Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Forget the marriage, it's all about the wedding

Bet theirs didn't cost 25 grand...
Marriage. A beautiful union of two people joined together for a lifetime. For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and...forget that, isn't the gown a Vera Wang?

The flashy wedding is so vogue right now. And there's no wonder why. It's virtually impossible to browse a magazine newstand nowadays without being faced with a wall of tangerine-skinned 'celebrities' celebrating their big day.

With the average event costing more than most earn in a year, everyone from vintage car owners to cupcake bakers are laughing all the way to the bank. Everyone, that is, apart from the happy couple and their long-suffering family and friends.

Overindulgent weddings became all the rage in the late nineties - around the same time a post ceremony knees-up at the local village hall stopped being the classy option. Registry offices have been ditched in favour of posher venues and organists have found themselves booted out of churches to make room for the 80-piece orchestra. It's a fact: society loves keeping up with the Joneses and if that means inevitable bankruptcy then so be it.

After their special day, not only will the newlyweds have a piece of paper certifying their marriage, they will, no doubt, also be the proud owners of at least five maxed-out credit cards. With a luxurious honeymoon on some far-flung isle to look forward to, they can relax and try to push thoughts of those hefty bills on the doormat to the back of their minds.

But it's not just the bride and groom whose bank balances are drained during the wedding season.  Friends and family practically have to take out a second mortgage to pay for lavish stag and hen dos in exotic locations. Not to mention travel expenses to the wedding itself, hotel rooms, suits, frocks, hats, childcare, department store gift lists...it could go on forever.

And that's after putting up with months of the kind of behaviour you'd usually only ever come across on Jeremy Kyle - family feuds, pissed off partners, warring friendship groups and bridezillas more terrifying than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

So where does it all end? Surely these insanely pricey weddings are beginning to overshadow the real cause for celebration: the marriage itself. On the most romantic day of their lives, numerous couples spend the entire wedding at loggerheads because the flowers are slightly droopy or the chair covers are the wrong shade of lilac.

And guests are so busy quietly comparing the food and table decorations to the last wedding they attended they forget they should be supporting two friends as they begin their lives together.

I once heard a saying that the more expensive the wedding, the shorter the marriage. After all, no matter how much you flash the cash, money can't buy love.

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