Weddings are romanticized around the world. They are viewed as an opportunity for a couple to celebrate their commitment to each other with their friends and family. At the same time, they honor religious and cultural customs.
It has been a long time since I had such a positive view of weddings. When I got engaged to the love of my life, I looked forward to a life of laughter and warmth next to my best friend. At the same time, dread sank into my bones. The wedding. I would have to plan a wedding. I felt like a character in a movie who must confront their archenemy before they can achieve their dearest goal. Well, maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but I'm sure you get the point.
Weddings are the worst. Here's why.
Weddings Are Painful
In my social circle, people tend to marry young — too young, oftentimes. By the time someone is in their mid to late twenties, they are viewed as being close to the upper limit of when there are plenty of possibilities for spouses. I got engaged when I was 29, and one well-meaning friend said I "waited a long time" to find my special someone.
That mentality bothers me. Until I found my love, I found myself feeling isolated and lonely at every wedding. I also wondered why no one wanted me. Of course, at the same time, I felt happiness for the couple getting married. But it bothers me that weddings are celebrated with such aplomb while few people recognize how downright awesome it is to be single. There's nothing wrong with single people, and there's nothing wrong with waiting until a reasonable age to get hitched.
I'm not sure when I will be able to marry my love (we're dealing with some immigration red tape), but I dislike the idea that any of my dear single friends might be sad if they attend my wedding.
Am I crazy? Am I the only one who feels this way?
Weddings Are Wasteful
The average wedding produces 400lbs of garbage, and it produces emissions equivalent to what 4 people would produce in an entire year. Think of all the plastic cups, paper napkins, and disposable decorations that get tossed after every wedding. And that's not to mention all the food that goes uneaten.
I want my wedding to be as sustainable as possible. That means cloth napkins, reusable dinnerware, and a limited number of decorations. I already feel guilty that I bought a new wedding dress that is "professional spot clean only," which to me means that it was designed to be worn once and only once. It's gorgeous and I love it... but I kind of hate it because it's the enemy of sustainability.
Weddings Are Expensive
On social media, I've seen people refer to a $5,000 wedding as "cheap." What. The Heck. $5,000 is cheap for a car or a house. It's even cheap for a visit to the emergency room (although it shouldn't be). $5,000 should not be cheap for a wedding. When did our society get so extra that couples are expected to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a party? Even worse, many brides get so stressed about planning the perfect day that when the day finally arrives, they are too exhausted to enjoy it to the full.
The average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $19,000 — and most people spent the majority of the year trying to avoid other human beings, so I'm assuming most of those weddings were pretty small. That's a yikes-er-oni.
So far, I have spent $250 on my wedding (that was my dress, which is just as beautiful as gowns that cost thousands of dollars). I'm hoping that I can continue to keep things reasonably budgeted.
Weddings Are Stressful
According to one survey, "86% of couples said pre-planning stress caused them to experience physical symptoms like breakouts, reduced sex drive, headaches, and changes in appetite—even hair loss!"
A wedding should be a cause of celebration, and an engagement should be joyful. I admit, I do feel some stress over my wedding (as I'm sure is evident in foregoing sections of this article), but I know it's not really important. Marriage is important. Making a lifelong commitment to the man I love is important. Flowers, decorations, music, and all that other stuff is not important in the big scheme of things. Even my dress, as stunning as it is, is not important.
I understand that all those extras are important to many people, and elaborate weddings can be absolutely gorgeous... but for me personally, it's not worth all the stress. I would be happy with a courthouse wedding. I am only planning something more than a courthouse wedding out of consideration for family members and other loved ones. It makes me feel so warm inside that they want to be there to support us on our big day.
Weddings Can Overshadow Marriage
Many little girls grow up dreaming of their perfect wedding. The princess dress, the dramatic music, the artful cake, the heart-touching walk down the aisle... that's the stuff of daydreams and fantasy. I believe that our culture has brainwashed some women into rushing into marriage because they want a wedding. It's unfair that a woman has to get married to give herself a license to buy a fancy gown and feel like royalty.
What's even worse is that while the wedding industry is booming, so are divorces. About 50% of marriages end in divorce or separation. I'm not saying that weddings are to blame for that trend, but I do believe that many people have distorted expectations for marriage, and when their relationship doesn't fit their preconceived ideals, they are quick to give up. That's tragic. There are some good reasons to end a marriage, but too many marriages fall apart when they hit a small speed up.
I don't know what my wedding will be like, and maybe I will be guilty of being wasteful. I'm certainly guilty of being stressed out. But at the very least, I'm not fooled by weddings. Weddings should be joyful and relaxed... not what many modern weddings have become.
I'm calling on all brides not to give into the pressure. If you want all the fancy little details that many people feel are necessary for a wedding, go for it. Enjoy it. Make it your day. But if you don't feel a need for all of that... don't do it. Make your wedding as simple as you want. You won't regret it!