The Thinking Housewife had a good post awhile back on the decline in the number of weddings, but increase in the extravagance.
Weddings have become extreme because of feminism, which has made it difficult for men to say no and has exalted girl power. I have felt pained sympathy for some of the grooms I have seen dragged through humiliating maneuvers to capture the bride at her best photographically. The bride has become a narcissistic monster, a galloping, unstoppable, frilly-clad Fury with a battalion of bridesmaids. Men are afraid to say no because she seems to have everything, her entire identity, invested in this single day.
I fucking hate the idea of people wasting money on huge elaborate weddings. I feel bad for the grooms who probably would have been happy with a Justice of the Peace and a keg party with their family and friends. The ceremony itself is usually BOOoooring, and while the receptions can sometimes be fun if you can catch up with old friends or if there’s an open bar or something, but most people are pretty buttoned up and it’s usually better on paper than in actuality.
I married someone with similar feelings. Though I now consider myself an atheist, at the time I was a non-practicing catholic so made us get married in my hometown catholic church. We hardly had any money. We had bought and were fixing up a house at the time, were digging out of debt and paying for a fancy wedding was not even on the radar screen. So to go as cheap as possible, we were able to use the lower level of the church (where donuts are served on Sundays) for the reception. They used volunteer ladies from the church (called themselves “The Kitchen Witches”, of which my mom was one) to cook the meal (family style, come up to the kitchen window and grab your food cafeteria style) and all we had to pay for was the ingredients. Booze was paid for my parents, who bought a couple cases of wine, a keg of beer and a bottles of hard liquor and mixers. Due to church policy, we had to have a licensed bartender, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to most wedding liquor costs.
Holly’s wedding dress was on clearance or something, I think she paid $300. We had tuxes and all that, as well as hired a decent photographer and DJ. I want to say the whole thing ran about $3-4,000 for about 150 guests, which as weddings go isn’t too bad. And. Everyone. Had. A. Blast. People took advantage of the open bar (we paid wholesale and just had to hire a certified “bartender”), danced in the more intimate environment into the wee hours and we visited with EVERYONE who came (this is something a lot of couples don’t do as they are so focused on themselves. I’m not sure where I got the idea, but Holly and I cut our own dinner a little short to go to each and every table to visit before all the loud and crazy dancing festivities began). Awesome night.
Holly’s brothers both did non-traditional weddings and receptions too. Married on their family’s property. Keg party and an outdoor tent on the in-laws land, etc. Holly’s step sister got married in Alaska in a hippy-dippy destination wedding with only a few people and minimal to no flair. These were all more fun than all but a one or two others I’ve been to.
For my own kids, if they decide to get married, I’m going to support and encourage eloping, justice of the peace or a non-traditional wedding and reception. I’d rather they use the money for something that will gain value, like a house down payment (in lieu of paying for the wedding in a significant way, Holly’s dad helped with the down payment of our first house). I do think that if the wife HAS to have a fairy tale wedding and is unwilling to budge on this it is a poor reflection on her character and her ability to prioritize money in the grand scheme of life. I’m much more practical and pragmatic than most, but see next to no value in blowing $20,000 for a single night. Hopefully, we can steer BirdsNest (and son Loudboy) in the right direction as they get older.