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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’s a shotgun wedding?
A shotgun wedding is when you get married due to conceiving a child out of wedlock.
“In plain English, please …”
A shotgun wedding is when you knock 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.
“Okay, so I put too much faith into my pull-out game. But what about the shotgun?”
The shotgun is a common trope from the past, often depicted in television shows for comedic relief. Some big-wig city slicker travels into a rural town, meets the buxom farmer’s daughter, and the two of them get down and dirty in the barn on a pile of hay bales. But, wouldn’t you know it, this city boy then finds out the farmer’s daughter is pregnant. Well, ol’ Pop Pop ain’t gonna be havin’ none of that big city business going on ‘round here. No, no, you can’t pull the wool over his eyes! So, what happens? Well, before the city slicker can rush out of town, he’s met by the farmer, shotgun in hand, with his priest and daughter in tow.
“Now, City Slicker, you’re gonna marry my here daughter or you’ll be leaving this town in a body bag.” So, begrudgingly yet with a smile, you greet the priest and take the farmer’s daughter’s hands—all while a shotgun is pointed at the back of your neck—and become husband and wife!
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.
“Well, I got this chick from Tinder preggers. Should I have a shotgun wedding?”
We live in a very different world nowadays, where there are a variety of remedies that can be used to treat the situation. For one, marriage doesn’t have to be the solution. Modern alimony makes it easy for separated parents to financially support one another, while there are simple ways to similarly raise a child even if you end up divorcing a few months down the road.
And, if divorce is your primary concern, know that it’s not that different for shotgun weddings compared to traditional marriages. Research has shown that 30 percent of white couples who had a shotgun wedding end up divorced, although that number among black couples is equivalent to the rates for preconception marriages (~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 gut. If you’re unsure about tying the knot before giving birth, wait it out and see how you’d make it as a couple and parents. If you decide to have a shotgun marriage but notice it’s not working after a few months, don’t be afraid to call it quits and get a divorce—just make sure you’re in your child’s life after the fact.
Shop All Our Wedding Rings
Thinking you’ll seal the deal and get married before your kid is brought into this world? Good on you for the decision. 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.