I recently stumbled on the video of a bride singing Christina Aguilera’s “The Right Man” while she walked down the aisle, and I reacted so strongly that I startled myself. The video opened up a cavern of emotion that, while I knew it was there, went deeper than I realized. And that emotion was repugnance. To me, this serenade was not an act of love, but an act of vanity. I saw a woman in the midst of a performance that had nothing to do with how she felt about the man she was walking towards and everything to do with a fantasy she’d been playing out in her head since she was a little girl–groom TBD.
But self-aggrandizing brides aside, the bottom line of my repugnance was that I hate weddings. I think they have gotten so out of control that they have become intolerable, and I deeply resent being held hostage to their preposterous demands. For years I’ve faked my joy for brides and brides-to-be both out of respect and fear. I have put on a smile and cooed over dresses, shoes, cakes and flowers, partially because I usually do love the person the bride is when she is not a bride, but also because I am afraid that I will be shunned from the sisterhood if my disdain is discovered.
But the truth is that when I see wedding pictures on Facebook or Pinterest, my natural reaction is “ew, gross.” When women talk to me about their nuptial plans, engagement rings, bridal showers and bachelorette parties, I immediately begin plotting my escape. And when I am at an actual wedding, after doing my standard oohing and ahhing, I stand in the corner chain smoking and talking shit. But it’s high time I spoke out and admitted the truth. I. Hate. Weddings. Here are six reasons why:
1. All weddings are exactly the same. No matter how much the bride and groom think their wedding is one-of-a-kind, every wedding is more or less exactly the same. Destination wedding, church ceremony, country club or hotel, it doesn’t matter. Your wedding is traditional at best, generic at worst. When couples start planning, they always say they are going to really personalize it, but then cost comes into the equation or the fear that they will “regret it,” and every couple ends up resorting to the same old wedding playbook in which there is only one play. In other words, if you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all.
2. Weddings are a waste of money. According to TheKnot.com, the average wedding costs $27,800, “this figure also includes those lucky brides and grooms who get $40,000-and-up weddings thrown for them…” WHAT?! That’s insane! Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? According to the BBC.com, the average annual income worldwide per (working) person is $18,000 per year. So for what you’re spending on your “special” day, other people are trying to feed their families for nearly two very unspecial years. I’m not saying you should donate your wedding money to charity, I’m just saying it’s a big waste of money. You could buy a house with that money, you could buy a car, you could invest it, you could save it for a rainy day, you could travel or you could even take a year off of work and try to turn your dreams into a reality! Bottom line, the amount people are currently spending on weddings is vulgar.
3. Weddings are a waste of MY money. Now if you asked why do I even care how you spend your money, I’d say that’s a good argument … hence my next point. I don’t earn a whole lot, which means that I only have so much disposable income — nearly all of which I’ve spent on weddings over the last few years. Travel costs, attire, hotels, gifts (wedding + shower + bachelorette + engagement). It’s just not right that I can’t spend what little money I have on the traveling I’ve dreamed about, the clothes I want, the dinners I’ve earned or the furniture I need.
4. Brides become totally inconsiderate. People have said to me that someday it will be my turn, but not only do I not want a wedding, but two wrongs don’t make a right. This attitude is one reason why things have gotten so out of control. A bride-to-be will say “now it’s my turn,” and because some friend made her go to Las Vegas for a bachelorette party, she’s going to make her friends blow a fat wad of dough going to New Orleans. Then the next friend wants to go to wine country, and so on and so forth, until the whole thing spirals out of control. Brides tend to use their wedding as an opportunity to be selfish, then hold their friends hostage to their demands under the premise that they’ll pay it forward. Except I don’t want it and I will never want it, so I’m never going to get payback. I just want it to stop.
5. Weddings are no fun. I could make every reason weddings are no fun into individual points, but to save time and space, here are just a few examples: The food is terrible: like airplane food, it’s over-salted to compensate for bad flavor; the speeches are uncomfortable; the music is always the same; the conversation is bad because everyone is wasted from the open bar and if you’re single, you end up either as a third wheel on the dance floor with your BFF and her BF, or having someone push the crazy uncle, creepy cousin or drunk brother-in-law on you.
6. Wedding attire is tacky. I think I might be the only person with XX chromosomes who feels this way, but there is nothing special about a wedding dress. I’ve been told that most women dream of their wedding dress from childhood, but in reality wedding dresses all look more or less the same. When a dress is entirely white, you can’t tell anything about the details from more than five feet away. Sure, I can tell if it’s strapless or mermaid (I’m not even totally sure what that means), but otherwise no one can see those pretty little hand-stitched flowers or beads you paid so much for, nor will they be visible in your pictures. Now, I don’t think I need to go into bridesmaids dresses, but it’s pretty shitty that I have to spend several hundred dollars on an ugly dress I will never be able to wear again.
7. The emphasis is in the wrong place. I really think a lot of people put more thought into their wedding than into whether or not they are marrying the right person. When they were young, it seems as if girls picked some arbitrary age they wanted to be married by, 25? 30? And then they grabbed whoever was around when that age hit so they could have a special day, too. They act like finding and catching that man is a victory of some sort and as if getting married is an accomplishment in itself, for which the reward is a big, gaudy party. Newsflash: Getting married is not an accomplishment, staying married is.
On the positive side…
I just want to clarify that I hate weddings, not marriage. It may not be for everyone, but I think the idea of two people committing to each other for life, to sticking together through thick and through thin, is not only incredibly beautiful and full of hope, but also makes the bad times better and the good times better-er. So, just to be positive, below are three things about weddings that I do like.
1. The Vows: When you get to the part where you tell the person you love that you are theirs and they are yours until death do you part, I will cry big, fat tears of joy for you. I will be so moved by your words, that by the time you say “I do,” I will be whimpering into my tissue and blotting tears gently from my eyes so my eye makeup doesn’t run.
2. The Chuppah: In a Jewish wedding, the Chuppah, a canopy under which the couple gets married, symbolizes the home they will build together. Whether it’s made of branches and flowers, twinkly lights or a swath of silk, not only do I think the Chuppah is aesthetically beautiful, but its very essence is the reason we’re there in the first place–to honor the creation of a new home.
3. Hava Nagila and the Hora. I love, love, love the hora. First of all, it’s basically the funnest. Secondly, when everyone gets around in a circle holding hands and dancing as the bride and groom are lifted into the air on chairs, each holding one end of a napkin, I am filled with joy. It’s like the energy of every single person at that wedding is being channeled into good will for this new family; everyone is there together and dancing in sync to celebrate the union of two people. And that is just beautiful.
Everything else? The stink eye I bequeath you.