Tuesday, April 04, 2006

wedding 2.0?

you’re all familiar with The Manolo, right? i hope so. i check out his blog every few days, as there’s always something amusing to read or some nice shoes over which to fawn. The Manolo has a number of sister and brother sites, one of which is Manolo for the Brides. this one isn’t written by The Manolo himself, but another blogger who is a pretty good writer and humorist herself.

this is all by way of explanation as to my stumbling upon this post at Manolo for the Brides earlier today. the post talks about second-time-around brides, and the author has some thoughts about common ideas of etiquette for people doing wedding 2.0.

a snippet:

I can understand second-time brides and grooms being concerned about how their old Uncle Erwin will feel about their getting hitched in a church or how Grandma Martha will feel about the bride wearing this or that type of veil. But I can also understand how a second-time spouse might want to hold a big shindig that totally eclipses their first (failed) marriage. To blot it out, perhaps. So my advice to any second-timers out there is that you have whatever kind of wedding you darn well please.

i read this particular piece with the same level of interest as the rest of the posts i saw there, but about thirty minutes later, as i stood in the kitchen waiting for my little Trader Joe’s lunch to finish heating up in the microwave, i realized that i was still thinking about it. and it was bugging me. and i didn’t know why.

after about five or ten more minutes of introspection over my curry rice bowl, i realized what was bothering me. it hinges on this particular sentiment:

how a second-time spouse might want to hold a big shindig that totally eclipses their first (failed) marriage. To blot it out, perhaps.

i’m certain that in some cases this is true, some it’s not, and some it’s true to a degree. every re-marriage is unique in its characteristics and its nuances. there are obviously a vast array of reasons that one or both of the participants are not married to his/her first spouse anymore – death, infidelity, abuse, disagreement, lack of passion, a crippling aversion to the other’s ragged cuticles, whatever.

but. but. what bothers me about the assumption that it’s totally cool for a couple having a blowout affair the second time around is this: there is no level of critical thinking around the phenomenon of the wedding itself. the idea of throwing a bigger party than the last time around in the hopes that it will somehow be a harbinger of a better marriage? seems a little dubious to me.

i guess this all stems from my sense that our culture’s obsession with weddings is ultimately detrimental to marriage. i mean, how else do you explain the estimate that "one in ten new brides is so disturbed by the anticlimax of married life that they end up clinically depressed"? grandiose weddings can sometimes to create unrealistic expectations for people heading into married life. in that light, it seems to me that advocating a “second verse, same as the first” mentality for a couples’ second wedding isn’t the best idea.



Amy said...

My thoughts....

My first "wedding" was a horrible horrible experience. The ceremony itself was ok (other than a few of the things I left out because I was so nervous) but the reception was awful. We lost power, no dj for the first part, the meal sucked, it was 483294398 degrees out and the a/c didn't work because of the power being out...my dad had a breakdown(early alzheimers) and I couldn't dance my father/daughter dance with him. Yeah....would I want another wedding and do it differently...yes....not bigger...just differently....I only wish I could do it before my father no longer remembers me.

barb said...

...just that this is why I like this blog. I just really like how you wrote this entry. It was very in the moment, in the thought-process. You didn't just start out by telling us what you thought about the thing. You told us how you got there. And it was cool. that's all.

Cinnamon said...

"our culture’s obsession with weddings is ultimately detrimental to marriage"

I agree whole-heartedly. My faux (future?) mother-in-law is always dismissive when I say that I could care less about the wedding because it is the marriage I want to focus on. She tells me I'm unromantic and that there's something wrong with me for not thinking that my wedding will be "the happiest day of my life". If marriage is going to be a let down, why bother?

kate.d. said...

amy, thanks for sharing - i hate it when it's 483,294,398 degrees outside :) and i hope things work out so you eventually get that father/daughter dance.

and cinnamon, i hear you. i'm conflicted about what we'd do if we did want to get married, but i feel like i lean more toward vegas (or city hall) every day.

karen gsteiger said...

My husband and I did the city hall thing + a rather informal party afterwards. It was all a good time, but there was so much pressure getting the party together that, God forbid I ever have to get married again, I would never want to do anything bigger or more elaborate than that. Actually, I think I'd just elope. End of story.

It doesn't really matter what you do because you will be JUDGED by your nearest and dearest. And even if your nearest and dearest demur, saying, "Oh, they'll let you do whatever you want on your big day," they are consciously or unconsciously lying. I guarantee you that at least one person (and probably more) will have something to say about your dress, the cake, the reception hall, the bridesmaids' dresses, who you pick as bridesmaids, whether or not you change your name, and on and on and on. Even if you skip all of that for a no-frills ceremony, you will get comments about why you didn't do something more elaborate.

The reason for all of this nonsense is that these people love you, and they want you to experience The Perfect Day. Their version of the Perfect Day, that is.

But the good news is, once you get married, no one gives a shit about the wedding or all the trappings ever again.

DancingFish said...

I agree that obsession with weddings is not good for the marriage.
But I can understand the sentiment of the second wedding. My mom had a second wedding. It was a Hawaiian themed small affair that occurred at a long standing Labor Day party. This was an important part of their new life together, despite never even being legally married (college application/loan related finicial issues).

I think the bigger is better philosophy of weddings is wrong be it first, second or fifth wedding. I think the wedding should reflect the couple and what they are about in the best way possible. For some that is the two together independant of everyone else, to others it is a big event with 'everyone I ever cared about' in one room (as I heard from a happy and drunken groom). The best weddings are the ones that are most personal big or small!