(Closed) Why are weddings such a big deal?

posted 8 years ago in Beehive
Post # 3
2398 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Hmm…  I suppose I woudl disagree that some of the things you mentioned aren’t central to celebrating with guests.  Granted, no one is going to notice (save the bride) if the flowers aren’t premium orchids or the blue in the STD isn’t identical to that of the invitation, but a lot of the time and effort spent finding good drink, food, music, accomodations, comfortable dresses, etc. is directly related to ensuring that guests and attendants are able to enjoy themselves and feel as though they are participating in something special and out of the ordinary.

Post # 4
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

One difference I notice is the age that people get married – the average age has definitely increased with time.  Many people spend a significant amount of time in school before really starting a career – and generally earn a decent living before getting married. In addition, it is now common for women to work outside the home (therefore there are two people with incomes).  

As a result, people getting married aren’t relying solely on what is given to them (i.e. parents or relatives) to pay for the wedding.  Whoever controls the money controls the event – so if the bride and groom want a big event, they can.

On the flip side, it is often assumed that the bride and groom will contribute to the wedding (at least in the area I live in).  So if they can not, they may be saving for several years to pay for what they decide is a “nice” wedding.

Personally, I will have been engaged for 18 months by the time the wedding comes.  Both my fiance and I are in our early/mid twenties and having that “extra” time has been wonderful (and I would recommend it to anyone!)

Post # 5
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Personally, I wanted a big, involved wedding and reception because I wanted it to match the magnanimity of how BIG the marriage felt to me. I wanted it to be a big deal because in my heart it was a huge event. In my heart, the sacrament of marriage is the biggest thing I ever did and I wanted our wedding to be as big as it felt to me. I wanted it to be memorible to all our guests so that if we ever have marriage problems, every friend and family member will jump in and say, “Remember how wonderful your wedding day was!” and help get us through the rough spots.

Post # 6
1313 posts
Bumble bee

I used this book, Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of A Lavish Wedding to write a lengthy independent study paper on this subject during college.

I actually met both the authors and it is an extremely interesting read.

“Despite rampant unemployment, financial insecurity and dizzying personal debt levels, there’s still a place for purveyors of wedding gowns, flowers and multi-tiered cakes. Professors Otnes and Pleck, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, amply explain why. Some of their observations aren’t surprising, as when they posit that weddings are a way to flaunt social prowess, but other insights about the link between consumer culture and wedding bells are fresh. They also cover the trappings surrounding the wedding day, such as the engagement ring, the perception of romantic love and even the bouquet toss. Although they sometimes make lighthearted observations, Otnes and Pleck are often scholarly. They adeptly weave in anthropology and cultural commentary to sharpen their points, for instance, discussing the introduction of the “sacred” into the shopping process. As the bride (and it’s almost always the bride instead of the groom) selects items for use during the wedding day, she tends to assign significance to them that’s far weightier than the objects’ usual meaning. Therefore, a silk pillow that would normally be flung onto a couch and forgotten is instead turned into a magical object because the wedding rings will be placed on it during the ceremony. The authors write, “Such items meet the definition of sacred artifacts as described by scholars in religious studies, consumer behavior, and other disciplines.” That’s a lot of analysis for one little pillow, but almost anyone who’s been a bride or gone shopping with one can see the truth of the statement.”

Post # 7
1684 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

I didn’t really want one. If it were up to me, it’d be at a hotel on the beach in south Jersey. We’d get married on the sand, cocktail hour by the pool/dune area, and reception/dancing in the restaurant. 80-100 people max.

Fiance and I both have large families though, and he’s kind of a social butterfly so once we sat down with our parents & made a guest list, there was no way. We kinda had to go big. I don’t really care about the tiny details but I do want it to be nice. I didn’t know where to start, so this place comes in REALLY handy. I mean, if you’re gonna do it, might as well do it right… right?

Post # 8
1110 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

I agree with you. especially for people planning to have babies in the future.

I was recently told


“THE COMMITMENT IS WHAT MATTERS. dont stress about the party or the planning of it, it WILL NOT be the biggest day of your life & if it is then you should really think about whats to come, your new life with your hubby, having kids & the commitment is the same my husband regardless of how big or small our party was”


and I LOVED that!

Post # 10
5758 posts
Bee Keeper

I think in many places in this country there are still weddings as you’ve described. Not everyone is interested in or goes to all the etremes that others do. Simple dresses, flowers, food, and with the end result being they are still just as married.

My personal opinion is that while I’m happy that there still ARE wedddings, I’m not a fan of all the traditions being dropped or modified just to be different. Things such as being ‘given away’ are taken too literally and are being shunned, having the groom take your name,etc . Sometimes I wonder if some people aren’t just going for the shock value or to stir things up. Sometimes people make things more complicated than they need to be.

There are really only a few milestones in one’s life and a wedding is one of them. I’m happy that people are choosing still to make them SOMEthing rather than just a NOTHING. How they choose to celebrate is a personal decision that most don’t take lightly, and I love that!

Post # 11
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

Honestly, before I was engaged I never noticed ANY of the details at the weddings I attended.  It would not have mattered to me if the reception was in an old church gym or the fanciest castle.  I just looked for a table to sit at, some good food, and some fun music.  Reading wedding blogs like Weddingbee gave me all my ideas for my wedding.  But if I hadn’t had this as a resource, I imagine I would have had a much simpler wedding with fewer details.  Ultimately I tried to do too much, and I know that no one noticed all the little things that I didn’t get done.

Post # 12
5263 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t know most peoples’ reasons, but these are mine: 

I’m never going to be able to plan a party like this again. I love being a hostess and planning events, but my budget doesn’t expand beyond smaller dinner parties. 

Also, because of how our culture is, planning ahead is necessary. Our venue, photographer, caterers, etc, book up at least a year in advance, so I guess my thought is why not add the little touches? Especially now that DIY is so prevalent and there are so many tutorials, ideas, etc. 

Post # 13
1465 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Weddings are considered the big deal they are due to the Wedding Industry and its lies. They are a multi-billion dollar industry because they feed on couples, brides and their families especially, being very gullible. They don’t want anyone to be made aware that all you need to get married is a license, a groom, a minister, and two witnesses. Everything else is fluff, but if people knew that and practiced it, the wedding industry wouldn’t make a single dime. One great example is alcohol and a full meal at a reception. Neither of those are required and many people don’t even include them but everyone is told that they are indeed required and that the wedding will be a disaster if they are not. Also, they are actually fairly new in the grand scheme of things since they have not been around forever, and in a number of social circles they are completely unheard of. Another aspect that people are told is required but is not and many people skip is an MC, whether as a duty of the dj or someone else. Unless the reception is completely out of the ordinary and doesn’t include anything that anyone anywhere will be familiar with, then guests will be able to figure out on their own what is happening when.

People are told that they are wrong for trying to negotiate for non-wedding prices. Honestly, apart from the white dress, there is nothing that is different from a wedding and any other party. Contrary to popular belief, a wedding does not require extra attention, so there is no reason that any thing wedding related should be jacked up in price times 100.

In the end, it’s the couple’s decision as to what to include and what not to, and no one should ever be guilt tripped into anything by anyone.

Post # 14
637 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I actually have to agree along the lines of Lilyfaith. In addition to the other things that people have mentioned, I do think that many women (who are typically the ones doing the majority of that “unnecessary” planning) use the wedding as a creative outlet.  Even if we DO care about the little details, the extremes to which some women (to some degree myself included) go to is beyond what matters to anyone else, but I don’t find that unusual.  For instance I used to ALWAYS tease my mother with the lengths that she would go to to decorate for Christmas dinner–especially when the only people invited are family that are there all the rest of the time, not even true “guests”, from special plates, and runners, and napkin holders, and little decor that NO ONE else ever noticed, I think that many people just ENJOY those things, and a wedding gives us the opportunity to embrace all of those details and personalize things in a way we don’t often get to do.  (As well as, in my case, realize that you have BECOME your mother! EGAD!)  I also think that the women here are a very self-selected group–i.e. people who care enough about the details of the wedding to devote hours of their day talking to other people who also care and post step-by-step DIYs and scour websites for innovative ways to use grommets and shards of broken lightbulbs–and don’t reflect how the rest of the marrying-public thinks about weddings.  Internet-communities rarely reflect the general public! 

But also, just because something isn’t a bare necessity doesn’t mean that it is not meaningful.  The same way making a quilt for your baby made out of the onesies of the past 5 generations in your family does not make it any more “magical” than the pillow on which your rings will rest doesn’t make it any LESS important once you decide to imbue it with meaning.  Even the “basic” wedding that the OP posits is NOT what is barely necessary.  You don’t need anyone else there besides the bride and groom (and possibly one witness)–random cousins, or the people who happen to live down the street if you think of it as a “community” event–are totally superfluous, and I am sure they would include people who you don’t really care about being there or not.  There doesn’t even NEED to be a white dress, or RINGS for that matter–as long as there is a piece of paper saying you are hubby and wife. (And actually, until we basically got rid of common law marriage, we didn’t even need that!)  The meaning of it all is socially constructed, so where you draw the line in terms of what is “necessary” or “unnecessary” is arbitrary.  

Post # 15
1317 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My Future Father-In-Law said, “People go into debt to have the most elaborate wedding thinking it’s the most important day of their lives together, but the important stuff comes afterwards. The wedding is just the start of it.”

I liked it.

Of course, I don’t think it’s wrong to go all out if you can afford it, but for most of us, a budget is necessary and starting a life together with mounds of bills incurred by just one day, isn’t the nicest way to start, IMO.

Post # 16
1465 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

It’s certainly not wrong to include the extras but they shouldn’t take presedence over the basics to the point that people lose sight of why they are getting married and planning the wedding that they are. People have to step back on occasion and ask themselves if they are planning the wedding they want or the wedding that other people think they should have.

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