Will living together really make our wedding night less special?

Guest post by Tessa Bailey

Cross stitch from Naughty Needlepoint
Cross stitch from Naughty Needlepoint
Just like many, many, many men/women/unaligned-and-loving-it folks on Offbeat Bride, I've been living with my partner for several years now. We've been dating for four years, moved across the country together — hell, we've even adopted a one-eyed kitten together. We're so used to being together that when he went to SXSW for five days I literally couldn't get a night's sleep because the bed felt too weird without him.

Basically, issues of co-dependency aside, I think it's safe to say that we're living much more like a married couple already than most engaged people have throughout the vast majority of history. And possibly some married couples too — hey, I'm not here to judge.

Personally, I think this situation is awesome. I can go into my wedding day absolutely sure that this is a man that I'm not only head over heels for, but also a man that I can share a bathroom with without wanting to stab him. These things matter when you're 75, wearing dentures, and contemplating the slow but inevitable decline into wearing nothing but muumuus. (I plan to be as eccentric as possible in my elderly years.)

So it's been interesting to find out how many people think that living together pre-marriage seems to somehow make it “less special.”

The first indication I had was when my future husband looked at me whilst in post-coital bliss. “Should we, like, not have sex for two weeks before the wedding? You know, to make the wedding night special?”

Now, if self-denial turns you on then I'm all for this plan leading to stupid-hot sex, but I'm kind of a “more-is-more” girl myself. So I thought, if anything, we should be practicing pre-wedding — you know, to make sure we get it right.

He seemed relieved with my answer, but it didn't stop there. Since then my Mom has suggested that we “maybe hold off on some things to make it special,” (ew, Mooooooooom!) and I've read repeatedly about couples who even forgo kissing in order to make that First Kiss extra-special.

There's that word again. “Special.”

What's so un-special about the deep love we have? The commitment we're entering into? The fact that we know each other so well and are so happy to be spending the rest of our lives together?

Love is in the air ยฉ by Tobias FIdelis, used and remixed under Creative Commons license.
It's not that our sex life is unimportant, but damnit people: marriage isn't about sex in this day and age! We've become liberated! We've got The Pill! The majority of people don't enter into the Sacred Covenant Of Marriage without having been around the block a few times, if you know what I mean (go ask your mother).

Damnit, my wedding is going to be special because it's MINE. My whole marriage is going to be special, even on the boring days when we have to do our taxes, or the bad days when we get in a fight over what kind of milk to buy. For that matter, every time we have sex it's special, because it's us and it's an expression of love and because it's REALLY HOT. I don't need a wedding night to be turned on.

I don't believe you have to recreate some sort of pseudo-temporary virgin-hood in order for your wedding to be Special. I'm glad we're entering into this adventure with the knowledge and experience we have, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Comments on Will living together really make our wedding night less special?

  1. This is great! My husband and I were dating for 6.5 years before we were married. We bought a place together a couple of years before that (it would’ve been sooner, but at 21 I didn’t have enough money for a downpayment, let alone a mortgage). And technically, under Canadian law, we were already married via Commonlaw. So what was the big deal?

    To be honest, most women and men I’ve spoke with fall asleep on the wedding night…either because they are too exhausted or too drunk. Which I can attest to! I fell asleep holding a mug of tea sitting in bed, while my husband feel asleep mid-undressing on the hotel bed. Having a wedding is DAMN TIRING…unless you’re the type of person to duck out early just to make sure there is a wedding night.

    But we had a wedding morning…I mean really, the only difference was that there was a sun in the sky and not the moon. We technically checked into our hotel at 2:30am. So our wedding night was spent dancing with our guests!

    The most special part? Turning over to have the first sight I see in the morning my brand new husband!

  2. Loved this when you originally posted it to the tribe! I had a friend recently say that we should definitely not share the same bed the night before the wedding which had never even occurred to me as being something that people “don’t” do. My partner and I have lived together for 4 years now and the idea of spending 1 night apart to make the first night as married people more . . . magical? exciting? mysterious? . . . seems unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong–I totally get why people would choose this route before a wedding, but when I asked my partner if he thought we should sleep apart the night before the wedding, he said “well, I really don’t want to pay for another hotel room.” Hear hear! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Along these lines, people keep telling me how much is going to change once we get married, but I’m not convinced. We’re already living together and love it. I’m keeping my last name. On paper, not much is changing. But this is actually incredibly comforting to me. I love our relationship as it is and I’m glad to know going into our wedding what I’m signing on to for the rest of my life.

    • Nothing has changed between my husband and I in the 3 years since we got married. I’ve known him for almost 8 years at this point, and lived with him for 4. Our dynamic has of course changed over the course of the relationship (because change is the only constant), but nothing changed when we got married. What did change was how some people in our families treated us. For instance I can now sleep in the same bed as my husband when we visit his relatives. *rolls eyes*. My own liberal parents even began to treat us as more serious once we were hitched.

      Also, high five for keeping your name. I kept mine, because it’s a crucial part of my self-identity. Though I totally understand reasons other people have for changing theirs, it’s still a rare thing to keep your name, and I like having someone to share the solidarity with ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Great post! I have been with my FH for ten years, and living together for five. We’ve talked about the “night before” the wedding, and if we should go the traditional route and sleep separately. We realized nothing about our relationship has been traditional, so why start now? Plus, we’re having a destination wedding (but for us only – we’re having the wedding back home where our family lives), so know we wouldn’t sleep well without the other since it’ll feel more like home if we’re together. I have no doubts that our wedding night will feel just as special as all the other nights we’ve shared!

  4. I am getting married in about six months and my fiance and I have already agreed that we WON’T be having “a go around the block” on our wedding night. We don’t want the pressure of it, plus we know we’ll exhausted. We’re also staying in the same hotel room the night before our wedding and seeing each other throughout the day of the wedding.

    • My husband and I promised each other no pressure on the wedding night, too – and then we ended up not being as tired as we thought we might be ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. My hubby and I didn’t live together before we got married, and we also didn’t sleep together before that day. That decision was made because of some serious issues we had both had with previous partners. We are coming up on our 1 year anniversary this month and I can honestly look back and say that we made the best decision for us. We are way more compatible in the bedroom than I thought we would be, and it has been fun to get to know each other in a different way. However, I am still trying to get him to put the dirty clothes IN the laundry basket, not NEXT to it! haha

    • Haha, FH has a cat who eats anything fabric. I’m the one that is going to have to learn to put my clothes away ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • You can always try “positive discipline” and let him experience natural consequences. Only clothes that are in the basket get washed.

      I am of course teasing (by about 80%)

      • I tried this – leaving clothes, dishes, mail, trash etc wherever he dropped them – but I always cave before he does. Always.

      • I have to admit that this is how I am, guys that didn’t like it got the boot. As I see it, I don’t want or even particularly like kids, so why would I want to live with/marry someone who acts like one? A man who needed/expected to be babied, waited on, & picked up after was always a deal breaker for me (and was why I chose to be single most of the time.)
        My husband was in his 20s when we met, and had never lived on his own, yet he could, did, & does take care of himself like an adult man should, and has nothing but scorn for men who expect their wives to be their surrogate mommies.

        • My FH husband is a slob, it annoys me sure, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. He doesn’t expect to be waited on, he just doesn’t mind clothes on the floor and a dirty bathroom, while it drives me insane. So I clean up after him and nag him, and he cooks me dinner, shovels snow, pumps gas and puts air in the tires when it’s cold out. For us it’s about give and take, and me holding on to the delusion that one day he will magically start putting his clothes away.

  6. Love this post. me and FH have been living together for nearly 7 years and barely manage when one of us has to go away, so we’re staying together, getting ready together, and as far as the plans go at this stage, arriving at the ceremony together!
    And unlike some people i know, i’m not going to share what time i consummated my marriage on facebook. true story.

    • Wait, seriously?! Someone posted on FB when they had their first married-people sex?! That is… special.

    • I think this is great. While my husband and I are far from being what is considered “co-dependent” the whole purpose of our marriage was an unending togetherness that we could create with family and friends. My husband and I didn’t want the traditional bride walks the aisle without the groom so we decided to have three aisles. The bridal party walked down the center aisle and my husband and I entered from the left and right aisles in sequence. One of the best decisions we made for our day!

  7. I had the whole “oh, let’s just enjoy being together and our lives the way they are” mentality going into the wedding…Unfortunately, I forgot that moving and wedding DIY can wreck an apartment faster than anything. We did our couple photos after the reception and arrived back at our apartment at the same time as friends and family showed up with wedding decorations & gifts….we collapsed into bed. Then, my husband (who RARELY snores) was snoring, and eventually, I couldn’t take lying in bed listening to him snore and thinking about the messy apartment anymore. I got up and started cleaning at 4am…by 6 I was swearing at whatever idiot piled the wedding presents on top of the washing machine,and trying to clean up the flower petals and leaves all over the floor. I still want to cry every time I think about our wedding night. So seriously, it might be worth investing something into making it special, or making sure you at least get a decent night’s sleep.

    • This is the exact reason that we have decided that no matter where we end up having out wedding, we are renting a hotel or a cabin. I /know/ that after all the stress of wedding planning and DIY projects our place will be a disaster, because that is just who we are, and I want to go somewhere clean and nice and special for our wedding night.

  8. We lived together for almost 2 years before getting married. We did not actually have wedding night sex because we were both exhausted, but we did have lovely morning-after sex. I don’t think wedding night sex would have been “special”, had we lived together or not because there was no way that I was awake enough to even remotely WANT wedding night sex. All the hype is just an example of people wanting to make other people question their life choices. Don’t fall for the hype ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you for this. I totally agree. I get people questioning my life choices, and it sucks. After reading all the posts about how exhausted I’ll be the night of, I’m making preparations so I can still have wedding night nookie.

  9. I’ve always believed in in living with someone before making the commitment of getting married. I think that no matter how long you’ve been with someone, or how much time you spend together, there are simply things you just don’t know about a person until you’ve lived with them. All the love in the world doesn’t always help when living styles are vastly different. Especially in my case: having a child from another relationship. The Beard and I were engaged by the time we moved in together, but at the same time it was important for me to see how he would be able to handle living with a four year old day in and day out. We have a small space for three humans, a cat, and a dog, and it’s taken some getting used to for the both of us (my son’s just excited his 6′ living toy is here all the time now). I’m glad that we’re getting these kinks out now before we walk down any aisles. I think THAT is what’s going to make our wedding night special. Getting through planning a wedding together and learning how to live each other now means there’s going to be a lot less pressure afterwards, and we can enjoy just being newlyweds and seeing how many times in a day we can refer to each other as wife/husband. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I think similar to the wedding day itself, the wedding night has been romanticized. Lets face it, there’s really not much sexytime about being with someone you’ve never been with for the first time then finding out their terrible and incompatible with you and you’ve made a lifelong commitment to them!

    And as for living together – I lived with my husband for 3 years prior to us tying the knot. I would have felt deflated if we just went home together. We spent the day before and the night before apart, and made sure we went on an exciting honeymoon. We somehow managed to have some fun that night, but to be perfectly honest it was a complete miracle.

    I can’t help but wonder if many other brides would agree that after being on your feet ALL DAY and being up since the crack of dawn, the most exciting thing about that night is passing out. We decided to take a bath together which is the only thing that lead to sexyfuntime, otherwise we’d have just hit the sheets.

    We slept 13 hours straight that night. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • As long as you both realise that first time sex is usually less than spectacular, I don’t think terrible wedding night sex is such a big deal. The whole point of marriage is that it’s a long-term committment – therefore you both have plenty of time to work on how to have good sex together.

      Of course sex is important in a marriage (unless of course you’re both asexual or have other reasons for not having sex) but that doesn’t mean that bad sex on the wedding night should be some kind of dealbreaker. Even people who have been having sex before marriage have room for improvement in that area.

    • Yes, this. Friends of mine decided to have a morning wedding so that they wouldn’t be exhausted for the wedding night. If you make “not being exhausted for the wedding night” a priority, then you won’t be exhausted. Annnd there are ways to tell if you’re sexually compatible without having sex (You can make out! You can talk about your likes/dislikes! You can make out some more!) If you love each other lots, if each of you is looking to satisfy the other, and if you’re ready to communicate, it will be perfectly okay.

      • I think it’s great if that works for you. In my case however, I’ve been in relationships where everything seemed absolutely fine until the sex. The making out was great, we had a connection, etc. It was all there but then when actual sex happened it was absolutely horrible. As a person with a high sex drive, bad sex is a deal breaker for me, and I’ve had the relationship where there was no fixing the sex. What I ended up learning was that there are people you’re attracted to and can have a great relationship with, but the sex doesn’t work. A couple of them have become great friends, and sure are a lot of fun to make out with every once in awhile, but I’d never want to spend the rest of my life with them.

    • This always makes me feel bad for couples who come from super religious upbringings where even kissing and hand holding may have been off limits. All the sudden you’re supposed to go from having had no physical contact with each other to being married and having sex in the course of a day? YIKES!

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