Posted by jade on 23 Mar, 2007
In America, marriage is taken for granted as something that you just “do”. You leave college, get married and start a family.
We see the same scene in movie after movie. Family seated in rows with an aisle splitting the bride and the groom’s sides. A pedestal at the front with some sort of priest or pastor, and then the wedding march plays. Till death do you part, you may kiss the bride, etc. Rice throwing and running to a limo with cans tied to it. Why? What does it mean?
I guarantee you if you ask any bride what half of the symbolism of her lavish wedding means, she won’t know. Or even care. So she happily accepts a horribly overpriced precious gem for her finger and changes her last name. These are all archaic practices that I believe people need to start questioning.
A ridiculous amount of money is spent on this one day. It’s just one day! Not even a full day! Usually it’s just the afternoon and the evening! Your money and time can be better spent by actually thinking critically about your commitment to your partner and what fits you best.
My wife and I do not nor have we ever ascribed to the mainstream idea that marriage is something that every little prince and princess is entitled to from birth. We’ve dated since high school and of course we love each other immensely, but we never needed that societal affirmation of our love.
We never wanted to be the center of attention, and the idea of a big wedding was not only financially prohibitive, it was just plain garish. We got married in our living room, with a few close friends, our certificate signed by our Universal Life Church-certified roommate (also available for Bar Mitzvahs, store openings and ship christenings).
During school we saw many friends fall into the same strange tradition of the bride planning her magical “best day of her life”. Being born in the 80s “me” generation, we have been told over and over again that we are beautiful and unique snowflakes, and that we each deserve our individual dream wedding.
If you absolutely must have a ceremony, think about why you are celebrating. Do you want to have your friends and family in attendance for their acceptance of the relationship? Are they there for purely selfish reasons, a gaudy exhibition of your love? Why are you having it in a church? Do you completely ascribe to the church’s ideals surrounding marriage? Why are you spending five thousand dollars on monogrammed napkins? Why are you changing your last name? Whose last name are you taking, and does that make it seem like that person owns you?
To me marriage is a symbol of excess, not love. It’s a symbol of tradition gone wild – so wild that we don’t even know why we celebrate it anymore. I propose that when you plan your wedding, think objectively about every step. Think about your global impact beyond yourself. Can you still have a nice party with half the budget? Perhaps a better celebration of your love and commitment to one another – the start of your new life together – would be to donate half the money you would have spent to a good cause.
Marriage is an outdated concept that is being put into question every day in the political sector, why not take this opportunity to redefine what marriage means to you? I believe the world would be a better place (and the divorce rates would go way down) if people just stopped to think about why they are adhering so rigidly to all these traditions. Think objectively about every step in life and you’ll be a better person (and spouse) for it.