July 22, 2007

With This Ringing Cash Register, I Thee Wed

My dear wife--for reasons I cannot understand--enjoys watching some show called "Bridezillas." (Enjoy it now, baby, because football season is coming and I'm taking back the telly.) Her theory is that the American wedding ceremony has become the ridiculous exercise of self-indulgence that it is in inverse proportion to how we value marriage itself.

Now parishioner M.Z. Hemingway has written an insightful review of Rebecca Mead's One Perfect Day. Here's an excerpt:

In Ms. Mead's mind, the wedding as a rite of passage no longer signals a couple's transition to adulthood. Instead, she says, the contemporary wedding marks the move from one type of consumer to another. It is an event "shaped as much by commerce or marketing as it is by those influences couples might prefer to think of as affecting their nuptial choices, such as social propriety, religious observance, or familial expectation."
This partially--but only partially--fits with my own observations in nine years of officiating at wedding ceremonies. True, I have observed how little the invocation and blessing of the Triune God matter when compared to the attention to detail given to food, drink, dress, dancing, and the like. Yet even among the most faithful church members, family and social expectations often trump religious aspects of the wedding. When being distinctly, overtly, seriously Christian in the wedding is pitted against what the family and friends will be expecting, family and friends win almost every time.

In any event, the institution of marriage is reeling while the peddlers of wedding fantasies are laughing all the way to the chapel bank. Read the whole thing here.

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