Why am I not ready yet?

Recently my first friend got engaged. Of course I’ve seen classmates from my high school get married, I’ve watched in instagram photos and uploaded Facebook albums, ivory dresses, long tulle veils, decorative photos of two rings in a bed of moss, and in what seems like just the blink of an eye later photos of ultrasounds and baby showers and big pregnant bellies. All the while it all felt surreal, those weren’t MY people, those people were far off, removed, it was as if I knew them in another life. Then my friend texted me a photo of shiny diamond on her ring finger and I realized…it’s happening now! I know I’m 24 and it was bound to start but I can’t help but panic a little (not for my friend, I’m happy for her) but rather for myself.

In just the course of a month it feels as if I’ve fallen asleep and awoke to find myself in a non-stop wedding planning party. Between my Mother’s upcoming wedding this summer, my close friend’s wedding on the same day, a job in the bridal industry and a Pinterest feed that seems to believe I should want to be pinning photos of vintage diamonds and floral arrangement ideas…I feel confused. I’m more in love than I’ve ever been but I’m just not ready yet.

Believe it or not I didn't mean for my two most recent posts to feature purse photos, it was accidental! (:

Believe it or not I didn’t mean for my two most recent posts to feature purse photos, it was accidental! (:

Perhaps its because I live in a family that has no issue with me living with a boyfriend out of wedlock, I feel no rush. Though I enjoy the idea of a glittery princess ring on my finger to snap photos of for my instagram thread, the idea of a perfectly staged social media image isn’t alluring enough. The daydream of walking down the aisle to Jordan makes my heart beat faster and my head spin, we tell each other we want to share forever on a nightly basis curled beneath our white frilly comforter and princess canopy bed. I can’t picture the dress though, I can’t begin to imagine a venue.

Maybe it’s because I can’t decide if I want to elope in the french countryside (or Paris), throw a fabulous city rooftop bash, or an intimate forested boho affair.  Maybe if the idea of so many wedding traditions didn’t make me cringe, maybe if I didn’t get anxiety with the thought of large crowds expecting me to spend time with them, maybe if I didn’t have such expensive taste…maybe then I would be ready. If could picture it all seamlessly, all expenses paid, without the fear of a drunken relative making a scene, would I be ready then?

I don’t feel grown up enough, not mentally and it makes me wonder how others know they are. Is there an
“A-HA” moment that confirms you’re grown enough, is there a point where you stop overanalyzing everything, is it a milestone you hit? Perhaps it’s simply that we each have our own standards of what it means to be married, to be “adult enough” to commit our lives to another. Rather than just a commitment of love, I feel like I must have so much more before I can feel as if I am more than a rash child rushing into a life-changing decision.

This post isn’t to bash anyone who is married, or who is getting married, but rather to serve as an internal reflection. Societally speaking, I can’t help but wonder what makes some so ready to wed at 19, without ever paying a single bill on their own, without a secure job or a steady income, while others seem to demand more than just love. I guess that is what it comes down to for me, in order to feel ready for marriage I’ve come to believe I need more than love, more than trust, more than commitment.

The timeline for each of our lives is drastically different from that of the next person. Helping brides plan their weddings each day has helped to reaffirm the notion that there isn’t a “right way” or a “correct time”. We all face different demands in relationships, different must-haves, and must-dos prior to tying the knot. So tell me, what do you personally feel you need prior to marriage (love, a stable job, to own a house, a college degree, etc)? Do you crave a sense of “self-actualization” before you can marry?

  1. For me and my now fiancé, we both needed to have a stable job to consider getting engaged. It’s funny because we actually got engaged the day after I accepted my job offer.
    Another requirement of mine even for dating is that the person I was dating must be in college and motivated to get their degree. That wasn’t even a concern for Michael and I as we started dating in our last year of college so I knew he would be receiving a degree.
    Sometimes I have minor freak outs and am like “Omg am I even ready for this?” but then I come to my senses and realize I am.
    We’ve been living together basically since we started dating almost 3 years ago so I don’t think too much will change once we’re married other than the fact that we will share a last name and then will eventually move into a house together.

    I loved this post, as usual, Jordyn!
    Everyone is ready for things at different times and a lot of my friends are all “woe is me” because they haven’t found their one yet and everyone they know is getting engaged, but I honestly don’t think it’s something that you should rush.

    xoxo, Jenny

  2. I feel like everyone is different so everyone’s timing is different! I’m 20 and I have several engaged friends (I know… Crazy. Granted, most are a couple years older). The only real limit I put on it for myself is that I want to be done with college and working before I get married! But I do have friends who have a different timeline. I think I just want to be established enough as an individual – I want to pay my own bills (getting there), I want to be working, I want to be ready to fully embrace married life. When you’re ready, you’ll be ready – just listen to your heart! Great post :)

  3. I LOVE this post. Every time I visit your blog I have to sit back and think and my mind is blown.

    My family doesn’t have any pressing expectations about marriage – my mom moved in with my dad before they were married, my dad didn’t even ask her parents for their blessing, and they eloped on a beach! On the other hand, my grandparents are very traditional and my nana always talks to me about a big church wedding with a long veil and princess gown (especially since I’m the first grandchild/daughter).

    I’ve been reading Southern Weddings for SUCH a long time and their posts about marriage (with BEAUTIFUL home tours!) and life after the wedding inspire me so much and give me more of an idea of what I want personally before I have a wedding. You should definitely take a look at those! They point out and preach that marriage is SO much more than the ceremony. I’ve always pictured marriage first as a sleepover with my best friend. It sounds lame, but I’m so excited to wake up next to my guy every morning and know that I share my space and my heart with a person who’s committed 100% to me and our relationship. I’m not saying if you’re not married that you aren’t committed, but I think that marriage for me defines that on a greater level than dating. I also think that marriage means (eventually) babies (!!!) and working with your partner as a team, and I freakin’ LOVE babies, so something I’m very passionate about is being married and having a stable and loving relationship before I have kids of my own.

    I hope this wasn’t too long!! I guess I just really love your blog hahaha thanks for making me think this morning! Hope you’re having a good day!


  4. For us at least, I think we got married because we felt like we were married…except we were missing all the perks of being married lol. After a while, it just was a no brainer. It made more sense for us to be married, than to not be married and we already truly considered each other family. I think living with someone is soooo crucial though. I cannot imagine how you can really, REALLY get to know someone without living together. I mean you really get to know all the bad stuff about someone, and learn how to deal with tough subjects, like money and all that really fun stuff. I kind of feel like “playing house” is the trial run lol. I think you’re at a hard age though, and I remember for a few years it felt like everyone was getting engaged and I’d have these thoughts like I had to hurry up or I’d miss it or something. But like you said, there is no timeline. It’s so hard to slow down those thoughts (trust me, this piece sounds similar to one that I’m writing called “is everyone having a baby but me” lol.) but it’s better to take your time.

  5. Do you know I was just typing the same type of post–only relating to babies. I just got married this past September to my love of 8 years. If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I was ready I would proudly answer-“hell no!” I don’t think that it hits you one day and you’re like “yes, Im ready now!” but rather you just realize that you’ve figured the rest out. There was a point that I thought marriage wasn’t for me and that my (now) husband and I would just be dating and together forever. Then I became the girl who obsessed over a ring and why one wasn’t on my finger yet. Life is strange and the outside pressure from others can make you think things you normally wouldn’t or feel things that you maybe shouldn’t. If you’re not ready…you’re not ready- it doesn’t mean you’re not in love or that you don’t love being in love. There’s nothing wrong with how you are feeling…not one thing. Great post!

  6. I think a big reason I broke up with my last boyfriend years ago was because I didn’t feel ready for marriage. I felt like I had to be, though. Most of my friends were married or engaged and that felt like the next step for us (we were together for four years so …) I wanted all the pretty parts, but I wasn’t ready. For me, I needed the time to be single, struggle on my own and figure things out. I would LOVE to get married now, but when I was younger I never wanted to get married. I think now that I’ve found out that I can survive on my own and I’m comfortable with who I am, I could easily get married if I found someone I loved. Oh, and the financial thing is KEY. I still can’t imagine paying for a wedding. I have champagne taste on a beer budget for sure, so … we shall see. :) Then again, no boyfriend on my horizon so I don’t have to worry about it just yet. Stick to what’s right for you – I think that’s all you can do! :) Though you will be a gorgeous bride someday!

  7. This post came at exactly the right time. I’ve been thinking about what I need before marriage more and more recently (which feels crazy since I still can’t believe people I know are engaged and married). I would happily make a commitment to my boyfriend any day of the week, but that doesn’t mean I feel ready for marriage. At 23, I would feel like a total child-bride. I know some people are ready before then, but that’s just not me.
    At this point I have two requirements:
    1) While my parents have mentioned that they would pay for my wedding, I won’t get married until I have the capacity to pay for the day I want. Whether or not my parents contribute, I would feel weird accepting anything we couldn’t afford on our own. I want my wedding day to feel like two adults independently deciding to commit to each other, and not being financially stable enough to afford my own wedding would lessen that feeling.
    2) My best friends have to know my boyfriend really well. After college, all of my friends moved to different parts of the world, so only a few have met my boyfriend in person. I would feel so weird inviting them to see me marry someone they barely know.
    Based on these requirements, it will be at least a few years before we get married.
    I 100% agree with you that picking what kind of wedding to have seems next to impossible at this point. I have no idea whether I’ll want to have an outdoor wedding at home in California, a larger, fancier affair at a country house near all my family in Ireland, or a casual courthouse wedding with a dinner party after here in Seattle. At this point, I’m happy to put off that decision.

  8. Interesting post :) I was just thinking today about how I can’t believe that I’M having a baby and how it’s such an adult thing to do and I still feel like I’m so young. 30 used to seem so old and put together and now I realize that 30 year olds still feel like 15 year olds- we just have a lot more to pay for! Haha. I don’t even know when I knew I was ready to get married. It wasn’t when we had steady jobs or a house (although I had both before getting married). It wasn’t about having my life in order. My husband didn’t want to get married till he finished med school but he finally realized he didn’t need to have his entire life in order before committing to me (and now he has changed his entire career and does medical sales). I guess you just know. I doubt it’ll be an A-HA moment. You’ll just slowly start to feel like it’d be normal to be married. I started feeling naked without having an engagement ring and I felt like my old last name wasn’t even right for me anymore. I just felt like I was ready to become my husband’s wife over time… And at 19, I think people who feel ready to get married are crazy. I think they see marriage as a sense of security or something instead of what marriage really is. I got married at 27 (after having knowing each other for 6 years and dating 3-4 years of that time), and we had been engaged for exactly 31 days when we got married! Our actual wedding was 4 months after our courthouse “ceremony” that we did all by ourselves!

  9. I also felt like none of that stuff would happen for me for a long time. It’s crazy how fast time goes by watching people you know from high school on Facebook. So many marriages and babies. Luckily, it turned out that once I got married, I still felt like me and it didn’t change my life into a different one that I didn’t like after all. It has so far made it much better :).

  10. It’s totally okay to not be ready. I’m definitely not ready. Not all of us are meant to follow that path so strictly. My boyfriend and have been together for over 5 years and everyone keeps asking us when we will get married but we are totally happy with where we are now. There’s no need to rush. Your heart will know whats right for you and when!

  11. I’m recently engaged, and it’s really funny because about 2 years ago I wrote this post about how I was no where near being ready to get married (I was with my fiance for about 1 year at that point) For me I didn’t feel grown up enough, and like I wasn’t ready for that pressure. But slowly I couldn’t imagine my life without my fiance, and I wanted to shout to everyone how amazing this guy made me feel. How much better of a person he was than me. Both of our families are traditional, but not to the point where we can’t live together before marriage. We’re also long distance so that makes you think quite a bit about where you’re at as well. I can’t tell you how I was all of a sudden ready, but I know I’m with the person that I can be a team with for the rest of my life. I know that good and bad times will happen but we’ll handle it. That actually might be it but I’m not sure.

    I really respect you for writing this post! None of my bridesmaids are close to be married, so it’s been a little weird for me but I completely agree with everything you said! (Even as a bride!)

  12. I totally feel you — it seems like all of my friends are getting engaged and I don’t know when that will happen for me. I’ve learned I need to stop comparing myself to others because my situation is different from that of my best friend or the girls I knew in high school.

    I think as long as you’re happy, there’s no need to feel pressured. :)

    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

  13. My group of gals have definitely spread out all the FUNstivities over the last decade, but once it starts…it never ends. Sometimes I feel like Carrie in the episode where she registers for Manolos! Haha, but I do know what I want in my future and when the time is right, I know those gals will be there for me too. I’m glad you are letting it all happen natural and not rushing anything. I’ve never felt the baby or wedding fever, but I’ve wanted both my whole life. I’m sure being surrounded by weddings for work you get your fill of the dreamy day all the time! Your job sounds so fun! Xoxo, ganeeban

  14. I love this. I’m definitely not ready in any way. I still have so much to do by myself before I can happily devote myself to a marriage. We’re still so young and it’s crazy. My parents got married at 18 and my sister at 22. But I’ve never felt the rush. It will happen when it feels right!

  15. I love this! At the moment, I’m completely confused as to whether or not I’m ready for marriage. I love my boyfriend, he’s in the Coast Guard so we live 2,200 miles apart (he’s stationed in Alaska), I’m positive that he’s the one. I’ve fallen for guys before, and I honestly thought there was a chance I’d end up with two other guys, but it never felt quite like it does with W. With him, I can see our lives together. With those other two guys, I could only see bits and pieces; family parties, the way I’d decorate our house, little mini snapshots of our future. But with W, I can see it all. I can us living together, getting married, having kids, growing old together.

    On the other hand, I’m 23 years old and still have a year left (hopefully) for my BA, then I’ll
    be working on getting my MA. Who says they’ll be time for a marriage in there? I’ll be drowning in homework for at least the next three years…

    But on the other, not so real, hand, if he proposed today, I’d say yes.

    Great post, love!

  16. Wow this post is so relevant to my life right now. Two good friends of mine are getting married this year and I’m sitting here thinking I’m 22 turning 23 this year and I still feel like such a child. It freaks me out but at the same time I’m not rushed. My boyfriend and I have had the talks that we aren’t ready yet but know our time is a few years down the road. If we were to get married now we just know it wouldn’t end well, fresh into post grad life and not completely financially stable the last thing on our mind is a diamond ring. Also having expensive taste does not help that ha!

  17. It’s so crazy how everyone I grew up with is either getting married or are married already. I am in no way ready for marriage. However, some days I do think about what my life would be like if I do get married. Then I get a quick dose of reality lol. I’m just at a point in my life where I am still discovering who I am and I am still learning to love myself.

  18. I love how honest you get here. I always wonder myself how someone who doesn’t pay their own bills makes a commitment like getting married, but in the end, as long as they’re happy then that’s all that matters. So happy I came across this post, btw…I’m trying to get some writing up on my blog that’s more substantial than fashion & this piece inspired me. x Nicole | http://www.changeanddress.com

  19. I loved reading this post, it definitely made me think! My bf and I have been together for 4 years and we’re getting to that point where everyone asks us when we’re getting married (he’s also 4 years older than I am and has a stable job and coworkers that are all married with kids so they just expect it). I love him a lot and can’t wait to spend forever with him, but I don’t feel like I’m ready now either. I love to show him rings I like and talk about marriage… that doesn’t scare me! But I definitely feel like I have some things I want to do like finish grad school and find a job so I can put some money towards the wedding. So weird though seeing Facebook friends getting engaged all over the place!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  20. Yes! I couldn’t agree with this more! My husband and I dated FOREVER. Everyone around us got engaged and married…and we continued to just date. I always felt like there was so much pressure to get married and the thought of it scared me. Not because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with him, but because I didn’t feel settled in my own life just yet. Then one day it hit me, and I couldn’t wait to tie the knot. Follow your heart, boo. There is nothing wrong with just being together without the rings and title. Your heart will know when you are ready!

    xo Ashley

  21. I’m 25 and I’ll be the first of my friends to get married. I think after living together for over a year before we got engaged definitely helped us prepare for marriage!


  22. I know what you mean by constantly being surrounded by weddings! I have 2 friends that are already married, 2 couple I know engaged, and countless friends from high school married and now with kids! But those things should come at a time when you are ready! There is no need to rush if you are comfortable where your relationship is currently at. Also, eloping in the French countryside is probably the best wedding idea I have ever heard!!

    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  23. I LOVE this post Jordyn! I think every one has a different path in life: career, marriage, kids and I feel like there’s always pressure to do one thing or another. You are so right that it often feels overwhelming when people around you to seem to all be choosing one path. but keep up your own path, because it’s the only one that’s right for you. love this!

  24. I absolutely love this sentiment, Jord. I so agree, you can’t look to find the perfect person, they will come into your life when you least expect it, while doing what you love.

  25. Bryan and I dated for over 6 years before we got engaged, we both were well situated in our careers and owned a home together for over 2 years by the time I had a ring on my finger. All of that being said I never once thought, we will get engaged once blank happens. We knew we wanted to live together before we ever considered marriage, but the house thing kind of fell into place and we didn’t rush into a wedding anytime soon after moving in together. I guess my answer for when we knew we wanted to get married was that there was a point when I looked around and realized that we were living in a home that we bought together and our lives were so naturally intertwined I couldn’t think about the future without thinking about us together. There was no concept of my future anymore, it was just ours and then we waited until we felt ready to take on the task of planning a wedding.

    All of that being said, the feeling adult enough to get married, I still sometimes look around despite being a home owner with a full career and wonder at what point I became an adult, or if I really am yet. The first time I tried on wedding dresses I had a really uncomfortable experience, they were all beautiful and I loved them, but none of them made me feel like a bride, in my own wedding, I felt like I was playing dress up. I remember telling my Maid of Honor that the whole thing felt surreal, I knew I wanted to marry Bryan, and I knew I wanted a wedding, I just felt like I wasn’t old enough yet to be doing that even though I knew so many people younger than me who were already married so that definitely wasn’t the issue. Eventually it all just fell into place and the wedding feels just as right as the guy who will be standing next to me.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is there is no magical moment when you feel like an adult, you just look back one day and realize that you are. Things have a way of falling into place and the day will come that you look around and realize you are with the guy you can’t separate your future from and that you somehow became an adult, in love, and ready to commit to one person for the rest of the roller coaster of life.

  26. It’s crazy, I have people from my high school grad class {almost three years ago now} who are married and/or have babies! Like, what?! I don’t think there’s a light bulb moment of “oh I’m an adult now”, I think you just know because you look around and realize you’re an adult. You always blow my mind Jordyn!

    Lauren | The Arizona Prepster

  27. Pingback: 5 Tips for Finding your Dream Wedding Dress | The Fairy Princess Diaries

  28. This is a great post and I totally agree that everyone sees this differently. Personally, I used to want to get married young, but then I realized that I wanted to have commitment established, some sort of financial stability, and I wanted to have my degree done. I know that some people do fine with getting married early and others do better when they wait longer. It’s one of those things that doesn’t have a perfect step-by-step guide.

    And like you, I couldn’t imagine my dress or venue, or really anything. It didn’t feel real when it all was happening either!


  29. A drunken relative should be the least of your worries about getting married. The day will yours and it will magically whisk by, whenever it will be. XO

  30. It’s weird, because at our age (I’m turning 24 in July) everyone is all over the spectrum. I have friends who are still finishing college working retail & waitressing jobs, I have friends who married high school sweethearts and are expecting their first, friends who have been working full time since immediately after college and have purchase a home, and others, like me, who are happy, dating, trying to figure out this whole working adult thing and enjoying life.

    As much as I would love some serious sparkle on my left hand, that’s not enough. I’m not ready, and I’m sure I will be eventually, but truly the idea of planning a wedding makes me want to elope on the beach the two of us (my mother would kill me).

    But, I get it. So maybe we just need more time?

    xo, Maddy