Taking the next step: senior Mollie Wright gets engaged at 18

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Courtesy of Mollie Wright

Senior Mollie Wright poses with her fiancé at a family wedding in Mississippi. Wright is in the midst of planning her own wedding for 2021. “I am really excited about the planning process, especially the reception,” Wright said. “It’s more of the fun aspect, where I’ll get to socialize and dance with my friends and family.”

In the 1960’s, the median age of marriage for American women was 20. Now, with only 2% of American women getting married at the age of 18, it is a rarity to see a classmate commit to their lifelong partner.

This is the case for senior Mollie Wright, who got engaged at 18 years old over winter break. Wright and her fiancé have known each other for years after meeting through work, leading to her becoming friends with him and his sister.

“[My fiancé and I] have been dating for over a year, but we’ve known each other for over two and a half years,” Wright said. “For a while we were just friends, and I became pretty close to his sister. It’s been great knowing him this long and creating a strong friendship before [dating], because I personally think that is key for a relationship.”

It’s been great knowing him this long and creating a strong friendship before [dating], because I personally think that is key for a relationship,”

— senior Mollie Wright

Wright’s fiancé proposed on Christmas morning while they were celebrating the holiday at his parents’ house.

“There were ornaments on the tree with all of his family’s names on it. There was one with my name on it, and [my fiancé’s] sister brought it out,” Wright said. “She said some cheesy line about how I am part of the family now too. Then I turned around, and he was on one knee. I’ve forgotten most of it because of the shock– it all happened in the moment.”

Wright plans to get married in 2021. She has started wedding planning and is excited for the reception.

“I don’t care as much about the ceremony because I don’t love the idea of having all the attention on me. The part of the ceremony that I am 100% down for is the fact that I get the dress,” Wright said. “I’m more excited about the reception because it’s more of a party, with everyone having fun.”

Wright and her fiancé had been discussing marriage for years before their eventual engagement.

“Even when we were just friends, we talked about marriage in general. He knew I felt that way,” Wright said. “He knew where I stood, and that getting engaged at 18 wasn’t a problem. Nothing was rushed.”

Wright describes herself as old-fashioned, aiming to find someone she can be in a committed relationship with instead of casual dating.

“I’m pretty old-school when it comes to dating. We are in high school, so I don’t have to marry [who I am dating]. At the same time, I’m not just dating to mess around,” Wright said. “I want something to come out of it.”

I’m pretty old-school when it comes to dating. I want something to come out of it,”

— senior Mollie Wright

Wright has received many questions, positive and negative, about what her life will be like being engaged.

“People ask me, ‘aren’t you missing out on partying and stuff?’ But I’ve never been one to party,” Wright said. “My personal view is that I am not missing out on anything by getting married at age 20 versus 25. I don’t think my life will change, and I don’t see the point in waiting until age 20 or 21 to get engaged if I am with the same person.”

Wright’s family had no problem with her engagement; her parents were also engaged at a young age.

“No one in my family had a problem,” Wright said. “My parents are 10 years apart–my mom was really young [when she got engaged] and so was my grandma.”

Wright graduated a semester early and is pursuing a degree in nursing at St. Louis Community College. Her engagement did not factor into her decision to graduate early.

“From the get-go, I didn’t like high school. The only part I liked was sports,” Wright said. “[Graduating early] has been my plan since freshman year. Us being engaged was not a factor [in my decision] at all.”

Wright has posted about her engagement on social media and has received a lot of support from her family, friends and peers.

“I got a lot of good comments from what I posted on Instagram. The recognition from school friends and people congratulating me was great,” Wright said. “But at the same time, I’m a pretty independent person, so the only people I really needed and wanted support from was my family.”

Even with the support and positive responses she has received, she recognizes the judgement that people most likely have towards her engagement.

I know that nowadays, it’s not a common thing, [but] at the end of the day, I think it’s just about the person being happy,”

— senior Mollie Wright

“I would not say I have personally received [negative responses], but I can guarantee people have thought ‘what? An 18-year-old getting engaged?’ I know that nowadays, it’s not a common thing.” Wright said. “At the end of the day, I think it’s just about the person being happy.”

Wright remains unbothered in the face of judgement, remaining confident in her decision.

“The fact that I’m 18 and engaged–that does not bother me in the slightest,” Wright said.

At one point, Wright almost broke up with her then-boyfriend because she second-guessed herself. 

“[I was] thinking ‘oh my gosh, what else is out there?’” Wright said. “Then I realized, I don’t need to look to see if there is someone who can make me happier when I have everything I want right in front of me. The life I already have with him is great, and the life we have planned is even better. That’s how I knew he was the one.”