Here Comes The Bride

2 May

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My life is full of weddings right now.  This is because I’m in my late twenties, the time to, “get serious about life and commit.”  While I’m happy for my friends, watching them go through the wedding process has made me question this unquestioned tradition.  It’s made me wonder why, as girls, we’re encouraged to dream about this “special” day.

From my viewpoint, planning a wedding seems like the opposite of a good time.  Not only is there the pressure of perfection, but weddings shake the earth of most relationships, causing family fighting and stress about a myriad of trivial details: like flatware, table seating, invitations, and flowers and on and on it goes.

Also, weddings have gotten increasingly expensive – often the equivalent of a down payment on an apartment or a 20-somethings entire retirement fund.  Just yesterday, my Mom confessed, “I’ve started saving for your wedding, if you choose to have one.”  I’m not even engaged.

These days every single institution in our society is being disrupted by technological innovation, even the way we basically communicate, so why when I’ve tried to share these thoughts with others have I received such negative reactions?

It is because it is almost unthinkable to question this ceremony, and I’d like to say that word again, ceremony: a formal act or set of acts performed as prescribed by ritual or custom.  Ceremonies are here to help us mark important moments and/or transitions in our lives, and I believe they are very important in any society’s culture.  People need moments to reflect, to celebrate or grieve, ceremonies help us do that.

A ceremony can be as simple as lighting a candle and saying a prayer.  They don’t have to be a $50,000 party thrown for other people that causes anxiety and stress; that is not a celebration of love.  It is a full-time job as an event planner.

What most people don’t realize is that the tradition of having a lavish wedding is relatively new in Western culture, really only dating back to the 20th century.  Until then, most weddings were simple affairs that were held in peoples’ homes.  The guest list was usually comprised of only family and very close friends – though, of course, there were always Royal acceptations.

Little girls weren’t being given dolls in wedding dresses and told, “This is your dream,” because Mattel hadn’t yet been created.   But, more importantly, don’t we want our daughters to have bigger dreams?

Finding a life partner is great, but any idiot can get married; that’s why the divorce rate is so high.  What about self-discovery, or creating a work of art, or starting a company, or becoming an accomplished chef, or teacher?   There is so much one can do with life, and people are often wrongly encouraged to find their happiness within others – not themselves, which is the most important place to find happiness – and no marriage can really work in misery.

Also, as time goes on many people are deciding to just live together and be life partners without the certificate.  Other people are choosing to live life alone.  Don’t these people deserve to be celebrated as well?

Maybe I will feel different if I get engaged, but I doubt it.  At least, for me, while I do want to get married, I’d rather run off for a weekend and sign the paper.  Then take my parent’s money (that they’re saving for my wedding), and instead of spending it on one evening, invest it in my entire life with my future partner.

However, if I don’t get married then I will definitely throw myself a party because I’ll deserve it.  I know with or without someone I will continue to grow my life, and if I don’t get to share that with someone then I’ll celebrate with everyone.

Now friends you are probably crossing me off your invite lists, and that’s ok, but if you do keep me on I promise I’ll celebrate you with a smile because ultimately how everyone lives life is their choice; that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth questioning or contemplating what’s right for you, and also, what is truly worth celebrating.

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3 Responses to “Here Comes The Bride”

  1. barbara May 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    i think you know how i feel !!i am glad i did have a wedding though because i have very fond memories. while it did cause many spats the memories just seem to linger, good and not so good. everyone has to do what is best for them, dont worry about the other guy { or girl} i am ready for anything you choose to do…….. bring it on …… i will always be your biggest supporter……

  2. acpb May 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    As someone who recently got married – and pretty much hated the planning process! thx for listening to me bitch the whole way through hahahah – I would not have changed anything about the way we did it. It was the best day of my life, and like a couple of your friends have said, probably the ONLY time all of our friends and family will be in the same place at the same time.

    So never say never, missy. It’s easy to watch other people and make judgements or claims about what you think you will or won’t want (I seriously do it ALL THE TIME!! Hello, Facebook!!) but at the end of the day you have to think about the person you are, and the life you are living. There’s no “right” (or wrong!) way to do anything, and every person is different. (Social media has near-ruined this idea for me…and possibly a whole generation….)

    You’re an amazing person and I have no doubt you will have your own business or company. But you can have your own wedding too (if you choose) – just saying. 😉

    Let’s plan a lunch soon.
    xoxoxo Alina

  3. Hillary Scharmann May 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Weddings have become big business, there’s no doubt about it. Companies like Mattel and Disney planted the seeds to what bride culture is now. From a business standpoint, I think it’s quite impressive. If people want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a wedding to impress their friends and make their daughter’s dream wedding come true, that’s their choice. Some people step into Neiman’s and buy $400 tee shirts, and some won’t spend more then $4 on one tee shirt at a second hand store. But that’s what makes America, America! It’s the exciting real life shit show of suckers, dreamers, and revolutionaries. Thanks for stirring it all up lady!

    “But, more importantly, don’t we want our daughters to have bigger dreams?” Love that. All we can really do is plant those seeds. Maybe you should write a children’s book! About a young girl who dreams of becoming a powerful and successful independent woman who stumbles upon a wonderful guy that respects her and fosters her strength and creativity. Just a thought….

    Love you. Keep stirring.

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