The age of a bride and groom when they walk down the aisle has steadily increased in recent decades. While in the 1960s and ’70s the average age for a woman to get first get married was 20 and 22 for men, today — more than 30 years later — that number has moved up to 27 years.
While tying the knot between the ages of 20 and 23 might not be the done thing any more, there are plenty of women who stand behind their decision to get married a little earlier than most.
Sarah met her husband-to-be when she was just 18, and fell madly in love. But it wasn’t until two years later, when she was blissfully celebrating at their engagement party Sarah was first seriously confronted about the whirlwind romance, and her very young age.
“One of my relatives stumbled up to me,” Sarah explains.
“Just tipsy enough to be honest, she pulled me aside and slurred in my ear: ‘Just make sure this is something you really want … Your 20s are such a special time. Make sure you really get to enjoy them.’”
Despite the warnings Sarah knew she had found ‘The One’.
“He made me laugh harder than anybody else, and he had a steady job. Whether I got married at 32 or 22, this was the person I wanted to spend my life with without a doubt. Why wait?”
Fast-forward six years and Sarah and her husband are still happily married, and while neither of them regret their decision to marry young, Sarah is the first to admit she can see her tipsy relative’s point looking back.
However, Sarah says getting married at a young age didn’t come without consequences.
“By our first anniversary — married and pregnant with our first child — we no longer had as much in common with our non-married, non-parent friends. The decision to marry was the right one for us, but it created a gradual rift between us and our college-aged friends that I feel sad about to this day. I assumed that not much would change after we were married, that we’d have the same social circle, that we’d still have essentially the same lives as we did before. I was wrong.”
It seems age didn’t matter for Vivianne either.
“When I look back now, 20 years old seems so young, but my mum married at that age — and so did her mum,” Vivianne, who is now in her late-40s, says.
“I’ve heard people say that if you marry young you’re more likely to get divorced because you don’t know who you are, but that doesn’t ring true for me.”
While Sandy says when she got married at 22 it was an opportunity for her and her new husband to build a life together.