Guess What? It's Never Too Late To Get Married
Getting married in your 20s seems to be a common theme—which leads to single people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond wondering if they missed the matrimony boat. The reality is that everyone's on their own timeline, and the answer to whether it's ever too late to get married is a firm and resounding, "No way!"
Also, regardless of your age (and whether you're single or have been coupled up for a while), you can absolutely plan the wedding of your dreams once the time feels right. Ahead, we're exploring some common feelings people experience when considering a later-in-life wedding, and highlighting some benefits to getting married beyond your 20s.
In this article:
Societal Pressure To Marry Young—And Shifting Perspectives
We'd be fibbing if we said there wasn't a deeply embedded societal pressure to get married in your early to mid-20s. (You wouldn't be here reading this article if that weren't the truth!) But just because something is "tradition" or "expected" doesn't necessarily mean that it's always the right path, or that you're wrong if you deviate from it.
"The pressure for people to get married young extends back over many years, as getting married at a young age has been a common practice throughout our generations," notes therapist Adrine Davtyan, LCSW. "I believe there is this idea that marriage represents happiness, success, stability and accomplishment. There is a strong societal belief that being married is often the next chapter in an individual's story—a.k.a. what a 'healthy trajectory' should look like."
This perspective on the "right" time to get married is shifting, though. And a big reason why? Women's rights. Erin Pash, LMFT, founder of Ellie Mental Health, notes that the last 50 years have been pretty monumental for women, who not only entered the workforce but happily pursued advanced degrees.
Culturally, people are being more intentional about big life milestones, as well. It's now much more common for people to take their time to settle down, get married and have kids—if those things are even desired.
Interestingly, according to The Knot Real Weddings Study, we found the average age of marriage in 2022 for female participants was 30, with the male age being 32. This has gone up more than 30% when compared to numbers reported by the United States census since 1975. This means that more people are getting married well into their 30s and 40s compared to ever before.
Is It Ever Too Late To Get Married?
Maybe you're currently enjoying the single life and aren't quite ready to settle down—or perhaps you're with your forever partner, but feel like you've passed that moment for a wedding or marriage. Whether you're 40, 60, 102, or somewhere in between, it's never too late to get married.
"Ultimately, the choice to marry at any age should hinge on personal readiness, compatibility with one's partner and individual circumstances," says Davtyan. "Prioritizing happiness and fulfillment with the right person should take precedence over rushing into marriage."
Remember: You're on your own journey and it's ultimately leading you to wherever you're supposed to end up. At the end of the day, you should only get married when it feels exactly right with the exactly right person—and not a moment sooner.
Should You Have a Small Wedding if You're Older?
From the guest list to the budget to what you wear, every detail of your wedding hinges on one thing only: what you and your partner want. Your age, whether you've been married before or what others say hold no bearing on your big day.
That said, if you want a big bonanza of a wedding then plan that thing down to the T. And if a small and intimate wedding feels more your speed, then embrace that approach instead.
"There can be a lot of unwarranted shame when it comes to aging and life milestones," says Davtyan. "Why should anyone feel undeserving of their big dream wedding just because they chose to get married according to their own timeline or standards?"
Pash agrees. She says that the best thing you can do for yourself and your partner is to pursue the wedding of your dreams—whatever that looks like.
If you don't want a big bash (or even a legal marriage), communicate this clearly with your partner so you can both get on the same page. Discuss ways you can affirm your love and commitment together in a meaningful way that strengthens your bond and allows you to move forward together with a strong feeling of confidence and security.
The Perks of Getting Married Later in Life
Aside from the feel-good fuzzies of tying the knot with your partner and settling into a secure life together, there are numerous perks of getting married a bit later in life. "People who wait until later in life are often more comfortable with who they are and know that making the decision is because they want to—or for a good reason—versus feeling like they have to because it's what's next," Pash explains.
You also have more life experience under your belt later in life, which can be beneficial in numerous ways. For starters, you're far more likely to have worked through some emotional baggage, which can lead to improved emotional maturity and a healthier relationship, says Davtyan. There's also a good chance you're more financially stable, which can provide a solid foundation for your relationship and allow you to make important money-related decisions together without as much stress.
And naturally, later in life you've also probably kissed enough frogs to have found the right person for you—to understand what you want and what you don't want in a partner.
All that's to say that it's never too late to get married, and that the right time is whenever you and your current or future partner decide you'd like to make it official.