As soon as the diamond ring is on the finger, the wedding planning begins. A woman’s focus often shifts immediately to her gown, her bridesmaids, and those adorable Mason jar flower arrangements she saw on Pinterest. It’s all too easy to forget that she’s preparing to be a wife and not simply a bride.
Our culture has become hyper-focused on weddings while, at the same time, suffering high divorce rates.
Weddings Are a Multibillion Dollar Industry
The wedding industry makes over 70 billion dollars annually. In 2016, the average cost of a wedding was $32,329. Weddings have become huge affairs with receptions that rival Hollywood parties.
In 2016, the average cost of a wedding was $32,329.
Reality tv shows reveal the extreme lengths that brides and grooms go to in order to make their big day a memorable experience for all who attend. On TLC’s Four Weddings, there have been weddings on cruise ships and in castles, wild circus- and beach-themed receptions, and performances by jazz bands and Japanese Taiko drummers. Extravagance has become the rule, not the exception. The vows are forgotten as all anticipate the party that will soon ensue.
Along with the pressure to host a lavish party, brides often feel the pressure to achieve physical perfection, spending thousands on their dress, hair, makeup, and accessories. TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress has featured countless brides who, in order to “feel like a princess,” end up spending more than they want to on the dress that they will wear for one day.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look one’s best for such an important day, but has the wedding industry taken it too far by encouraging brides to take all measures to enhance their appearance? Brides are expected to diet, get spray tans and fake eyelashes, and trial every skincare product so that they have the “ultimate bridal glow” when they say ‘I do.’ Looking like the woman that your future spouse fell in love with is no longer enough; one has to look like a model from The Knot.
Celebrity Fairytale Weddings and Failed Marriages
Celebrities reinforce the ideas pushed by the wedding industry. Over the past decade, there have been many celeb weddings that won’t soon be forgotten. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel wed in Puglia, Italy in a 63-room, 28-villa luxury hotel. Their $6.5 million day ended with fireworks over the seashore.
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries also spent roughly $6 million on their California wedding. Costs included Vera Wang dresses and a diamond headpiece for Kim and a $20,000 cake. Unfortunately, despite the dream wedding, their marriage only lasted for 72 days.
Kim Kardashian spent roughly $6 million on her wedding and got divorced 72 days later.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes suffered the same fate: a fairytale wedding followed by divorce. They said their vows in Bracciano, Italy’s 15th-century Odescalchi Castle. Katie wore two different dresses designed by Armani. Andrea Bocelli performed.
Statistically, less is more with weddings.
Despite their picture-perfect weddings, too many celebrities experience failed marriages. One study found that the celebrity divorce rate over the first 14 years of marriage is 50%, thus proving that opulent weddings don’t equate to happy, healthy marriages.
Marriage duration is inversely associated with the cost of the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.
Studies have shown that there’s a correlation between wedding cost and chance of divorce. A study from Emory University found that marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony. The study specifically cites, among other findings, that couples who spent less than $1,000 were 47% more likely to stay together than those whose wedding costs exceeded $20,000. Less truly is more when it comes to weddings.
Focus on the Marriage, Not the Wedding Day
So, instead of putting all of one’s energy into planning the “perfect” day, might it not be better to focus on creating a bright and happy future with one’s future spouse? Rather than dreaming of the fairytale wedding, it would benefit a couple far more to dream of their future together.
Instead of spending the weekends consumed by wedding planning, a couple could spend time discussing how they hope to live once they’re married. Instead of spending thousands upon thousands on a dress, DJ, and venue, they could put money into a savings account for a house and future children. Instead of poring over song lists and seating charts, they could read through a marriage devotional and reflect on the great gift they will soon enter into.
The start of a lifetime together should be a celebration, but perfection is not necessary.
While a wedding is a wonderful celebration of the love shared by two people, it should not be the pinnacle of a couple’s life together. It’s merely the beginning.
A couple who focuses more on the marriage and less on the wedding will set themselves up for more peaceful, fruitful, and joy-filled days together. Of course, the start of a lifetime together should be a celebration. Perfection, though, is not necessary. At the end of the day, if you get to spend the rest of your life with the one you love, it shouldn’t matter if the peonies were white or pink or even in the bouquet at all.