The perfect wedding…

So I’m writing about something Cane wrote again.

In a comment at Dalrock’s, Cane laid out one of the phenomena I find most distressing when considering attitudes towards marriage in women I meet. He writes:

The beginning is key.

“Rol (not sure of his name) and I met in college: We dated, and–we did everything fast–we got married, and–right out of college–we, um, tsk! had babies–” [he’s quoting a video Dalrock posted]

At that point, the audio is edited. The smart money says what was edited out was her a continued expression of surprise, dismay, and dissatisfaction that a wedding led to marriage and children.

What’s damning about the video’s producers is that they know where the smart money is too, and they followed it just…long…enough…to get intuitive listeners to empathize without thinking about it too clearly; without saying outloud that while they love weddings, they too are dismayed with marriage and children.

The attitude Cane describes seems to be distressingly common. In fact, most women I talk to seem to regard having a wedding as far more important than being married. In my mind, that’s kind of like saying that getting baptized is more important than believing in Jesus Christ. It also seems patently wrong that we spend exponentially more money celebrating the public commitment of two humans to each other than we do celebrating the commitment of a human to God. I attended a wedding recently that could not have possibly cost less than $100,000. I know others that were engaged for over a year in order to “save enough money for a proper wedding.”

It blows my mind.

How can say you “can’t afford to have kids” when you blew thousands of dollars on a ridiculously impractical piece of clothing you never intend to wear again? Why is a dress considered more important than a child? How much more fucked up can your priorities be? And yet what Cane wrote rings true–the condition of being married seems largely viewed by women as necessary evil that sadly accompanies the great good of the “perfect wedding.”

(Please, tell me I’m wrong. Prove me wrong. I want to be wrong–but I know what I see.)

And what the heck is a “perfect wedding” anyhow? The point of a wedding is to join two people in marriage. How can any wedding that accomplishes that end be considered lacking? I’ve never been to a wedding where the couple ended up only halfway married afterwords.

Call me simplistic, but I still think a marriage is fundamentally more important than the celebration of the ceremony which initiates it.

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9 thoughts on “The perfect wedding…

  1. It’s ridiculous. Weddings are a communal affair, but the more extravagant one is, the more the community is removed from the wedding. If your people are blue collar, and you throw a $40,000 wedding, then they can’t relate. Period. Even if you fly them out there, it’s not their deal. It’s only your deal, and they’re just along for the ride.

    As well, it removes the onus from the community to show support. I have a hard time justifying to myself to spend $50-$100 for a couple that throws a $20,000 affair. Young people don’t need wedding debt: They need sewing machines, dishes, towels…even a house.

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  2. @Cane

    “Young people don’t need wedding debt: They need sewing machines, dishes, towels…even a house.”

    So true. At that extravagant wedding I was at recently, I couldn’t stop thinking to myself that the couple could have purchased a house sans mortgage with the money they spent on the wedding.

    “If your people are blue collar, and you throw a $40,000 wedding, then they can’t relate. Period. Even if you fly them out there, it’s not their deal. It’s only your deal, and they’re just along for the ride.”

    Often I think they take it beyond being only their deal, and make it only the bride’s deal. Maybe my perspective is warped, but in many weddings I have seen all control abdicated to the bride-to-be on the grounds that it is “her day.” When I see groomsmen in pink I wonder if the groom had any say whatsoever in his own wedding, or simply provided the funding.

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  3. Thinking aloud here…
    The “church” I fellowship with owns no buildings. We’re an affiliation of ten local home fellowships. We get together as a larger group several times a year in parks or rented halls.

    When our young people get married they do so in a park or at somebody’s home. The receptions are also held at home. The decorations, flowers, and food are handled by the ladies, and the girls do the serving. The boys do the setup and teardown. My oldest son does the music (he’s not a professional).

    I’m wondering what your opinion is: how much of the blame for extravagent weddings can be attributed to extravagent churches?

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  4. @deLaune:

    A church-nurtured culture of extravagance is certainly complicit in extravagant weddings, but the ultimate responsibility rests on the couple.

    I really like the idea of congregations not owning a physical church building. Last week, I met an administrator for an organization that builds churches all over the world. I engaged him in conversation on the value of church buildings, hoping to get a new perspective. Although he argued that physical churches are important, it seemed to me that the primary importance he placed on them was as a status marker in the community for the congregation. And I guess that’s the primary value of extravagant weddings as well–a status marker in the community.

    So, all that said, maybe a better answer to your original question is that a preoccupation with status is to blame for both extravagant churches and extravagant weddings.

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  5. @de Laune an MNM

    I’m wondering what your opinion is: how much of the blame for extravagent weddings can be attributed to extravagent churches?

    In my view, this is one of those Romans 14 things. People like churches. Before that, God’s people liked the Temple, and synagogues. It’s common ground; which is a good thing for handling difficult people.

    Similarly, I like hierarchies. I’ve been involved in several church plants of an Evangelical flavor (non-doms and Southern Baptists…but I repeat myself), and attended Independent Baptist churches. Let me say that I find bishops over several churches to be good things.

    A church-nurtured culture of extravagance is certainly complicit in extravagant weddings, but the ultimate responsibility rests on the couple.

    Nah. Roman Catholics did this very well for a very long time; mostly they still do. To my mind, this is another reason to have churches, and that parishioners should get married in them: Everyone of the same church gets a very similar wedding; even if they have different socio-economic ranks. That’s a pretty cool grace for the poor, and some needed humility for the wealthy.

    I think Americanism and consumerism are the culprits for lavish weddings.

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  6. @Cane

    When I say extravagant churches are complicit, I don’t mean congregations with extravagant buildings. While I wonder as to the value of such buildings, at least the marker of status is directed towards the congregation or hopefully God, rather than individuals. By extravagant churches I mean those where you are expected to show up in a suit, wearing a $40 tie, $100 cufflinks, and a swanky watch.

    As to the value of church buildings, I have observed that when a Bible-study group gets more than about a dozen, it changes from an active group to a passive group. This is why I like the idea of about a dozen or so people meeting in a home, with a pastor or bishop set over several of these small churches, rather than over one large one. My understanding is that the Amish use a system similar to this, and it seems like it would foster a stronger sense of community, fellowship, and itimacy while reducing passive pew-warming.

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  7. @MNM

    By extravagant churches I mean those where you are expected to show up in a suit, wearing a $40 tie, $100 cufflinks, and a swanky watch.

    I think I got you. You mean one where personal status (and its markers) plays a role in the how the congregants perceive one another and interact?

    This is why I like the idea of about a dozen or so people meeting in a home, with a pastor or bishop set over several of these small churches, rather than over one large one.

    I don’t have a problem with that, per se, but removing church buildings won’t make humans less human; won’t make community and fellowship more likely for everyone. You will still get a core group who are more active than the others; share their home more often, etc. In those house groups, people often just fall out of contact.

    Even so: There’s room for a multitude. Some need the grace of a small house church, and some need the grace of a set-apart building.

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  8. @Cane

    “I think I got you. You mean one where personal status (and its markers) plays a role in the how the congregants perceive one another and interact?”

    Yes. Specifically those where status and its markers are confused with righteousness.

    “[R]emoving church buildings won’t make humans less human”

    Truth.

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  9. Pingback: Bridge the gap | Moose Norseman

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