i just finished listening to an npr “talk of the nation” episode called “a guide to an insanity-free, practical wedding” and it was pretty good. i don’t do a ton of weddings but i do officiate a fair number. over twenty years of ministry i guess i have officiated 20-30ish. this is enough ceremonies for me to have seen quite a few wedding ceremonies of varying complexity and cost. i am pleased to say that i am proud to have been involved in all the weddings that i have officiated. i do however believe that much of what is encouraged in many wedding ceremonies goes against creating healthy marriages. here are some of the wedding myths that i believe actually work against successful marriages:
- it’s the best day of your life – when our boys were young i used to teach them to shout at the t.v. when they saw a commercial that was a blatant lie (which is the majority). they would shout as loud as they could “that’s a lie.” this myth is something that i would hope my boys would shout at. if your wedding day is the best day of your life then you probably have a terrible marriage. our wedding day was a wonderful day of celebration but it isn’t the best day of my life nor do i believe it is pam’s best day. the commitments we made to each other on that day SET UP the best days of our lives.
- you’ll only do this once so you should spare no expense – i hear this as an excuse to over spend on a wedding ceremony. i have news for you, if you over spend on a wedding ceremony and more importantly what is good for you to spend then you probably won’t just do this once. supposedly the average cost of a wedding in the u.s. of a. is $26, 542. lavishly spending to start a marriage can’t help strengthen a marriage when arguments concerning money are a leading reason for divorce. why start off a marriage with money issues?
- 3 months salary on an engagement ring – really? come on folks. this is absurd!
there are a ton more lies i could talk about but instead i really want to focus on your dna being in the ceremony. i think things and events that are important to us should have part of us in them. they should reflect who we are and should have our finger prints all over them.
the most beautiful weddings i have been to or been a part of have often been the least expensive ones. the weddings were so amazing because the couple’s, and their families’, fingerprints were all over it both literally and figuratively. the wedding reflected who they were and such reflection is very costly though money is rarely a part of such cost. the thought, labor, and time are the cost. these ceremonies involved great creativity and amazing effort both from the couples and from their families. the time and effort made the wedding ceremony something that they did together, which is a wonderful way to start a marriage. in my opinion money often serves as a pale substitute for such creativity and effort. when that happens it is usually someone else’s dna that is to be found in the ceremony.
i think my favorite part of the podcast i mentioned above is when the guest tells people that they should spend the majority of their budget on parts of the wedding that reflect them rather than just spreading it around. she tells the story of a couple who spent all their budget money on a swing band. they saved money on everything else, pot lucking the meal, etc., etc., so that they could splurge on the music and dance the night away. i think it is a great idea. know who you are and put the focus there. maybe you love photography so you put the money on the images, or you love people eating together and so you focus the budget there, or you focus on any number of other things that reflect who you are. it is smart to direct your resources. once again this helps to make sure the couple’s fingerprints are present.
well planned ceremonies that reflect a couple’s nature are a beautiful thing to witness. the creativity and effort of such weddings are a thing of beauty.
SSIDE NOTE – thanks to the schoberts and the oberstadts for the use of the above photo.