What’s A Shotgun Wedding & Should I Have One?

4 minute read

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You’ve probably heard the phrase shotgun wedding used before, but you might not know what it is. No, it doesn’t involve the bride and groom shot-gunning a beer before saying, “I do,” while the groomsmen and bridesmaid cheer them on—that’s an idea worth remembering, though. So what IS a shotgun wedding and should you have one? 

Back in 1872 a man was married against his will, and sued for a divorce according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The man said that he was forced at gunpoint to marry the farmer’s daughter. But why would anyone force another person at gunpoint to get married?

In a nut-shell it is usually because the couple made a baby without being married. So a shotgun wedding is when you knocked up your girlfriend or that Tinder one-night-stand—the biggest “oops” of your life—and you are forced into marriage by the woman’s father.

The shotgun is a common trope from the past, often depicted in television shows for comedic relief. But it actually happened!

Back in 1883 The Telegraph and Messenger from Macon Georgia reported George Maynor suspected Dr Roberts of knocking up his eldest daughter, Nottie. Mr. Maynor picked up a marriage license, grabbed his brother and two other relatives and abducted Dr. Roberts and forced him to marry Nottie at gunpoint. After the marriage, Dr. Roberts never returned. I can't imagine why?

Shotgun weddings are considered a thing of the past, as U.S. Census data shows that half of unmarried pregnant women married before giving birth in the 1930s, while that number has dramatically decreased in recent decades. However, just because it’s fallen by the wayside doesn’t mean it’s a relic of a forgotten time.  

We live in a very different world nowadays, one where unwed mothers have several resources available throughout their pregnancy and beyond. For one, marriage doesn’t have to be the solution. Modern alimony makes it easy for separated parents to financially support one another, without living together. Couples can co-parent, single parent, or even group parent their child.

The Vigilante Black Zirconium Wedding Ring

The Vigilante Black Zirconium Wedding Ring

What's really interesting is that the divorce rates for couples that got married because a bundle of joy was on the way was no different than marriages where the couples took their time to walk down the aisle.

Research has shown that 30 percent of white couples who had a shotgun wedding end up divorced. Black couples have a much lower rate around 20%. The differences are thus pretty scant, so it might not be a bad decision to begin looking for women’s and men’s diamond wedding bands

The best advice to keep in mind is to follow your heart. If you’re unsure about tying the knot before the baby arrives, wait it out and see how well you make it as a couple and parents. 

Co-parenting is a great modern day solution. Sometimes you need to ditch the traditional to live your best life - which is ok!

The Gentleman Tungsten Wedding Ring

The Gentleman Tungsten Wedding Ring

Shop All Our Wedding Rings

If you decided to go forward with your shotgun wedding you could also have some fun with it when choosing your wedding band. We have stunning “shotgun” barrel rings that are a creative way to get the conversation started. Or take a look at our vast selection of wedding rings, from men’s diamond wedding bands to custom bands, to our couple’s collection. You’re sure to find a ring that matches your style, making that shotgun wedding worth it.

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