THIS weekend, I was supposed to be at a wedding. But, sadly, socially-distanced conga lines don’t really work so, like millions of other disappointed couples, my friends have had to cancel. In New York, brides and grooms are saying “I do” on Zoom, which certainly makes doing the table plan a lot easier.
While I’m gutted for everyone who can’t celebrate in the way they’d planned, banning big weddings might be no bad thing. In recent times, weddings have become giddy spectacles, sometimes years in the making.
The average Big Day now costs more than £30,000 and often includes a punishing pre-wedding personal training regime, plastic surgery and more stress than your actual full-time job.
The result is that it’s all too easy to lose sight of why you’re getting married in the first place. And I should know. Less than a year after my wedding day, I was getting divorced. I spent so long compiling playlists and choosing poetry readings, but very little time and energy thinking about what married life would be like afterwards.
When we first got engaged, I thought I didn’t want all the fuss of a big wedding (no sugared almonds and choreographed first dances here, thanks). But soon I was booking a choir and a coffee van, and forking out more than I earn in a month on a dress I’d only wear once.
Friends and family all had an opinion, and I quickly discovered that if you add the word “wedding” to ordinary items – cakes, dresses, flowers – then you can also add a zero to the price. No wonder the wedding industry is worth £10billion.
It’s hard to say why weddings have become so removed from reality. Partly, it’s the intensity of social media. When you know yours will be tagged and viewed and judged by more people than you invited, it goes from Big Day to Big Deal.
Some people have pointed to extravagant celeb weddings as the reason for this trend – if Kim and Kanye’s multi-destination affair cost a reported £9million, surely you can splash out on a food truck or flower arch?
As more of us up the stakes with our special days, we only pile on more pressure to have The Best Day Of Our Lives™.
And I wasn’t the first bride-to-be to get carried away. Irritatingly – among heterosexual couples – the planning seems to fall on the woman.
Perhaps it’s because so many nuptial traditions are rooted in misogyny – your dad “giving you away”, a white dress to symbolise virginity – that we barely recognise how sexist it is to expect women to sort every detail.
A friend recently confided that her husband felt left out of their wedding planning. Another said she couldn’t even enjoy her wedding because she was so stressed about everything going perfectly.
Although I loved every minute of mine, I wish my ex-husband and I had spent some of that spiralling wedding budget on some pre-marriage counselling.
We are the proof that a great wedding doesn’t always equal a great marriage.
In fact, a study from Emory University found that the more expensive the wedding, the more likely a couple are to split.
So if your wedding’s been corona-cancelled and you have to throw a smaller bash at a later date, don’t lose heart.
A wedding should be about just the two of you. And I don’t mean you and your wedding planner.
- Follow Kate on Instagram @Katewillswrites.
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