COLUMN: Simplicity is the fairy-tale wedding for this bride-to-be
May through August is the peak season for weddings. This is the time when wedding planners, florists, caterers, bridal shops and brave loved ones do their best to make the dreams of a blushing bride come true.
And restrain ourselves from punching her in the face.
In our culture, many women dream of their “big day." We are inundated by media images of women in their perfect princess dresses, surrounded with floral arrangements, walking down the aisle with a smile to the beat of the music, dancing the night away with the world watching them and having an architectural feat of a wedding cake.
But is this dream as common as we are directed to believe?
The idea and practice of marriage has been evolving in the last few decades. Countless statistics show that divorce is on the rise while the number of people entering marriage declines across the United States and Europe.
More couples are opting for cohabitation instead of marriage, and countries are creating laws in order to protect the rights of those citizens who choose this lifestyle.
Not only is the institution of marriage evolving, but weddings are following the growing changes. The average American wedding costs about $25,000 to $30,000.
With the economy continuing to lose stability and people facing unpredictable financial futures, many no longer can afford such expenses and large events. Recent wedding trends are moving away from fairy-tale inspired spectacles.
Maybe I am merely a child of my generation, but I never bought the whole fairy-tale dream wedding package. I dreaded the idea of being the center of attention in a room full of strangers who are only attending my wedding for the food and drinks.
I never understood paying thousands of dollars for a dress I would wear once, flowers that will die and many other things for just one day in my life. I would rather put my money toward a home or retirement — not very romantic but more practical.
My sister married when she was 19 and I was 12. All I can remember was the stress of the preparations and my parents scared with rising costs. I hated the dress fittings and fighting with vendors.
To this day, my sister still complains that she never had a piece of her wedding cake because of the ravenous vultures posing as guests.
Two years ago, my brother married. As is traditions, my sister-in-law’s family paid for most of the wedding. It was still too dramatic and hectic.
I was a bridesmaid with no real duties but was paid with a brown and unflattering dress that was chosen because “it could be worn again later,” not to mention all the family fights over frivolous things.
Weddings are forever ruined for me. The one thing I learned is that most of the time, weddings are not simply for the bride and groom.
Watching my sister, sister-in-law and friends plan their weddings, I realized even though brides are demanding beasts trying to live out some fantasy, they are trying to create an experience for everyone else.
I'm getting married Thursday. My wedding will be simple. My fiancé and I decided to go to the courthouse in Tulsa.
He is European, and his family will not be able to attend. I really don’t want many people there in the first place. My family will not even attend. We will have one witness, my friend Rachel.
No one understands our decision, and many people feel they are deprived from the experience.
For weeks, I have had people argue with me, trying to convince me I will later regret our decision. They try to “subtly” make suggestions and guilt me for taking such a special day away from them.
But this is our decision and our wedding. I refuse to feel as though I have to have a wedding in order for others to feel comfortable and happy.
My biggest splurge is for a wedding cake we will have a couple months from now and a manicure. I did not buy a dress or shoes. No flowers. No photographer.
To appease my family, we will have a small family dinner with the cake.
Do I regret my choice for a small courthouse wedding? No.
Do I feel as though I am missing out on one of life’s major moments? No.
Personally, I do not feel my life’s happiness will be determined by refusing a giant party I did not want anyway. No matter if it is for financial or personal beliefs, smaller weddings and courthouse ceremonies are a growing trend.
Our generation is all about personal expression and freedom of choices not dictated by outdated traditions.
I do not believe traditional weddings will disappear, but I do believe couples will be more confident in deciding what is the right choice for them.
Mary Rogers is a French and German senior.