Why Weddings Still Matter
There is a great debate in the wedding world these days, as to why we all do this. Weddings are down, cohabitation is up. Why, why, why? My life as a wedding coordinator and as an officiant -- ground zero, as it were -- has given me a few theories on that. (int #1: The average wedding in the U.S. rivals the cost of a B.A. at UCLA these days -- go Bruins.) There was an article on the Huffington Post recently, "Seven Reasons To Believe in Marriage," and I agree with them all. But why do weddings matter?
1. The act of publicly committing yourself to another person. Vowing before everyone you love and whichever deity you do or do not believe in, "This is who we are, and we are dedicating our lives to each other." No matter how many people are watching, I think the public part is a good reminder that this is no small feat you are undertaking. And, hey, you promised!
2. Celebrating that commitment to another person. It's no small feat, but it is one based in love and joy. I think that calls for a party, don't you?
3. A great reason to get all those people in the same room. I've said it before, and I will say it again: There are at least five people on your guest list who you haven't seen in forever and can't wait to hang out with at your wedding. Don't discount it -- this is one of the few opportunities you'll have to get all the people you dig and who dig you in the same place. It's a one-stop shop for a good time.
4. Finding out how the two of you work together and how to improve how you work together. This will come into play many times during your marriage. Planning a wedding will teach you how to compromise. How to reach a goal under a time limit, and often, under stress. You'll figure out the best way to deal with your families. You'll figure out the best way to deal with each other. I've said this before, too, and you should really trust me on this one.
5. Seriously, The Love, you guys! No, really. Right now I'm thinking about the wedding I performed on Easter, and the way the two of them were looking at each other. And the way everyone was looking at them. They'd created this day that had all the things that made them happy, from the purple roses to the Appletinis to the four-hour photo booth. It is gratifying to create that kind of environment for yourself, surrounded by your own idea of The Pretty and The Cool. It's one day, yes. But it's your day.
And the practical and political reasons:
6. For the same reason you vote. Because you can. And it's another one of those infrequent times where you get to publicly affirm your choice. And everyone should be able to do this. Forty-five years ago, my Jewish husband and I couldn't have gotten married in California. Gay people across this country are facing this challenge today. If you want to and you can, go for it.
7. The economy. One of the reasons Prop 8 annoyed me -- aside from the obvious Lucy-snatching-the-football away-ness of it all -- was that weddings are good for the economy. More than 18,000 same-sex couples got married at a time when the average cost of a wedding in California was $25,000 (during the brief window when gay marriage was legal). That's 450 million freakin' dollars. Granted, not all of them spent that much. But there was a clerk who had to process their applications, the officiant who married them, and the other clerk who had to process the marriage license. And even a $10,000 wedding employs at least five people at some point, and most of the weddings I coordinate have twice that number. It's not just the wedding planners and photographers who are getting paid. Your venue staff, down to the busboys and the guy that mows the lawn outside, is taking a check home and pumping it back into the economy. Have a wedding -- it's patriotic.
So, why does having a wedding matter to you? And what do you think of my reasons? Let me know in the comments below!