Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What is a wedding for?

I love this question posed by Rebecca Mead during her journey into the wide, wide wedding world.

Here's an excerpt from her book, One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding:

"What is a wedding for? This sounds like a question to which there ought to be an obvious answer, but when I posed it to a group of soon-to-be brides and recently married women with whom I met near the outset of my research for this book--the question came perhaps an hour, and a bottle of wine or two, into a very lively conversation--the room fell momentarily silent, and then everyone broke into slightly embarrassed laughter..." (219).

She continued:

"The embarrassed laughter with which this question was greeted suggested that the question hadn't come up very much during these brides' own encounters with the wedding industry. They had become accustomed to thinking about the event in terms of floral decisions or styles of photography, with the larger purpose of the wedding a distraction from the more pressing questions of logistics; and they had hardly been encouraged to speculate more broadly upon the significance of a wedding by an industry that sought to ensure their total immersion in the business of brides. There was no column on the wedding-planning spreadsheet, no entry on the bridal checklist, for meaning" (221).

It's an inspiring question. It's a daunting question. It's an important question.

Here's my humble attempt at answering that question for myself:

What is a wedding for? First and foremost, a wedding is about marriage. And marriage is about love. And love is about compassion, passion, patience, and support.

A wedding is an opportunity to formalize love into commitment. It's a public declaration. It's intentional. It's a chance to say, "I love you and I will do my best to love you the way you deserve to be loved, now and for years to come."

For me, it's an occasion to bring together families of choice and families of origin to witness the commitment, to build new connections, and to share the joy. It's an occasion to celebrate, enjoy each other's company, and strengthen relationships.

And, as the lights dim and the cars pull away, I hope everyone present will leave with the inspiration to live better and love better.

What are your own ideas about what a wedding is for?

Image borrowed (with permission) from cakies. I love this image because it's not from her wedding. It's from her birthday a few days ago. It shows that love is in the everyday.

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EliandMe said...

For me, a wedding is still a symbolic rite of passage. Not so much from childhood to adulthood any more, but it definitely marks the beginning of a new stage of my/our lives. And although the purpose of our wedding is to make a public declaration of our intent, it's also a rare chance to get all our friends and family together for one hell of a party!

I hope you don't mind but I have added you to my blog roll at http://motherandbride.blogspot.com/

Brandi@ Flights of Whimsy said...

A wedding, be it all shapes and sizes, gives us an opportunity to share our love with all our friends and family. It is a celebration of new life and new opportunity, a chance to share an intimate side of ourselves that our loved ones usually do not see. Everything else, decor, flowers, a pretty dress, to me, is just icing on a very delicious cake.

E said...

It's for the booze, duh!!


I'm with you Sarah, although I'd switch it up a little:

First and foremost, a wedding is about marriage. And marriage is about COMMITMENT. And COMMITMENT is about love, support, respect and passion.

Ultimately, the most successful marriages are not the ones in which people love each other "the most." They're the ones in which they RESPECT each other the most, and live out their shared commitment on a daily basis.

"love" is too dynamic to base a marriage upon.

Bridechka said...

Haha, I am with you e! Its totally about the booze! I think a wedding is a celebration, it is an explosion of joy that brings together friends and family to celebrate that a person has found his or her partner in this world and wants to tell everyone how much that person means to them and that they intend to be with that person for the rest of their lives.

Becca said...

A wedding is a deeply personal thing that is different for each couple. For me, the sharing aspect is primary - if not, I'd elope. I want to share our joy with our family and friends. I want a joyful excuse to get all our far-flung loved ones together. The best weddings I've attended had both intimate sharing moments (thoughout the weekend) and time to celebrate infectious joy for the couple with the couple and with friends/family you haven't seen in forever.

It's a commitment ceremony. It's a party. It's a reunion. And it's the last two that make the planning and logistics and expense so darn difficult to balance. And it's the first one that I need to focus on. But they all make it worth it.

Anonymous said...

SUCH A GOOD QUESTION (and I loved stumbling upon your blog today - 2000 dollars? wiggity wah?! that's awesome - here I thought I was doing something special with a five grand budget).

Anyway, I've blogged my answer - it was worth it :D Such a good question! It made me have to look at what I believed about marriage!

Anonymous said...

woops...wrong blog. :P That's what happens when you've been blogging for ten months on one blog, and then create a new blog for your wedding stuff!!! :D

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