In the beginning, it was so simple. First romance, then that wonderful realization that you want to be together always. A ring appears, a question pops, a yes exclaimed.
But soon a crowd begins to form.
It starts with excited phone calls to mom and dad, friends and family. There are hugs and exclamations of joy. We’re getting married! You’re getting married!?! How wonderful, says the world. Everyone loves a wedding. Everyone has an opinion.
And then, the planning begins. You know the why — love and all that, it’s the where, when, what, and how that turn even the most sensible couples into raving lunatics. Yes, you will become a raving lunatic. Sorry about that. Unless of course, you listen to the Sane Bride.
Are You Throwing a Wedding or a Broadway Play?
At some point, your wedding will evolve from a simple expression of your love for one another into a full-scale production. You will empty your bank accounts, your parents will invite dusty relatives you thought had long passed, and you will become obsessed with the subtle color variations between ivory and bisque.
A keyword search for “wedding” on Amazon.com produces over 5,000 results. Most of the books, guides and planners repeat the standard rules and etiquette that dictate the blueprint for every wedding you’ve ever attended. From seating arrangements and division of expenses to corsage allocations and proper linen monogramming, these codes of conduct shift the focus from an expression of commitment between two people to a display of material necessity. The American way encourages spending as a way to validate our place in society, so why should the wedding industry differ. But you don’t have to support it.
What Do You Really Need to Make a Wedding Happen?
When did real people decide that it was necessary to serve 300 guests a sitdown five-course meal? When did real people decide that it was perfectly normal to require the bridal party to stay at a $400-per-night hotel and purchase $600 designer gowns and suits? Hmmm?
We’ve heard it all before. Friends and family vow to never fall victim to the bridal industry. They pledge to overcome the stress and the pressure to follow the cookie-cutter formula, but without fail, they inevitably end up delivering a wedding that is a variation on the same traditional theme. It’s not their fault. It’s what the wedding industry and every voice around them tells them to do.
In general we blame the wedding industry, parents, friends, co-workers, the government, organized religion, anyone who has ever watched television — basically all higher life forms capable of communicating with the outside world.
More specifically, we point our fingers at serial bride Elizabeth Taylor, and her modern contemporary, J Lo, star of the hit film Anaconda. Or was it Jackie O? Cinderella? Or poor, lovely Princess Diana. These are not ordinary people, and in Cinderella’s case, not actually real. Regardless, dear readers, we’re sorry to have to break the news, but you are taxpaying, hard-working, trying-to-make-ends-meet real people.
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