Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Get Married or Engaged in The Age of Social Media

Wedding Day | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

It’s January 2006. I’ve just got married. No cake, no photographer, no speeches. And NO INSTAGRAM.

We’re so used to sharing all details of our lives on the ‘Gram these days (and reading all the details of those we follow) that the idea of NOT sharing the details of one’s wedding – or the proposal or the ring or the wedding plans – for all and sundry to see is somewhat bizarre.

Bizarre, yes – but I’m actually glad it happened that way for me.

I’m sure we all see at least ONE post every day in our Instagram feeds where someone has artfully photographed their hand with a big sparkly rock on it. Thousands of likes, and rising. The caption reading something along the lines of, “I said yes!”

In The Instagram Age, the way Keith and I chose (I say “chose” like it was all carefully planned and thought out – it wasn’t) to carry out our proposal, wedding plans and wedding would HORRIFY most people. Or at least it would horrify those who live for these things on social media.

 

All the things we didn’t have (by choice)

So as I mentioned, we had no cake, no photographer, and no speeches. We also had no car, no bouquet, no bridesmaids, no dress (don’t worry, I wore trousers)… there wasn’t even an engagement ring.

If you’re under the age of 25 and have grown up with Instagram as a daily norm in your life, then I apologise – go and have a sit-down. No, a lie-down. Fan yourself. BREATHE.

I’ll say that again in case anyone thought they’d read it wrong: NO ENGAGEMENT RING. And I’m perfectly okay with that.

There’s a logical reason why I never had an engagement ring – basically there was no time. I’ve shared the details of our wedding before, way back during the infancy of this blog. I’ve even shared the story of the proposal.

(Long story short: we were never “planning” to get married. Due to various circumstances and the worldwide locations of our families, there was an upcoming window of opportunity for everyone to be together for one time which might not happen again for many years. So, I proposed. He said yes. We shopped for wedding rings and skipped the big rock part. We married six weeks later with just our immediate families and closest friends present.)

Wedding Day | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

But for the whole thing to play out RIGHT NOW, when the world (or rather, my followers, or even just those that Instagram chooses to inform about my upcoming nuptials) is watching fills me with horror and dread.

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I just KNOW that the first thing anyone would want to know is how he proposed, and Let’s see the ring. Sorry guys, but neither happened.

If the circumstances for our proposal/engagement/wedding were the same now – but with Instagram as a factor in our lives – I have a feeling that I wouldn’t share the fact that I’d got engaged AT ALL. When I actually DID get married, I didn’t tell anyone at work, for example… I just showed up back in the office after the Christmas Break (we got married right after New Year’s) and said that I needed to change my name for the company records.

No one bothers asking you about the ring or the proposal, they’re too much in shock. (And secretly, I liked it that way.)

As much as I share a lot of details about my personal life, my family and my work here and on social media, there are some things I like to keep all for myself.

BUT – I promise you I don’t wish to rob any brides-to-be to be of their happiness and 100% justified ‘wedding sharing’ – far from it! I have two weddings coming up in the next two years (one friend, one family member) and I couldn’t be more excited about their upcoming nuptials. I LOVED seeing their Instagram posts about the rings and the engagements and seeing them so happy.

 

My thoughts on today’s “must go viral” proposals

For me personally, however, I think the pressure of “having a great proposal story” and having to share it online for all the world to see and hear about would be too much for me. Or rather, I’d end up keeping schtum and just tell people it was perfect and leave it at that. I wouldn’t want to have to tell anyone to mind their own business(!), but I’m worried that’s what I’d secretly want to do.

I’m not one for those YouTube videos where there was some wildly expensive, elaborate proposal in front of huge crowds of people where all manner of dancers, billboards or performing animals are involved – how many are done that way just so it goes viral?

I would DIE if someone proposed to me like that. And I’m the sort of person who quite likes being the centre of attention.

Birthday party just for me? Yes, please. Standing up in front of a crowd and making a speech? Fine. Being proposed to in front of my friends and family or – worse – strangers? NO THANK YOU.

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I wouldn’t want to change ANYTHING about the way our (brief) engagement and wonderful wedding happened.

And not having to put any of it on the ‘Gram made it even more perfect, if you ask me.

DID YOU GET MARRIED BEFORE THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE SHARED IT OR ARE YOU GLAD YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO? OR ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED SOON – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SHARING DETAILS ON INSTAGRAM…? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!

Catherine signature

So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

 

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47 Comments

  1. Danish Pastry
    June 18, 2019 / 4:14 pm

    A wedding should be what ever the couple want it to be!
    Ours was low key, two witnesses and that was it (except for the vicar and strangly the choir!)I didn’t want a registry office wedding, as in Denmark it’s just not enough commitment for me, we didn’t want a big wedding either, neither of us likes to be the center of attention. My husband suggested a church in a neighbouring parish, as the vicar had been really supportive of his father when he was terminally ill. I do have an engagement ring, but no wedding ring (one ring is enough, as working in a hospital I can’t wear it most of the time anyway). I didn’t wear white, it was December, so I opted for blue velvet. We didn’t come clean straight away, we waited until we were visiting with my family (I didn’t want to tell them over the phone), and then we told my husband’s family and our friends. No one was miffed at not being invited, they seemed to realise it was okay for it to be our day!
    I’ve heard of many people concentrating too much on the wedding ceremony and not enough on the marriage afterwards – a big white wedding with all the trimmings will not guarantee happiness or longevity of said marriage!

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 18, 2019 / 9:08 pm

      I’m one of those people Susan (with my first wedding) – the wedding preparations lasted longer than the marriage itself…!! But then had I not married the first husband I would never have met Keith, so I regret nothing 😀

      • Danish Pastry
        June 19, 2019 / 3:21 pm

        Even though there was no marriage involved, I was in a long term relationship before I met my husband. It didn’t end particularly well, but it was only in retrospect I could appreciate that the turn of events eventually led to me meeting my husband, so although I might have wished for a more gentle ending, if that’s what it took to be where I am now, I can accept it!
        My sister has been married and divorced twice, the first time involved a meringue wedding dress and all the trimmings, ended 5 years later. The second time was more low key, but ended with infidelity on his part while she was expecting their child. I may be biased about weddings that are full on!
        Our wedding was definately a considered thing, and while how we did it was of utmost importance to me, it was because I wanted to make sure it was the marriage was considered, not only the wedding! Nearly ten years in, I try not to take any of it for granted.

        • Danish Pastry
          June 19, 2019 / 3:35 pm

          Just been reading everybody else’s replies, I’m surprised about how many do it low key, I suppose because we don’t shout out about so much.
          I remember being at a friend’s wedding, and another guest (mother of two grown up daughters, neither married) asked how we got hitched – the response we got was frankly a little rude, as we were told how selfish we’d been, and that if her daughters did that she’d disown them! I didn’t want to make a scene, so I replied that it was horses for courses, and I didn’t say that in my opinion, a wedding is about the couple, not the mother of the bride!
          No one should feel pressured into a wedding to please someone other than themselves and their spouse to be!

          • Catherine
            Author
            June 21, 2019 / 11:06 am

            I cannot BELIEVE she would say something like that!!!! How dare someone tell someone else they’ve been selfish, thank goodness she’s not your mother (or mine)! The fact that she couldn’t see that her daughters’ wedding days would be about them and not her is beyond me…!

            You’re totally right that no one should do what pleases anyone but themselves on their wedding day. I’m very glad that my parents have always been very supportive in everything I do (or don’t do!) and have never, ever once interfered with my life or my decisions. Shame everyone can’t be like that…

        • Catherine
          Author
          June 21, 2019 / 11:02 am

          Similar to me with one partner leading to the next one, Susan – sometimes that’s just the way life goes, it wouldn’t be as interesting if it were all a fairytale, would it?!

          • Danish Pastry
            June 21, 2019 / 2:45 pm

            Makes us appreciate it more, when things are going well!

  2. June 16, 2019 / 8:18 pm

    Sounds perfect. It has to be what you want it to be. Our wedding was very similar, Catherine.

    We had my best friend and her husband as our only guests to act as our witnesses. We are here 27 years later and still going strong.

    I might have to write about mine one day, too. xo

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 17, 2019 / 11:14 am

      You SHOULD write about it, Sharon! People love a wedding story…!

  3. June 16, 2019 / 1:29 pm

    Catherine even if I did get married again. I wouldn’t share one bit! I keep the best personal stuff to myself !
    Xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 17, 2019 / 11:15 am

      I think I’d do the same, Ashley – I find it hard even to share anything from an event or blogger meet, I’m too busy enjoying myself and chatting to think about Instagram! I’d be even LESS inclined to do it if it were my wedding day…!! 😉

  4. June 15, 2019 / 11:22 am

    Loved reading this post. I have fabulous memories of our wedding day (36 years ago). It was all done on a shoe string, not big or flashy, just a day with all of our loved ones there. We are actually celebrating our anniversary this week with our children – again, it will be low key as that’s the way we like it.
    Alison
    xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 17, 2019 / 11:16 am

      Congratulations on 36 years, Alison! I think a shoestring wedding makes it all the more special as you have to get creative…!!

  5. June 14, 2019 / 9:44 am

    I would HATE to have the pressure of social media over me for such life changing moments like marriage and babies. I totally get why people do it and each to their own, but I’m just so grateful that pressure wasn’t there when I got married and had the kids. It does make you wonder about how the next gen will not truly experience life, unless it’s hash tagged or snapped. It HAS to come back around full circle, no?

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:03 pm

      That’s true about the next generation thinking everything has to be captured, Fatima!! As you say, each to their own, but sometimes life can pass you by when you’re constantly snapping and hashtagging things…!

  6. June 14, 2019 / 2:57 am

    Hi, Catherine
    We just celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary, so there was not yet social media. I never thought I would want to get married, but this particular relationship changed my mind. He, however, did not change his mind. So I left the state to “do my own thing” as the saying went. After someone else proposed to me, he came rushing out to propose. We didn’t have much money back then and the ring was an artistic one from a boutique, not something I was proud to flaunt (ridiculous because it was so special but just not the big rock that people generally looked for.) Since I am the oldest in my family, I didn’t want to ask my parents for anything, not wanting to be dependent. So once again, I did my own thing. Our wedding ceremony was immediate family at Belle Isle flower conservatory with vows written by me and a cake my mother made, followed by a potluck reception. The band I was in played electronic performance art music with my poetry included. Looking back, it was magical. But I would never have wanted to share any of it at the time on social media. Thank goodness there wasn’t any of that! Thanks for sharing and encouraging everyone to tell their real stories. No matter what kind of wedding anyone has, it is just as it was meant to be.
    Angie, http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:05 pm

      Oh wow Angie, that DOES sound magical – I LOVE hearing about weddings where the couple did all the things they loved rather than what was “expected” of them!! It’s weird to think it could all have been shared on social media though if it happened today…!

  7. Judy
    June 14, 2019 / 1:34 am

    We are celebrating our 44th anniversary this fall, so def no social media. We were pretty unconventional for the mid 1970s though, no rings, very simple ceremony with only about 20 immediate family. I said hey, let’s move in together, he said, no, my parents would be so upset(his dad was a minister), so I said ok, well then, let’s get married. I kept my last name, which threw everyone back then for a loop. I have always liked simple when it comes to celebrations, so it worked well for us. I did buy a dress off the rack of a local boutique, which I still have, and my girls call it my hippie wedding dress. I really love this story of your wedding, and reading how others did things their way.

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:08 pm

      How cool that you kept your name Judy (I’ve been married twice and was only too happy to change my name, I like the “new identity” aspect) – that’s VERY progressive for the 70s!! And I bet your hippie wedding dress is just the coolest?!

  8. June 14, 2019 / 12:56 am

    Catherine, I love everything about this…because as you know (I think I have shared this with you before), my wedding was quite similar. I proposed, he accepted, there was no ring. I never wanted one. We bought inexpensive bands for the ceremony and now nearly 10 years of marriage and neither of us even wear any ring at all. We are no less married and happier than most couples we know. Traditions do not equal happiness! We asked for no gifts from our guests, only that if they felt compelled to bring something, it should be food. We had a potluck wedding reception and it was a blast! There was no band, no DJ, no flowers, no bridesmaids or groomsmen. Cheers to it all! To each his and her own. I toast you and Keith for marrying in an unconventional way that worked for you!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:09 pm

      Yes our weddings/situations are quite similar, Shelbee! You’re quite right about traditions not bringing happiness… Sometimes I think it might have been nice to have worn a beautiful dress, but my outfit worked at the time and I still think it’s very elegant! x

  9. Carol
    June 14, 2019 / 12:31 am

    Good for you! You did it your way and are still happily married. My husband and I had lived together for five years when I realized that I wanted children. No song and dance we simply planned a small wedding. Neither of us ‘proposed’.

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:11 pm

      Things rarely go the way you plan them, do they Carol…? Spontaneous choices in life – and also the not so spontaneous ones – can often be the best things you ever did! x

  10. June 13, 2019 / 11:33 pm

    Love your wedding pic Catherine. I’ll tell you, the first time I got married, the reception, the church ..it was all for my parents. They insisted on a Catholic Mass and the priest that married my ex and me ended up in jail for……..embezzelement. He embezzled money from wealthy NYC parishioners. I wrote to the Diocese of NYC to ask for a free annulment but I received no answer.
    The second time around was for me and the Frenchman. We went to City Hall. I wore Jeans, a J. Crew Tee and a Navy J. Crew Schooboy blazer.
    But..my daughter is getting married next month..and while I’m super-excited to be the mother-of-the-bride and I’m ridiculously happy for her and her future husband, it just seems like an excessive amount of money is being spent. Bachelorette WEEKENDS have taken the place of a few young women sitting around an apartment getting a buzz on. Everything is an event! It’s the marriage that counts more! Glad you wrote this post!!! XOXOXOXo

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      Embezzlement, Cathe?? That’s awful!! I’m glad to hear you did things your way the second time around… it amazes me how many brides do things for their parents or wear something they dislike but their mother wants them to wear – maybe being younger has something to do with it?! And I agree about the bachelorette weekend things (hen party weekends we call them) – the amount of money spent on them is quite revolting if you ask me. I didn’t have one for either wedding, SO not my thing at all!!

  11. June 13, 2019 / 10:26 pm

    Like you, we had a small wedding and it was just right for us. I understand the bigger wedding wish so many ladies have, but it wasn’t for us. I so agree that the pressure of IG has definitely changed the game. I worry about the whole body image issue it has created or at least added to.

    Your wedding sounds perfect! Nice reminisce!

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:15 pm

      Thanks Darlene – yes IG has a lot to answer for all sorts of things in modern life… weird, eh?! A “simple” photo sharing app that affects our lives in so many ways, it’s crazy!

  12. June 13, 2019 / 8:36 pm

    I got married in the age of social media and had the picture-perfect ring, beachside ceremony, designer gown, and so on. Three years later, I got divorced (and that part certainly was not picture-perfect!) and all of those photos have long since been deleted from my feed. Long story short, an Instagram-friendly wedding does not a perfect marriage make. I will probably never get married again (well, never say never!) but if I did, I’d definitely go the small, intimate, and private route.
    Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:19 pm

      Oh gosh I’m sorry to hear you had the perfect wedding but not the perfect marriage, Cheryl! You’re right that an IG-friendly wedding does not a perfect marriage make… I hope that you do marry in the future IF you want to, however – I always said I’d probably not marry Keith after my failed first marriage but something eventually made me change my mind (I was actually quite convinced he’d say no when I asked because his parents are divorced and we’d never talked about marriage). You just make the right decision for you at the right time! Age helps in these matters, lol…! 😉

  13. June 13, 2019 / 7:15 pm

    Instagram was still a baby, and I hadn’t yet joined, when my husband and I married in 2012. All of our photos were taken by a photographer who made a beautiful memory book for us and burned them all onto a CD. I shared my favorites on Facebook well after the wedding and honeymoon were over.

    My least favorite trend for weddings these days is the wedding hashtag. It’s just too much.

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:21 pm

      You *just* missed the Insta bandwagon then, Ashton! Our photos were burned onto a CD too – all now on the hard drive 😉

      I’ve not been to a wedding with a wedding hashtag before, but I do know exactly what you mean. I can understand that people can then see all the photos from the wedding, but I’d want to be the first to put it on social IF that’s what I chose to do! Back to being the centre of attention, LOL!! 😀

  14. jodie filogomo
    June 13, 2019 / 6:07 pm

    I never want to tell someone how to live their life, but when the most important thing is the celebration and not how you live your marriage, it seems backwards.
    I was so blessed I was able to wear my stepmom’s wedding dress when Rob and I married. It was like having a piece of my dad at our wedding even though he had passed.
    XOXO
    Jodie

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:22 pm

      You’ve described my first marriage perfectly, Jodie – it was all about the wedding for me but of course I didn’t realise that until AFTER the wedding…!!

  15. June 13, 2019 / 6:00 pm

    My husband and I got married about 12 years ago and our wedding was very similar to yours. It was small (about 25 guests) and we planned everything to reflect us and what we liked, not for show. If I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing. I am not big on sharing personal things on Social Media, so I don’t think I would have shared anything anyway, plus my husband loathes social media!

    -Katie
    http://www.hellokatiegirlblog.com/

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:23 pm

      Yours sounds VERY much like ours, Katie! Funny how many of us dislike the idea of sharing everything on social when it comes to our own wedding, isn’t it 😉

  16. June 13, 2019 / 5:06 pm

    My first wedding 1987 definitely no social media! Photos in albums and posted invitations! Second wedding, 2010, shared photos on FB and Twitter but didn’t over share with the proposal/ring/dress palaver.

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:24 pm

      I still love a wedding album, Gail – nothing better than leafing through a book – looking at pictures on a laptop just isn’t the same at all!! Interesting how so many of us reject the idea of oversharing this stuff on social…!

  17. June 13, 2019 / 4:40 pm

    I really know what you mean! I merried twice but both times before Social Media were a theme 🙂
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 14, 2019 / 5:24 pm

      Same, Rena – I think you might be glad it wasn’t a thing at the time, like I am! x

  18. June 13, 2019 / 4:14 pm

    It sounds perfect and it all about love. We are married 37 years this July…and we have got through tough times.

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 13, 2019 / 4:41 pm

      Hilda 37 years, that’s wonderful!! Yes we’ve survived tough times too, it often makes you (plural) stronger though doesn’t it x

  19. June 13, 2019 / 3:26 pm

    We just got married about a month ago. Very small and intimate setting, friends and family. We are both past 50 and wanted something low key. It was perfect for us. I posted one picture on instagram. We had no photographer just phones for photos. It was a perfect day. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 13, 2019 / 4:14 pm

      Pamela congratulations! I’m so glad to hear you did it your way – and that it was perfect. You can’t regret a wedding where everything you did was YOUR choice, can you…?! x

  20. June 13, 2019 / 3:16 pm

    I agree about the proposal pressure…and it begins in high school for dance proposals! As a mom to four boys, I feel for them! I want them to be romantic, loving, tender, caring etc, but I also don’t want them feeling that kind of pressure at 15! Society is fascinating, is it not?

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 13, 2019 / 4:12 pm

      Oh goodness I’m glad I didn’t have that at school either, Chrissy!! I’m sure you’ll steer your boys in the right direction… and yes, society is truly fascinating! x

  21. June 13, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    My wedding was similar to yours 15 years ago. Gifted dress from a designer friend, my Uncle made the cake and we had a celebrant perform the vows in my Dads backyard. Very low key with only 40 guests and we didn’t tell them it was a wedding so no gifts. No honeymoon because we moved to the UK a couple of weeks later and were saving up to buy a home.
    Very different priorities when you’re older I think Catherine. And yes there’s a lot of “showing off” (as my kids say) these days. Definitely down to Instagram which is sad really. On another note my colleague at the hospital told me yesterday, she and her boyfriend tied the knot in Vegas last weekend! Nobody but them. Totally loved up she is. No need for fanfare at all really

    • Catherine
      Author
      June 13, 2019 / 4:11 pm

      I have to admit, I find these sorts of weddings SO much more interesting to attend and read about, MT!! I think you’re right about being older and doing things however YOU want to do them without the pressure… but as long as a couple are doing whatever they want (and not what their peers, or their friends, or their bridesmaids, or their parents want) then anything goes…!

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