Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

Weddings

So, what’s the big deal with weddings? I’m not getting into the significance of marriage here, simply looking at engagements and weddings and how confusing I find it all. From the Cultural Differences blog post, we have learned that different cultures place varying significance on the whole shebang. I heard from an Italian that the idea of engagement rings and various parties (engagement, wedding shower, etc.) comes from Hollywood TV and movies. In the US, one channel (TLC) has every Friday night devoted to weddings: Say Yes to the Dress (bride and bridesmaid versions), 4 Weddings, I Found the Gown, Wedding Fiesta, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, Wedding Island, and more!

The wedding industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, with each couple typically spending an insane amount of money on their nuptials. Why is it that many people feel the need to get all fancied up for one day? I am not immune to this, either – I want a pretty dress and a day when everyone looks at me. But the sheer price and all of the preparations are entirely overwhelming.

Having not gone through it myself, here is a list of all of the things that I see happening around me in regards to wedding preparations:

–       Engagement party

–       Wedding shower (maid of honour typically prepares this)

–       Bachelor and/or bachelorette parties OR a stag & doe as a fundraiser

–       The actual wedding clothes: bridal party outfits – apparently these are paid for by the couple, bride & groom outfit

–       Venue, food, getaway car, speeches, music, attendees, any religious aspects [these can be many]

–       Honeymoon

–       Probably other stuff I’m forgetting

The crazy thing to me is the typical pricing for all of these things. A wedding dress can easily reach $5000, a venue the same. Food is usually $50/head. If you have 200 people at your wedding, which is not difficult when you mix 2 lives and all of the associated people in each of them, food pricing will add up quickly.

We’ve all heard the term ‘Bridezilla’: brides-to-be can become monsters leading up to their wedding date. And for some reason they’re given license to because it’s their day. I have to wonder if this happens with same-sex couples, too. Though goodness knows, it’s hardly in the mainstream media so we’d never be privy to it unless we were directly involved.

It seems like venues are becoming more and more difficult to find, since churches are no longer the ideal spot for many to exchange vows. Maybe this is one reason the prices have skyrocketed – because they can? And why does there need to be an aisle? Is it so that everyone can see the dress? Maybe since we’ve spent so much money on it, it needs to be ogled by all for as long as possible.

I have to wonder: is the stress of a wedding really worth it? I mean, if you’re looking for a marriage, that’s easy enough to have without spending oodles of money. If you’re wanting to commit in a ceremony in front of friends and family, that also doesn’t need to be ludicrously expensive; we can see this in various cultures all over the world. But, if you want a fancy party, then that’s where the big bucks come into play. I guess I’m looking for indicators as to why weddings tend to cost an arm and a leg, and cause all kinds of stress for a tonne of people involved. Why is it important to commit in front of a whole bunch of people?

My cousin and her partner say no. They have two children, live together, just moved into a new house, evidently are fully committed, and receive all kinds of pressure from their in-laws. At Thanksgiving, when discussing this, they said “Sometimes we think about it, but then we remember how much work and money it is and think ‘meh.'” I’m honestly not sure how they refer to each other. I know two people who have been together for 10 years (high school sweethearts!) and call each other husband and wife, even though they plan to get married at some point in the next 3 years or so. Apparently, it makes things a lot easier. “This is my live-in boyfriend of 10 years” sounds a little awkward, no? Personally, I’d say ‘partner’ but not everyone thinks as I do. And there’s still a pause of ‘oh, you’re gay?’ if/when partner is used. But that’s another issue altogether.

And then I saw this video and this blog post and realized that evidently, it’s not about the wedding. It’s about the marriage. And maybe the importance of the wedding is to have a great start to a marriage. Maybe having the almost perfect shindig will set you up for a lifetime or two of happiness.

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2 comments on “Weddings

  1. Gloria
    November 6, 2013

    My wedding cost about $12000. I wanted it to be an expression of who I was and what I valued and who my husband was and what he valued. As much as possible, food was Fair Trade. We cut out as much of the sexist traditions as I could find. There was no tossing of the bouquet, for instance. My dress was second hand from a bridal boutique that gives its proceeds to cancer research. All the flowers were wildflowers found around the camp. I hate weddings, so I made it a weekend away at camp instead and went canoeing and swimming and played volleyball hours before I walked down the aisle. If my wedding wasn’t such a drive for people, I think it would have been pretty sweet to make it a potluck.

    Honestly though, if it wouldn’t shamed our parents to tears, I would have been very happy with just moving in together and assuming commitment without all the hooplah. In large part, I think, one gets married so that your friends and family who care can celebrate with you, especially your parents.

    The gifts you get at your wedding are also extremely helpful to building a life together as well.

    Now that I’ve gone through all the rituals, there’s something wonderful about the sweet memory of having the person you love deliver a speech about why he loves you and then get down on one knee to propose.

    Anthropologetically, There’s something special about ritual to humans, especially celebratory ritual. Life can be dreary and monotonous – OR – we could celebrate life for all the flavour it has. I think weddings are about celebrating life.

    There’s also something nice about having a defined time to “make it official”. We did pre-marital counselling and that was super helpful. I don’t know if that’s a common thing outside the Christian world but its invaluable to talk about expectations and conflicts and healthy ways of dealing with them. If we didn’t have a defined date, I’m not sure the pre-commitment-to-living-together counselling would have happened. I don’t think most couples go to counselling before they move in together even though you’re essentially dealing with the same life situations.

    I hate the term “bridezilla”. I don’t think its as common as people say. I, like many brides, tearfully wanted to just elope and forget the whole party many times along the way. It was my husband who cared more about disappointing our parents.

    Now that I’m married, even 14 months into it, I still can’t believe I’m married. It flabbergasts me that my husband took such a huge leap of faith on me by publicly declaring and showing with his actions every day that he would love and care for me every day for the rest of our lives. Its a beautiful thing to find your “home” in another person and to be someone else’s home. I think that’s my favourite thing about being married. You can find that without the party, of course, but its comforting to have the memory of an official declaration.

    In our world where divorce is popular and living together and sex outside of marriage is generally considered totally acceptable (unless you grew up in the evangelical world like me where its the biggest, evilest, guilt-inspiring-est deal ever) I can totally see why people would be disillusioned with weddings. Especially since they’re so expensive. But still, its a nice memory to have once you are married.

    So… that’s my two cents. Part of me didn’t want a wedding but now that I’ve been through it, and it didn’t destroy us financially, I’m totally glad I did it.

  2. The Blogging Rapper
    November 6, 2013

    Ehh my wedding had about 100 people (which is probably due to my family being in New York and I got married in Texas) and it was a small family church. That’s all that mattered. The best days lie ahead of the wedding day 🙂

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