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...to think modern weddings are completely out of hand?

(23 Posts)
missinglalaland Mon 03-Mar-14 19:12:13

Really this post is inspired by another aibu post that I don't want to hijack. Skimming the 700+ responses about who to invite to a wedding made me think of this excellent essay, written by Caitlin Flanagan over 10 years ago. It's an absolute classic and a bit of light relief for anyone dealing with a wedding.

www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/02/the-wedding-merchants/302092/

IwinIwin Mon 03-Mar-14 19:56:00

I found it a bit arduous to read through that link tbh. Far too long for light relief imo.

In regards to weddings, they are what you make them. I've been to a few 'biggy' white weddings-mainly where the families are minted and so can afford them- I've been to just as many 'wedding parties' where they've been abroad eloping, eloped in the UK or gone down the registry office.

There's big money to be had in weddings, put the word wedding in any quote request and prices triple- supply and demand. That's why I found moneysavingexperts site so useful-great for budget weddings and saving pounds.

I think everything's more about supply and demand though - christenings, confirmations, birthday parties...I went to a baby shower the other day where we'd been issued in advanced with a url to a guest list! In contrast my sister didn't want or have one.

When we get engaged, people asked us about an engagement party and engagement gifts from our older relatives, not the younger ones- DP and I hadn't ever heard giving gifts and no one I know has had an engagement party.

Weddings are stressful though, very much so. Sometimes it's the bride/groom getting in over it (and so often the bride is blamed when it's the groom being the zilla- I see it on MN too, automatically it's a bridezilla calling the shots even when the groom is related to the moaners!), often it's the guests. There's something about big events that brings out the worst and best in some people.

venusandmars Mon 03-Mar-14 20:26:01

If you judge weddings by what you read here, or on wedding sites then you're getting a picture of the extreme end of things. I work in the wedding 'industry' and I go as many weddings for 2, 15 or 40 people as I do for 200.

If you are actually involved then you'd understand the heartache of balancing a budget with the pressures of inviting every great aunt and the child of the second cousin twice removed.

In reality the vast majority of weddings are simply organised and happy family occasions .

So YABU

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 04-Mar-14 13:15:55

I liked this bit:
"To stage a white wedding as the form was originally conceived requires a woman young enough that her very age suggests a measure of innocence, the still-married parents who have harbored her up to this point, and a young man of like religious affiliation who is willing to assume responsibility for her keep. Trying to pull off this piece of theater in light of the divorce culture, the women's movement, the sexual revolution, and the acceptability of mixed and later marriages threatens to make a complete mockery of the thing. It's like trying to stage a nativity pageant without a baby and a donkey: you can do it, but you're going to need one hell of a manger."

ComposHat Tue 04-Mar-14 13:26:47

iwin yes, I have seen engagement parties mentioned and a few older people mentioned them to us but I don't'tknow of anyone who has had one. I wonder why they died a death.

missinglalaland Tue 04-Mar-14 18:28:28

Thanks AngelaDaviesHair, I thought it was funny too!

HairyGrotter Tue 04-Mar-14 18:31:56

I'm getting married in 6 months time...we've done fuck all other than pay deposits for the venue and honeymoon.

I hate weddings and all that comes with it. I'll pull my finger out a couple of months before the day, much like I did when I had a baby ha

GoldenGytha Tue 04-Mar-14 18:32:44

I'm going to a wedding on Saturday, the first in 19 years,

I've only been to about 4 weddings in my life, and one of those was my own 22 years ago, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Grennie Tue 04-Mar-14 18:39:30

My brother had an engagement party. Both him and his wife, lived with their respective parents until they got married.

BrownSauceSandwich Tue 04-Mar-14 18:46:54

Venus - very true. You just don't hear about the ones that are calm and unruffled, the ones with 25 guests who all get on fine, however much fun they might be.

Bunbaker Tue 04-Mar-14 18:48:35

Only those on MN. No RL wedding I have been to has been like anything I have read on here. No Bridezillas in OH's or my family.

aintnothinbutagstring Tue 04-Mar-14 20:18:22

Offbeat bride is a good website, its written from an american perspective but it shows people that have done alternatives to the big white wedding, whether they have big or small budgets. One of them was a bride and groom in california, the bride had a candy bouquet and they wore 'sneakers'. They give lots of suggestions how to do things differently and lots of DIY tips. I think the big white wedding is on its way out, I think we'll see lots of people trying to stamp their own individuality on weddings in the future.

Grennie Tue 04-Mar-14 20:27:00

Some of the individual weddings take as much, or more work than a traditional wedding. A registry office wedding with a restaurant meal or informal party afterwards, used to be pretty standard. I personally don't understand how people can bear to spend so much on a wedding day.

Bunbaker Wed 05-Mar-14 07:36:41

"I personally don't understand how people can bear to spend so much on a wedding day."

If they can afford it why not?

Though, I don't understand why people go into debt paying for a wedding they can't afford. It is only one day after all. You cut your coat etc.

cory Wed 05-Mar-14 09:33:28

People don't bother to write newspaper columns or even start MN threads about the perfectly pleasant wedding party in the village hall where everybody enjoyed each other's company and the bride and groom joined together in making everybody feel welcome and at home. Not much drama there, is there?

We did have a big white wedding, mainly because my mother really wanted it (and was willing to pay for it grin). No resentment or unhappiness anywhere though: dh and I enjoyed the party, the guests seemed happy, the children invited behaved well and enjoyed themselves.

Allergictoironing Wed 05-Mar-14 09:54:02

I think the reason why you don't hear of engagement parties any more is because many years ago getting engaged specifically meant "We have engaged to be married" and often the approximate date was set at that time. So getting engaged was a big deal, it meant that the couple were definitely getting married in the foreseeable future and had made a commitment - it wasn't THAT long ago that you could sue for "breach of promise" if you broke off an engagement!

Nowadays getting engaged seems to mean that "we are a couple who may or may not get married sometime in the distant future" and is often sadly the way a man gets his woman off his back when she goes on about marriage.

Due to not working at the moment, I'm watching a lot of trash daytime TV & caught a few "Four Weddings US" episodes. Oh. My. Gods. Has anyone else SEEN just how faffy & strict they can be about the structure, what you "have" to do etc? Seems mandatory to not just have a ceremony and a reception with meal & party, but there's something called "cocktail hour" where the guests expect snack food, drinks, sometimes entertainment, all before the reception proper starts shock

EmilyAlice Wed 05-Mar-14 10:05:18

I can remember engagement parties. People used to give things like pillow cases and table napkins. I remember a cousin broke off his engagement and sent all the gifts back with a little note. My sister had one (to show off her ring) and then a big wedding, to which my mother bizarrely decided to invite mothers and daughters only (people still discuss the family row that followed, fifty plus years later). I think she thought men didn't like weddings. hmm
We were trendy students so we only had a few people at our wedding, which was remarkable for the shortness of my mini dress. (We are still married 47 years later). grin

AnnaLegovah Wed 05-Mar-14 10:08:58

My nwi

AnnaLegovah Wed 05-Mar-14 10:09:04

Ffs

AnnaLegovah Wed 05-Mar-14 10:11:33

My phone hates me. I was going to say my neighbours got engaged last summer and had 4 (count em) engagement parties. All involving different people, copious amounts of alcohol and rented halls etc. I think they're unusual though.

ThatsMyOnlyShirt Wed 05-Mar-14 10:18:21

TBH I had a small wedding (28 at registry office, maybe another 40 at evening party) and I still found some aspects very stress full. I asked for no partners to registry office unless they we both friends of them and well it didn't go down well. But I was trying very hard to keep it small and intimate.

I was also 7 months pregnant at the time and we got married 10 weeks after getting engaged. So I think these things contributed to the stress.

Some things went down great tho, such as serving pastie and peas instead of a buffet. So a mixed bag really. I think just the word 'wedding' gets ppls hackles up, some of my family were very uncooperative. Needless to say I won't be having a 30th in few years, I want a 2nd honeymoon instead!

ThatsMyOnlyShirt Wed 05-Mar-14 10:19:40

*unless they were both

sparechange Wed 05-Mar-14 10:31:43

What I find strange about the MN attitude to weddings is that for a brief moment in the mid-80s, wedding etiquette was just right and should have been frozen in time for ever and a day.

A typical wedding from 1850 would have little resemblance to a typical wedding from 1950, ditto 1950 to 2000. I don't hear cries of trying to take it back to the days of the weddings guests accompanying the couple back to the marital bed to witness their first night at it.

But GOD FORBID they should include a link to a gift list, or worse still ask for contributions to a honeymoon, and they suddenly seem grabby and entitled. And when a link to Debretts gets posted to back up the legitimacy of including a list, then someone will inevitably get a fit of the vapours and say it wasn't done like that in their day.

And no, it probably wasn't. But whatever they did in 'their day' isn't what would have been done in their grandparents day. Traditions change, move on, borrow a bit from other cultures, bend a bit to fit modern living.

It is as weird to get upset about modern wedding norms as it is to sob that houses aren't designed in traditional Victorian styles any more

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