by Hayley Doyle
When I think of Posh and Becks, images flash to mind of them wearing matching purple outfits or sitting on golden thrones. It’s hard to believe that the star of the show, Baby Brooklyn, is now a married man himself. At the age of 23, the lucky guy has found his soulmate and is ready to make a life together with his new wife, Nicola Peltz.
‘Oh, but he’s too young!’ Said many, many strangers.
‘Far too young!’ Said some more.
‘He’s just a baby!’ They cried.
Now, it could be because his parents’ wedding pics are still so fresh in our memory that we cannot believe their son is old enough to have his turn. We all know how time loves to fly, eh? Or, is there a more solid reason as to why judgement to marry at his age has been so harsh? The cynics will always scoff. Attention seeking! Rich kids! Publicity Stunt! Delusional! But many people are attempting to come from a good place, warning Brooklyn and Nicola not to rush into things, they have their whole life ahead of them, why not go craaaazy…
Let’s stop there.
The 1950s imagery of married life certainly has a lot to answer for. A well-presented wife having a home-cooked meal on the table each evening for her hard-working husband might still exist within some families, but it’s no longer expected. For adults fortunate enough to live in a progressive society - as Brooklyn and Nicola - marriage in the modern world has truly evolved. It’s become much more about declaring your love for one another, openly stating that you want to share your life with that person. A married couple can still travel. They can still party. They can build careers and support each other’s dreams. They can do whatever they damn like, so long as they remain true and honest to one another, however it works for them.
The average age for women in the UK to marry is 35, and for men, it’s 38. But I’d rather not scatter these pages with statistics; not when it comes to love. You cannot measure love, just as you cannot measure friendship, grief or gut instinct, or any feelings that carry us through our lives to create our own personal experiences. I remember having an awkward date with a guy in my late twenties; he was cynical about marriage and love, and their deep connection.
‘Hmm, it’s no coincidence,’ he said, ‘that two people from the same town, or same workplace, end up marrying when they’re around thirty-ish.’
I sighed. My heart sank. There was a certain truth to what he was saying. Plenty of couples do feel the pressure to settle down by a certain age, and wanting children plays a huge role in this because of a biological ticking clock. Still, I wanted to believe that there was somebody out there for me, made for me.
‘Do you really think,’ he went on, ‘that in the whole world - the whole wide world - that your absolute soulmate, your most perfect person, just happens to be somebody you went to the local pub with?’
Needless to say, he and I didn’t fall in love and get married.
But it seems to me that everybody has a view on love and marriage - and usually one of a sceptical nature - until they find love and want to get married themselves. My parents met in their local town when they were 16. At 21, they tied the knot. Last month, they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. My mum jokes that she was a child bride, but there was never any doubt in her or my dad’s mind. They’ve never regretted a moment of their relationship, the ups and downs, the endless support and the bickering. They are an awesome love story, and some might call it a success story. When it comes to hearing wedding bells, they champion that sound and never question how young a couple might happen to be.
Yet, although I was brought up with the love of a strong marriage, I admit, I can be less enthusiastic. It’s easy to tut and eye-roll at the antics of people on reality TV shows, such as Married At First Sight. When a 25-year-old guy shows up saying that he wants to settle down and find a wife, I instantly yell, ‘You’re too young!’ How judgmental of me. But is it because I see myself in their behaviour? Am I reminded of my own immaturity during my twenties? Of the mistakes I made along the way?
When you marry young, you don’t just aim to grow old together, but you also have the opportunity to grow up together. The pressure to have children is not looming, so long as friends and family can keep their pokey noses out, and stages of maturity are likely to happen together, possibly quicker than remaining unmarried. If any of this appeals to a young couple, then why should they be discouraged or judged in making the commitment? Of course, there is the danger that during such impressionable years, growing apart might happen, and quickly. But for those who marry later in life, allowing a new partner into their personal space might cause many unwelcome issues. The longer you remain uncommitted to another person, the cosier and more comfortable you become in your own ways, and it can be difficult to let somebody in and compromise.
In the case of the newlyweds, Mr and Mrs Peltz-Beckham, they’ve grown up in a most unique world; lavish, glittering and dripping with cash. Compared to most married couples, their situation is rare, often attending celeb-fuelled multi-million dollar weddings and parties, so throwing such a grand affair was always going to get the public talking. If it wasn’t their age, then it would have been something else, because sadly, that’s the twittering insta-world we live in. For those who have expressed concern over Brooklyn’s age, it has to be said that Nicola is the same age as Posh and Becks were when they got married, and Brooklyn is only four years younger.
Once, I wanted a big wedding. The whole shebang. I was in a relationship at the time and daydreamed about us getting hitched, what I’d wear, what sort of band we’d have, the lot. But I never looked beyond that day. Never saw us being married, even though getting married was blue sky clear. When I came to this realisation and the relationship inevitably ended, I told myself that a wedding wouldn’t matter when I’d found the person I’d want to have an actual marriage with. As it turned out, at the age of 34, I eloped to fabulous Las Vegas and said, ‘I do,’ in a small chapel, just the two of us, the pastor and a photographer (as a witness). Afterwards, we went to see Elton John at Caesar’s Palace, so technically, Elton played at my wedding… But it’s the marriage that excites me; not the wedding. I picture my future with my husband in it, every step of the way, and long may that feeling last.
However, I do love weddings. More specifically, other people’s weddings! Seriously, some of the best days of my life have been at other people’s weddings. I’m sure my invite to the Beckhams’ bash simply got lost in cyberspace because I would’ve been there with bells on. So bring on the big parties, the live bands, the canapés and the free-flowing bubbles, please! As long as the couple feels good about what happens once the party’s over and the dress comes off. And to Brooklyn and Nicola, be happy. Age shouldn’t matter if you’re listening to each other… and your gut.