Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bah, humbug

It's that time of year again, when people spend all their money, then spend someone else's money, promising to repay it with interest, so that the big day will be completely wonderful and dreams will come true. Where have I heard all this before?

Yes, it sounds a lot like Christmas, but this is Yuletide on steroids. This is Wedding Season. Because I have written a few too many articles on lavish weddings, my thoughts on these ceremonies tend to be a bit acerbic. Does "lavish" (from Old French for a deluge of rain) adequately describe a wedding in which the budget for flowers alone was $40,000?

Weddings today are over the top, and I don't mean that in a good way. Web sites devoted to wedding planning say the average wedding cost is around $25,000. Are you kidding me? Have we all gone barking mad?

It seems that weddings have increased in elaborateness and expense as marriage, the purported reason for the wedding, has decreased in respect and occurrence. The 2010 census found that, for the first time in our history, the majority of American households were not formed by married couples.

So, we may not like marriage much, but we love weddings, if the number of books, magazines and TV shows devoted to them is any indication. And all that wedding talk is the source of my biggest wedding gripe, summed up in the phrase, "It's your day!" What a poisonous idea.

Budding bridezillas are told implicitly and in so many words that weddings are all about them. Not only is it foolish to encourage that sort of self-centeredness, it's just not true. The wedding is just the kickoff for the marriage, which, after all, is the really important thing. And marriage certainly is not all about the bride.

While weddings should be fun and festive occasions, at the heart they are solemn, sacred ceremonies. Keeping that in mind might keep all the frills in perspective, as well.


  1. Something to be said for the traditionally austere ceremony that lasts 15 minutes in an old country church -- Sunday attire for bride and groom -- followed by a reception downstairs in Fellowship Hall where the punch is inevitably ginger ale mixed with lime sherbet.

  2. One taste of that lime sherbet punch would take me right back to my childhood. Absolutely everybody served it.