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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bridal Bizarrity - Just Say No

Daughter's friend K is getting married, and has asked CJ to be the maid of honor. They are having great fun planning! The good news is that K is the laid back sort-- not the least bit of "Bridezilla" in her.

The bad news is that they are discovering the merchandising hell that is the Wedding Industry. Catalogs and marketing mailings have begun to appear, dropping out of the mailbox like snow in summer, offering an dazzling array of ways to separate a bride and groom from their money in the name of "The Perfect Wedding." Clothing, invitations, decorations, favors... the list goes on. And on. And on.

And of course, they have no intention of stopping short of messing with the ceremony! Unity candles, memory candles, and other bells and whistles packaged and sold as "meaningful expressions and symbols of yer luuvv."

The latest craze: "The sand ceremony." For only $65 US (plus shipping), you and your soul mate can have "a beautiful reflection of your marriage and the blending of two lives." Pardon me if I am doubtful that layers of overpriced sand in a jar are equal to this task.

Here me clearly, prospective brides and grooms: for a wedding, you need an officiant, one or two witnesses (depending on your state) and each other. The rest of the stuff is frill, and should be sorted through with restraint and extreme prejudice (A personal bias from the clergy: extra symbols added to the liturgy are only necessary when the liturgy itself is inadequate!)

If you want a "beautiful reflection of your marriage and the blending of two lives," then work at staying married. Take the "sand ceremony" money and enjoy an evening out-- or better yet, buy some bubble bath and maybe some new bedsheets, and stay in.


Blogger Rev Dr Mom said...

Preach it, sister. I'm right there with you.

August 07, 2008 10:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got married in May, and trust me, both the wife and I went in with the same rhetoric. We kept it as simple as possible, but honestly it's an affront to your family & friends not to invite them to a reception. And when both I and my wife come from not-so-small families, and when $40 a plate is the absolute cheapest you can find for a banquet hall, the bill already started out at over $5,000. We kept the total budget at about $10k but it was very, very difficult -- to skimp would have been not to have a photographer, or a DJ, or a cake...

And honestly, the big party atmosphere made it the most fun day of my life (of course it was the best day of my life for the simple fact that I married the love of my life).

August 08, 2008 8:06 AM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

Anon: The wedding ceremony and reception are two different things, and I was primarily concerned with the former. Call it an occupational hazard.

However, you bring up a good point. The festivity of a reception is a marvelous thing that I wouldn't want to give up, either. Even done economically, "the basics" aren't always inexpensive (I understand about big families, too-- my husband is the oldest of 8 children).

All the more reason to decide up front what's really important, and to resist the siren song of the attractively packaged "must haves" and "marvelous ideas" that are more about making money than enhancing your life together.

August 08, 2008 9:03 AM  

Blogger Padre Mickey said...

Every now and then someone will want to get married at San Cristóbal and they'll want Unity candles and all manner of stuff. I tell them "We're using the ceremony in the BCP, which has enough symbolism for everyone. We won't be doing Unity candles." No one has refused to get married at our church yet.

August 09, 2008 10:02 AM  

Blogger Father John said...

All very good points... but the sand thing is just flat silly. Put the $65 toward spending a few days on the beach with all the sand you can imagine.

August 09, 2008 10:23 AM  

Blogger Emily said...

If I really shared everything I think about the "wedding industry" I'd hijack your comments, so I'll refrain.

Let's not even discuss the odd choices of music couples turn up with.

"No, we're not going to use the Love Theme from the movie 'Armageddon' at your wedding."

August 10, 2008 3:20 PM  

Anonymous Byrd said...

Sand ceremony.. riiight. So there they are with this vase of layered sand and 3 or 5 years later a child says "What's this, Momma?" picks it up and shakes it to a blur...or maybe she/he spills it on the rug or adds it to their sand box. Then again, could that be part of the symbolism of the years after the ceremony. 8-)

August 17, 2008 12:31 AM  

Blogger Rev Dave said...

OK, I'm a little slow in commenting...

Best line about weddings, ever, comes from Real Live Preacher:


"You don't have to give in to the sharks of the love industry. You really don't. And it's easy. Just say no. You do not have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on dresses and caterers and flowers and banquet halls and fancy cakes and the like. There are sharks out there waiting to sell these things to you. They would have you believe that the beauty and meaning of your wedding will be found in the trappings. Do not believe them. They are liars."

August 22, 2008 11:36 AM  

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