A Sim can propose to another Sim, depending on their relationship. If the other Sim accepts, the two Sims will get married.
In The Sims, any two opposite-sex adults can get married. Either Sim can propose, but the proposer must be at home to do it. Whether the other Sim accepts or not depends on their mood or the relationship between the two Sims. If the other Sim accepts, however, both Sims will change into their formal clothes and share what's either a dance or a polite kiss, and the proposing Sim will be charged §1000. Sims who don't have §1000 can still marry; they'll be charged half of whatever funds they have. The Sim who was proposed to will take on the family name of the other Sim and move in with them.
Since there are no defined family ties or family relationships in The Sims, the option to get married is not available to Sims who already live together. Players can stage marriage ceremonies between Sims who live together, but the "Propose... Marriage" interaction won't be available because they're already considered part of the same family.
Couples can ask one another to "Move In" if they do not already live together. Whether the other Sim accepts depends on their mood, their relationship, and the quality of the other Sim's house. The Sim who moves in will take on the family name of the Sim who proposed, even if the two are simply good friends. (This is unavoidable, as Sims in The Sims do not, properly speaking, have surnames.)
Marriage in The Sims is an event, not a condition. So, while Sims cannot get a divorce, a Sim who has married into one family can marry out of it and into another family. If the partner of the Sim who is changing households has a relationship with the proposer, that relationship will drop. Also, if the relationship between two Sims in a family is low enough, they can choose the Attack option and fight each other. Which Sim wins depends on their Body skill. The Sim who loses may choose to move out, and if they do, they will never be seen in the game again.
The Sims 2
In The Sims 2, when two Sims who are adults or elders are in love, they can first get engaged, and then marry. Young adult Sims can get engaged, but cannot marry while they are at college. If Bon Voyage or later is installed, Sims can marry while on a community lot. With the addition of family ties and family relationships, marriage becomes a condition as well as an event, so Sims who are living in the same household can marry. If the Sims are not already living together, the Sim being proposed to will move in with the Sim who proposed as soon as the wedding ceremony is over. For both engagement and marriage, either Sim can propose.
Regardless of how the marriage is initiated, and regardless of the gender(s) of the Sims getting married, the Sim who initiates the marriage is the Sim whose last name both parties to the marriage will take. However, a program such as SimPE can edit one or both Sims' last names. Also, a mod at Mod The Sims allows the player to have the Sims keep their last names, or to decide which Sim's last name the couple will use.
There are two ways in which engaged Sims can get married, and both can be used with or without a wedding party. The first, and most basic way, is with the "Propose... Marriage" interaction, in which the two Sims exchange vows and kiss to signify their marriage. Unlike marriage in The Sims, this is free, and the Sims do not change clothes. It is also possible for two Sims to get married under a wedding arch. To do this, select one, click on the arch, and select "Get Married"; the selected Sim is considered to be the one who proposed marriage. Unlike the simple "Propose... Marriage" interaction, when Sims marry under a wedding arch, they will change into their formal clothes, and there will be a short scene of the Sims exchanging rings, with any other Sims who are present clapping in the background. There is no charge for the marriage, but the arch costs §900.
Sims can also get married by having a wedding party. A wedding party is basically like a normal party, except that the Sims are expected to get married before the party ends. The wedding arch may or may not be used. Other differences between normal parties and wedding parties are that every guest will be in their formal clothes, and any invited guests will show up, even if they have a low relationship with the inviting Sim.
Marriages between two Sims of the same sex are referred to as "Joined Unions" in The Sims 2, although engagement is still engagement, and a wedding party is still called a wedding party. While the names of the Sim-to-Sim and wedding arch interactions for marriage are different ("Propose... Joined Union" and "Join Union") for same-sex couples, the interactions themselves are the same. If the Sims do not already live together, the Sim being proposed to will move in with the Sim who proposed, and unless a mod is used, the Sim who initiates the union is the Sim whose last name both parties will take.
Joined unions provide fewer aspiration points than marriage. However, a hack available allows same-sex partners to enter marriages with the same titles, wants and fears as with opposite-sex partners: Same Sex Mods
Being left at the altar
There is a chance that a Sim getting married could get "left at the altar", even though Sim weddings do not involve altars. When this happens, one Sim will hesitate while the marriage is taking place, and then run away, leaving the other Sim behind. This could happen if one of the Sims is having an affair or has a fear of marrying their partner. It might also happen if the two Sims don't have a strong enough relationship, or if the Sim being proposed to has low needs (and thus in a bad mood). The Sim who was left behind will have a lowered relationship with the other Sim, and if Nightlife is installed, will be furious at them.
When a Sim is left at the altar during a wedding party, those who attend will have a lowered relationship with the Sim that left the other at the altar. The closer the attendees are to the Sim who was left at the altar, the more they will dislike the other Sim.
The Sims 3
Sims who are in an exclusive relationship in The Sims 3 can propose marriage to their other half and become engaged.
The Sims 3: Generations provides extensive new features when it comes to proposals and marriage. Before proposing, the player has the option to let their Sim ask one parent for permission to marry their child. The engaged Sims can have the opportunity to throw a bachelor(ette) party, where a skimpy-outfitted dancer shows up to dance. Children are not allowed to be invited to the party but children who live in the household where the party will take place may stay. They can then either have a "Private Wedding" by marrying on the spot or a wedding party, which can either be done at home or on a community lot. Other features in marriage include wedding arches, where Sims can opt to get married under, and wedding cakes, which is a lot similar to the birthday cake except the newlywed couple cuts the cake together instead of blowing candles. After a marriage, both Sims will also be granted vacation time from work, to provide a honeymoon.
When Sims wed, the last name taken by the couple will be that of the Sim who proposed. If the Sim who was proposed to already has children who are teens or younger, they will take on their new step-parent's name, even if they are not in the household. For example, if a single mother marries another man, her children will receive their new step-father's name, if he was the one who proposed. The same rule applies to newlyweds who had children together before marrying; while they originally take their mother's name, their future last name depends on which parent proposes. It's important to note that a Sim's last name can be changed via an interaction performed by the Sim in question at the city hall.
If the player wishes for a Sim couple to get married, the player first must build up their relationship until they are in love, and have a romantic interest. Then after they have a full relationship bar, the action "Propose Going Steady", under the romantic section, will become available. Sims will then become a couple. Eventually, they can opt to marry.
When a couple (whatever gender combination it may be) consisting of two Sims who have their separate offspring that are in a romantic relationship with the other, after marrying, their children still see each other as Boyfriend/Girlfriend, but cannot perform romantic acts on one another as they are now step-siblings. They can only perform romantic acts when their parent/step-parent dies or their parents divorce. Though if a couple are already married when their parents marry each other, they can perform all romantic interactions.
Also note that in The Sims 3, unlike in The Sims 2, there's no distinction between same and opposite-sex marriages. The amount of Lifetime Happiness is the same for both kinds of couples when they go steady, get engaged, and finally get married. Further, in the family tree of same-sex couples it shows their spouse as either their husband or wife, the same as it does for opposite-sex couples.
The Sims 4
In The Sims 4, marriage functions similarly to The Sims 3. Sims must first go steady with a romantic interest before they are able to propose (by selecting the "Ask to Become Girlfriend/Boyfriend" interaction), and they must also have high friendly and romantic relationships. Noncommittal Sims are more likely to reject a proposal than other Sims, even if the couple in question has a high relationship.
After Sims are engaged, they can either elope or plan a wedding. Family members' surnames are not changed after a wedding, but the player is free to change names by editing Sims in Create a Sim. If a newly wed couple doesn't already live in the same household, the household management UI will appear and prompt the player to move Sims and funds between households as they see fit. Otherwise, there will simply be a notification letting the player know they can move Sims between households.
If a Sim marries someone who is performing an NPC role, such as the Grim Reaper, the spouse will give up their role and another NPC will take their place. There is no known way to get a spouse back into their former role, even if they are divorced.
There is also no distinction made between opposite-sex and same-sex marriage. They provide the same amount of satisfaction points, have the same related moodlets, and fulfill the same whims.
The Sims Medieval
In The Sims Medieval, the interactions leading up to marriage are nearly identical to The Sims 3, but rather with medieval-sounding names. Sims can perform romantic interactions until they have the option to Ask to Court, which is similar to Going Steady. After some more relationship-building, sims can Ask for Hand in Marriage, which, if successful, will make the two sims involved engaged. From here, sims have three options. They can choose to Get Married Here, which will cause an angel to come down from Heaven and marry the two sims where they stand, or, if the sim in control belongs to either the Jacoban or Peteran faith, the two sims can marry inside their corresponding church. The marriage will not change any sim's last name or prompt an unplayable sim to move in—it will only declare the two sims married.
The Sims FreePlay
In The Sims FreePlay, two sims must perform romantic interactions until they reach Partner relationship level in order to propose marriage. Sims have a choice of five rings to propose with, with each more expensive ring giving a better chance that the recipient sim will say yes.
- Vending Machine Dinosaur Ring - §1,750
- Mood Ring - §8,050
- Silver Ring - ♢3
- White Gold Ring - ♢6
- Eternity Ring - ♢10
If the recipient sim says yes to the proposal, the sims will become engaged. The sims then must fill their relationship bar one more time for the marriage interaction to become available. The sim who did not begin the marriage interaction will then move into the other sim's home, leaving their former home vacant.
In The Sims 3, Sims can marry every life state available. However, some of the life states will not be available for marriage unless the player takes some necessary steps.
- Imaginary Friend[TS3:G]: For an Imaginary Friend to available for marriage, it must be turned into a real Sim by using the Imaginary Friend Metamorphium potion.
- Genie[TS3:ST]: If the Genie is obtained from Dusty Old Lamp, the player must have a Sim make a wish to Free the Genie. If the Genie is created in Create a Sim using Supernatural, there is no need to free the genie, so Sims can marry them.
- Plumbot[TS3:ITF]: For a Plumbot to be available for marriage, the "Capacity to Love" trait chip must be installed.
In The Sims 4, a Sim of any life state can be married with no workarounds required, provided they are young adults or older.
Throwing a wedding party
In The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, a wedding party can be held by selecting "Throw Wedding Party" on the phone. This is basically like a normal party, except that the Sims are expected to get married. The wedding arch[TS2][TS3G] may or may not be used. In The Sims 4, a wedding can be held by selecting "Plan a Social Event" on a Sim's phone and then selecting the "Wedding" option, by clicking on a wedding arch and planning a wedding from there, or by scheduling an event in a household's calendar[TS4S]. A household cannot plan a wedding party unless someone in it is engaged.
There is a limited number of Sims who can be invited to a wedding party. In The Sims 2, players don't need to invite the bride or the groom to the party if they don't live together, because they will automatically come by themselves. Invited Sims will arrive in Formal wear. When the marriage takes place, both Sims switch into wedding attire (formal wear) and head beneath the wedding arch.[TS2] Guests will gather around, and the Sims exchange vows and kiss to signify their marriage.
In The Sims 4, Sims can invite a minimum of two guests (excluding the Sims who are getting married) up to a maximum of fifteen guests. They can also optionally hire a caterer, a musician and a mixologist. Each service costs §250. Musicians will entertain the guests, mixologists will serve them drinks, and caterers will prepare food for them and bake a wedding cake. Sims with feminine clothing preference are automatically changed into wedding dresses and Sims with masculine clothing preference are changed into tuxedos, but the player is free to change them into other outfits before the ceremony starts. Guests will wear formal outfits.
A wedding party is scored like a normal party. How well it scores depends on how much the guests are enjoying the party. If players can keep all the guests happy until the end of the party, it will become a great wedding party, and the married Sims will get a good memory about it.[TS2] Otherwise, players can have a horrible wedding party if the guests are not enjoying it, or if the marriage is unsuccessful. If the player wants a wedding party to end well, it is in their best interest to invest in party objects, such as a stereo and buffet table, and ensure that everyone is in a good mood. In The Sims 3 you can purchase the Lifetime reward "Legendary Host" to ensure a successful party.
If the wedding party is successful, a limo will come for the newlyweds to take them on their honeymoon. While they are on their honeymoon, their need bars will have a significant increase. If Bon Voyage is installed, the player can arrange for the Sims to have an actual honeymoon trip.
Interestingly, in The Sims 2, if the wedding party takes place with many family members around, and there is music playing, the bride may experience a want to dance with her father after the ceremony and the "first dance" with her husband.
If two married Sims have their relationship with each other fall enough, such as through witnessing an affair, one Sim can kick the other to the curb. To have the couple get a divorce, choose whichever Sim will do the breaking up, click the other spouse, and select "Break Up". This option will only appear if the active Sim's relationship is low enough with their spouse; however, this option is always available in The Sims 3. The divorcee will then flee the lot and reappear in the Family bin in the neighborhood screen. They do not have the option of have taking any children they had or of remaining in the house. If the player wants them to stay in the house after the divorce, they will have to be moved back in.
In The Sims 3, the player will never see the word 'Divorce' in the game unless it is a wish during a Mid-Life Crisis, or a memory if The Sims 3: Generations is installed. However, the "Break Up" option will almost always be available. When the "divorcer" divorces the "divorcee", they will still live together, however either Sim may have a wish to move out. Their relationship may drop into the red zone, depending on how good their relationship is the moment they break up (a full relationship after the divorce will still make the relationship be in the green zone), however the divorcee will experience more emotional turmoil, and will receive a large Lifetime Happiness drop as well as a moodlet for being betrayed/broken up with. This moodlet will last for days. If the divorced couple has children, the divorce will affect them badly too. If the player wishes to avoid this, it is best if the divorcer is a normal Sim while the divorcee is someone with the "Commitment Issues" trait so that there will be no hard feelings for either, except when it comes to the children.
In The Sims 3: Late Night, if the married Sims have relatively high celebrity status, if the rumors begin to float about the divorce, it can be considered a public disgrace, but not many would react negatively to it.
In The Sims 3: Generations, if a Sim catches their spouse cheating (doing anything under the Romantic category with another Sim), their relationship will go down and it will take at least five days for the Sim to make the negative moodlet disappear. If the cheating is constant, the Sim can sometimes involuntarily (as the player cannot cancel the action) divorce the cheater on the spot.
In The Sims 4, there is a "divorce" option under the "mean" option for a married Sim to their spouse, instead of the "break up" option. Toddlers and children will become sad if they witness their parents getting divorced. Sims who catch their spouses cheating will get the Very Angry moodlet, and divorced Sims will get the Very Sad moodlet.
To avoid divorce, it's necessary to wait for their fury with each other to subside or, in The Sims 2: Apartment Life, have them perform the interaction called "Repair Relationship With..." which will have the two Sims attempt to deal with their marital problems. In The Sims 3, if one's charisma is high enough, the Sim can use the smooth recovery interaction to try to repair the relationship. Divorce can be prevented entirely by buying the "No Jealousy" Lifetime reward for both Sims.