When Is The Best Time to Get Married in Medical School? (11 Big Questions)

You’ve been with your partner a serious number of years and it’s about time you tied the knot. But, uh oh, med school got in the way. And you (or your significant other) aren’t prepared to give up the dream of becoming a doctor…

Get Married In Medical School

So, stubbornness aside, when’s a good time to make it happen?

The best time to get married in med school is probably in the summer after the first year.

This is generally the longest period of free time a med student will have in their studies. But it’s also far enough away from the USMLE Step 1 exams not to be too much of a stressor.

Like all things though, there are plenty of exceptions.

So if that answer doesn’t satisfy you, here’s what else this article will cover:

  • Other “good” times for med students to get married
  • If it’s the same for non-US (international) students
  • Whether it’s better to get hitched in residency or before school
  • How to plan a wedding and find balance while studying

All in 11 big questions.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

Best Time To Get Married In Medical School

M1 Vs M2 Vs M3

Married (or just about to get married) med students have different opinions as to what year of med school is best.

What they generally recommend is:

  • Summer after Year 1 (M1): the longest period of free time most med students will have inside of four years of study
  • Winter break of Year 2 (M2): another couple of free weeks that’s close enough away from the summer Step 1 exam
  • The period after residency (Year 4 (M4)) interviews: when the stress of securing a place is out the way and you can focus better

Which year you choose will depend on your significant other and their free time too though.

It’s not always guaranteed the above timings will match!

The Worst Time To Get Married In Med School

As for when’s the worst time to get married? Students generally accept it’s the following:

  • Any period close to the USMLE Step 1 (or any other major med school exams)
  • Any time during Year 3 (M3): this is when your schedule is erratic due to clinical rotations
  • Any time before securing a residency placement (or knowing your vacation schedule) during M4

But of course there are med students who have got married during these times.

So don’t take it as a 100%.

When Should International Med Students Get Married?

Again, this entirely depends on your med school schedule and where you go to school.

The same advice above is probably useful though…

  • No time close to important exams
  • No time where you have an unpredictable schedule

Weddings are serious. There isn’t much room to chop and change the dates!

What Day Should You Get Married If You Go To Medical School?

Most med students agree a day later in the week (Thursday/Friday) is generally the best day to get married. That’s because it gives you time to settle in and get ready for the week. But also means you don’t have to jump straight back into work or school afterward.

So you can better enjoy each other’s time more!

One benefit here is that it’ll usually work out cheaper too. Those weekend weddings aren’t cheap and med school is already pretty steep.

If you can save some dollar by shifting your wedding day around, then why not?

Is It Better To Get Married After Med School?

Getting married directly after med school can be hit or miss. If you have a long vacation window before starting residency (and your internship) then it can definitely work. If there isn’t much turnaround time before starting then it’s probably best saved until later.

Maybe this is something you can think about, plan for and request in your residency interviews.

A lot of the time you might be able to negotiate a later start date if you emphasize your plans.

Is Getting Married During Residency Best?

Many medical residents claim they get more free time compared to med school. For someone hoping to get married, that’s awesome news. But it is case dependent.

Certain residencies (and medical specialties) have more free time than others. You’ll need to get a good idea of your work commitments first before deciding to say “I do” during residency.

Related: Medical Specialties With The Best Quality Of Life (Who Are The Happiest Doctors?) 

It Is Better To Get Married Before Med School?

It could be argued that yes, it’s a lot easier to get married before med school rather than during.

This is because:

  • Your schedule won’t be as crazy
  • Your time commitments will be less
  • You’ll probably be less stressed

But again this all depends on your personality (and the situation of your future spouse).

Med school can certainly put strain on marriage plans though…

How Do I Plan A Wedding In Medical School?

Planning a wedding during med school is going to take a bunch of things.

Here’s a few major ones:

  • Leaning on the help of your fiancée (especially if they have more free time than you do)
  • Employing a wedding planner (a serious expense)
  • Disciplining yourself to study more efficiently so you have more free time to plan (this one you can do)
  • A clear idea of your schedule (hence why it’s better in the periods recommended above)

Mostly though, it all comes down to time.

If your classes aren’t mandatory and you can skip lectures/study from home, that can make things 10x easier.

Tips For Balancing Study With Getting Married

The best ways to save time so that you can getting married in med school include:

  • Studying from the highest yield resources (check out my recommendations for more)
  • Using active recall study techniques to take shortcuts mastering content
  • Go to a school that has pass/fail exams and/or let’s you study from home (pre-clinical years only)
  • Minimizing all other responsibilities (research, work commitments, social engagements) that could otherwise take up your time

I imagine that last one could get quite depressing but having a bombass wedding should at least make up for that? Right?

Is There Any Benefit To Getting Married While Still In Med School?

One benefit of getting married while still in med school is that it can be a real test. Getting through it, at least you’ll know how strong your relationship is and just how much it can handle.

But I must agree that there are probably better scenarios.

What Is The Best Age For A Doctor To Get Married?

The answer to this is entirely subjective. Some people will say early while still in med school (usually between the ages 25-30), others will say later or before.

Finding love, settling down and committing to another person isn’t anything you can guarantee.

Doctors have no idea when all this could happen just as much as the next person.

But at least later into their careers they’ll probably be able to afford it more easily.

The money comes with experience in med.

How Are Medical School Marriage Statistics?

According to a study done by Harvard Medical School and published in American Family Physician, most medical school marriages have a “poor prognosis”.

Many medical students are married or become married in the course of medical school, but statistics indicate that these marriages have a poor prognosis. In some medical specialties and subspecialties, divorce rates climb over 50 percent, while in others, 20 percent is expected.


Compare that to the average 40 percent divorce rate for first-time marriages in the United States in 1992, and the odds don’t look that good.

Interestingly that same study highlights that psychiatrists (50 percent) get divorced more often than surgeons (33 percent).

You’d have thought all that study of the human condition maybe would have helped!

Final Thoughts On Getting Married In Med School

To summarize, getting married in med school can be complicated. There’s a ton to think about and not much time to do so.

If you do decide to take that big step however then don’t feel it’s anything to be too scared about.

Plenty of med students have done it before you and plenty more will in the future.

Good luck!

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Image Credit: @belart84 at Unsplash