Sex before marriage?

My girlfriend and I are Godly people. I truly believe that we are trying the best we can to please God. We go to church on Wednesday and Sundays as well as bible studies on Monday and college group on Thursdays. I pray and sing praises all the time and so does she. We stay up at night a few times doing deep bible studies.
We love each other so much and fit perfectly together. We never fight and are constantly inspiring and building one another. However we have had pre marital sex a few times where we let our emotions get the best of us. But were both mature and the relationship is not based on sex what so ever. We ask for forgiveness and try to stop but sometimes it will happen again. We both decided that we want to get married and we both have only had sex with each other. Problem is we don’t have the money to afford marriage yet so we would like to wait a year or two. My question is what exactly defines what a marriage is? Is it the priest or pastors confirmation? Is it the tuxedo and dress? I figure marriage is the commitment promise and devotion to another person for the rest of your life where the relationship becomes one under God and lead by God. Isn’t that heart based like Jeses preached? What does it matter if there is a ring or a ceremony. I don’t know what to believe any thoughts?

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