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Venting about traditional weddings

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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lukanator
Posts: 25
Joined: August 1st, 2008, 10:07 am

Venting about traditional weddings

#1 Post by lukanator » August 26th, 2008, 4:59 am

As a secularist, I loathe religious wedding ceremonies. It's not so much the ceremonies themselves, often steeped in tradition and a sense of history, that bother me as much as the knowledge that quite often the bride and groom themselves are simply "going through the motions," and participating in the ceremony as a token gesture because they somehow think it's "the right thing to do." The last wedding I attended was my brother's, in a catholic church. The priest, it was painfully obvious, did not want to be there, nor did the bride and groom, nor did the redneck bride's family members in attendance. The wedding "rehearsal" lasted all of 10 minutes, at which point all in attendance literally ran over to the reception hall and began cracking open cans of Busch light and groaning. The whole thing was very much a perfunctory effort on their part; the reception following the wedding the next day was what I imagine Hell would be like, if I believed in Hell. 90 minutes between arrival and food being served, followed by music selections from a DJ who apparently suffered from amusia.

On top of that, bride and groom - who clearly wanted to be elsewhere the entire time - drafted me into the wedding party, so I had the privilege of paying $150 to wear a nasty ill-fitting tuxedo with a clip-on tie and pose for a greenhorn hack photographer with no concept of time. This, on top of whatever gas, lodgings, and their $100+ wedding gift set me back. So far, three weddings this summer have cost me a total of about $2,000.

OK now my problem isn't so much the financial thing...money's money, it can be replaced. I keep it in perspective. What really irritates me is having religious ceremonies foisted upon me by people who (A.) don't stop to consider whether or not the people they've involved are even remotely religious, and/or (B.) are only half-hearted "part-time" Christians themselves, the ones who pray when the shit hits the fan but can't be bothered to wake up on a Sunday morning and cough up a few bucks into the collection basket.

All these toxic, negative emotions are what I've had churning through my head all summer as a negotiate one wedding after the next. So, I was in no mood when a friend's devout born-again-Christian fiancee literally shoved her engagement ring in my face.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? What the hell makes her think I am interested or likely to be impressed by her bauble? It's just a THING, it can be lost and replaced without true consequence.

Why do people ascribe value to things which can be replaced, but fail to do so with things which cannot, like relationships or time or experiences?

Sorry about the rant. I absolutely had to share this with someone, somewhere.

Valis
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Joined: August 7th, 2008, 11:11 am

Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#2 Post by Valis » August 26th, 2008, 2:02 pm

Well, it needs to be said.

I've been to some trully embarassing weddings recently. They all have a bride and groom with no religious inclination getting a religious ceremeony so they can have it in a Church. The problem is, everyone (audibly) groans when the Minister mentions Jesus. To be fair, he's only doing his job. Unfortunately despite the religious location everyone cringes when the Minister talks about the religious stuff. The last wedding we were at was especially bad hwoever. The Minister went on a rant about babies being the purpose of all marriage and lecturing us on original sin. The liberal guests for the wedding all looked at him like he had mae a rascist joke.

Heres a thought for those planning a religious ceremony. Registry office marriages have much lower divorce rates than those that take place in churchs and chapels and are "blessed by God".

Me and my wife got married in a registry office and it was a great experience. None of us had to feel guilty about anything and no one lectured her on having to obey my rules. God help them if they had tried ;)

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Parapraxis
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#3 Post by Parapraxis » August 27th, 2008, 11:49 am

I know very, very little about history - but historically, were weddings (primarily) financial arrangements?
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

lukanator
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#4 Post by lukanator » August 27th, 2008, 12:42 pm

Historically weddings have had traditions or meaning that seem to vary from culture to culture.

I know my wife and I footed the bill for our wedding reception, despite the fact that "tradition" says the bride's parents pay for it (whose tradition?) Our emphasis was on having a party, something fun and pleasant to attend for guests and not an awful chore like your garden-variety American wedding where the wedding party has to rent a limo to get from the church to the reception hall, everyone has to wear stupid tuxes and dresses that don't look good, and have to sit at a table in an awkward and pretentious display of social inequality. Then, everyone lines up and is served pork loin roast or chicken breast smothered in rich sauces buffet-style, while their toddlers scream their heads off, and when they're finished with dinner they split like a banana and leave the bridal party to remove all remants of human dignity with a performance of the chicken dance.

Tradition, to me, is an absurd concept I guess. I really have to try hard not to get angry when people assume their traditions have meaning for me. "OOH, where'd you go for your honeymoon?" What's a honeymoon? Is that like Valentine's Day, where you go and spend money as an obvious demonstration of love and caring?

This gets my blood up because the typical American wedding has, to me, become a pretentious monument to the self and a metaphor for completely misplaced values. All wrapped nicely in the auspices of religion.

Fia
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#5 Post by Fia » August 27th, 2008, 7:26 pm

I think, Electric Angel, that marriage was initially conceived as a way for the male to be relatively sure the offspring he would be providing for was his.

My brother married in the US and I must say it was a wonderful wedding! We gathered outdoors on grass by a river, the Registrar (forgotten the US equivalent, sorry) turned up on a fabulous motor bike, the short ceremony included an exchange of gifts between my brother and his new stepson. We then mucked in making salads and tending the barbie (sorry - grill) and the 100 odd guests had a ball. As did the bride and groom.

I suggest the moral of this may be that the best weddings are those which are undertaken in a spirit of "We'd like" rather than "We should".

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Parapraxis
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#6 Post by Parapraxis » August 27th, 2008, 11:04 pm

I'm either going to sound romantic or cynical (they're fairly easy bedfellows) and ask "Isn't love enough?" :)
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

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Ninny
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#7 Post by Ninny » August 28th, 2008, 12:50 pm

My Catholic soon-to-be-daughter-in-law (marrying atheist son, who really ought to be banished to outer darkness) wants to know what I'm wearing to their wedding. Unbelievable!

Fia
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#8 Post by Fia » August 28th, 2008, 1:27 pm

Why don't you tell her your birthday suit, Ninny? :twisted: Preferably in front of her parents - remembering the looks on their faces might keep you amused during the wedding....

Nick
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#9 Post by Nick » August 28th, 2008, 2:00 pm

Electric Angel wrote:I'm either going to sound romantic or cynical (they're fairly easy bedfellows) and ask "Isn't love enough?" :)
Speaking for myself, I think there comes a time when it is appropriate to tell the world that you and your partner are something more than 'hanging about together'. Sadly, that hasn't happened to me (yet?). Just how you do that is a different thing, and there are many ways of doing so. You should choose one that suits the couple, not the friends and relations.

lukanator
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#10 Post by lukanator » August 28th, 2008, 5:33 pm

Ninny wrote:My Catholic soon-to-be-daughter-in-law (marrying atheist son, who really ought to be banished to outer darkness) wants to know what I'm wearing to their wedding. Unbelievable!
Those are exactly the kind of "my values should be your values" assumptions that irk me about weddings. "So where did you go on your honeymoon?" "Ooh, let me see your ring." I wear my wedding band - which is dear to me because my wife purchased it hastily for $15 only a couple hours before our courthouse ceremony - on my index finger, because I find the we-are-each-other's-property implication of wedding rings to be a little stupid. Someone had the nerve to tell me I had my ring "on the wrong finger."

lukanator
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#11 Post by lukanator » August 28th, 2008, 5:37 pm

P.S. I wanted to add that before my girlfriend and I got married, we had been together 10 years. Time truly flies when you're having fun. It simply never occurred to me that our relationship wasn't already exclusive and permanent and committed. We saw many, many marriages come and go during the period before we ever thought about getting married. I just felt strongly that whatever kept couples together 20,000 years ago is the same thing that keeps them together today...civilization could crumble, and all your belongings could go up in smoke but what makes a relationship a relationship will still be there. I wish people could understand this instead of telling themselves I didn't get married sooner because I "fear commitment" or something equally absurd.

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xman
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#12 Post by xman » August 28th, 2008, 6:47 pm

The good part about weddings is that you get to put dozens of people you love, young and old, into the same room for a big party. The unfortunate part is all the trappings like wedding cake and bridal gown and the whole overblown business of weddings.

At my very catholic brother's wedding a few years back, the priest felt a need to comment on the sanctity of marriage having been degraded by the inclusion of gay and lesbian couples. There it was, prejudice, right there in the middle of his wedding.

My 'wife' and I both wear the claddagh as a symbol of our commitment to each other, but have never formalised that in a ceremony of any kind, nor are we ever likely to.

X
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wizzy
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#13 Post by wizzy » September 1st, 2008, 6:34 pm

xman wrote: At my very catholic brother's wedding a few years back, the priest felt a need to comment on the sanctity of marriage having been degraded by the inclusion of gay and lesbian couples. There it was, prejudice, right there in the middle of his wedding.

X
That's outrageous not that he held those views, though personally I don't see how my civil partnership has any impact on anyone else's marriage, but that he felt it was appropriate to include them as part of a wedding.

I don't think there's anything wrong with people who are religious wanting to have a religious wedding and wanting other people to share it with them (the guests can choose not to prey, sing hymns or even not attend), however I would prefer it if the priests/vicars didn't use it as an opportunity for any kind of moralising - at the only religious wedding I've been to (in memory, I probably went to some as a small child) the priest either said or implied that divorce is wrong, but also talked about a woman who'd had an unhappy marriage to an unpleasant man (as an example of how important love is). Yes it's best not to marry someone unpleasant in the first place but as she had, surely she'd have been better off then divorcing him!

I do agree it's inappropriate for non religious people to have religious weddings.

I don't see anything wrong with wanting to share an important day with friends and family and if people want to spend up to £20k doing so I don't see what's wrong with that as long as they can afford it (although it was a lot more than we thought it was worth spending one day - we had a wonderful time and spending more money couldn't/wouldn't have made it any more special).

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Alan C.
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#14 Post by Alan C. » September 1st, 2008, 7:55 pm

wizzy
I don't see anything wrong with wanting to share an important day with friends and family and if people want to spend up to £20k doing so I don't see what's wrong with that as long as they can afford it
:supershock:
Mary and myself paid for our own wedding (for reasons I've explained elsewhere on the forum) It came to a total of £250, and Mary still has all the receipts.
The full length white wedding gown (which she still has, and still fits her) cost £25, and the buffet reception for around 60, cost about £150, ahh, them were the days, 1s 11d for a pint of bitter (for the younger generation, that's less than 10p) There was hell on when we went decimal and it was rounded up to 10p, in fact if my memory serves me well a whole lot of things were "rounded up" to accommodate decimalization, nothing was "rounded down".
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#15 Post by Alan H » September 2nd, 2008, 9:52 am

Alan C. wrote:[Mary and myself paid for our own wedding (for reasons I've explained elsewhere on the forum) It came to a total of £250, and Mary still has all the receipts.
...and they're written on parchment! :D
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Ninny
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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#16 Post by Ninny » September 3rd, 2008, 10:13 am

I now have something to wear to the wedding in the cathedral. It has a naff little flouncy bit like a pannier, into which I could fit something useful - perhaps a copy of The God Delusion? Anyway, the third of my three husbands (all of whom will be there) seems to think the dress is OK.

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Re: Venting about traditional weddings

#17 Post by Nick » September 3rd, 2008, 10:39 am

Ninny wrote: Anyway, the third of my three husbands (all of whom will be there) .
I'm just wondering quite what you mean....

the 1/3 of my husbands... what's that....just 6 legs, perhaps....

or

my third husband, all of whom will be there...... no missing limbs, then.....

Ah, yes! I understand now!

Ninny wrote:seems to think the dress is OK
But what would he know? He's a man :D

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