June 30, 2008

Horse and Carriage

So, time for a little rant. I don't want to go into specifics as to how this came up, save that it's only tangentially got anything to do with me. I don't speak from experience, but I'd hope that I'm well enough informed - plus, this is only an opinion.

Anything that anyone goes through as a result of a marriage ceremony is entirely self-inflicted (the only part that's not is any legal documentation you may need, should you wish your union to be legal). I don't mean this to degrade what people do for/at/because of weddings, but merely to say that, if you suffered to make it happen, it was your choice to suffer.

I'll admit that societal pressures don't make it easy to make other choices, but they are there. If you want a big wedding but you or your parents don't have the money, or if you want a small wedding but you or your parents don't want to alienate any of the 5000 friends and family you have, there's a lot of pressure.

If you're Catholic, I happen to know that they don't (or didn't in the past) recognize weddings "outside" the church. This could cause problems if your future spouse is Southern Baptist or United Methodist, let alone if they're a practicing Jew. Off on a tangent here, but at least to my knowledge, the reason you always see Jewish mothers pleading with their sons to find a "nice Jewish girl" is partially based on Jewish tradition: religion is passed down to children by/from the mother.

Personally, I'm all about the intimate ceremony, if you're going to have one. If you need to invite your 5000 family and friends to something after that, rent out a big hotel space and have a huge reception. Marriage may be seen in some cases as a joining of families (a big deal in ancient political arenas, for sure), it's really about the union of the two people being wed.