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?

kissing alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Love is in the air Β© 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. Thanks for posting this! My FH and I had not planned on living together before the wedding. I just had this romantic image in my head that the wedding is a major milestone and should be accompanied by a major life change- like moving in together! Living together, then getting married, then…. just going home like normal, felt anticlimactic to me somehow. BUT- I am also a very practical person. So, when FH’s lease was up we discussed how much rent would cost for the remainder of our engagement. Survey says…… He’s moving in in a couple weeks! I am excited about the move (and I think it will make things easier when things get crazier in a few months).

  2. Amen to that. We’re so busy with full time jobs/part time jobs/full time school that ANYTIME we get to “go around the block”, it;s really, really special.

    Yay for muumuus!

    • I believe in this context, go around the block meant “sleep with lots of different people.”
      Which could totally be what you mean, or not πŸ˜‰

  3. Himself and I lived together before getting married, and the only thing that made the wedding night less sexytimes than it could have been was that I was exhausted. Once I had a good night’s sleep and we were on our honeymoon… Yeah, it’s still possible to enjoy having bought the cow even if you were getting the milk for free before.

    • Although I totally appreciate what I think is the intended sentiment of this comment (that the enjoyment of sex within marriage is not lessened somehow by pre-maritial sex), I’m uncomfortable with the cow/milk thing for a whole bunch of reasons.

      • Don’t worry, there is an equal opportunity saying for men – Why buy the pig, when all you want is a little sausage!

        • Except that if you get sausage from a pig, it is dead afterwards. We are not preying mantises. Maybe a bee/honey analogy would be better, oh except you’d have to buy the whole hive, and then that would imply that men have a hive mind…

          And the whole point of the saying boils down to the only reason for marriage being sex, which can be had extramaritally. Which is perfectly silly, since marriage is so much more than just sex.

          I think there is no good animal analogy for this situation.

          • I don’t think this expression actually *has* gender lines. It can be applied to both sexes equally–that is, when you are given something freely, not being willing to put in an investment for it. It’s still BS, but I don’t think it’s sexist BS. After all, it can’t be taken *literally*; men generally aren’t interested in women for their milk production (Oh, *there’s* a mental image for you) and it applies just as well in the opposite direction, and for same-sex couples as well. In the past it has been assumed (wrongly) by some that men are only interested in sex or more interested in sex than women, and so the expression has more commonly been applied to the context of a man seeking after a woman, but that’s more an issue of common use than the ability of application.

  4. We had sex the morning of our afternoon wedding, and I am glad we did because by that night we were to tired to do anything but sleep, shower eat and sleep some more. It wasn’t less special when on night two we got down to things. It was the first time I had sex with my husband which made it special- and it was AWESOME.

    • I’ve considered this. Our wedding is midday, we have a lot of out of town guests, and an after party at the beach then into the night until I most definitely crash out before the hubs is ready to stop partying.

      I think it’d be sexy to sneak in a little “us” time morning of before everything gets underway.

      Plus, morning nookie is ALWAYS a good way to start the day πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, I’ve been married before, unlike my guy, he’s under the impression that we’re making love the night of our wedding, I’ve tried telling him we’ll be too tired, but he can’t fathom it – I’ve even had to alter the intended design of my wedding dress because he thinks it’ll take too long to get me out of! (I wish he’d said before, I spent ages on mock ups with calico and boning getting the lacing right).

  5. I thought the special thing about the wedding night these days was spending it in a fancy hotel/overnight accommodation of your choice, before going home again or on honeymoon! Mind you, I’ve never known anyone get married without living together first (even my parents back in ’78). It’s interesting to find out that this stuff still matters to some people. Great post, thank you.

    • A-freakin’-men.
      Because you KNOW you’ll never be satisfied with cereal full of 1%, because you KNOW you can’t stomach soy in your coffee, because you KNOW you hate whole milk with toast.
      It’s worth the extra cents to just buy two half gallons or a little jug of the other stuff.

      • I’ve learned to drink soy milk. But only with my cereal. It’s a sacrifice I make for him.

    • Haha Awesome! This keeps our house sane. We currently have 1/2 gallon of 2%, a 1/2 gallon of skim, and a carton of lactose free. We have a roommate, hence the 3rd type. No small resentment simmering while choking down my cereal in the morning!

    • It seems like such a small thing but ending up with someone who likes the same type of milk made my life so much easier!

      • Haha! There is a FANTASTIC book called “the Impoverished Student’s Book of Cookery, Drinkery, and Housekeepery” where the author states that he and his first wife both liked crunchy peanut butter, and that that was enough to keep them together for X number of years.

        Luckily my man and I like the same kind of milk and peanut butter.

    • Brilliant, it took us two years to realise ‘why not both!’ And so far I can report we have not been made bankrupt from the decision, nor has any milk ever been wasted.

      • True that! We are admittedly a little eccentric, but we use separate silverware and toothpaste too… No arguing, no resentment, just happy times!

  6. Thank you for this post! I think you made some valid points as this is something I always wonder too. I want to live with my man before agreeing to marry him so I know that we will get along for the next 60 years!! You are so right!

    • My dude is the same way! Living together is our test run! Only “problem” is that it drives my mom crazy. I call it a bonus! That will teach her to make me take naps!!!

    • My FH and I live together now. I have a 7 year old son (they ADORE each other) and there were definitely growing pains (parenting, co-parenting, step-parenting, house cleaning, cooking, personal space/time, etc). We’ve worked through so much in the time we’ve lived together.

      I strongly recommend it if it’s something you’re considering. In all honesty, it’s easier to find a new roommate than to realize the person you married is someone you can’t stand to live with.

      • I agree with this 1000000%!
        My fiancΓ©’s parents were both formerly married to other people years ago & they didn’t realize under after the wedding that they were completely incompatible with these people. When they met each other, they did the test run, and loved it’s much they knew they couldn’t live without each other. When my fiancΓ© (then boyfriend) & I started university, we couldn’t afford separate living spaces. A decision based on financial reasons suddenly became the best decision we’d ever made. 2 years of living together made us so happy that our friends used to joke that we made them sick from cute married couple syndrome. This year we had to move to different cities to finish school & we are counting down the days until we can move back in together (and not just for the nookie lol!) we miss it so much! Skyping every few hours, FaceTime when Skype is messing up, sending voice messages and pictures all day… We just want to get back to our tiny little room with the mattress on the floor where we have our soulmate to come home to every night.

    • My mother is the one who told me to always live with a man before you marry him- and she grew up in the 1930’s! She was definitely ahead of her time.

  7. Thank you for this! We caught a lot of crap for living together before we were married. Like you said, I wanted to know 150% that we would be compatible at all times, not just when we saw each other on dates. I would have hated to realize that we weren’t able to stand each other or something after we were married! We got over the initial humps early so that the start of our marriage wasn’t worrying about who gets to sleep on what side of the bed or who gets their toothpaste gunk all over the mirror and needs to clean it. It also really bothered me when people felt the need to comment on how we should conduct our relationship for the last few weeks. I’m sorry, but we had been sleeping together for years before the month leading up to our wedding so it’s not like we could take it back and make it “special”.

    • we too have been living together for the past year and I am so glad that we’ve gotten through those initial bumps & arguments; I think it would actually make marriage harder to move-in AND be married all within a day (or two).

  8. If ritual sex is your thing, or important to your religion, go for it. I know it’s really a big deal for some folks, and I support them.

    … but for me, without any need for religious de-virgining, I am here to say that it was PLENTY special/memorable even though we’d been with each other for years. Yay. πŸ™‚

  9. We had been living together for 8 months before getting married. I don’t feel any less special. I think knowing how difficult my husband is to live with and STILL wanting to be with him forever made it even more significant when I repeated my vows.
    Besides, my sister wanted to hang out after the wedding (we live in different countries and rarely get to see each other), so no special time for the new hubby and I… We were super tired by 3am when we finally kicked them out.
    We still managed to get pregnant (we were trying) on our honeymoon, that’s pretty damned special if I do say so… πŸ™‚

  10. 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!

  11. 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! πŸ™‚

    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 πŸ™‚

  12. 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!

  13. 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 πŸ˜‰

  14. 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

    • I’m glad I’m not the only person with a man who does the laundry thing!

    • 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 πŸ˜‰

    • 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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 πŸ™‚

    • 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.

  18. 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. πŸ™‚

      • Yay! There are so few of us! I totally get excited when I come across someone with the same name (and the same spelling!)

  19. 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. πŸ™‚

    • 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!

  20. There is so much “THIS!” in this post it’s bursting at the seams with it! Thank you for reminding everyone that their wedding, wedding night, and marriage feels special whether or not they lived together before getting hitched, and there is no reason for people to feel like they have to pretend or deny anything* (No sexytime? No cuddles? No kissing? No way!) to have those feelings of “specialness.”

    *Unless, of course, that is what both parties in the relationship want, then by all means, do what is right for you!

  21. To be honest, I thought that it wouldn’t be that special either, so my husband and I agreed to abstain for a time before hand… with all the stress, this did not last too long. Plus, we were exhausted our wedding night. I’m sure if we’d never had relations before, it’d’ve been a different story, but its not. So no, living together doesn’t ruin it because it helps you understand that your marriage can weather a night of tired relations or a lack of when tired.

  22. To be honest, I wish more people lived together before getting married. I lived with my husband a few years before we were married, and not one day has gone by where a moment with him is “less special.”……I think living together and even being sexually active with your partner before marriage is very, very important. It comes down to the whole “You might love someone, but that doesn’t mean you can live with them” saying, with a dose of avoiding “We don’t even connect romantically.” ….So Bravo Tessa! I loved reading this.

  23. We did it…. and yes it is less special… It’s not a matter of being turned on, it’s a matter of there is no sense of surprise or newness…. I regret it…

    • Maybe it’s not less special, just a different kind of special. (Also, I think it’s great if people want to wait and do. Even though that wasn’t for me, I respect people who do wait).

      We’ve been living together a while, so I won’t know, but I know that the first time we had sex, it was less than great. It had been a while for me and he’s rather more “well-endowed” than my previous limited experience, and it hurt and I bled (far more so than I did the very first time ever). So for me, if I built up the FIRST TIME so much and waited until the wedding night only to have it be that uncomfortable, I think it would have been a let down. It still would have been exciting, I guess but I know I would have had these high expectations that wouldn’t have been met.

      Also, I’m glad I knew about his gross shaving gunk in the sink and that he knows I forget to wash my dishes before we made it legal. πŸ™‚

  24. We had not slept together at all before we were married, and we didn’t for two days into our honeymoon either. I just didn’t want our first time together to be period sex. Frankly, having waited didn’t make our first time anything “special”. Would I do it the same way? Yes. But it was much more awkward and funny than anything magical or special. I say, do what you want to do! Do what you’re in the mood for!

  25. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this subject. I personally do want to wait until marriage before I have sex – I don’t care what other people do, but for me sex is such a uniquely intimate thing that I only want to have it with my future spouse. It’s not even a religious thing – although I am a Christian, I don’t regard pre-marital sex as sinful, this is just my own perspective on sex and marriage.

    I don’t even want to say that I would be OK with having sex with my future fiance(e), since it’s so much easier to break off an engagement than it is to end a marriage, and I can’t help but want to have sex with just one person (aside from a second marriage following widowhood).

    However, I see the advantage to living together before marriage – so I guess the ideal for me would be living together but not having sex, but is that even realistic? I suspect not. Anyone who waited to marry to have sex, how did you deal with living together?

    • My husband and I lived together for over two years before getting married, and did not have sex. (We did fool around I suppose, so some would consider out of bounds as well.) We are both atheists so religion was not part of the decision. It just felt right for us to wait. Waiting was hard sometimes, but we were able to be intimate with each other without having sex. We didn’t really do anything special to “deal with” living together and not having sex. We slept in the same bed. We saw each other nude all the time. We just chose not to do it. If you live together and aren’t having sex, don’t expect anyone to believe you! People will assume you are full of crap. Choose not to care.

      Of course anyone who knew we had waited (and believed us) assumed that immediately after our reception we’d be hopping right in the sack to consummate that ish! We had also spoken about this before hand. We, like many other posters, did wait until the next day. The reasons were practical. My family lives far away and were here for the wedding. So my wedding night we hung out with my parents and best friends. I very rarely get to see them and weddings are so exhausting I wasn’t ready to embark on a new sexual adventure! Plus, I’m a grown up, but my DAD was right across the hallway. So I just went to bed and cuddled with my husband. The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, sent our guests on their way, and then just spent the rest of the day in bed together. It was awesome.

      • This is amazing. I need to print off your post and show it to my mom. She is HIGHLY opposed to people living together (or doing anything “adult”) before marriage because of the high rate of children “born out of wedlock” these days. I keep pointing out that (a) in this day and age you don’t have to get pregnant if you don’t want to, and (b) living together doesn’t automatically mean sleeping together. Having sex is a conscious decision, so you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to (I keep getting this mental image that my mom must imagine that two people move in together than then suddenly they’ve lost control of their own bodies and they’ve having sex as if someone else is controlling their bodies with voodoo dolls). Anyway, I became sexually active LONG before moving in with anyone, so her reasoning was flawed to begin with.

        • “Born out of wedlock”? Oh puh-leeeze…in this day and age, that doesn’t matter!

  26. Haha, we’ve been together for 17 years and have lived together for 15, I think that particular boat has sailed! But I’m sure that our wedding will still be a special day.

  27. My husband and I got married on the five year anniversary of our moving in together (which was only two weeks after we met. We actually moved in together before sleeping together, but that’s another story). I was a little worried that after a half decade of sharing our lives, finances, buying a house, etc, marriage wouldn’t feel different. It does! Being married feels special and different and I love it. As for sex, any time my husband touches me it feels special, even when he just touches my hand. Sex is special because of the loving connection we’ve developed in our years together. Don’t worry. For me at least, being married makes sex even more special, even though we were together all this time. Though, we didn’t actually have sex on our wedding night. We were up to 4am the night before desperately going through our CDs and finding songs for our wedding playlist and I was just too exhausted. The delayed wedding sex was definitely special though.

    • This might be a little off-topic, but why did you move in together after two weeks? Not judging, I am genuinely curious about how and why this happens. I’ve heard of other people doing this too, and I’m interested in hearing about your experience.

      • I actually don’t know anyone else who did this, so it’s cool that you do.

        We met at Burning Man. Love at first sight. Had such a bizarre amount in common (to the point that we were in the middle of reading the same book) that we started calling each other Doppleganger. From that first day (and we met the last day and only spent 28 hours together) we KNEW this was the person we were going to spend the rest of our lives with. We lived 400 miles apart. So either one of us was moving or we were spending every weekend driving 800 miles. At hour 15 or so we agreed that we felt ready to move in together. It actually would have been less than two weeks except I already had a week vacation in New York planned. The second time I saw him I was pulling up at his (then ours) apartment with all of my possessions in my car. It was a tiny studio in a brand new city. We were such strangers he even changed in the hall at first. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Moving to LA was incredibly difficult, but moving in with him was effortless. More than five years, a marriage and now pregnant with our first, everyone now realizes it was the right choice (as you can imagine there were a lot of upset family members at first). Oh, did I mention he had gotten out of a ten year relationship three weeks earlier? As my mom said in her wedding toast, “You guys were right, and we were wrong. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did.”

        • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m very happy things worked out so well for you & your partner.

          My boyfriend recently moved in with me after we had been together for 4 months (which was a month ago) because he lost his apartment in a nearby city. At the time it felt way too quick and I was certain things would blow up, but so far it’s been wonderful and positive for both of us. As we originally agreed, he’s moving out to get his own place in a couple of months and now I’m kind of sad at his upcoming departure. Though we’ve talked about what will happen, I’m not sure if his moving out means a step backward in our relationship or if our temporary cohabitation was an unexpectedly positive detour and it’s a not a step back at all.

          Sorry for the threadjack πŸ™‚

        • “We were such strangers he even changed in the hall at first.”

          that’s so sweet. very gentlemanly.

          • We still take turns getting dressed in the kitchen since we have different work hours and days off.

        • Your story makes me teary and giggly. πŸ™‚ What a beautiful story of love. I hope your baby on the way finds inspiration in it!

  28. It’s going to be special to wake up together (we’re getting married today!) and special when you turn in for the night (we got married today!). Stick with what feels right to you as a couple and you will have plenty of special.

  29. I’m sort of in the opposite boat. I live in a very liberal city where living together before marriage has become the new normal. People are always asking me when I’m moving in with my fiancΓ©. When I tell them that I’m not living with him before the wedding, I get all sorts of accusative and judgemental reactions from people. As a counterpoint to the whole “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?” argument, I’m being told, “Why would you buy a car without test driving it first?” (Um, my fiancΓ© is a human being, not a car!) Someone even said that I wouldn’t be ready for the way living together would “change our love” and that this decision would ultimately undermine my marriage.

    The thing is, I’m not against anybody who wants to live with their significant other before marriage. Couples need to decide what’s right for them. Co-habiting is not right for me, that’s all. I think maybe some people saw my decision as a condemnation of their own decisions to live with their partners, which it isn’t at all. I’m just doing what I feel is best for my own relationship and my own life. I wish everyone had the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves either way without being hassled about it!

    • I totally relate to this. No one has ever said the whole “test drive the car” to my face, but they’ve told my family members behind my back and such. I don’t know, I know it’s odd this day and age to be a virgin, but I feel like I have a right to be proud of how I do things the way others have a right to be proud of how they do things. And I feel like whenever it comes out in conversation that “No, I’m not living with him,” it leads to them asking why not, which leads to “yeah, actually I’m a virgin,” at which point the conversation stops awkwardly, because there are suddenly so many preconceived notions and feelings in the air, and you assuming what they think about you or you assuming what they think that you think about them, and uhgghhhh….hot mess!

      • I live in a city where, if you have been dating someone for more than a few months, everyone assumes you live together. Period. And it can be so awkward to say, “Well, no, we’re not living together… Yeah, I know it would save money, but we don’t have sex, and it would be pretty hard to live together and not have sex”. And then everyone’s all “But how will you know if you are compatible??” and I’m all… “Well, firstly, I spend loads of time in his house, I see how he lives, we have talked about what things bother us about how the other lives. And secondly, dude, there are ways to tell if you are sexually compatible without having sex! And if everything doesn’t line up PERFECTLY, well, we have plenty of time to practice.”

        I think part of the thing is that our culture really overemphasizes sex in relationships. Sex is important and fun and good, but it isn’t a dealbreaker, in my opinion. If I love someone to bits and pieces and it turns out we aren’t totally sexually compatible, that is okay! We will figure out how to compromise and make it work, and it will still be more awesome than any other sex, because it will be sex with the person I love hanging out with more than anything in the world.

        • The other thing is that it’s only now, in one very small part of the world, where it is socially acceptable to cohabit at all. I am not using this as an argument against cohabiting, as I said, because I think people should be able to make up their own minds. But I do think it serves as pretty good proof that married people can live happily together without cohabiting first. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years.

      • The virgin thing is a whole other kettle of fish! I was telling an acquaintance about several friends I have who are virgins in their 30s, and she was STUNNED. She then referred to them as “damaged goods,” which blows my mind because, well, how can something be damaged if it’s never been used?
        My fiancΓ© and I do sleep together and I love it, but due to social pressure when I was younger, I had certain “adventures” that I now really wish I could undo.
        People need to be let to live as they choose.

  30. And the depression issue!!!

    Any large event in one’s life can be a trigger for depression… Moving, marriage, pregnancy, a death, a pet, home ownership…. Why add two (or more) of those together and do them at the same time.

    Plus the point in Ariel’s book about post-planning depression… Yeah. Space them out!

  31. Thank you for this! I’ve been worried about it because we’ve been together for eight years, living together for five. This and all the comments are fantastic tips that make me feel 10 times better. πŸ™‚ Though I do plan on likely staying in separate places the night before simply because I’d like to stay closer to the venue and with my wedding party chicks the night before. They’re all coming from out of town except my BFF so I’d love to have a slumber party with them. πŸ™‚

  32. One of the sweetest parts of my day is waking up next to the love of my life. Can’t imagine not having that on my wedding day.

    This post reminded me of how my younger self blindly followed what other folks told me (for example: a woman shouldn’t have too many partners). My ex-husband was the first person I had sex with. And it was horrible- continued to be so throughout the relationship. And as I didn’t have anything to compare it to, assumed I was broken and painful sex became our “normal.”

    Glad to report that I’m not broken. And equally important (cause I REALLY like sex) I was able to transition to establishing/selecting my beliefs instead of just following what other people thought I should do. And that’s a beautiful thing.

    Kudos to the abstainers and sexy/sleepy makers! And to those that are doing what’s right for them.

  33. Think about traditional wedding vows – richer, poorer, sickness, health. Going through those things is what really really made me feel married. That we are together through the shit of life. That’s the “main course.”

    The sex? That’s a dessert (or an appetizer, or a side, or all three!) but it’s not the main event in a marriage (and I am speaking of someone who’s fonder-than-many of sex). Your wedding, and your marriage, will be “special” regardless of when the nookie comes.

  34. I don’t see us having relations after we get home on our wedding night because we’ll probably get home and crash still in our wedding gear. I figure there’s plenty of time for “hey husband…hey wife” sexy times during the two weeks we took off from work after the wedding, one for the honeymoon and one for just vegging around the house together.

  35. Me and the hubby-to-be have lived together for three years, AND we have a two year old. Having sex in a hotel room, not having to be quiet, not having to pause to wonder if we heard our son waking up…THAT will make it special!

  36. I will also throw my hat into the living together is very important ring! I was just saying to my boyfriend that I feel like living with him is more like living with a best friend, and that it’s just fun and easy! And he agreed, of course we have both lived with different significant others in the past and it has NOT been so pleasant, so like a lot of you have said – it really reveals a lot more about your partner than just dating them does and in our cases with our exes we realized that wow, these are not people we want to spend the rest of our lives with! So moving in together can also be a deal breaker, which in the long run is a good thing too right?! I would have hated to be stuck with any of the exes I moved in with in the past and have subsequently discovered were less than compatible upon moving in with them!

  37. Awesome post. πŸ™‚

    My DH and I lived together (for about 3 years) before we got married, and we didn’t manage to “do the deed” on our wedding night. A) we were exhausted, and B)sex is one of those complicated issues for us, due to mental health stuff and my bad reactions to a lot of hormonal contraceptives. But, that’s another story.

    HOWEVER. As was said in my OBB submission that was featured on here last week, our wedding night was one of my absolute favourite parts of the day. We got to our hotel room, collapsed on our bed and had a big cuddle, looked down at our rings, and were hit with the enormity of the fact we’d just gotten married. I almost started crying, we made out for ages, and I felt like I was going to burst for love of him.

    So, no sex. But, it was still one of the most special moments of my life- and the fact that DH and I lived together before marriage didn’t make it any less awesome. In fact, right after the wedding, we went back to our normal routines as before we were married (yeah, delayed honeymoon…)…but something inside for me had inexplicably changed. I felt…married. πŸ™‚ And I can’t explain it any other way.

    So yeah, that was my experience. DH and I living together didn’t put any dampender on our wedding night lovin’. But, that being said, I have nothing but the upmost respect for people who do wait for marriage- I have a lot of Christian friends who did just that, and they are fantastic people.

  38. It’s interesting to think about this as a queer couple. My partner and I just got legally hitched in NY after 5 years of being together. Before last year, it wasn’t even an option to get legally married. No one said anything to us about making it special or holding off for a couple weeks. I totally agree that marriage is no longer about the SEX. Sex is hot in so many forms – pre-marriage, post-marriage, in the car, outside, on a plane!

    However, I do think holding off for a couple weeks before getting hitched is super kinky and sexy! πŸ˜‰

  39. I’ve always gone by the theory that you don’t buy the shoes unless you try them on first, although there are no guarantees either way. But it’s what I did, what I told both my daughters and it’s even what my mother did – I’m 53 years old. So we’ve had LOTS of ‘special’ times, but the wedding night was not one of them. We were too exhausted, and the result would have been the same whether we’d waited or not. Btw, congratulations Jenni!

    • I will second that!!! I used to get so paranoid when I was a kid about just such an analogy – that what if I bought ill fitting shoes and I was stuck with them forever?!?!! Then I grew a little older and realized that hey life doesn’t have to BE that way, thank goodness πŸ˜‰ and thank goodness for people like you out there!

  40. I don’t exactly agree. While I think there is nothing wrong with living together pre-marriage, I want marrying my fiance to mark a new point in our lives. I remember asking a friend who had living with her man for 5 years before getting married what married life was like and she said “Eh. Nothing’s different from before.” And I just thought that was a little sad. What’s the point in getting married if you’ve already made that sort of commitment to someone?

    • It seems many couples will respond in this manner if they’ve been living together because the lifestyle itself doesn’t really change. If it was working before the marriage, why do it differently after? In the same vein, if you’re having problems, marriage doesn’t make them go away.

      That said, at least in our case, and like the previous commenter wrote, there’s this comfort you feel in being married while carrying out things as per norm. Change isn’t always something external that you can show to others.

      I personally don’t have anything against couples who choose not to live together before marriage, but in our case I’m glad we could enjoy our new stage in life more blissfully without that “getting used to how the other person really is” stage that, while very exciting, can often be trying for a newlyweds who haven’t lived together beforehand.

    • What strikes me here is the idea that marriage has to change something. As another commenter has said there are same sex couples who don’t even have the option of being married, but it doesn’t make their relationships any less valid or special than heterosexual couples with a legal piece of paper.

      So I wonder why it is we feel like marriage has to change the relationship in some way? If you’re committed to one another then why does standing in front of a group of people and having a party change that?

      For me personally I don’t think it does. I know it’s weird to say this on a bridal site, but I don’t think marriage does change a relationship. I’d be fine without the document (in fact in my first “marriage” my ex and I had a wedding but never got the license), but its meaningful to my partner and his family so I’ll do it to honour them.

      I dunno I just think it’s interesting that we all put so much energy fretting over how our marriages will be and how they have to be some big change when I’m not sure they do.

  41. We had been living together over 4 years before our wedding, but I don’t think it made our wedding less exciting. Honestly we were so tired from our wedding we just slept that night and didn’t get anything on until the next morning, but it was just as amazing because the wedding itself brought us together in a new way.

    The real prize of marriage isn’t the sex or getting to live together, it’s in having come this far together and the happiness in having the opportunity to share your love with others, whether it’s before a priest and a witness or with your family and friends.

  42. LOVE this post! I had been the one to suggest to my FH that we “hold off” on bangin’ a few week before our wedding-but literally as i was saying it i was thinking how ridiculous it sounded! We are not a magazine couple, we are a real-life, in-love, sexin’ it up couple! thank you thank you thank you for putting my feelings into words!!!

  43. My boyfriend was married once before, and didn’t live with his ex before they got married. Only after they were married and moved in together, he found out that she NEVER cleaned, NEVER cooked, and NEVER paid bills or even knew how much was in her bank account. She spent ALL of her free time on playing games and goofing off on Facebook and never wanted to go out and do something different. After 10 years and four breakups, it (among other things) was too much to deal with.

    Trust me, these are things you *need* to know about before you get married. He and I live together now and probably won’t be married for another two years. Living together, I am glad to know that he is responsible and happy to share with chores and cooking, and takes great care of our dog. I can’t imagine not being able to experience this firsthand before getting married!

    Oh, and in all fairness to grooms- They should get a chance to see what it’s like to live with you when you’re on your period. πŸ˜‰

    • I agree that ‘for me’ it was important to live together before marriage, however, I am a little bothered by the comment ‘They should get a chance to see what it’s like to live with you when you’re on your period’. I am sure you meant it in a jokey flippant way, however, it perpetuates very specific gender stereotypes that are not productive.
      I know I am ‘myself’ whether the lady in red is in town or not, and my husband can live with me just fine either way.

  44. Such a good one. We lived together for 4 years before we got married. Did it make it less special? Not at all. Our day was so special because it was our day. If anything, we just knew how to live together a lot easier after saying “I do.”

  45. Amen! Awesome post!

    When my FH moved into gether after nine months of dating, I was stunned when so many friends responded with “OMG are you pregnant?!?!”

    Now after 3+ years of cohabiting we are getting married in one month. What has suprised me is so many of my friends that were giving me a hard time about living with my FH before marriage are now telling me they wish they would have done the same thing.

    I agree with an earlier post that says that we have never done anything traditional so why start now. πŸ™‚

  46. I had someone tell me and my partner the other day that our living together was immoral because if we loved each other we wouldn’t need to ‘test our compatability for marriage’ and would just restrain or get married… (awkward)

    He got it completely wrong. We don’t live together as a test! We live together because we already know that we are amazing together. We know that we love each other, this is where we want to be, not some ‘practice ground’.

    We do want to get married (hence I’m on this site), but not to legitimise our house)

    I know you were talking about something slightly different, but this ‘making the wedding special’ seems to make a similar assumption: that you will be completely different after the wedding.

  47. My original plan in high school was to only sleep with the man that would be my husband. That’s a great idea an all, but hard to see the future. There were a few guys who I thought had potential, so I slept with them. Turns out none were The One. Bummer. Fast forward to my current relationship. I found out months after the fact that I was HIS first! So in response to the ideas about intimacy being special, our first time was special for him probably more than me (since I was caught up in wondering of he’d just be another guy that I’d be wrong about) but for me, our 15th time was the best and most memorable. For the first time in my life, I was having sex with someone who loved me. Of course my number 15 is an estimation, but my point is that sex can be memorable ANY time as long as there are deeper meanings attached. Every single time is amazing for us because I know he’s the last guy I’ll ever be with, and the only one who I’ve ever truly trusted and loved enough to fully open up to. Sure, this isn’t the plan I had for myself in high school, but life is unpredictable.

  48. I think that’s great! I like the idea of meditating on change and really sorting through what it means to you, what your expectations are, etc.

  49. And even though you might be in the minority in waiting until you were married, I think you are among friends here. It sounds like most peoples’ thoughts have been “go with what works for you and your mate!” πŸ™‚

  50. I was engaged once before now, to my daughter’s father, and after living together for a few years before any wedding planning, we split (I think it’s a big red flag when you get engaged and then never actually plan the wedding…..when you’re waiting for things to change or get better). We had some issues that probably would never have surfaced if we had not lived together, some serious, even dangerous, issues. And I thank my lucky stars every day that I knew this stuff before making that huge legal and emotional commitment to him and being potentially “stuck” in a bad situation. Living together could have even saved my life. Several years later, I hesitantly moved into my current fiance’s place (we weren’t engaged yet, at the time. His roommate bailed and he was stuck, long story) but fast-forward to us now planning our wedding for this year, I couldn’t be happier that I, again, got the opportunity to see what kind of man I’m getting myself into before the big day….and I couldn’t have picked a better one for myself. And this time around I’m so much more comfortable and happier….and if I had avoided living with him, I may never have felt safe enough to marry. So, in my experience, living together before marriage can be a life-saver and a painfully truthful look into the person you are with, and I wholly stand behind it, and would even recommend it to my daughter as I do with most of my friends lol.

  51. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for this post! I feel much the same way you do as my fiance and I started living together within the first year of dating (money reasons). We also moved together. Because of our living situation I am going into our marriage so much more confident that we will last because we have no secrets from each other at this point. (One of our apartments was a studio, so yeah…no secrets.) I feel that the whole holding-off-to-make-it-special thing has WAY more to do with controlling a woman’s sexuality than actually making a darn thing “special.” KUDOS to you, and again, thank you.

  52. Hubby and I lived together before marriage for about 6 months, and can I say how special it was on our wedding night to come home and snuggle in front of OUR fireplace and drink some hot tea after a long and brutally exhausting day in the wind and rain of Seattle? The feeling I had in that moment was that this was mine forever: every night for the rest of our lives. It had nothing to do with sex that night, but everything to do with knowing that we were a partnership come thick or thin. I love him πŸ™‚ ….and the sex the next morning was great too!

  53. We are getting married in, (checking my calendar) 8 days!! We’ve been living together for 3 years and both have the same feeling of not being about to sleep without the other that many people have mentioned. We are spending the night before the wedding apart as I’m having a slumber party with my mum,some cousins and bridesmaids.

    We’ve also put a hold on sex for the month leading up to the wedding. We decided to try it and see how we felt about it, but neither of us were sure that we’d really follow through. Surprisingly it has built up an anticipation that I couldn’t have imagined. My fiance admitted he is now really excited about our honeymoon weekend. I’m not going to try to say we’ve been saints, we do sleep in the same bed, but we’ve put certain things off limits and oh oh oh am I looking forward to getting that back.

    This is our experience so far anyway, won’t be updating you on how the honeymoon goes via Facebook sorry!

  54. While I agree with this article, I also think it really depends on where you are in your relationship. I don’t advocate just moving in together, or having sex even, before marriage as sort of a “trial run”. Move in together because you want to, have sex when you want to, as a couple. Not because you feel you should, or want to try things out.

    Successfully living with someone has less to do with having compatible living styles as to having the respect for another person to want to make a home together that is comfortable for everyone living there. Having a successful sex life isn’t just about how compatible you are from the outset. It’s about being willing to listen to your partner, trying new things, and having a sense of humor.

    For me and my fiance…we live together now and so we’ll roll out of bed together on our wedding day. Though we’re also going to walk down the isle together…not because other ways are wrong…but because that is what is right for us.

    As for the sex….it’ll be great…whenever it happens. πŸ™‚

  55. I love that you wrote this post! I’ve been with my FH for 5 and a half years and we are getting married in September. I’ve lived with him for the past 3 years and couldn’t imagine my life without him. He’s my best friend and we’ve already been through a lot together. I cannot wait to marry him and spend the night with our loved ones. Heck, we will probably be too tired for “the wedding night”, but I don’t care! If it happens, great, if not then that’s fine too. I’m just excited to marry my guy and party with our friends and fam. CAN’T WAIT!

  56. I am totally with you on this one! My now husband and I lived together for 2 years before we got married, and it DID NOT make the night of our wedding any less passionate and exciting than if we had never been together (or had stopped for a few weeks). It is the new excursion you and your hubby are embarking on that makes this next step so fantastic. Yes, the sex is great, but it’s that next part that makes it wonderful. We did the traditional “not being in the same place the night before the wedding”, but other than that, it was the same old each day before our impending vows. Good luck to you on your’s and your future hubby’s day! You will hear time and again, it goes by soooo fast! Take the time from the reception to the way home, when it is just the two of you, to reflect about key moments and cherish all the things that went well (and went wrong, it always makes for a good story – the top part of our cake went missing!)

  57. Lol, I doubt there will be sexytimes on my wedding night. We’ll be damn lucky if we make it back to the hotel by midnight and we have to be at the airport around 5 the next morning. Save that for when we get to Hawaii I figure. Besides, not to be too sappy, but it IS special every time we kiss and more imo. It isn’t more important because we’re doing whatever as a married couple finally.

  58. *Clapping* Just moved in with my partner, known him for ten years and have been having the same thoughts. Thank you for your honesty and for standing your ground. Virginity came and went long ago(but it was with him, SCORE!) and I can’t recreate this delicate virgin flower scene again. I don’t care, our wedding night sex will be awesome.

  59. Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! for this. I agree with it all 100% period amen. And I’m glad that there are other people that feel the same way.

  60. For one thing, many couple s dont even have sex on wedding night, because they are so damn tired. i thought that would be us, but it did happen. We thought we would wait a little while before, but that didnt happen. The wedding night nookie WAS different. Super different, in fact. We have lived together with two kids (one is his) for four years, being a married couple without the certificate. When we “consummated the marriage” it felt like we were making love. It wasn’t the most passion-fueled or do-me-now sex ever, but it was the most tender, make-me-wanna-cry-in-a-good-way lovemaking.

  61. My husband and I spent the night before the wedding apart, having lived together for two years previously. It was actually very cool – my best friend and I spent the morning together, and it definitely felt like a rite of passage. (Says the anthropology nerd.) No regrets there. We didn’t try to hold off on sex beforehand, but we were staying with family for a month beforehand and sleeping in separate bedrooms, which put a damper on things. We were too exhausted for anything but a cup of hot chocolate on our wedding night, but made it official the next day. It was far from the first time, but calling each other “husband” and “wife” made it special and memorable.

  62. Tubsy and I have spent a couple night together but we haven’t lived together and we won’t until a couple of months after the wedding. (I will be completing grad school in a different state)I am a little scared about living together after I move back but not too worried that I would push back the wedding date to live together first.

  63. Most girls get their periods for their weddings due to the stress involved. Seriously, by the time everything is said and done, most couples will be passed out by the time they hit the pillow. I know I will be.

  64. As you said it’s a very personally thing and different for everyone, but I’ve got to say for me wedding night sex was more memorable and in some ways more special than the first time we had sex, or indeed the first time I had sex at all. And we did’t do anything special, we didn’t hold off or live apart before the wedding, we didn’t really plan it, we were both exhausted and a little drunk.

    It was the fact that it was our first time as husband and wife that made it memorable, not how long it’d been since last time.

  65. My dude and I had been living together for over a year before we got married. What made our wedding night special was not only the fact that it was our wedding night, but also the hotel room with a jetted tub πŸ˜€

  66. See, I can buy the idea that having sex for the first time on your wedding night is a more memorable and romantic experience. But would I trade 6 years of having awesome sex with my boyfriend for one night? Nope.

    • Hell yes to this. We got together when I was 19 and I doubt we’ll be married before I’m 25, there’s just too much stuff going on. I wouldn’t have wanted to be married at 20, and I wouldn’t give back these fantastic years we’ve had for a traditional wedding night. I think we’ll probably high-five and pass out more than anything. He’ll still be the person I find ridiculously sexy and special all the time in the morning.

  67. Wow, I was curious how couples who are living together or are sexually active felt about the wedding night and the ‘specialness’ of it, so this was an interesting post to read. Me and my fiance are both virgins, so we can’t relate to this the way that a lot of other couples can. To us, it will be our first ever sexual experience in our lives…EVER!!!! Totally pumped! Wouldn’t have it any other way, but I know a lot of people whose relationship is totally different in that respect, so i’ve naturally been a little curious what that’s like.

    I never asked any of my friends the question aloud, cause a virgin asking her sexually active friend if she considered her wedding night to be more or less ‘special’…there’s just not a polite way to ask that. I figured it was something I’d just never know, and that was fine. But it was awesome to finally read some stuff about it!

  68. I’m throwing my two-cents in here: I believe that living together is a commitment, as is getting married.
    I think that whether you wish to wait, abstain completely, have a break the night/week or month before or do it the morning of your wedding, then you should absolutely do what works for you both as a couple!!
    However, I am friends with a married couple who were told point-blank that unless she and her partner (of several years cohabitation) moved into separate houses and abstained from All sexual contact for several months before the wedding, their wedding/marriage would not be ‘right’ in the eyes of God and their families, and as such their pastor refused to perform the ceremony unless they followed these rules (at the time they were not attending church). Ultimately, however, it was their decision – they are happily married, and the break from each other did heighten their anticipation of the wedding night.
    I do not think that couples should be pressured into meeting the expectations of family or friends, whether that is by abstaining or moving in with each other and so I applaud everyone who makes their decisions WITH their partners, irregardless of whether those decisions are about crockery, stationary, vows or sexual relationships.

  69. By the time my fiance and I get married we will have been together for 6 years and lived together for 4. I have also lived with a previous partner, and can safely say living with someone gives you a very clear perspective on whether or not you should marry them. “Special” is an ambiguous term that means different things to different people. I think part of the reason that so many marriages fail is that young women are programmed to see marriage as this magical thing. What living together does is not make marriage less special but make it less mysterious. I for one, think marrying someone should be an informed decision. I have definitely faced criticism about living with my partner, and about waiting for so many years for him to propose. I am even guilty of saying things like “well we are practically married anyway…” Still, I was amazed how different I felt once that ring was on my finger, so no I don’t think our marriage will be any less “special.”

  70. My husband and I didn’t have sex until we got married due to his religious commitments. It certainly didn’t make the wedding night sex more memorable (I was so exhausted by then that I could hardly remember it) and the sex the next night was much better. I think it would be pretty sad if the wedding night sex were the pinnacle of your sex life; hopefully we’ve got many decades of happily doing it to come.

    I also think that discussions like this reveal two different perspectives on ‘chastity’ (for wont of a shorthand for ‘not doing certain sexual activities with people you aren’t married to’). The approach I find less helpful is one that concentrates on virginity. It treats virginity as this precious fragile thing which has to be protected until dramatically given to your one true love. I think a better way of thinking about it is to treat ‘only having sex with someone you’re married to’ more like any other moral behaviour you’re committed to, for example regularly giving money to charity. As far as I know there’s no special word for someone who’s given money to charity their whole adult life without missing a month. I don’t think someone would suggest that if you missed a month of donations it’s all ruined and you may as well not bother any more. If you think in terms of ongoing sexual ethics rather than virginity the wedding night isn’t perceived as such a big dramatic event because, rather than it being passing the finish line with your virginity intact, it’s the continuing of a sexual ethic playing out differently due to a different situation, just as how most moral commitments play out depends on your situation. Wedding night sex is special, but so is every time you have sex. And if you’ve decided to be sexually monogamous you’ve still got 6 billion people to not have sex with over the course of your marriage.

    I guess to me, not having sex for a little while before your wedding feels a bit like playing make believe at a morality you don’t sign up to. I’m not sure why someone would want to do that.

    • “I guess to me, not having sex for a little while before your wedding feels a bit like playing make believe at a morality you don’t sign up to. I’m not sure why someone would want to do that.”

      Just wanted to respond to this bit. Obviously I can’t speak for the author, but I think a couple who lives together and has been having sex throughout their relationship would only play with the idea of holding off on sex for a few weeks before the wedding in an attempt to make the wedding night feel new/exciting/special. It’s not a question of practicing morality or ethics to someone who believes in having premarital sex, because someone who believes in having premarital sex does not view the act as immoral, unethical, etc. But rather, it’s the worry that because there is the tradition of a “wedding night” – what was once the first night you spent with your new spouse – will it still feel special, if you’ve been sharing a bed and having sex with that person for years?

  71. Thank you for writing this! I often get the same concerns expressed by my friends and family, sometimes it’s easy to think they’re right!

  72. FIRSTLY: Props to Tessa for including non binary gender.
    Secondly, I’ve known my fiancee for 10 years now, we slept together 4 years ago at a party and had been eachother’s dates to social events since we both don’t have a lot of reliable friends, and we enjoyed eachother’s company. I was in love with her for about 3 years before she understood why I had told her “you…you’re so beautiful…and…I love you” while sharing an umbrella with her at midnight [she laughed at me and said ‘ha, wow, you looked so sincere, I needed that, to which I of course laughed off] a week before we started dating for the 3rd time, we were at a restaurant, and I was talking about sleeping with one of my guy friends [I’m a trans boy, this is not uncommon] she didn’t think it was a good idea… I said, no one else sees me as a man… she told me that that simply wasn’t true… I told her “no, but no one who thinks I’m a man also wants to sleep with me…” she said “oh..right..yeah I don’t want to sleep with you” **crushed** it confirmed the 2 years of awkward flirting where I had actually been abstinent for TWO years since I thought if I pursued a relationship with someone else, and ended up with her, I’d look unfaithful despite having no actual obligation to commitment–alternately, if I found someone else, I’d have damaged the relationship by liking someone else… I give my whole heart and this felt dishonest to all parties… but in the middle of dinner, I’m not a friendzoned a-hole but we’ve had sexual tension 3/4 of our friendship, we’re VERY MUCH eachothers type… and I said “Well fine, you wouldn’t want to sleep with me…but you should think about marrying me…you’ve read enough Jane Austen to know that 25 is practically an old lady…I may inherit some farm land…I think you’re beautiful…I do dishes…sex aside…this is not a bad offer” she laughed so hard and said “you’re right, no one will want my dowry if I’m an old shrew! alas, if I don’t soon get betrothed, I may get set in my ways in my old age” and I said “oh yes..may..oh yes..old age..” and then we shared a sundae [I DON’T SHARE FOOD, NOTHING GROSSES ME OUT MORE] a couple days later I got a text “I may have spoken prematurely last time I saw you, I think I might want to sleep with you after all” And that’s not what I wanted to hear, I wanted to hear that she liked me–but it turned out that she was playing the cards she thought I’d like best, she came over for the weekend to my parent’s house [so classy] and she fell in love with me in 48 hours… I moved in with her about 2 months in, it was a good thing I did because the next day I had to take her to the hospital and call ambulance… she had lived alone for 8 years and it was kind of ironic, and within 2 months I had surgery, and I’ve been unemployed this whole time, we both struggle with mental illness–for richer and poorer/in sickness and in health and have actually hit home, we’ve created a home with eachother, been pillars of support for eachother, I suppose that watching someone I had only seen in a ‘sexy light’ in vomit covered sweatpants, made things pretty real for us pretty fast, and I was writing down all her information on a medical chart in the e.r. kind of made me feel like if I was going to leave, I was going to leave right then and I couldn’t, I think we wouldn’t be anywhere near as strong or equipped to handle the responsibilities of marriage if we hadn’t lived together and it’s not about sex for us, because we had been dating about 5 months before she’d ever seen me naked, and that was only because I was going to spend the next month wrapped in gauze… so sometimes things happen for a reason, and I don’t think ‘the wedding night’ will be any less special, because we will have a hotel room, we will have a view of the harbour, we will have something to celebrate… and know that we celebrate saturday mornings pretty consistently… but we’re actually glad that we’re having an afternoon wedding because we’ll have a big nap in a big hotel bed [I’m 6ft tall and we sleep on a double] and then not be too tired to enjoy the evening… and though it may not be our first time, first time together, or even our first time together while dating… it’ll be our first time as a married couple, and it’ll probably not be much different and that’s okay, and it’ll probably be even better if we’re not stressing ourselves out by hyping it up…

  73. I love this. So many people have said the same kind of things to me and my future-hubby-to-be. In our case though, we are planning to start trying for a baby the night of our wedding, so for us, that’s how we’re making it “special”. In the end, it’s you two together for the rest of your lives that matters.

  74. We lived together for almost a year and a half and we made sure we didnt go home on the wedding night, we got a really nice suite in town and when we did go home the next day to finish packing for the honeymoon, he carried me across the threshhold to OUR home…i want to cry now thinking about it. Living together didnt make that night any less special.

  75. Wow, apparently a hot button topic. Lots of comments.

    My future hubby and I have lived together for 5 years and just bought a house last fall. I never even thought about not spending the night with him before. I look forward to waking up next to him on our wedding day. That moment is going to be special to me.

    And being engaged has definatley jump started my libido. I’m so in love with him at this time in our lives (as all times, but the commitment, it’s damn sexy), that I couldn’t imagine with holding from sex. Plus we fight less when we have sex a lot and with all the stress of the wedding we need that stree reliever!

    But that’s just us and how we work… Every couple is different.

  76. I wasn’t aware that was what made sex hot, but if being in love makes you have hot sex everytime good for you. I would emphatically disagree (being in love)

  77. Good for you! every couple is different, some depending on lifestyle and location and a million other reasons including a big one. Faith.
    as happy as this story is, i have to disagree.
    my now husband and i had a hugely long distance relationship and upon visits, we spent about 4 days at a time together. we shared a bed, but we Never had sex before our wedding. not even “playful hands”.
    we talked about our “fantasies and stuff” but we never acted on them. yes. it was very hard.
    yes, though it is true we are Christians and that was the major part in our decision on “waiting till our wedding night”
    because of our long distance relationship, we grew to learn to “deal with each other”. not in a bad annoyed way of course, but just, things like, sharing a bathroom, a bed, a kitchen and such, it was quickly apparent to us that we would be just fine once we were married.
    we dealt with the long distance thing, even though the engagement!!!! it was so hard, but to sum it all up. . .
    as we entered our bedroom of our wedding night stay, and he started to unlace my dress and unclip my stockings from my garters, i started to cry.
    he asked me if was scared or nervous, and i said “yes, but thats not why i’m crying”, he hugged me so tight and as he took the words right out of my mouth, he said “me too. i’m so happy we waited.”
    it was an amazing journey that i got to share with him, and i didn’t have to worry about “testing it out” on anyone else.
    as hard as it was, and as trying of our self strength and control, we would not have had it any other way. (:

  78. Love this! Each couple needs to figure out what’s right for them, but living together first was definitely the right move for us. We joke about the fact that if after three years of living together (and four years together), we still like each other enough to be getting engaged, we’re on the right track! Especially since our living habits are so different (starting with the fact that he’s a neat freak and I’m compulsively messy). Also, if you really want to test a relationship, live together in a small apartment. With two cats. And then go get a dog that the cats hate. Our patience has been tested with each other and our living situation countless times – but it’s our little family and after knowing all of the cons, we still want to spend the rest of our lives together.

    And as for excitement, please… things were really exciting when we got engaged, including really exciting sex – and the only thing that had changed was that I had a new ring on my finger (and the ring wasn’t even a surprise). And if we’re being honest, when I think back on the first time we had sex, I’d say it was more awkward than exciting (isn’t it always?). After four years, we know what the other likes in the bedroom. I’d rather have familiar sex that’s GOOD sex than “new/exciting but awkward” sex, any day.

  79. It seems that when studies are completed about couples living together before marriage having a higher chance of breaking up, they are forgetting one important distinction:

    Living together, and planning a wedding *while* living together, are two different beasts.

    If you become engaged before moving in together, and in order to justify to folks and friends that it’s okay to do so, you start planning a wedding right away- there are different stressors involved, and both of you can’t really look at your whole situation.
    Can you really stand it when he places dirty socks on *top* of the dresser? Or are you just ignoring it so you can focus on the 567th crane you need to origami to death?

    Once the Wedding is gone, however, you start to notice the small things that everybody talked about, wondering how you put up with them, and all of a sudden, they’re HUGE.

    Sometimes insurmountable, sometimes surmountable.

    If you’re able to make it work, you get extra happy, bouncy, bonus points, because Yay!

    But I just wanted to point out the distinction that those studies saying things* aren’t really making important distinctions between catergories of people and *How* they are “living together”, but rather lumping them together in one big group of “Living together Before” vs. “Wait until After”.

    *(cultural customs are there for VERY GOOD REASONS, such as YOU WILL BE DOOMED TO FAILURE if you don’t follow them explicitly!!!!1!)

  80. I have made a choice not to live with my fiance until we are married. Part of that is finances – I don’t want to live with a zillion other people, but could not pay full rent for a house yet – and part of it is for me it just feels right πŸ™‚ (I was engaged previously to another man and lived with him so it could be a reaction to that).

    That being said, I spend a few nights at his each week and his at mine, so no death defyingly loud snoring surprises for me on the wedding night.

    TBH, sometimes I think the only reason it is “bad luck” to see you other half on the wedding day or night before is if you are one of those people who turns bitchy under stress (like me) and with last minute emotions and fights – not even worth thinking about.

  81. Oh I’m so there with you! I’ve seen this come up lots of times all over the place. I told My Beloved that He’d best be planning on putting out in the time leading up to the wedding. He replied, “Why would we not do one of the best stress relieving, bonding and generally good for us activities during a time when stress will be high? Why would we separate ourselves from the one person who is there to help us not stress?” Yeah great minds and all that. . .

  82. Oh man, I’m jumping into this one πŸ™‚

    My fiancΓ© and I have talked about this particular issue a lot. We’ve been together nearly 7 years, lived together for about 4, and it will be nearly 8/5 when we get married next year. Obviously we have had The Sex. When it comes to our wedding night, we have actually agreed that we most likely won’t have sex (I mean, if the mood strikes we’ll go for it). Because we’ve been together and cohabitated for so long, we know ourselves pretty well and we can say with reasonable confidence that the night of the wedding we will both be way too exhausted to bang. An ideal wedding night for us probably looks more like watching junk on TV and eating leftover wedding food than making sweet love on a pile of rose petals/unicorn glitter. It may seem kind of unsexy and unromantic, but for me one of the sweetest and most romantic things about our relationship is how we can be totally relaxed with each other and enjoy the unsexy times as much as the sexy ones.

    We also figure if we’re going to have a big, expensive party we may as well stay at it for as long as possible.

    I’m not yet sure how I feel about the night before the wedding (whether I want to spend it together or apart), but I’m not really that concerned about it – I figure we’ll just do whatever seems practical at the time.

  83. Not only have FH and I lived together since the first WEEK of our relationship (friends for 10 years and all that – plus a super sweet text that I woke up to from afar saying “I never want to be without you [overnight] again. Hook line and sinker.), but we also have a baby (Toddler. I don’t wanna admit that, but he’s totally a toddler now – complete with walking action. You’re killin’ me, smalls.) together. We’ve also had this talk and its the same thing as above, just “Why.” Why would we deprive each other of stress relief, closeness and romance, especially during craziness and especially BECAUSE of aforementioned baby-toddler. It’s hard to get your fuh-reak on with little ears around, lemme tell ya. So any time we can squirrel away is straight up magical. Night before? I’m probably going to be too much of a stress mess to want to make with ~le sexytime. However our wedding is over really early in the day, we’re going to either go bowling or to the batting cages after (yes still dressed up, because why not.) then we’re taking off for our “weekendmoon.”
    There’ll be some business. And that’s plenty fine. And it won’t be any less special because there have been some prior businesslike relations, it’ll be more special because now it’s my husband instead of “just” my mister and that’s good enough for me. πŸ™‚

  84. Ha, love this article and the responses! I always thought it was silly and a shame how people build up the wedding night just like the wedding day-neither of which has anything to do with a working marriage. My now husband and I have also lived together for years (before dating even) and had no plans for the wedding night. Turns out we happened to be on an 8 week dry spell before the wedding anyhow as I happened to be pregnant and wicked nauseous, and neither of us had any intention of trying anything after such a long day. But as we settled into bed while guests were still having fun out back, we randomly got stoked and broke the long dry spell. You just never know so it’s better to allow yourself to be pleasntly surprised.

  85. I’m probably one of the only people on Earth who didn’t live with my husband before we got married! It wasn’t really a choice, and I would have done, but our wok commitments meant living 350 miles apart and seeing each other on the weekend. (We actually didn’t live together until 7 months after the wedding!) I think it’s an old fashioned sentimentality that holds “the wedding night” as some sort of perfect sexual ideal, and a blushing, virginal bride about to “become a woman”. Whereas, in reality it either doesn’t happen at all because you’re too tired, or it’s a bit of a fumble before passing out. (Or, in the case of a friend, going to the room to check he’s ok, and finding him fast asleep on the bed, fully clothed including shoes, and didn’t come down for the rest of the night) So no, it makes no difference!

  86. How many people really manage it on the wedding night anyway? Without like, pharmaceutical assistance? I find it hard to believe that people are really “making it special” on the first night. It would be frustrating and clumsy and not a good end to a long day. Much better to leave it till a few days down the line during the honeymoon.

    After my wedding I will probably go straight to sleep and not wake untill the following evening. My partner will likely be on energy downtime for several days. We will probably have less sex during the week of our wedding than we have ever had when we’ve been together.

    Welp, there is nothing I can do about it and it doesn’t really bother me. That’s not what it is about any more anyway.

  87. For us, it will be even more special – namely because we won’t be worrying whether our daughter is going to stumble into the bedroom!! πŸ˜›

  88. Unpopular perspective here.. I think the no sex/no living together thing is because it’s something that binds you. It’s more about not wanted to be bound to someone without the (ideally) permanency of marriage. In theory, if you catch red flags, its easier to bail if you aren’t bound as strongly. Also, it forces you to build up all the other aspects of your relationship too so you will always have fuel burning for sex even when you fall out of sync. For some Christians it’s more akin to a fast in which you give over control as a statement of trust and faith that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. That being said, we’re trying not to.. failing miserably.. it makes for a lot of crankiness.. but it’s also brought some issues to the surface we wouldn’t have otherwise seen or dealt with that could have been more severe if caught later. Idk, whatever people decide.. do what is your convictions and not someone else’s.

  89. We spent the first four years of our relationship either long distance and/or living with friends. So when we moved in just the two of us we and our family saw it as our “make or break” moment. Glad to say we made it hehe. I know that we are truly compatible. Think we’ll take the wedding night as it comes, if we have the energy then fine if we stay up partying instead also fine. Got a couple of days after to make up for it πŸ˜‰

  90. The husband and I talked about “abstaining” for a bit before the wedding but then decided that was not in our cards since I simply can’t resist him and he thinks I’m smokin’ hot. That said, as the wedding approached, we both got a little stressed and ended up not “doin’ it” any how. Come time for the wedding, our ceremony didn’t even start until 11:45pm and ended shortly after midnight. I’m one of those “turns in to a pumpkin at 9pm” kinda girls, so I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We got to the hotel, stripped down as fast as we could and fell asleep HARD. In the morning, we had “yay! We’re married AND I actually got some sleep”-sex. It was great.
    I think that the fact that many (most?) people are not virgins on their wedding night anymore has lended itself to a more relaxed view of the dreaded wedding night. You don’t have to listen to grandma tell you about how to “tame the one eye’d snake” the day before. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself that it stops being fun. Do what feels right, and if the wedding night sex doesn’t feel “special” enough, put your dress back on and try again.

  91. I lived with my FH before we even started to date! I moved into a shared house with 3 lads after my previous relationship ended (New Girl pinched my story!!) And eventually we started dating. To be honest it was great, as we already got on well living under the same roof. I was initially very worried in case it didn’t work out between us, as I loved living in that house. As it was, it served brilliantly as a test run before we got a place on our own (we also had a 6 month period when the 2 other guys had moved out and so we were together in a massive house, which was great until the rooms got filled again and we realised that we didn’t want others living with us anymore!)

  92. I really absolutely LOVE this post, because I have been getting flack from people just because I am planning my wedding so far in advance ( 2 years). We also want to live together, and people of course make comments, but I really love this?

  93. I live with my fiance, but we dont go past 3rd base. I like this post about living together pre-marital but i also like the idea of poking and stroking after its official that hes mine and im his.. hopefully forever :p
    It was also a lot easier to wait since we were LDR in the beginning bc he moved a few states over for a job, and since i had a job where i lived we only saw each other 5 times in 2 years, but then he proposed which sped up my moving in with him. I dont think its bad to wait, but i also dont think its bad to not wait. Whatever you agree on as a couple is still going to be special, bc your making BIG decisions together πŸ™‚

  94. My Fiancee and I have been living together for over three years now and have been engaged two years. We are also raising my three children from a previous relationship together. I too agree with the writer- no matter what you do a marriage is always special. Regardless of how long we have been together before the wedding- everything we do is special between the two people in the relationship. I don’t have to worry about the uncertainty of whether or not we will get along after marriage because we have lived together and know what to expect. We went into the relationship with our eyes wide open as well. My situation may not work for everyone just as the writers situation may not work for everyone, to each is own. I look forward to my wedding day and the intimacy he and I share after the wedding as I know that it will be demonstrative of he and I. For those who wait until marriage, it works for them and I am happy for them. I personally know that it would not work for me and that is okay. Each relationship and marriage is different just as each person is.

  95. My husband and I lived together for 6 years before we were married. We thought about getting a hotel room for our wedding night but decided the money was better spent towards the honeymoon. Did the wedding night feel less special? Heck, no! It was special because it was our wedding night! Just because it was to a place we’d been at for years didn’t change that. Know why? Because it’s our HOME. And home will ALWAYS be the most special place. πŸ™‚

    • I was 37, never married, was a career woman, when I met my boyfriend of 45, who had been married before, with children over age 15. We moved in together, and planned a wedding 18 months later. I wanted to make our wedding night special, so we planned to “not have sex for a month before our wedding night”.

      It made us appreciate hugging and kissing more, so I am glad we did it, but about a week before the wedding, I was overwhelmed with the pressure of time running out and things weren’t getting done, and I snapped at him. That was a FIRST. He told me what could ease the pressure, so we gave in just once. Wow! He said I needed that.

      The rest of the week flew by, and we had a beautiful wedding on July 11, 1998 at 12:00 noon. I had always been late for every appointment in my life, but was determined that I would be walking down the aisle on time, which I did.

      After the reception, we came to our house to change clothes before going back to the reception for the going away rice throwing event, and you better believe we had hot sex. We were tired, but WE JUST GOT MARRIED! We didn’t want to forget that moment for the rest of our lives. We then went on to an after party until 11 pm, drove an hour to New Orleans, I then passed out, got up at 4 a.m. and flew to Cancun for our honeymoon.

      Oh, and the marriage; we had 10 wonderful years, then his best friend sexually assaulted me, and he wanted to still play golf with this friend on Sunday mornings. That was a deal breaker. We divorced after that.

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