American Weddings are Decadent and Depravedby Don Lacey on Apr. 02, 2012, under Arizona Families, Art & Culture, Critical Thinking, Ethics, History, Logic, Reason, That's Life!
Here is another opinion from Jim Wilson:
I tend to like going to weddings, if only because I enjoy seeing people I haven’t seen in a while, all together in one place. Weddings also often provide good opportunities to reconnect with people, and I tend to enjoy the free food and wine and in the past, I have seen them as good opportunities to meet single women (the film Wedding Crashers explores the latter concept in greater detail). That, said on some level the way we do them in this country strikes as somewhere between ridiculous and absolutely insane, not to mention decadent, depraved and a bit tedious.
A quick Google search for the cost of the average American wedding threw numbers at me from around $25,000 to $35,000. Presumably, around half of American weddings cost more than that. I understand that for some people, such cost is insignificant, but to me and the vast majority of Americans that is an enormous amount of money, and it is about half of this country’s median income. Traditionally, it is expected that the bride’s father should pay for this (a holdout of the sexist and highly self-serving traditional expecting dowries or money from the bride’s family as in exchange for accepting a new woman into the family). Nowadays it seems whichever person’s family is richest, most interested, or has the most to prove gets the bill.
The money is, of course, spent on expensive dresses for brides and bride’s maids, expensive suites, thousand dollar cakes, floral arrangements, churches reception halls wines and expensive meals. That of course is thousands of dollars spent on clothing and accessories that will only be used once. Though, for many Americans opt for more practical and minimalist weddings, in the company of families and friends, there is this strong if not dominant trend within American culture of viewing weddings as a strange mix of flaunting ones wealth as much as possible, while at the same time fulfilling the deeply held school-girl princess fantasy of having the world revolve around you for a day. There seems to be a social expectation that if you are throwing a wedding it had better be pushing or exceeding the upper limits of your financial means or you are not doing it right. I cannot help but wonder why any grown adult would want something like this. On a side note, it is for the reasons discussed here that I believe a nationwide legalization of same sex marriage would great for the economy.
In college, I knew young women who did not even have boyfriends much less fiancés, who had already developed elaborate plans for what their future wedding day would be like and it was always some sort of glamorous royal princess fantasy, in which everything revolves around them for a day. Christian concepts of humbleness are completely out the window in many Christian weddings.
It seems that as a culture, we have opted to smother our daughters in prince charming fairy tales rather than give more realistic images of what marriages and relationships are. Weddings tend to be time in which fulfilling our most infantile and vain fantasies combines with are most depraved, insecure needs to keep up with our neighbors.
Wedding season is when Americans work their butts off and spend their money largely to impress people they may not even like. I suspect the billion dollar wedding industry that has built up around wedding culture is a highly cynical one that thrust it’s over priced wares on hapless fathers who want to do right by their little girls, or bourgeois families who feel pressured to go all out to impress friends and rivals. Perhaps they are simply trying to come up with a decent networking event. I think people selling thousand dollar dresses and cakes are hucksters who came up with a brilliant scam. The result is a self-reinforcing culture of potential victims. I feel the same way about the industries that have grown up around funerals, graduations, and proms. Nothing disgust me quite the way the ultra-conformist, white-bread, unthinking bourgeois decadence does.
That brings me to the whole cultural baggage. Brides wear white to symbolize their purity, or more bluntly, their sexual virginity, reflecting ages of sexist and sex-negative baggage and superstition. It is absolutely stupid that we somehow link a woman’s worth, as a wife, to her virginity (meanwhile the guy can be as impure as he wants). It is absolute nonsense. It is highly likely that the marrying couple has had sex, and if they did, so what? It hardly diminishes their feelings for each other, and frankly the idea of committing to spend one’s life with a person you’ve never made love with seems idiotic.
I have of course been to weddings where a big deal was made out of the fact that the couple in question had “saved themselves” for each other. Seeing the old priest talking about this and the new pleasures the couple would experience in the “wedding bed,” was observably unsettling to most people in attendance. This is not to mention the common baggage of including promises that the bride should “obey” the husband; or her father “giving away” the bride to the husband. A lot of this strikes me precisely the type of sexist antiquated crap we need to move away from.
The ceremony is usually followed by a reception, which I usually enjoy. Great food, drinks and dancing are always enjoyable, and a lot of what is said sounds truly heart-felt, but, as it progresses we get into the awful music. At any wedding reception, nowadays you are guaranteed to hear the music of 1980′s era Bon Jovi, Journey, Def Leopard and Thriller era Michael Jackson. Pour some sugar on me, in the name of love. I may be a little biased since I consider this stuff to be dated, commercial, and disgustingly formulaic from the time it came out. I also really dislike the recent reemergence of outdated 1980′s radio rock as today’s official party music and the fact that DJs play it at every party or wedding reception I go too. It is as if wedding reception DJs all use the same play list, and no one cares about the predictability or complete lack of creativity in it.
I figure it’s supposed to be the most important day of your lives so play something interesting, and do something creative or different for once.
Anyway, I have mixed feelings about the whole marriage concept anyway, and I really dislike the whole keeping up with the Jones’s mentality behind so many weddings. But, if people are going to feel the need to engage in over the top displays of wealth, I can think of worse ways to manifest it than treating me to good food and drinks.