Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weddings versus marriages

I make stuff up a lot. My stories are generally set in a possible future or in a nonexistent time and place. And one of the things I consider in making up a culture is, how people pair off. I am off the opinion that marriage might change over time but will probably not go away completely. The urge to formalize a union is ingrained in our culture. That's one reason why gay people fought so hard for the right to marry. My daughter likes to watch wedding shows on so-called reality TV, and it amazes me to see the money and time people spend on getting married.

Weddings are big business right now. Some people make a enormous production out of getting married. They spend thousands of dollars on the clothes, the food and drink, and sometimes the venue. Destination weddings, which take place at faraway location not lived in by either the bride or groom's family, are an actual thing.

For our family, this was the year of the three weddings. My husband and I between us have a total of 12 nieces and nephews. Four of them were already married, but three more got married just this year. We went to all three weddings, and I noticed something.

All this year's weddings have some things in common:

  • All three were outdoors. One was on the beach, one was on a rooftop terrace, and one was in a backyard.
  • All three brides wore white dresses.
  • All three ceremonies were performed by a friend or relative, rather than a minister or government official.
  • None of the ceremonies were at all religious. 
  • All three couples took a chance on the weather, and all three were in luck.

On the other hand, the three weddings were all a bit different in that they varied as to size, expense, and overall tone. The backyard wedding, catered by Chipotle, was the smallest. The beach wedding was the largest, and it was catered by an excellent restaurant.

I don't know how much longer people will go on spending the equivalent of a down payment on a house on a one-day event, but even if weddings get less expensive, I think they'll continue. Your family doesn't fly in from the coast when you move in with someone, but they do for your wedding because a wedding is a statement of intent, and a time to celebrate. The format, venues, and budget might change, but I think weddings will be around for a long time.

The photo above is of a wedding from a few years ago, when my nephew married a lovely young woman from Cuernavaca (it's not a destination wedding if your family lives there). That wedding was a blast! I will say that in Mexico, they know how to celebrate a marriage.

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