On planning a marriage.

What I find *most* brilliant about this post is that Laura wrote this just two weeks before her wedding (which, by the way, has already happened! Expect an AOP very soon). At a time when most people are having wedding nightmares, and panicking about the table plan, Laura wrote this  bloody brilliant piece questioning why more people aren’t planning their marriage, instead of planning their wedding. It’s a great piece, and I think it should be recommended reading for every engaged person out there.

‘What if we don’t get on when we’re older?’

‘Well, I think if you are already wondering how we’d deal with something like that is a good thing, pretending we’ll live happily ever after is pretty naive’.

‘You’re right, we’ll deal with everything that come our way though’


‘I’m glad we don’t want children, I can’t imagine sharing you’

‘Apart from with the puppy. That dog is never going to like me’

‘If the dog really doesn’t love you, perhaps we’d better have children then’

‘In ten years we’ll have this conversation. We could always just buy a cat too’


‘This is for life; I don’t do things half heartedly’



‘Nothing is going to change. I’ll be yours still, just with a new name’

‘You’ll be ALL mine though, fully off the market’

‘Are you kidding!? I was free to keep looking this whole time?’


It’s hard to tell which one of those narratives are from me, and which one him. They could be from either of us, and equally they are from both.

We’ve spent so long planning a wedding that we’ve got to the point that it all seems unimportant. The party, the dress, the extravagance. For one day? It now just seems crazy.

What we have taken to worrying about, it would seem, would be the ‘what next’. The ‘what if’, the ‘when’ and ‘how’.

How do we decide where to live?

When do we want children?

What if something bad happens?

Those planning a wedding rarely talk about the concerns they have about the marriage, they talk about the weather on the wedding day, the family politics or the cost of the whole thing. It all seems very short sighted. I’m not getting married for the wedding, I’m getting married to the man who makes me feel invincible, who is like the other half to me and (embarrassingly) has started finishing my sentences.

Does nobody worry about the commitment they are making? They must do. It’s natural to. So why do we hear of brides ranting about dress shopping, but not about the plans they have for their marriage.  Why? Because the wedding is the most important thing? Because they are personal? Well so are family arguments and we all hear so much about his and her family in the big run-up to the day.

You are getting married. You are embarking on a marriage, not a wedding. The wedding is like running across the start line, through the tunnel and you are feeling fabulous. The marriage is the marathon, that long trek you can’t see the end of. You might get cramp along the way, a stone in your shoe or your support team goes AWOL. How will you deal with these things? I bet (if you are anything like me) you’d have a plan for these things. Some are easy to deal with; some of them need advance planning for.

Yes you love this person you are marrying. You love every single part of them, the parts that make you mad and the beautiful parts and everything else in the middle. But, in this day and age, we are not so naive to think that life is a bed of roses; it comes with ups, it comes with downs and a whole lot of sh*t . Sometimes they all come at once.

It is important, I think, that we worry about these things. It prepares us for the life we want so, so badly to spend together.

Some may chose go to pre-marriage counselling or workshops, but whatever your method, talk about it. Yes, it is morbid in places and you might discuss things which make you sad but these things are important to you as a person and as a couple. How will you deal with the downs? How do you see your life in 5/10/20 years? Are they the same thing?

He’s already said we’d get a puppy when I get broody and for every one of his stints away for work.

Looks like I’ll be a crazy dog lady then.

And I am totally ok with that.



Categories: Becoming A Wife, Marriage, Wedding Planning
21 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted April 22, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I think you’ve answered your own question Laura, you’ve been blogging about your wedding for months and not mentioned these things but you have talked about them in private.

    I think it’s a private thing, lots of couples go to counselling or pre marital classes if they get married at church. I’m fairly confident no-one gets married without at least touching on some long term plans?

    Alot of American bloggers talk more about it, particularly some of the Mormon bloggers who do a lot of workshops and church led sessions.

    I dunno, it’s just not the sort of thing we talk about on the Internet is it? Does it need to be? I’m not sure.

    • Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Anna I think that’s a really interesting question. I know there have been a couple of times we’ve been to weddings where the couples really don’t seem to have thought much beyond the day (and have sadly since split up) so it obviously does happen. And perhaps wedding blogs perpetuate that ‘big day’ fantasy? I can’t imagine any AOW readers not having extensively discussed things beforehand though.

    • Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      I came on to comment and found Anna had said what I was going to – great minds etc…!

      Firstly, huge congratulations Laura!

      Secondly, I agree with Anna that whilst I would have chatted to anyone about my dress etc, the private side of our relationship/marriage is something I kept to my close friends.

      Having had the worst year of my life co-incidentally be the first year of marriage (is there a prize available for that?), I think that the best thing is to marry the person you love and keep your fingers crossed as there is absolutely no way to prepare for the really awful stuff. Luckily, my husband has been awesomely awesome but I actually wouldn’t have blamed him of he hadn’t been (ah, a story for another time!).

      But I completely agree that the wedding is only the very start and everyone should think about what comes after. It’s why I detest wedding magazines ; ) xxx

  2. Becca
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I must say that whilst I do a lot of talking and planning online so seem like a crazy bridal lady, together we talk about our life together and never about the wedding. He lets me get on with the wedding stuff because he doesn’t give a crap about the right champagne flutes but we’ve taken a weekend away this past weekend, switched off our phones and had a right good chat, a picnic, a laze in the sun and really discussed things…..do we want to move out of London? The commute or regional? When do we want children (I don’t think you should ever get this close to the wedding and be discussing ‘if’ you want children as, I imagine for most, it’s a deal breaker….or maybe that’s just us?)

    There is a sneak peak on Laura’s blog…..I think I see the dress. I think I just keeled over with excitement from all the squealing.

    God am SUCH a blog stalker.

  3. Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Interesting post (I’m almost at the point you were at when you wrote this so a timely piece of writing!).

    Like Anna I’m pretty sure no-one gets married without discussing some kind of life/longer-term plan. I think a lot of it is and remains private between the two of you.

    My other gut feeling is that you don’t always find that kind of stuff on blogs because it can be so hard to articulate in writing. If I tried to write down how we talk about the future of our family finances (usually at something silly like 11pm on a Sunday night), our reasoning on whether to accept an offer on our house or our plans for childcare (hopefully) one day in the mid-long term future, it would probably be such a brain dump on paper that you would all run away screaming at the confusion. A lot of ‘life’ discussions also aren’t as set in stone as ‘this is my wedding dress which I have chosen’ and I think they are an ongoing process which could stretch across dozens of posts.

    Having said that, you’re right that it’s important to remember to talk about what happens next and where you want to go in life. We want to be the elderly couple we saw holding hands and picking up conkers in the Jardin de Luxembourg last year.

    • Fran M
      Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I think you’re right there – tangible things like wedding dresses, cakes, decor choices for a particular day – a moment in time – are easy to chat about without getting too personal.

      Emotions and life decisions are messy and harder to express in the same way. Maybe we’re all precoccupied with our own plans, hopes and choices (and rightly so).

      I agree with Anna that we do discuss things like this – but certainly not very much via the blogosphere, social networks and the like. Seems a shame that reams of tat can be written about potential colour schemes that will be forgotten a few months after the big day, while the whole reason that the whole event is taking place isn’t really touched on.

      However, would it really make a difference if we saw more about planning a marriage? I’m really not sure. I’m drawn towards thinking that it’s up to you: if you don’t think – together with your partner – to where the marriage is going to take you then perhaps that’s a precursor to what lies ahead.

      • Fran M
        Posted April 22, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Oh and sorry – I should have started with congratulations!! Hope you had a fantastic wedding and are enjoying the lovely novelty and excitement of being a newlywed. I got married in Jan and I’m still feeling the buzz :-)

  4. Crysta
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Much as I sometimes wish otherwise, I am glad that we’ve been together as long as we have before marriage. We’ve had so many conversations about what we want out of life and marriage as well as how far we’d go to get things. I think it’s so important to have these “what if?” conversations and answer them as truthfully as you can, because you’re right, Laura, while the wedding day is all fun and great, it’s actually a marriage that you’re planning for.

    Of course you can never be 100% certain about all the wha
    t ifs, and can’t plan for all of the possible eventualities, but I think just the acceptance that you know tough times may come, and you will both work at things helps you prepare as much as you can for those tougher times

    I think marriage preparation should be talked about more online. Not necessarily how people answered the questions, but, perhaps what they asked, whether they did it privately or at a marriage preparation class. Sometimes it does seem like a wedding is portrayed as the goal and that marriage will just flow naturally and wonderfully afterwards. Perhaps if people talked about marriage prep there wouldn’t be this unrealistic image anymore?
    Congratulations again, to both you and the Mr.

  5. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I read Ashleigh’s great post on her marriage prep course (http://madeinmorningside.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/marriage-prep.html – if you don’t mind me linking?) and have since decided to do this with D. It is perhaps helped by the Christian factor so quite liking the church setting and building a Christian marriage, but I think the course is definitely aimed at anyone getting married.

    Ashleigh also e-mailed me a few of the Qs they were made to think about and answer and before we booked on the course we were going to go through them just ourselves over some wine. Things like “Write down 6 specific times you have particularly known your fiances love for you
    - taking into considerations these examples try to rank the 5 ways of showing love in order of importance to you (loving words, quality time, thoughtful presents, physical affection, kind actions). What order would your fiance give?”

    I think just by being together throughout the planning and getting on with each other over the difficulties of the planning you are building some useful knowledge and compromise and priorities for your future life. And hopefully you know the answer to a lot of these questions (kids or not, where you want to be etc…) before you got engaged.

    Does it need to be discussed online? Maybe not. Personally I like seeing the questions and the framing (see Bella’s http://anyotherwoman.com/2012/02/adventures-of-wedding-belle-practice/ post) but don’t necessarily need to know how it was answered by any other people. At the core of marriage is the 2 of you, and I’m not sure everything should be shared.

    Anyway, Laura, thanks for the post and you know I agree the marriage is the more important thing. And sorry for the long post and the links…
    K xx

    • Posted April 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      ha I didn’t see this before I linked to it below. Glad you found it useful xox

  6. Zan
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I would really hope that people discuss these kind of things prior to getting married! We made a point of trying to find a pre-marital course to do before the wedding, but struggled to find anything locally that wasn’t entirely church based. But just the act of looking made us think about a) what we do need to talk about and b) what is important to us. And so we talked about them. And I’m really not good at those kind of conversations but I’m so glad we did it. If nothing else it means when we were deciding on the wording for our wedding ceremony, we looked at it different and have probably been more thoughtful about what we want to say. Because that’s the important part – what we’ll be promising to each other.

    The rest is fluff. Pretty fluff admittedly! But still. And yes, wedding magazines do have a lot to answer for!

    • Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Having known someone who went through with her wedding because she just didn’t know what to do about canceling (she is now ‘happily divorced’), I think all wedding magazines should offer actual practical and emotional advice on that sort of thing. It’s just good sense!

      • Zan
        Posted April 22, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Oh I totally agree, but then I think the magazines are totally focused on selling the ‘happy’ rather than realism (if you know what I mean?).

        • Posted April 22, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          They are indeed – they made me rather nauseous! Hee xx

  7. Posted April 22, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Hope you had a FABULOUS honeymoon Laura and that the big day was everything you wished for.

    Completely agree with others on this – we talked about the serious stuff ( have done since we got together really) but it’s not something I’d necessarily share with anyone bar my absolute closest friends. Yet I spread the fluff all over the internet! So maybe if everyone’s doing the same it’s bound to skew perspective.

    There are definitely people who go into marriage with eyes shut…not sure I know any of them though”

    Zan’s point about non-religious pre marital courses is interesting. I would have loved to do something like this but I’m not sure it exists? The only option is couple counselling but Sam wouldn’t have done that as it felt like saying something was wrong already!


    • Posted April 22, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Although I do think the ones in churches don’t overly focus on the God aspect but more the making sure you’re serious aspect, maybe there’s a gap here?
      Any volunteers to write this??

      • Posted April 22, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        We didn’t make it to the session in our church as it was organised quite last minute and we were on holiday, but they kindly sent us the sheets with various questions on about things like sex, money, identifying things you’ve talked about least,including a section on thinking about why you’re getting married. Questions on religion were one part of the pack but only one part. I would happily write something about this and share some if not all of the questions if anyone is interested?

        • Posted April 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          I definitely would be!

          • Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

            I’ll try and cobble something together – Mr F and I have been going through some of them this week, it’s really reinforcing why I’m doing this :-)

      • Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        We went to one in a church but we aren’t religious and found most of it to be fine, a couple of parts of a 1 session were against what we believe (sex before marriage, and making time for God in your marriage) but everything else was so useful and so good at getting us to speak to each other about the big things. Also very affirming that it’s ok to be different and to have different views on things but being able to understand why you have them and to discuss them is important.

        I wrote about it here, http://www.madeinmorningside.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/marriage-prep.html but happy to write more / answer if anyone else is interested.

        I really like a practical wedding for the good mix of pretty wedding stuff and serious marriage stuff. and quite often avoid a lot of the other pretty wedding sites because I don’t feel like they give a round enough view.


  8. Posted April 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    We started talking about our marriage years before we started talking about our wedding. It was just a natural part of falling in love – figuring out how we wanted to shape our lives together, and how we would deal with things. Every time we have a disagreement or argument and deal with it a little bit better than the one before is part of our ongoing conversation on how we want to treat each other over our lives.

    It’s easier to talk about the wedding online as there are all these clearly defined sub-topics there and they are immanent choices that we have to make. They’re also once in a life time choices (hopefully), and the discussions about marriage and life are just constantly evolving.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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