My bff accepted a marriage proposal this weekend, so I've had weddings on the brain. I am of course thrilled for my friend, but really, weddings frighten me.
I don't have a problem with commitment or anything. It's great to see my friends pledge their troth before friends and family.
What bothers me is the way nice, smart, reasonable women get pressured into expecting decadent proposals, planning exorbitant weddings, micromanaging the decor/behavior/food/appearance/whereabouts of their friends and family, and then get judged for made-up etiquette breaches their friends will gossip about afterward. Almost makes you want to rethink marriage.
Weddings are a spectator sport. Like gladiator matches.
And the wedding industrial complex is all too happy to facilitate the bloodletting. Last year, Americans spent $42 billion on weddings, according to industry website www.TheWeddingReport.com. The average wedding cost $19,581, and in Washington the average is even higher, at $50,000 a pop. Wedding vendors will sell you everything you can dream of, and we'll buy it.
Smells like patriarchy. I'm gonna generalize and say it's men who own the majority of wedding venues (ie, the real estate), the bridal porn media outlets, the thousands of trinkets you apparently NEED for your wedding, the film companies that keep producing stupid wedding movies, the diamond corporations, the toy companies that peddle wedding fantasies for girls.
They create all this to guilt you into worrying more and spending more. You'll be too exhausted to think about everything else you've been meaning to do - saving for retirement, studying current events, donating to charity, organizing and lobbying to erase the gender wage gap, etc.
No surprise most men are hands-off for their weddings - who needs that kind of hassle? They might be onto something.
I guess I'm guilty of adding to the woman-on-woman bashing by saying all this. I don't exactly mean to be Debbie Downer all the time, I just think surely we can find better ways to spend our time, energy, and money.
More on weddings:
Slate contributor Meghan O'Rourke's The trouble with engagement rings delves into diamonds as gendered status marker
Judith Martin and Jacobina Martin's Miss Manners' Guide to a Suprisingly Dignified Wedding bites back with practical suggestions to avoid the crazy. They're hosting a book talk this evening outside DC. I went to their discussion of the book a few months ago and thought they were engaging, funny speakers.
Feministwedding.com's Wedding Equality Checklists come in two versions: unconventional and more unconventional.
You can do your wallet and the environment a favor by buying a previously-loved dress from sites like Preownedweddingdresses.com
Photo credit: iVoryTowerz on Flickr