an observation: weddings aren't for the people getting married; they're for the families

so i’m 28 now. at this point, i’m going through my second round of friends getting married. my friends from back home in florida all got married 2-5 years ago (when they were 19-25 mostly). unsurprising for the christian south (especially where people live by the bible and the notion that it’s better to get married so you can have sex while wedded than to have sex outside of marriage). and now my boston friends and friends from college (who mostly get married between the ages of 25 and 33) are getting married.

regardless of which crew is getting married, it seems to me that a terrible, terrible thing happens to my friends during the wedding planning process.

almost all of them hate it. i’d say 90% sounds about right. it’s a terrifyingly consistent reality.

without exception, everyone i know goes through some sort of turmoil. sometimes it’s the “we just want to invite our friends but our parents want the entire family” negotiation. other times it’s the “we want to have a ceremony that represents and feels important to us as a couple but our parents want to have a super traditional wedding that our grandparents will understand.” or maybe it’s the “we just want a small ceremony where our families and friends can really get to know each other so they can support us as a couple but our parents want a huge ceremony to show off to their friends and the extended family” situation. there are actually a number of other issues/competing interests that come up but laying them all out isn’t the point here.

the point here is this: this trend makes it very clear to me that, in popular understanding, both secular and religious, weddings aren’t intended to be for the couple getting married. they’re for the families.

this, to me, is folly. and it’s actually not surprising that so many marriages fall apart. i’m not saying that the weddings are the cause of the short marriages in the u.s. but i do think they’re a symptom of the problem: we actually don’t have a culture that supports couples.


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