It can be really hard, but there's a silver lining, too.

By Jenn Sinrich
September 18, 2018
texas wedding rings

We can't deny the fact that life often follows with an expected sequence of events. You go to school, you graduate, you fall in love, you get married, you have babies, you become grandparents, and so on. Exhausting to think about, right? What's even more exhausting, both mentally and emotionally, is feeling like you're late to the party, especially as you watch your friends and colleagues reaching these exciting stages in life right before your very eyes.

For those who want to get married, it can be especially difficult if you're not in the right place for marriage when all of your friends are. Even though they may be accomplishing impressive things in life, seeing everyone else walk down the aisle while you watch the ceremony from the crowd can be difficult. As happy as you undoubtedly are for the friends, family members, and perfect strangers who seem to be getting engaged left and right, it's not uncommon to stop and wonder, "When will it be my turn?"

As the last of her friend group to get married, New York City-based Sydney D. was a bridesmaid more times than she can count (and she has the dresses to prove it). "Marriage wasn't necessarily one of those things I had on my agenda. I was of the thought that if you love someone, a piece of paper doesn't make a difference. Not the most mature way to think considering taxes, inheritance, property, and so on," she says. This all changed when she reached her mid-30s and met her now-husband. "We both decided that we wanted to get married after all, and I'm so glad we did!" Being the last of her crew to wed was surprisingly helpful for Sydney, as she knew what to expect and what she wanted in her own ceremony and reception.

When Liz R. of Phoenix, Arizona, got married at 34, most of her friends were already married. "In my 20s, it was hard because I felt like I was missing out, but then I did a complete career change when I was about 26. I went back to school, traveled some more, moved out of state, and started a new job in an entirely new field, and I don't think I would have done any of that if I'd been married," she says. The only regret Liz has about getting married later is that she wishes she had been younger when her daughter was born. "When you have a child, you realize you want to spend as many years with them as you possibly can. I see some of my best friends with kids already in grade school and middle school and I feel a little behind in that respect," she says. But she sees tons of pros, too, especially the fact that she was more established in her life and career when she settled down, which gave her more freedom.

When Nicole C., of Miami, Florida, moved from New Jersey in 2014, about half of her friends were married, and it seemed like she would be next. She became engaged just a year later, on her 30th birthday and planned a wedding for fall of 2016, but the engagement didn't last and her wedding was called off just six months into planning. "I decided to stay in Florida, and I'm so grateful I stayed because I ended up meeting my now-fiancé and we have a date set for March 2019!" she says. "I will officially be the last of my core group of friends to be married and the only one to not have children." But as she is planning her wedding, she's noticing that there is a different dynamic, especially at her age. "My friends have already planned my bachelorette party mostly because they want a girls trip and break from the kids, and the typical crazy bachelorette party is now replaced with a laid-back girls trip."

Elizabeth T., of Chicago, Illinois, created a city-girl lifestyle for herself, but since she's originally from a mid-sized city in the true Midwest, pretty much everyone she went to high school with got hitched a few years after college. "In Chicago, it's definitely skewed later, which I appreciate, but I think I would have definitely felt more pressure if I didn't live in a big city," she says. "I also spent most of my 20s traveling and then built my business, so I think that also factored into being fashionably late to marriage." As she's now two weeks away from her own wedding, she thinks her friends are more excited to come than they would have been at a younger age. "When we were younger, there were a few years where we'd have seven weddings to go to, which can be overwhelming," she says. "Now that we're older, everyone is excited about getting a weekend away."


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