Young and in love: students balance wedding planning and school

Published: Last Updated on

Senior social work major Hanna Carter thought Nov. 2 was going to be another normal day spent with her boyfriend, senior actuarial science major Austin Cripps, until he led her to the concrete steps of Smith Mall. Once there, both Carter’s and Cripps’s family members stood with poster-boards that documented each phase of the couple’s relationship, from the first meeting to what was about to take place. After singing a song to Carter, Cripps got down on one knee and proposed.

Their wedding date is Oct. 10.


(Cartoon by Tianyang Miao)


“I had never really thought about it [marriage] until I had met him,” she said. “I didn’t really think that would be something that we did until after [graduation], but it just makes more sense for us now to get engaged and start planning the wedding for it until after we graduate.”

When it comes to engagements, Carter and Cripps did it by the numbers. According to, 39 percent of proposals happen during the months of November to February. The months dedicated to celebrating family, unity and new chapters are usually the time for engagements, and the same goes for students like Carter at UIndy. And while those students have to juggle wedding plans with classes and homework, the statistics are really in their favor.

According to, the average age for women to get married in 1960 was 20 and for men it was 22. Thirty years later, in 1990, the average age for women was 23 and 26 for men. By 2013, however, the average was 27 for women and 29 for men. Studies show that there are benefits to getting married after college, such as women who marry after college are more financially stable. If a couple has attended college, the risk of getting divorce decreases by 13 percent, according to

Senior experience design major Kirstin Mindiola is a wedding planner that has already planned two weddings of couples in their 20s. Mindiola has been fascinated with the idea of weddings and putting them together since she was a child. Because of her experience, Mindiola knows what it takes to make a wedding successful and the biggest question is size.

“Do the bride and the groom want a small wedding?” she said. “Do they want a big wedding?”

Mindiola emphasized that the difference between an intimate event and one that includes associates and co-workers is really what drives the overall budget. She also said the couple’s desired size of the wedding gives her an idea of where it should be held, what the ceremony will be like, how much food needs to be prepared, what kind of decorations should be used and what the seating arrangements will look like.

Making these choices is exactly why Carter says that, while it can be busy juggling her wedding plans with schoolwork, it is all worth it at the end of the day.

“I want everybody to have fun,” she said. “I want to be happy. I want Austin to be happy with everything, so it’s definitely worth taking the time out of my day to do whatever I need to do to make it happen.”

Carter said her family and friends have all been supportive of her engagement and are excited for her and Cripps. She advised anyone else getting married to stay organized.

“Stay organized and do not let [yourself] feel so overwhelmed with it, because it’s a really exciting time,” she said. “And you don’t want to feel stressed out the entire six months, a year or however long you’re engaged. So just kind of take it easy and try to enjoy it as much as you can.”

Mindiola said when the whole wedding comes together it is a special time for the bride, the groom, family, friends and even the wedding planner. At the end of the day, she said, the whole reason why a person gets engaged becomes apparent.

“When it comes down to it, what matters is the person standing on the other side of the aisle, and the fact that you’re surrounded by people that love you and care about you and are there to celebrate your happiness,” she said. “And it’s just amazing to be in the room watching that bride go down the aisle. And it’s great knowing you’ve done all this work behind the scenes to make their day the best that it could be and to make them smile at each other the way that they do.”

Recommended for You