Do you ever think about how strange it is that we have an entire culture dedicated to the wedding industry? There are society pages in newspapers, TV shows, and industries completely dedicated to weddings … even the Library of Congress has an entire wedding business website.
One source by the wedding industry proclaimed that through 2006-2009, brides and their lucky grooms spent over 86 billion dollars on crafting their happily ever afters, which let’s face it, is a lot of cold, hard cash.
So, is it worth it?
Obviously, the 50% divorce rate of all marriages is an indicator that the picture perfect wedding does not a happy marriage make.
Are we foolishly investing time and energy into fooling ourselves and those we love with extravagant showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and plated dinners that pretty much all taste the same anyways? Would the world be a better place if we banned the craziness that is wedding showers and weddings? (Just imagine the commotion that would happen on Pinterest without wedding boards! No rustic themed wedding favors??)
Writer Valeria Alexander thinks that banning weddings or showers wouldn’t hurt. In a piece for The Huffington Post, she writes:
“Imagine for a moment if weddings were prohibited, or better yet, if you could only have one after 10 years of marriage. How much money would be saved? More importantly, how many ill-advised unions would never happen in the first place? I swear, weddings are the leading cause of divorce. If some girl wasn’t fulfilling her childhood fantasy of being a princess, holding court in the perfect gown with the perfect hair and perfect flowers, on a day dedicated solely to celebrating her ability to land a man, how much more effort would she put into finding the right mate, since the reward for doing so would be a lifetime together, rather than a coronation?”
I have to admit, what she says makes a lot of sense. I do think the world has gone a little wedding crazy. I remember myself, so focused on feeling “completed” by the ring on my finger or wishing that I could post the cutesy pictures of our picture-perfect wedding on Facebook. It’s easy to get swept up on the myth and the magic of “happily ever after.”
But at the same time, I have to disagree with Ms. Alexander.
Because honestly, there are a few things that will never change about life — and that’s births, weddings, and birthdays. It’s all part of the unique human experience. We want those life-defining moments; we want to live vicariously through them. We sit in the corner and sip coffee while we watch the young ones dance, or we are the young ones dancing. Or we huddle with the other parents as we try to stop the really young ones from getting stomped to death by the teens on the dance floor.
Yes, weddings and showers are a bit extravagant. But I don’t believe they are so much about trying to teach a young woman what her life is really about, or that she won’t have worth unless she is a “Mrs.”
Honestly, I think they are more about celebrating the good that we see in life. The good that we need to see in life to make it worth living.
I don’t think it needs to cost $20,000, or that the goal in every woman’s life is to find the perfect princess dress that is worthy of a Say Yes To The Dress moment. I’m all about teaching girls that they don’t need a man to make them who they are.
But I do think that weddings remind us that when there is love, there is hope.
And that’s something worth celebrating.