Can I have a wedding, with marriage on the side?
If you are a single twenty-something, you have probably felt by now enormous pressure to “settle down” and get married, or at least be on the lookout for a spouse.
But the emphasis has shifted in recent years from committing to a lasting marriage to having a lavish wedding that has marriage as a filler dish afterward.
Weddings used to be simple, uncomplicated ceremonies where friends and family come together to bless the lifetime the couple was about to spend together. While modern weddings still include this element, they have been entrapped by the clutches of consumerism.
The media has communicated to young women that their wedding day needs to be absolutely perfect for them to be validated as brides.
It is not uncommon for brides to blow money on wedding extras like fine catering, live bands, extravagant venues, designer dresses and the like.
According to The Wedding Report, a wedding statistics and market research company, couples spend an average of $21,227 on a wedding.
The wedding industry is one that has created obsession with the day itself, thereby taking the focus away from the lifetime that the couple promises to spend together afterward.
Of course, a wedding day is of enormous significance, but it is not ultimately fulfilling because it is over as soon as it begins.
A wedding is only a day; a marriage is supposed to be for a lifetime.
People often find that after the magical honeymoon phase has faded, marriage is not only nothing like they expected it to be, but that they were never really prepared for such a momentous commitment in the first place.
If people invested as much intentional thought and money into their marriages as they did into their wedding day, perhaps the divorce rate would not be so astronomical.
Maybe the fantasy with which many women are entertaining themselves is not so unlike what James Marsden’s character from “27 Dresses” noticed. In a heated argument with his later bride-to-be, he says, “You know what? You don’t want a marriage! You want a wedding!”
With the absolute fixation that society has placed on weddings, finding a spouse has almost become secondary, as though they were the last detail to be determined before the big day can take place.
The spouse should not be the first or the final factor in planning a wedding; they should be the one around which all the decisions for the big day (and the marriage afterward) revolves.
In the end, wedding should be a celebration of all the time and effort that has gone into the couple’s relationship, not just all the darling details of the day that took hours to coordinate.
Reach the columnist at Julianna.Roberts@asu.edu Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.