It’s the culmination to many a fairytale, romantic book or film.
But is marriage really the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to relationships or an outdated institution?
The topic is up for discussion in the latest episode of Yahoo UK’s podcast Britain Is a Nation Of…, which looks at love and romance, including the issue of marriage.
If you do think marriage is an unnecessary stress, you aren’t alone.
According to previous YouGov Omnibus research, nearly one in four (24%) Brits believe that marriage is an ‘outdated institution’ – and 25% of those are married themselves.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the poll revealed that young people are more likely to think marriage is an out-of-date concept, with 18 to 24-year-olds 69% more likely to agree with the statement that marriage is outdated than the over-55s.
Nearly one in three Brits (30%) think most marriages end in divorce, the research showed, with the same proportion thinking that the cost of a wedding – now estimated to be an average of £30,000 – is a waste of money.
Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of… below
Speaking on the podcast, Dr Becky Spellman, psychologist and We-Vibe relationship expert, said while people get married for a range of reasons, they often don’t think about how it might end.
“It’s a very emotional thing,” she said. ”
People are either getting married for love or for their families or for religion, it might be a personal relationship goal… sometimes for practical reasons.
“They don’t tend to think about the exit strategy and there’s where things often get quite messy for people.”
What’s the alternative if marriage has had its day?
Dr Spellman would like to see an alternative to marriage for those who want to make a commitment to one another without the legal commitment that can bring such trauma when they break up.
“I meet so many people these days who are living as if they’re married without actually getting married,” she said.
“I really like the idea of non-legal marriages where you make the commitment and you’re doing it for love but not actually doing it for legal reasons
“Of course for some people when there’s children involved, it does get more complicated but I do think there should be an alternative to marriage where you’re just staying away from the legally-binding contract.”