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I am marrying a man, not a dress. I am marrying a man, not a wedding, not the cake, not the photographer, not the invitations. But reading all these bridal magazines and staring at the wedding websites (I have been lured in, I must confess! I love them! I have spent exorbitant, I mean absolutely exorbitant hours on these sites) I have found that these people market weddings to you by pretty much eliminating the husband-to-be! He doesn’t plan, he doesn’t make any appearances until he is pleasantly tuxedoed and serves as the last and final finishing touch to the Bride’s little wonderland of lace and flowers and cotton paper and candles.

Why do all of these magazines and websites tell us millions upon millions of things about planning a wedding, and almost nothing about, well, planning a marriage? Why does the groom disappear? Why does the Wedding Industry have so much power over us that we begin to feel as moral failures if we cannot afford letterpressed or engraved invitations? Why do we spend so many thousands of dollars when there are still, after all, lots of people who don’t really even have food to eat?

I know, you’re not supposed to play that card when it comes to weddings. But really. We can’t have a ten-thousand dollar cake and eat it too. We can’t pretend to care about the world or our souls AND totally ignore those things while we plan our weddings without seeming a little, I don’t know, shallow? Hypocritical?

I am finding in the midst of planning this thing that I have to remind myself constantly what this planning is really about. That I am marrying a man, not a dress. That thermographed (or even plain printed) invitations are NOT a reflection of my worth as a human being. That I am not a “princess bride” who deserves $400 face cream (as the Spring 2009 martha stewart magazine insists). I have been wishing for some advice on how to stay calm, how to have some kind of anchor in the midst of the torrential winds of the Wedding Industry advertising ploys. So this morning I decided to start writing– at least for myself– about what this wedding really means. What marriage means. Who I am marrying. Why I value simplicity and peace above the fray of the wedding planning circuses. It is so easy for me to get caught up in it all, and so for the next few months I am going to be meditating on what really matters. What is that, exactly? Well, I will give you a hint. it’s not the cake.

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