One is not exclusive of the other. It is nice, but not necessary.
**** you , zipperhead
Isn't that a bit backwards? Plan on the wedding and the kids will come later. Hopefully. Maybe. Depends on if the parents are arseholes or not.
Screw it, dump the idea of having kids!
if you plan them yes
No, especially if you are an atheist/agnostic. Then marriage is just a piece of paper and an excuse for a party.
Then what is it?
Well if you don't want to say, fine. But it's pretty hard to see another viewpoint in that case.
I'm not looking to be convinced but I am open-minded, I'm curious as to what other people think. If you think marriage is special, then that's your prerogative. I don't understand it but I can accept it. I personally don't see how undergoing, what to me, is meaningless a ceremony would change how I feel about a person or make them more special.
If the feelings are already there and you know yourself that the person is special, then what's the need for the ceremony?
Well I suppose the difference is that I don't see what makes marriage special.