26 April 2012

Whatever Happened To Simple Weddings?

One thing I have struggled to understand is where the stress of a wedding comes from. The concept of getting married is something I have always thought to be simple and natural. Two people come together and share everything. Most people would say, "Wait and see!" Well, granted, there are challenges, as one older brother once told me in the build up to his own wedding, a wedding brings two people together often with nonidentical backgrounds, worldviews, social status etc, and so tough adjustments cannot be avoided.

The wedding day, however, I'd like to believe, must be the least complex thing and yet often it is not. There is stress, tempers, fatigue, fits, chaos, tears, delays and so on. And wedding budgets! I could not believe it when I heard what the budget of weddings nowadays come to. It's staggering.

A wedding happens when two people are declared married after an exchange of vows, preferably at a church building conducted by a minister. When the minister says on my wedding,"I now declare you husband and wife," I will breathe a huge sigh of relief, for from that moment, come rain or sunshine, storm or gale, earthquake or tsunami, the girl is mine till either I or she dies. I mean literal elements here, I'm not being figurative. At that point the wedding cannot be cancelled. It has happened.

No need for a wedding dress or suit (the first marriage ever had both bride and groom stark naked by the way). No need for rings. No need for a reception. No need for cars. No need for people. Just a minister and some witnesses suffice.

When you look at it that way, you discover, that there really isn't much to getting married. All you need is two people who have the combined financial muscle to live together. Two independent individuals who are working can get married for literally close to nothing. Perhaps cab money to the church or what ever location has been chosen. You don't even need cab money back!

Where then does the stress come in?

Well, we have made something so simple, so very complex! Now there are cars for the men on the line up, cars for the women, cars for the matron and the kids on the lineup and a car for the bride and groom. There is a wedding dress, and the dresses for the rest of the ladies (I've come to learn that there's even a change of clothes at 'half time'). Yes, weddings now have a 'half time'. That is when people leave the church ceremony to go to the reception. I call it half time because the wedding won't quite pass as a wedding without the reception! You have the suits for the guys. Then of course all the decorations for the church and the cars and reception venue, and then there's the food and the drinks for all the guests, those two really empty the pockets. O yes! Don't forget the wedding cards for all the guests. Then there's the wedding cake, which is actually three or more cakes put one on top of the other. I'm pretty sure I've left a couple of things out, O yes, the music systems and all that equipment. Ah, the video has to be shot and pictures have to be taken. I'm getting a headache just remembering all these, what happens to the poor couple who have to organize them?!

When the above paragraph comprises a wedding, you understand the stress and all the pressure. You understand why the couple cannot breathe a sigh of relief when the minister declares them husband and wife. In they're minds, the wedding has barely began!

All these things that cause loss of sleep and weight (and money!) are all unnecessary. Two people who either don't have the money or decide not to even get a suit and wedding dress but simply put on the best clothes they can find in their wardrobes and take the cab to the church to wed are as married as those who go through the horror I have just described above!

I have obviously described an extreme. Don't expect the bare minimum at my wedding, you may just find the horror I have described, however, I am simply... what's the word... saddened to see a young couple who are both independent and have what it takes to marry (as I have defined marrying at the very beginning) and yet wait eagerly to wed, being strained every passing day by the desire to finally be together, just because they have not met the requirements the rest of us (and unfortunately them too) think comprise a wedding. In my opinion it is actually bondage. Tied to the wrong expectations of family, friends, acquaintances and society generally.

The most upsetting thing for me is the feast at the reception. Why pay huge sums to have more than enough great food and drinks served to friends and family and everyone else and then go drink water and bread in your first home? It's unacceptable. If you have the money, great. But if you don't, why do that? The wedding must be comfortably within what you can afford so that your home is free of any financial burdens especially at the beginning. God knows you'll have enough problems to deal with. Why give everyone else a blast, then go suffer the two of you afterwards? It really doesn't make any sense.

I could go on, obviously, but must end here. Congratulations to all those who have married and given us guests a great time. I hope it didn't strain you because if it did, that's unnecessary and a shame. We would have done fine if you decided to make us suffer so you could enjoy yourselves. For those of you getting married, put yourselves first. Lord knows the rest of us will do just fine!


aMandalin Rochele said...

This is very good. I've often thought I would have a simple and non-expensive wedding. I'm very practical, and there are so many ways to make a wedding beautiful without stress. thanks!