The wedding

Dear Dissonance,

Have you noticed how so many women who are engaged focus more on preparing for their wedding than for their marriage?

It’s strange, because normally very rational people elevate the decision between wearing a Vera Wang or Monique Lhuillier dress to the level of picking a college and act as if securing a profile in the women’s sports pages, AKA, The New York TimesVows” section, were as important as being able to make a down payment on a house. They also believe without question, because The Knot told them, “Choosing your wedding favors are almost as important as choosing the right dress.”

Can you believe how gullible people are?!! Think how much sleep must be lost by women paralyzed by the thought of being thought tacky or cheap by the type of paper bag used to leave water and cookies in guests’ hotel rooms or by the choice of milk (pedestrian) or dark (sophisticated) chocolate on the table.

And it’s not just the wealthy. Some women would practically rip each other’s hair out fighting over a dress at the Filene’s Basement annual “Running of the Brides” event where Darwin could have come up with the idea of natural selection. Too bad Filene’s went bankrupt. Watching it was an enthralling reminder that love is often last on the priority list when preparing for The Event.

And then there are all the requirements for those in the wedding party. Given the number of engagement parties, presents, dresses, airline tickets and other accoutrements necessary to show the full measure of your love for your friend throughout her engagement, someone could buy anywhere from a nice used BMW to a round trip ticket to Europe. It’s a wonder more people don’t decline the offer these days.

Society weddings have always been grand affairs, but it seems the emphasis on the over the topness of the day has grown in direct proportion to the number of people who no longer believe they are saying their vows in front of the Enemy, but only man – an encouraging development for us. The fact that so many couples are engaged for two years or more simply in order to get the right wedding venue speaks to the fact.

The Enemy, for example, doesn’t care if a couple celebrates their nuptials in a church basement with punch and barbeque or at The Four Seasons with a sushi chef flown in from Japan but their business school friends probably do. So they wait. Those are extreme examples, but making a statement has become more important than celebrating the event, which has opened up a can of worms not just in gross expenditure, but in purpose. Have you seen how some couples ask guests to donate to favored political candidates instead of offering them a gift, for example? Who could have thought a wedding could be a campaign fundraiser?! Our Father likes anything that downplays or diminishes the purpose of the event, which is, after all, a reminder of our failure to convince one member or the other of the couple of the impossibility of loving one person for an entire lifetime.  And he also loves that he can be handed years of a bride’s life during a long engagement because of the all consuming busy-ness required to pull off a modern wedding.

He also particularly revels in engagements where the bride pays more attention to the hors d’oeuvre list than whether her fiancé wants children, and if so, how many, or whether the couple would be paying student loan debt off until the children they might or might not have went to college. If we can elevate the low to the high before the marriage, think what leeway we will make in confusing the couple’s priorities later!

Your Patient is in the thick of it right now, which would be a good thing except for the fact that she unfortunately opted for a short engagement, but you still have time to overwhelm her with stationary choices and fonts for said stationary and helping her pick expensive things for her registry that she thinks she should have to signal she is a certain kind of person but probably won’t use. If you can focus all of her emotional energy on those things, you will have created the healthy habit in her of caring more about perception than reality.

Hurry up! You don’t have a couple years to corrupt!

Your affectionate aunt,


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