Weddings: the most overrated, obligated, and forceful rite of passage of them all.

Weddings, not marriage, are extremely overrated.

Weddings: the most overrated, obligated, and forceful rite of passage of them all.

At some point in our lives, most of us, if not all, have had to endure attending a wedding. Perhaps it was for a close friend, a family member, or even your own wedding. Maybe you were even part of the court as a bridesmaid or groomsman. Personally, I've had to endure all of the above. My siblings are both married and I was part of their courts. I've attended numerous family weddings throughout my life. My best friends have also gotten married. I was in their courts as well. It is as if weddings are as inevitable as puberty and losing your baby teeth, and equally as unfavorable.

Throughout the world and in many cultures, marrying your soul mate–the love of your life, your partner in crime–is cause for much celebration, and righteously so. Finding an appropriate individual to share the rest of your life with and share such esoteric experiences with is something to indeed celebrate.

But does that warrant the need to parade your love around others and vaunt about your luck? Must we all be companions on your journey toward eternal unity? And does every step of the way have to be documented?

Must you be so blatant about every detail of your wedding?

While the merging of two lives is cause for much celebration, weddings are merely pageants. They are contests where your family, closest friends, and relatives are shady judges. In order to please and win their consent, you'll have to conceive, construct, plan, design, and execute an elaborate ensemble: a date, a court, a dress, a venue, tuxedos, lavish invitations and decorations, delectable menus, an open bar. This must all be impeccably rendered in order for everyone to be satisfied. Yes, everyone. You, your fiancé, your respective parents, siblings. The visiting relatives. The criticizing aunt. Your drunk uncle. The bars at set unrealistically high. Hence the open bar.

This all is enhanced in the age of social media and vast technology. Weddings have been propelled into a stratosphere of constant influence and comparison, strikingly different than that from pre-social media. Couples are constantly bombarded with depictions of other couple's weddings and events leading up to. This causes an unhealthy need to up one another. People are constantly portraying a fabricated version of the reality of planning and executing a wedding.

Consequently, weddings are a nuance between actual profound love and the pompous display of it.

I've witnessed people reserve much of their energy, time, efforts, and money into a mere couple of hours of one singular day. I've seen them stress over specific shades of teal, the quality of the catering and cake, the precise number of guests. I've seen couples fight over insignificant details such as the color of tablecloths for the reception dinner or whether the centerpieces should have real floating candles or fake ones.

In my own family, bonds were tested because one particular bride didn't want children at her wedding. A simple request tarnishing family unity.

In the grand scheme of things, your wedding matters close to nothing. There are million of children who are malnourished. Tons of people don't have access to potable water. Diseases go uncured. Many continue to live in poverty. New viruses threaten the prosperity of human kind.

And yet, people will continue to take the same mundane engagement photos, share them continuously on Facebook and Instagram, repeatedly remind us of the date, and go as far as to make T-shirts for their bachelorette or bachelor parties, all of which require tons of effort, time, and, overall, money. NerdWallet reports that the average wedding costs couples almost $34,000.

That amount of stress and money has to be attributed to something, but what is it? Real love? Or the forced idea of a wedding?

Since our early childhood, most of us are made to believe that one day, we will find true love and, ultimately, marry that one person. It is profoundly embedded in our psyche. In children's fairy tales, in music, definitely in cinema, and throughout the course of our human development, we see marriage as a momentous milestone. It is the most forceful rite of passage. By our mid-to-late 20s, we're expected to reach it, just as we're expected to graduate from college or decide on a lucrative work field, both of which actually help our social and individual development.

Indubitably, we are judged by others if we have wed or not by a certain age. If not, there must be something wrong with us, right?

This is especially true for females. Many of them grow up dreaming about their wedding day. They fantasize about it as little girls. They often talk about their future plans with their friends. They begin conceptualizing the event way before they met 'the one.' Those who don't marry by their mid-to-late 20s will often get asked when they will by pesky relatives during family reunions.

The reason behind that, in my opinion, is because we're obliged to feel like that event will excel us into our adulthood and end our promiscuous and blithe disregard of settling down. It is intended to make us quieter versions of ourselves and, consequently, join the rest of the adults at the dinner table, along with our spouse, that is.

That would be exceptionally perfect if we could all simply elope and not made to feel that a wedding will solidify our love and our commitment to our partners. If not ordained by a religious authority while dressed in either tuxedos or an incredibly expensive white dress, the love shared by two individuals is as if it means nothing.

Wouldn't it mean the same if a judge did so while you were dressed in jeans and you ate at Applebee's afterwards?

Don't get me wrong. I am all for the romantic union for two individuals who have fallen madly in love with one another and want to spend the rest of their lives together. It is one of the most beautiful rarities in our human existence. But to feel obligated to plan such a detailed and extravagant wedding to verify one's commitment and unconditional love toward someone else is simply ridiculous and overrated.

ceremony and reception
Jose Soto
Jose Soto
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Jose Soto

I am a writer and journalist born and raised in the El Paso, Texas and the Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, region. I write stories, blogs, essays, and prose that help myself and readers discover what it means to be human.

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