Is 20 Too Young To Get Married?

Are Gen Z marrying younger? Celebs might have you think so.
millie bobby brown and jake bongiovi

Last week, Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown wed her boyfriend of three years at the age of 20 years old. 

The actress and her now-husband, Jake Bongiovi (the 23-year-old son of rock legend Jon Bon Jovi) became engaged in 2023, roughly two months after Millie turned 19, sparking a massive conversation at the time around whether this was, well, okay. “It’s not because I can’t do it in 10 years; of course I can do it in 10 years,” Millie told Glamour of getting engaged so young. “But why, when I know that it’s going to work now?”

“It’s like, why wait?” she added. “Let’s go for it.”

millie bobby brown and jake bongiovi married young
Child star Millie Bobby Brown was recently married at the age of 20. Image: Instagram

These two Gen Zers are apparently part of a growing trend of celebs tying the knot at a very young age. While not all of them have made it down the aisle (yet), Millie Bobby Brown joins the likes of Sydney Sweeney (engaged at 24) and Hailey Bieber (married at 21) who are shacking up younger.

While the statistics in Australia don’t exactly suggest that marrying young is a wider trend, a quick trip around the internet makes one wonder if the pendulum could swing in its favour. TikTok, known as Gen Z’s social media platform of choice, is flush with influencers actively making the case for a youthful marriage. 

Niche groups like ‘tradwives’ boast large followings of people attracted to their pages partly because of the youthful appeal of their married lives. 

Of course, leading the pack is tradwife influencer Nara Smith, who married model Lucky Blue Smith at the age of 18 and now, at 22, has over 7.2 million followers on TikTok.

There are also dozens of popular young married couples on the app, including Abbie and Josh Herbert (abbieherbert – 15.5m followers), who were married when Abbie was 22; Kaylee and Taylor Dudley (kayandtayofficial – 10m) who were married at 18, and 25 and 26 year-old married couple Meghan and Jack Morrison (meghanandjack – 5.8m followers).  

While these are some of the mega influencers in their field, there remains hundreds (if not thousands) of accounts where youth and marriage are the selling point. (One woman with 145k followers even bills herself as offering “Gen Z bride + wife tips”.)

While the world of TikTok, like celebrity, is a form of entertainment, where niche lifestyles cannot be translated to the lives of the average Joe, the popular imagination could find itself swept away with such a pleasantly packaged (and marketed) approach to marriage. 

And while the trend doesn’t translate statistically (yet – the most recent marriage statistics in Australia are from 2022), the steadily growing age of first marriage in Australia has recently become stunted. 

Sydney sweeney
Sydney Sweeney is one of the most popular actresses of her generation—and she’s engaged at 24. Image: Getty

At What Age Are Australians Getting Married? The Statistics

While the marriage statistics don’t exactly suggest a dip in the age people are marrying, the median age in Australia has somewhat plateaued since 2018, after rising steadily since the 1970s.

Fifty years ago, the average age of first marriage for Australian women was 20.9, and men, 23.4. According to the most recent statistics (from 2022), this has climbed to 30.9 for women and 32.5 for men. Since 2018, however, the Bureau of Statistics claims the upward trend halted.

While 2021 saw another small uplift, there could be COVID to account for this little increase in the median age. 

And while the median age puts first marriages in their 30s, in reality, the largest age bracket for women getting married is 25 to 29. (For men it’s 30-34.)

While Australia may not show a downward trend in age, the US could be leading the charge.

A report on the wedding industry published by The Knot found that Americans were marrying on average three years younger in 2022 compared to 2021. 

While it’s difficult to conclude if Gen Z are marrying younger given their real-life age (born between 1997 and 2012, the younger end of the Gen Z spectrum is only 12 years old), pop culture has not in recent memory held the idea in such high esteem.


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