Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why I Hate Traditional Weddings

Let me preface this, dear, theoretical audience, by saying this: I'm all for life-long, monogamous partnerships and all that jazz. I just happen to hate how most people go about the relationships preceding it, and the marriage proceedings themselves. Why you ask? I shall tell you! In my habitual lack of order, here are my reasons:

1. The dress

It is traditional on one's Special Day to wear a highly expensive white dress of one style or another. Does anyone know why that is? Yes! Purity. Because it is traditional for a woman's value to be judged by the state of her hymen. A white dress in western culture is symbolic of a virgin bride (in some other cultures, white is a color of death and mourning. Coincidence? I think not!), so wearing a dress of a more interesting hue can bring on lots of speculation and sideways glances. Someone I once knew was married in a pink (if I remember correctly) dress, just because she had a child out of wedlock. But lets actually think about this for a second: Who actually wants to wear excessive amounts of white clothing? The number is pretty small, boys and girls, and if you don't want to wear a white dress proclaiming your snowy virgin pureness, why should you be expected to? Also, the number of women who are not even a little bit virginal who have worn white wedding dresses is probably staggering. The color of your clothing should have nothing to do with how much sex you've had. Thank you, Hester Prynne!

Someday, I'm going to walk into a bridal shop solely to ask if they have bridal gowns in any other color and watch the response. And then, I'll have an incredibly loud, public breakdown and sob that I don't want to get married after all. Who wants to join me?

2. Family
Hey, everyone I have any kind of blood or legal relationship to, want to join my friends, coworkers, neighbors, church people, and dry-cleaners in watching me and my significant other spend thousands of unnecessary dollars to engage in a joint legal and social contract? :D

Wrong. Half of them aren't going to be able to make it, and most of them won't actually even talk to you at the ceremony/reception. Because there's an obscene number of people who will want to talk to you, or they're there with people they can interact with more easily and comfortably.

That's probably actually why people bring dates to weddings.

3. Being walked down the aisle
This is the same problem I have with veils. It's another archaic and patriarchal tradition. I told my father that if he was going to walk me down the aisle, we'd better have at least a goat and a few chickens in tow. Because what it represents is the bride being "given away," as though she is the property of her father to be transferred to the man who will be her husband. It's an anachronism left over from a time of arranged marriages and bride-prices/dowries. My father huffily explained that it's a symbolic transfer of authority, and that too is unnecessary. If/when I get married, it will be under my own power, and by my own decision. There will be none of this "asking for permission" crap. I am an adult and capable of making my own decisions, and everyone that decides to share their life with someone else should be too.

She cooks and cleans well enough, but her
 hips might be a little narrow for bearing your thirteen sons.

14. Money
What's the deal with this obsession with flushing tons of money down the toilet to have a big to-do rather than using it to start a life? Weddings cost thousands and thousands of dollars, and they don't need to.There's the dress, which is somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand, the tuxes, the food, the flowers, the venue, the invitations, the photographer, the rings, and so on, and so on. That stuff isn't necessary to get married, or to celebrate it. Do you know what will be at my wedding? Me, my man, rings, a license, and someone to officiate. You're there to bind your fate to someone else's, not to impress everyone else.

Which brings me to another point, which wasn't next, but I'm going to make it number 5 now, because I was about to start that rant anyway.

5. They're treated like a performance
There is very little about weddings that is truly genuine and sincere. Except the silk and the four hundred dollar roses. It's all about everything looking beautiful and perfect, and pretending that it actually is, even though everything on the planet is going wrong at the least convenient times (I've been to way too many weddings, and I've been in two. Trust me). It's like the wedding isn't even about the fact that two people are getting married. It's for the benefit of the people watching the performance, and making it a spectacle for them. Maybe it's just that the bride and groom are needy attention-whores more often than not, but I feel like a wedding should be about the two people saying the damned vows.

6. Success
How often is it even worth it to have a huge wedding? More often than not, you could save that money and then pay for your divorce five years later instead. Doesn't it strike anyone else as totally absurd to have a weddings ceremony, with the expensive dress you'll never wear again, and everyone you know (and probably some people you don't) watching, only to have it end with an expensive divorce? It does quite often, and it strikes me as utterly foolish. Unless it's a full circle thing. "Lets blow lots of money and start this thing publicly, and then end it the same way ten or twelve years down the road! I'm a little shaky on the cake and champagne; is it inappropriate to have a divorce party?"

This is my main complaint during most weddings I'v been to. It does not take that freaking long to promise to be together for the remainder of your lives and such. For some reason, people feel like the middle of a wedding is a great time for a sermon, or an overview of the bride and groom's entire lives, or about eighty hymns, or whatever. Things that don't need to take up my entire afternoon.

8. Expectations

Any time someone announces they're getting married, there's immediately this boatload of expectations about the wedding, the vows, the colors, the bridal party, the guest list, the cake, blah, blah, blah, wedding things, etc. It's stupid. Weddings are like this evil morass of tradition and family demands. I don't know how anyone puts up with it. I can't even tolerate the expectations I have now by virtue of being a twenty-something girl.

9. Weddings are treated as an endpoint
Think about it. Where does every Disney Princess movie end? On the wedding day. Where does every chick flick end? The relationship.

We see marriage as a destination without realizing that it's only a destination in the way that a dock or an airport is; it's a launch point for the next phase of life, an entirely new trip on its own. But we as a culture, end up glorifying the journey to that point rather than actually examining it as another journey. I want there to be a movie about a married couple that isn't stupid comedy, worthless drama, or geared toward old people. Stories don't start or end with a marriage or a wedding. They're important plot point, but not the whole thing.

It takes a brilliant strategist to make one happen, lots of alcohol to get everyone through it, and way more money, conflict, violence, tears, shopping, decision-making, and negotiation than anything smaller than a war should get.

And I probably have a few more reasons lurking in my ranty little brain, but I can't think of any others. I was going to add "Hypocrisy" as the tenth reason, but I realized I would mostly be repeating myself. So look for the things I said that have an undercurrent about the hypocrisy in weddings, and you'll probably get most of what I was going to say in that section.

And now, I declare it the end.


  1. The wedding dress shop will probably have a number of options in color :p It's becoming increasingly common for women to chose dresses in colors. Naturally, there's still a push for traditional, big princess-y gowns because ladies tend to be trained from a young age to want a big princess-y gown. It's mostly the older ladies that care about the virginal status of the bride. That and the bride's father, because that's a but of a touchy issue with them XD

    1. It depends very much on the context of the subculture how much they care about such things. It's becoming increasingly common and acceptable to be more liberal or progressive on social issues, especially among the under-thirty crowd, but there's still a good number of very traditional people.

      They choose white wedding dresses because it's tradition to wear a white wedding dress. They just don't question it or exert preference because women generally want to look like the bride when they get married.

  2. I like this one. Naturally, I don't read a lot of your blogs but I find myself agree with basically all of this. Hopefully, if I do end up getting married at some point, my significant other won't be hung up on traditions or the magicalness of the day/ceremony itself rather than what it should mean. Nicely written.

    1. Thank you? I think it's probably a good idea to agree on a lot o that stuff, or at least know what you're getting into if your woman does care.

  3. I just googled "I hate traditional weddings" to see if I was the only girl in the world who cringes when a couple finishes their vows and throw their hands in the air as if they've DONE it? I can't watch as the couple cuts the cake and feeds it to each other then looks at the audience for applause and approval. Among other things. You have written so many of my feelings that I couldn't verbalize! Thanks for existing.