Almost five years ago I married the man of my dreams in a quiet church off a quiet street and had a small party afterwards at my parent's home. It was frugal by many standards and we missed out on a lot of those "necessary" things everyone says you're supposed to have. At the end of the day though it was perfect because we were married and the money we saved went to a great honeymoon.
Currently though, in the United States, the average cost of a wedding is $20,000. A years tuition at a great university or a down payment on a house or a brand new car. And it all goes to that one day. Weddings were used until recently as a symbolic transferring of responsibility of a woman. Hence the point at which the father hands over his daughter to her fiance at the altar. "Who gives this woman?" "Her mother and I." Now they have become pageants with movies and choreographed dances.
Valerie Alexander on the Huffington Post Blog postulated what would happen if weddings were banned. Or if you could only have one after 10 years of marriage. Then it wouldn't be a girl fulfilling a fantasy of being a princess...it would be a young woman ready to step into her new role as wife and the huge commitment that that means.
The milestones that we are celebrating for women have nothing to do with any actual achievements. What about giving college graduations the same treatment as weddings where a young woman gathered her family and friends around her to celebrate the years of hard work and the new job she had landed. How about instead of having 32 TV shows about weddings and multiple seasons of Teen Mom we had TV shows about the Fab 5 from the 2012 London Olympics?
Weddings and Baby Showers are wonderful when they are celebrated for the right reasons. The faithful joining of two souls who mean "until death do us part" when they say, I Do. And the celebration of a baby for two established parents and not that last hurrah of the teenage years.
Celebrations are a large and important part of life, they infuse life with meaning and bring joy. It is worth remembering though that your husband and child will be there long after all the guests have left and the presents are opened and the pictures fawned over. So many plan their wedding with no thought to the 60+ years of life after it. Chances are you'll forget the intricate beading of that $3,000 couture dress in the years that come but you'll remember with absolute accuracy the day your husband served you breakfast in bed or your first mother's day present.
Forget the dream and start thinking about a great reality.
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