On Sunday, my uncle got married. The long anticipated day caused me to reflect on the strangeness of wedding convention and how it's a shame that it seems to be a very stressful event for the bride and groom.
Although great emphasis is put onto the bride and how she is the star of the show, the centerpiece, the individual with all eyes on her... the day isn't really for her, or her soon to be spouse. The bride and groom basically just create a "perfect" day for their family and friends, complete with a ceremony to watch, a four course meal to indulge in, and a party to jive at. This popular and expected wedding structure seems to be rarely veered from - but where did it come from?
Who decided that every modern wedding should conclude with a cheesy party, showcasing the tunes of ABBA and an unnecessary buffet? (you've probably already eaten your body weight in soup, roast dinner, crumble and cheese by the time the sausage rolls and wedding cake arrive). Who declared that after the meal, the bride's dad has to do a speech, then the groom, then finally the best man? And who demanded that the best man has to ridicule the groom with embarrassing tales from childhood? These "rules" aren't set in stone, but hardly ever seem to be broken.
Things seem to be getting bigger and bigger these days... be it cars, portion sizes or wedding dresses. When I look at my grandparents' wedding photos from 1959, the simplicity of their outfits compared to the bejeweled dressed and intricate suits of today is very noticeable. I wonder what wedding attire will be like in another fifty years... will it continue to become more extravagant? Or maybe it'll return to being more low-key and modest?
Fifty years prior to my grandparents' wedding, many working class couples had their ceremony in the local church, followed by their wedding breakfast and shindig in the court of their back to back house, or the garden of their terrace. In many ways, these simpler celebrations would have been less stressful and more personal than the expensive and extravagant festivities of today.
Ultimately, I think the bride and groom should do what suits them. If they want a "normal" wedding, fine! If they fancy a barn dance instead of disco, cool! If they want a quiet ceremony and then family and friends round for a party at home, go for it! Many couples seem to put so much pressure on themselves to have a perfect, conventional, beautiful wedding, resulting in stress tainting what should be a joyous occasion.
I don't think weddings have to comply with what has become the expected structure and that they should be personal to the couple that the day is for!