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On Weddings: It's not About Just YOU

The more I get sucked into wedding culture, the more repulsive it seems. Ever since I got engaged it feels like I've been continually assaulted by emails, envelopes, phone calls, etc. all demanding that I purchase some kind of object or service because it is all about my special day. Heaven forbid I don't buy whatever it is that they're selling because it means that my wedding...MY DAY will be destroyed. I don't think they really understand who they're marketing to, because I've pretty much been feeling disgusted with all of the garbage I'm being sold. Don't get me wrong, I want my wedding to be nice...but I feel that everything that is NECESSARY to make it nice is, essentially, free.

Sacraments are free and they are wonderful. Reading scriptures is free. Getting married in the presence of God is free. The homily is free and even the liturgical music is free. The mass is free. As you can probably see, I am very excited about the sacrament of marriage...but not so much about the multi-million dollar industry that makes you feel inadequate if you don't have a dozen orchids decorating each dessert plate at the reception. Yeah, I don't buy it either. I don't buy the need for orchids, the whole unity sand crystal vase BS, or the laser teeth whitening and shoes that cost a semester's worth of science texts. I've been told by this industry that I should pay at least $20,000 for a wedding that is worthy enough to be my special day. I've been told by this industry that it is all about me and that if I want to wear a tacky dress that makes me look like a prostitute...then I should wear it to please myself...because I should not have to listen to or respect family opinion and church dress codes. I'm constantly bombarded with the message that unless I get EVERYTHING I want and do everything the way I want to do it...my wedding is officially ruined.

That may work for some brides...but not for me. I don't want to get a mortgage to pay for a wedding. I don't want to max out my credit card just so I can get a golden chocolate fountain to be displayed by an ice sculptured vodka fountain (which looks worse than it sounds, believe you me). I think there are quite a few other things I would rather spend money on....like a house or some other big investment for my future. If I am going to pay a mortgage...it better be for a house. Nothing fancy, just a roof over my head and a pet- and child-friendly neighborhood. That's what I am concerned with most...not the prosciutto towers (yes, these exist, apparently), the stretch limos (Gandalf will do just fine, in my opinion), or diamond-encrusted dresses (even if I had all the money in the world, I can imagine better uses for that kind of cash).

I simply don't understand this "I deserve EVERYTHING I WANT for my perfect day" mentality. I mean, who am I getting married to? Don't they have an opinion too? Aren't they allowed to express it? What about the family I've known and loved? Shouldn't I take their needs into consideration when getting everything together? What about the bridal and groom party? Why aren't they allowed a say in what they are to wear?

BridezillaThankfully, I realized very early on during the wedding planning process that I was going to put more care into the sacrament part of marriage than the "wedding" part of marriage. Mainly, I wanted to focus on building my relationship in a way that put God, rather than my own selfish needs and feelings, first. The first thing I did was contact a priest and book a date at the church where I am to be wed. After that, I kind of allowed everything to fall into place. I let the bridesmaids pick the color and dress (using a convenient survey), which then gave me a color to work with. I even willingly and gladly accepted the advice of my future mother-in-law (who, according the wedding magazines, is not supposed to get along with me). We even went wedding dress shopping together and it was not that bad. 

As much as I wanted to believe that the bridal shop attendants were honest and sincere, it did not take me long to realize that they must have a list of standard compliments that they must memorize before they get hired. The purpose of these comments is to make an unsuspecting bride-to-be feel special and unique in a sea of other brides-to-be shopping in a store with dozens of copies of the same dress styles. They must then repeat these comments over and over, with some variation to order of comment, whenever a new bride-to-be comes in. I know it must make some brides feel special, but I did not buy any of it and to be honest with you, the whole commercial bridal shop circus is just that...a circus. It almost makes you want to learn how to sew your own dress from curtains. Now THAT would be special and unique.

When all was said and done, I did get a nice dress that was simple, but pretty. Nothing too fancy and it only cost me about the price of a standard laptop (isn't it funny how I gauge prices based on academic items?). After the dress was down, I scoured the internet and different stores for centerpieces, a veil, and various other accessories. Etsy turned out to be a wonderful resource, as did Pier One's clearance section. A friend of mine happens to be a pretty awesome milliner, so that took care of the head gear. Everything else either already fell or is currently falling into place. I made the Save-the-Dates using a standard post-card printer because as soon as you add "wedding" to anything, the price for it jumps at least 1500%. You can't beat 150 postcards (with 2 sides of color) for $33. The only hard part is finding out what to do with the extras (since I could only purchase in increments of 50). 

To make a long story short, I've received and accepted input. I've let others call some shots. I've compromised on my refusal to buy live flowers and the Fiance's wanting flowers at the wedding (he may or may not deny this)...but getting dried flower arrangements. The ability to compromise is very powerful. I haven't stressed out over every minor detail...and I've taken it easy. A laid back attitude is also a HUGE help. For me, the pomp and circumstance of a typical wedding doesn't mean anything to me. I've focused on more important things...like becoming learned in the lore of NFP (mainly, the Creighton Method...which helped in my recent endometriosis diagnosis and surgery after years of semi-misdiagnosis by birth control pill-pushing ob/gyns...who just thought I had PCOS and assumed the pill would make it all better). I am also practicing celibacy and learning the meaning of chastity within a marriage...at least marriage as God intended it. 

I think that my marriage will ultimately benefit from making my wedding a special day for God instead of me. God gave us the gift of marriage so that we could not only "be fruitful and multiply," but so that we could live the union that Christ has with his Church. In doing so, we learn to love as selflessly as he loves and we sacrifice of ourselves for the behalf of another...much as he sacrificed himself for us. I think it is also important to note that marriage allows us to also take part in creation...however small this part may appear at first. I hope to become a mother one day and add my own threads to the tapestry of creation and hope that these threads will remake this world into something better than I now see. I want to create more citizens for the Church Triumphant and I want to share in God's delight when I greet my children in heaven. I also want to ensure that my husband also attains heaven and share in this joy as well. I want to be an example of holy marriage in a modern world where divorce seems to be the norm and I think it would be especially nice if I am ever blessed to celebrate a 50 year wedding anniversary with my husband, children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren all around me. Love, family, selflessness, and holiness

At least, this is what I think about as I plan for my wedding on the feast day of St. Faustina Kowalska. If only these wedding marketers knew this...because I am sure my inbox would be a lot more empty and my mailbox a lot less cluttered with spam. 

Pax Vobiscum

2 comments:

  1. When my wife and I got married, every time something looked like it was going to fall apart, we had a kind of mantra. "Bride, groom, priest, witnesses. Everything else is optional." Kept us both sane.

    We bought food and reception seating for 150. 25 guests actually bothered to come. Plus, immediately after the ceremony, my new brother-in-law needed to borrow my house keys, to get in to grab something on the way to the reception, since he was staying at my house. Only I just gave him my whole keyring, including the keys to my car. So I ended up having to leave the car in the church parking lot and grabbing a ride to the reception with the photographer.

    Still beats out the couple that the priest told us about, whose reception site caught on fire and burned to the ground during the wedding ceremony.

    I looked forward to marriage (even before I met my wife, in fact), but utterly dreaded the actual wedding. Turns out, I was right on both counts. :)

    But you know what? The marriage lasts for life, while the wedding and reception last for a few hours. Even if the wedding is a fiasco, if the marriage is good, it's a major league net-win. :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story! My mantra has been something like "I've got a padre, a church, and a groom...what else do I really need?" I had a similar experience (on a much smaller scale) when it came to my Sweet 16. I invited a bunch of people, a bunch RSVP'd...and in the end only 4 people came. This very humbling experience taught me to not sweat the details or the numbers...but to focus instead on the significance of the event. Glad to see I am not the only one! :)

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