- 9 years ago
- Wedding: April 2010
I wrote this for a blog on another site
Something that bugs me while planning a wedding is the encouragement of vanity in wedding planning among vendors. Even these online websites, forums, even the way this blog is laid out all seems to speak the same thing: Weddings are about living our your fantasy. You dress up as a princess, select a theme, set the mood, the music and live it out for a day at a very high price. It is the essence of vanity.
In my distaste for it as I get phone calls from David’s Bridal trying to encourage me to spend gobs on Mary Kay products, I find my first reaction to be questioning my own vanity? To oppose vanity, must one throw out the dress, the party, the cake and basically elope?
As a Catholic, I certainly know I am bound to the rules of the Catholic Church regarding marriage, and I respect and honor her laws. I thus find myself pondering how to hold a Catholic wedding while avoiding vanity. And in coming to terms with it, I arrive at finding the substance of all the glitz of having a full wedding. The answer is the same as why the Catholic Church has a tradition of beautiful Cathedrals, sacred music (that sadly we so rarely hear in Masses today), and sacred art. It is sacramental; that is to say that it is an outward sign of something spiritual. It is an action that marks the significance, that sets the action apart from the rest of our life’s decisions and gives due reverence and respect to it. It is like falling on your knees or laying prostrate in prayer. It is like reaching your hands to the heavens and singing praise to God at the top of your lungs. It has something to do with its denial of Duelism; the rejection of the idea that our bodies are mere capsules containing our souls. It is the affirmation that our bodies are made to give expression to our souls.
The glitz of a wedding is about setting marriage apart from other human relationships, even other romantic relationships. It stresses the importance and significance of the wedding vows, of this covenant the couple enters into. It gives out a reverence due to the sacramental order of marriage.
Ultimately, the reason we ought to be dressing up our wedding is the same reason fornication is against the Divine Law. It is the reason why cohabitation is frowned upon in the Church even if you arrange to sleep in separate rooms and commit to sexual abstinence. It is why we ought to not act as if we are married before we are married, or to blur the line between dating and marriage.
Is it any wonder that in a society where the majority of couples have extended courtships, extended engagements, embrace premarital sexual involvement, live together and sometimes have children prior to marrying, that the wedding continually becomes more commercial, more vane and more expensive? Is it any wonder that when I read wedding planning books, there’s a higher emphasis on the reception than on the ceremony? Because ultimately just what are we setting apart as sacred?