First off, full disclaimer: I love weddings. I’m just that type of girl. (I may or may not be the type of girl who has a secret stash of Martha Weddings dating back to the late nineties… but I’ll leave you to ponder that.) But as much as I’ve adored being included in so many celebrations over the years, I can’t help but observe a pretty big shift in wedding culture over the last decade. Perhaps you’ve noticed it, too: The bride wants everyone at the Four Seasons by 5pm Thursday, so as not to miss the kick-off party. Instead of wearing their best dark suits, the groomsmen now have to buy matching seersuckers for the outdoor ceremony. Oh, and the bachelorette party? It’s not just a party anymore, it’s a full blown weekend. In Tulum. And we’re all chipping in.
Personally, I’m torn. Obviously, I love the idea of creative events and fantasy-filled weekends with friends. How could anything be more romantic and memorable than that? But with the average cost of weddings soaring to an all-time high in 2015, perhaps it’s time we raised some questions about the purpose and propriety of these events. I look back to a favorite photograph of my grandparent’s wedding in the late 1940s, a simple backyard ceremony in Dallas. If they were here today, what would they make of the destination weddings and bachelor parties of today? It’s easy to see that wedding rituals were much more understated affairs for middle class people in their day. Looking back, I feel the shift really started with Vera Wang in the 90s, and the defining of a new industry. Weddings, like so many other cultural rituals, became a place for people to compete. The onset of blogs fostered a creative community, where the competition continued. Who has the most amazing custom screen-printed invitation? Who has the best photobooth idea? The cleverest hashtag?
I guess the real question is, have we gone too far with weddings as a culture? Is the strain of these events outweighing the fun? Or should we take advantage of our one chance to gather our favorite people in a magical place and create the fantasy day of our dreams? Luckily for me, I’m still in daydream mode when it comes to my own future wedding… But I’m thinking something understated. Simple. Probably Paris. (wink wink)
featured image by kae & ales