions in isolation. Include your other half as much as you can, even when he says, “It’s up you”. It is easy for you to take over and start to feel like it’s only your special day, but it’s a celebration of two people coming together. Take the pressure off yourself and include your partner as much possible.

Also, keep your options open. Your dream venue might not be available during your availability for the wedding. Don’t let that put you off, there are always alternatives. This applies to wedding dresses too. I always said I want a specific style, but then I tried on a dress that was something I did not ever consider and I fell in love. And final point, please, please check out sample sales of wedding dresses. You find your favourite designer dress for a 1/4 of the prices if you check out sample sales.

Chimmy:

It was approximately 12 hours after the engagement that I realised my life had changed forever. I spent the night of, in a complete whirlwind, a little intoxicated and a lot surpass, overjoyed and all the over good good emotions. The love of my life had proposed in the most magical of ways and I couldn’t really believe it was happening. However, the next morning, the sheets were ripped from me and I was forced to face the light of anxiety. I was filled to the crown with worries of how I would be a good enough wife for this king!

I worried about money, about losing weight, about finding the perfect venue, everything! But the thing that calmed me during this was knowing he was THE ONE and had been so pretty much from the moment I laid eyes on him. There was just something about him and as cliche as it sounds, and no matter how many arguments we went through, he was always the one I wanted to marry.

In the 12 months since the big knee bending thing, I’ve learnt how to be patient and how to be a little less… melodramatic shall we say?! For obvious reasons, including budget? I haven’t been able to get everything I wanted and let me tell you, that definitely teaches a brat like me a thing or two!

Planning has been a nightmare as I’m the least organised person in the world but my friends have been really chilled and supportive about it which is exactly what I need as I have a tendency to panic. It’s also super convenient that I’m marrying a project manager who sees all tasks logistically and is able to just crack on when I’m being you know… dramatic again!

The road to the ring is not easy and as Shakespeare said, “the course of true love never did run smooth”, but I’d advise all brides to be to sort of detach themselves from the big day and focus on the purpose of it all instead. It won’t be easy, but love supposedly conquers all and with 5 months to the wedding day, I sincerely hope that includes pre-marital stress because trust me girls, it’s real!