I just finished reading One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead. I picked up a used copy on Amazon because I wanted to balance all the wedding propaganda that is making its way into the house. When it comes to wedding it's terrifyingly easy to convince yourself that you "need" all the flashy silliness and manufactured "tradition."
Sadly, I wasn't thrilled with the book. While interesting and well researched, I sort of hated the author. I felt like I was being lectured at by a militant ivy league undergrad, freshly returned from her semester abroad. The tone of the book was just too "above it all." There's something uniquely annoying about people who bash weddings for the sake of bashing.
I will, however, concede two points to Mead. First, the factoids were interesting. Did you know that Disney didn't have it's "fairytale weddings" brand until the 1990s, around the same time Target embraced the wedding registry? Who knew? Also, the "Apache blessing" read at many weddings is actually a fake poem written for a movie that won a screen play Oscar in the 1960s. Truth.
The second interesting part of the book was that it got me thinking about the first line of Mead's epilogue...what is a wedding for? Ok, I'm in the midst of planning a wedding so it's not exactly the first time I've thought about this. But...well, what is it for?
Truman and I don't belong to a religious tradition that requires marriage or thinks that a higher power blesses it. We already share a life and own a home together. We consult each other before major (and usually even minor) decision making. So what changes? Why get married?
Short answer: I (well, we...but I'm the author of the blog)... want to.
I don't really need a longer reason than that. So ha. Nanny nanny boo boo.
Longer answer: I'm a grown up. See above.
Actual somewhat thought out answer: Well, part of it is the legal benefits. Pretty much all the same reasons GLBT people and their allies want marriage equality. The other reason, for me, has to do with bringing our community together. Having our closest friends and family with us as we acknowledge that we're signing up for something pretty big and that we want support, now and in the future is important to me. I like the idea of a public declaration that we're in this together. We are each other's people.
Oddly, I actually feel like I have a more clear understanding of how the statement above shapes our marriage...but not so much our wedding. I know that I want there to be an intimate ceremony (easier said than done), but I don't entirely know what parts of a traditional (read: Christian) ceremony and reception actually resonate with me (us) and what is seeping in because it's what we're culturally familiar with it. I want to be intentional.
Also, if the wedding is, at least in part, about community...then what is that balance? What if something rubs a little but is important to members of our family or inner friend circle? What priorities trump?
I know that these are not unique questions but the answers are requisitely unique. As it turns out, the answers to questions like "Do I need a carriage rental?" are the easy ones. Diving into cultural norms, unwrapping patriarchal histories and challenging familiar traditions ...well that's mushier than the byproduct of our proverbial horse and carriage.