Author Topic: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?  (Read 38037 times)

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4752
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2012, 01:34:54 PM »
People 'bother to have a wedding' because they want to be married. Maybe if you figured out why people wanted to be married, you would understand why they had weddings.

igthebold

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NC Piedmont
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2012, 01:48:57 PM »
I don't understand why anyone even bothers to get MARRIED, much less have a wedding.

I think most weddings are about self-obsession and attention-seeking through conspicuous consumption.  At least, that is how it seems to me.

For many Christians, at least in an ideal sense, a wedding is a public ceremony intended to set up the marriage relationship in the context of a community for mutual accountability, etc. In Christian symbolism, the marriage relationship reflects the relationship between Christ and his church, so it's a Big Deal.

Also, it's a way of saying, "Hey, we're doing this thing we're really happy about. Come party with us!" I'm speaking in generalities, but that's why, for instance, I would want to get married and have a wedding. Same with many of my friends.

However, even given what I just wrote, many weddings (including self-consciously Christian ones) do turn into ME-fests. At that point it becomes distasteful, at least to me.

Anyway, historically it's a ceremony with strong religious significance. As more people are happy to throw off the religiosity of their upbringing, more people are willing to dispense with that part of it.

Another potential reason people like fancier weddings is that it's one of the few occasions in modern culture where people get to dress up and do ceremonial and formal things.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2012, 02:21:40 PM »
I don't understand why anyone even bothers to get MARRIED, much less have a wedding.

I think most weddings are about self-obsession and attention-seeking through conspicuous consumption.  At least, that is how it seems to me.

Weddings and marriage (amongst other things) help to build communities through trust, and community builds civilization. Marriage and weddings are not bad things. I agree with you that self-obsession, attention seeking and conspicuous consumption, however, is.

Interestingly enough, I read an article in my news feed just this morning that's quite relevant to this very discussion. It covers research by Paul Zak on the chemical ties of oxytocin as the possible chemical building blocks towards trust, faith and the foundation of civilization. Link here.

If we were in the same room having this discussion, Perpetual Student, given the light of this new information... I'd want to give you a hug in hopes that it'd help you to feel less upset about the good and simple things in life. Don't think that to be some snarky internet putdown, either. I'm genuinely serious about that statement.

smalllife

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 983
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2012, 02:34:20 PM »
Perpetual Student has a point.  Weddings as a party are completely unnecessary to the act of getting married and serve very little purpose other than self-celebration.  They can be done tastefully and with little fanfare, but the entire purpose of a "wedding" is selfish by default. 

As to why bother getting married, the myriad tax breaks and legal protections offer plenty of incentive.  What Perpetual Student may be trying to say that marriage, and a wedding, should not be the only social marker of a successful relationship (ditto for having babies) but rather we should celebrate companionship irregardless of the couples legal status.

Building community through trust has nothing to do with throwing a self-congratulatory party.  Long term relationships have as much merit in that department as a marriage license: the two overlap but are not synonymous.

tannybrown

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South Scottsdale, AZ
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #54 on: July 16, 2012, 02:50:09 PM »
It's folly to tear down our society's rites of passage to the sum of their parts and dismiss them entirely.  Marriages aren't exactly just self-congratulatory parties, just as commencement from university isn't just self-congratulatory capital letters after one's name, anniversaries aren't just society-driven excuses to buy things for one's spouse.  There's a bit more at work here.  Even a wholesale criticism of weddings and receptions should acknowledge that.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 02:52:52 PM by tannybrown »

zinnie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
  • Location: California
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #55 on: July 16, 2012, 03:15:43 PM »
Okay, this forum totally brought up a conversation that my boyfriend and I had just last night, and even though it's a little unrelated to weddings, I think it fits well with the general theme :)

We are planning on getting engaged soon (like the next couple weeks). We've known we want to get married for a while, so it's not really an OMG Is he gonna ask?! kind of situation...and I'm not that kind of girl either. However, since I'm moving across the country, we feel like it's important to share with our family and friends that we're at that level of commitment, and to have some sort of end goal (marriage) to keep us going through those long lonely days apart.

BUT - I've always told myself that I wouldn't accept an engagement ring. A. I think it's kind of sexist, and it really goes against my beliefs (that I don't need to be "bought" by my man) B. It seems like a big waste of money, and I'd much rather use it as a downpayment for a house. C. Everyone judges the ring as Representing the couple (which is fucking insane, and such a marketing ploy), and I don't even want to participate in that kind of marketing manipulation. This feels especially relevant because my boyfriend makes a lot of money, and could easily afford a very nice ring, and so I feel like if we buy something simple and symbolic, I'm going to be explaining for months why he didn't get me some eye-ball sized diamond.

However, I feel like if we have nothing, are we really engaged? How is that different from what we are now?

What have you guys done about rings? What is an engagement without a ring? How does a mustachian handle engagement rings? Is the cost worth it?

I got a ring made with a diamond I had bought for myself. So he paid for the setting, but the biggest cost was something I already owned (because I didn't want him buying it for me, like you. And I proposed to him--separate issue though). I did want a ring, though, and while mine is tiny by society's standards, I haven't gotten much flack from friends because they know that what I have is what I chose. If you don't want one, don't get one! I've found that if you explain your decisions confidently people will get used to them and leave you alone, even if they are not conventional.

I kind of see engagement rings the way that MMM explained how displaying wealth doesn't mean much anymore in the frugality/ fanciness article. EVERYONE with a credit card has a giant ring so size of ring is kind of a useless symbol--why succumb?

amyable

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 295
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2012, 04:18:26 PM »
Rebecca Mead's One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding is a pretty awesome examination of the whole bridal industry.  I read it while I was engaged--it's totally engrossing! 

I'm a big fan of backyard weddings--they 're definitely not possible or desirable for every couple, but I had one, and it was fabulous.  We had a short ceremony with about 20 friends and family members, and then enjoyed some delicious fajitas.  My dress was vintage, and a friend of my father's did the photography.  My flowers were probably the biggest expense, but the entire event definitely cost under $1000. 

windawake

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2012, 05:05:28 PM »
I think my big reasoning behind this question is the fact that as the maid-of-honor, I feel guilty because I can't get into the excitement about the wedding, which makes me feel like a bad friend.  It goes against a lot of my mustachian feelings.  I'm also very interested in mindfulness (next week I'm going to Guatemala to apprentice at a yoga farm for a month), and focusing so much on the future (and later on the past) violates my inherent belief that enjoying the present is all we have.

The thing is, while I'm not a very sentimental or romantic person, I think weddings can be very sweet.  I'm sure I will get teary at her wedding, and I really do think that she and her SO are a great match.  I've been trying to do my best at the things that are required of me - found a really affordable/awesome bachelorette cabin weekend option, writing a charming speech, calling my friend to check up on her regularly.  It's just that I'm certain there are ways to do weddings that require less obsession/way less money that can be even sweeter and more unique than the cookie-cutter type ceremonies.

Perpetual_Student

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: Longmont CO
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #58 on: July 16, 2012, 07:38:51 PM »
Building community through trust has nothing to do with throwing a self-congratulatory party.  Long term relationships have as much merit in that department as a marriage license: the two overlap but are not synonymous.

Bingo - thank you smalllife.  It's great when people decide to be with one another, and I'm happy to celebrate others' anniversaries because they are a real achievement, like graduation or what have you.  A wedding...is not.  And a marriage is not a more valid relationship any other.

I think my big reasoning behind this question is the fact that as the maid-of-honor, I feel guilty because I can't get into the excitement about the wedding, which makes me feel like a bad friend.  It goes against a lot of my mustachian feelings.

I get that, windawake.  I was recently a bridesmaid for a dear friend, and I hated it.  Because I love her I was a very, very good bridesmaid, but I think I will decline any future bride buddies who request that honor.

If we were in the same room having this discussion, Perpetual Student, given the light of this new information... I'd want to give you a hug in hopes that it'd help you to feel less upset about the good and simple things in life. Don't think that to be some snarky internet putdown, either. I'm genuinely serious about that statement.

Oh, well, thanks I.P., I'm sure the oxytocin would be nice (good article, btw).  But to me weddings and marriage are not the good and simple things in life, just society's way to institutionalize and squeeze profit from the good and simple things in life. 

I promise that I personally am up to my ears in the warm fuzzies of my great life with Mr. PS - and sometimes literally up to my ears in warm fuzzies.  CATS = AWESOME

CeciliaW

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #59 on: July 16, 2012, 10:05:13 PM »
(next week I'm going to Guatemala to apprentice at a yoga farm for a month)


Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.

elincolnp

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Young landlord working on my Mini-Stash :)
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #60 on: July 17, 2012, 06:18:04 AM »
However, I feel like if we have nothing, are we really engaged? How is that different from what we are now?

What have you guys done about rings? What is an engagement without a ring? How does a mustachian handle engagement rings? Is the cost worth it?
  A few times people would ask to see my ring and I'd simply state that I didn't have one - and that was that.  I didn't feel any judgment either - I usually just explained that it wasn't my thing.  No judgment or preaching on my part, no judgment on theirs.  That being said, my husband made me the most beautiful ring out of grass when he proposed.  It was perfect and special for us. 


You guys are my heros. I showed this to my bf/fiance, and he totally agreed that this is the way to go. I think you're right that if there's no judgement from my side, there'll be less judgement from anyone else :)

amyable

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 295
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #61 on: July 17, 2012, 06:29:10 AM »
Quote
I'm sure I will get teary at her wedding, and I really do think that she and her SO are a great match.  I've been trying to do my best at the things that are required of me - found a really affordable/awesome bachelorette cabin weekend option, writing a charming speech, calling my friend to check up on her regularly.  It's just that I'm certain there are ways to do weddings that require less obsession/way less money that can be even sweeter and more unique than the cookie-cutter type ceremonies.

windawake, you sound like a really good friend.  I don't think you should feel guilty about not getting into the material aspects of the wedding--as long as you are excited about the couple and their announcement that they'd like to spend the rest of their lives together, that's all that matters.  A bridesmaid who genuinely cares about her friend is much preferable to one who just wants to get dolled up and go to an expensive party. 

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4752
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #62 on: July 17, 2012, 08:11:35 AM »
Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.
It's on her blog, which is totally worth reading if you don't already.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #63 on: July 17, 2012, 08:19:08 AM »
Oh, well, thanks I.P., I'm sure the oxytocin would be nice (good article, btw).  But to me weddings and marriage are not the good and simple things in life, just society's way to institutionalize and squeeze profit from the good and simple things in life. 

I think you're unduly targeting the wrong things, honestly. There's nothing wrong with weddings and marriage... culturally speaking over the past few thousand years of society, wedding ceremonies and marriages in cultures that had such things were community and civilization building activities. Traditional Jewish weddings are a good example of such, as are Muslim, Quaker, Mennonite, Amish, Chinese, Celtic, ad nauseam.

The problem lies within our decadent, modern society that glorifies flaunting material wealth, resulting in the exploitation of these institutions for profit while dehumanizing the significance of the acts. Don't blame the traditional societal institutions of weddings and marriage, blame the selfish people in our modern Western culture who have built this ridiculous industry and have forced social expectations of gross consumption and indulgence around these institutions the past 100 years or so.

igthebold

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NC Piedmont
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #64 on: July 17, 2012, 09:21:15 AM »
The problem lies within our decadent, modern society that glorifies flaunting material wealth, resulting in the exploitation of these institutions for profit while dehumanizing the significance of the acts. Don't blame the traditional societal institutions of weddings and marriage, blame the selfish people in our modern Western culture who have built this ridiculous industry and have forced social expectations of gross consumption and indulgence around these institutions the past 100 years or so.

Nicely put. Just reading the Wikipedia entry and the synopsis for this cited book are enough to turn my stomach.

Now my curiosity is piqued, though.. how would one celebrate a wedding in modern times in a way that *does* bring the community/accountability aspect into it without craziness?

Here's an example I've seen recently:
  • Bride borrowed dress from a friend after inquiring on Facebook
  • I don't remember whether the men wore rental tuxes or what the bridesmaids wore
  • Invitations sent to family and remote close friends. General invitation to church.
  • Music provided by volunteers (I assume they got a gift or something)
  • Decoration provided by volunteers
  • Cake and punch reception (pretty traditional here in the south), maybe even potluck

Not sure how much it cost, but it got a bunch of people to their wedding at what was likely minimal cost.

windawake

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #65 on: July 17, 2012, 10:00:56 AM »
Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.
It's on her blog, which is totally worth reading if you don't already.

Cecelia - Yeah, I'm going to stay at the Mystical Yoga Farm (www.mysticalyogafarm.com) for a month.  It's a yoga retreat center that attempts to be entirely sustainable, utilizing solar power and has a self-sustaining organic farm.  My entire trip will be just over 5 weeks.  I'm super excited.  I'll work on the farm/doing other chores for 5-6 hours a day, and will do lots of meditation, yoga, and enjoy lots of community time.  I do pay a small stipend ($350 for the month) which covers lodging and all my food.  Actually, since I found a subleaser it should be cheaper than living a month at home, even with plane fare.

Grant - Thanks, I'm glad you're reading my blog!  Hoping the trip will give me a lot of ideas for new posts!

CeciliaW

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #66 on: July 17, 2012, 10:11:34 AM »
Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.
It's on her blog, which is totally worth reading if you don't already.

Cecelia - Yeah, I'm going to stay at the Mystical Yoga Farm (www.mysticalyogafarm.com) for a month.  It's a yoga retreat center that attempts to be entirely sustainable, utilizing solar power and has a self-sustaining organic farm.  My entire trip will be just over 5 weeks.  I'm super excited.  I'll work on the farm/doing other chores for 5-6 hours a day, and will do lots of meditation, yoga, and enjoy lots of community time.  I do pay a small stipend ($350 for the month) which covers lodging and all my food.  Actually, since I found a subleaser it should be cheaper than living a month at home, even with plane fare.

Grant - Thanks, I'm glad you're reading my blog!  Hoping the trip will give me a lot of ideas for new posts!

Wow. That is way different. It sounds like you're going to have a great experience. Yay!

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #67 on: July 17, 2012, 12:41:20 PM »
Here's an example I've seen recently:
  • Bride borrowed dress from a friend after inquiring on Facebook
  • I don't remember whether the men wore rental tuxes or what the bridesmaids wore

There's another thing I've really never understood about mainstream weddings.  Why dress up in the sort of clothing most of us would never voluntarily wear on any other occasion?

As for rings, I have doubts about typical engagement rings, too.  Any woman I am likely to even consider marrying is going to be spending a significant part of her time doing physically active things.  So she's supposed to wear a stone worth say $10K on her finger, where it could easily be knocked out of its setting and lost?

PotatoEngineer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #68 on: July 17, 2012, 04:55:57 PM »
As for rings, I have doubts about typical engagement rings, too.  Any woman I am likely to even consider marrying is going to be spending a significant part of her time doing physically active things.  So she's supposed to wear a stone worth say $10K on her finger, where it could easily be knocked out of its setting and lost?
You don't need to go with a traditional ring-with-a-rock-in-it.  I asked my wife to marry me with a ring that cost around $250, with a pretty Celtic knotwork design on it.  Mind you, she'd also been dropping hints at me about the kinds of rings she liked, so YMMV.

kisserofsinners

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
  • Age: 40
  • Location: San Francisco
    • Monkey wants a house
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #69 on: July 17, 2012, 05:10:51 PM »
I don't know, generally, about the "wedding" deal.

For me, it's so far from wedding, we're calling it a non-wedding. This does all sorts of things for us. Most importantly, dropping the cost for EVERYTHING. Everything "wedding" related has a 20% make up, at least. I'm not a fucking princess, so i'm not here to make these kids work hard for nothing. I'll also be damned if i'm paying to support the whole BS industry.

As a person who's worked in catering in a large city, weddings are bullshit.

The outcomes are:
1-Time for you to celebrate your beautiful union with friends and family. This is really the most important thing for the most people.
2-Pictures of said celebration. This is the important part to me. When it's all said and done, this is what we got.
3-A chance for some chick to become the most demanding, selfish person within a 50 yard radius. No one actually wants this, except the wedding industry.

For me and my wife, we're having 4 parties in different venues for different people.  Ceremony in the park, party in a local community space, family dinner at a hofbrau, and a special event with our closest and dearest; all for <$2000.

I don't understand why anyone would pay more than that and i've been quite capable of talking about other things over the past year.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #70 on: July 17, 2012, 05:45:52 PM »
You don't need to go with a traditional ring-with-a-rock-in-it.  I asked my wife to marry me with a ring that cost around $250, with a pretty Celtic knotwork design on it.  Mind you, she'd also been dropping hints at me about the kinds of rings she liked, so YMMV.

Sure, you don't need to (that's why I proposed the big chunk of cubic zirconia alternative above), and in any case it's of no immediate personal concern.  It's just that (like tuxedos and wedding gowns) it's the conventional choice, and I really just don't understand it.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #71 on: July 17, 2012, 09:28:54 PM »
You don't need to go with a traditional ring-with-a-rock-in-it. 

On a side note, the traditional rock is a huge hoax perpetrated on the uneducated.  DeBeers had diamonds stored in great heaping PILES in warehouse.  They aren't nearly as rare as the marketing campaigns would have you believe.

And the supply is (or at least was) tightly controlled to keep prices up, with small batches being released on schedule and the next 500 years of supply withheld for now to avoid flooding the market.  Then the Canadians found diamonds and the Africans started selling them by the droves to fund genocide, and the price plummeted due to the sudden abundance.  Your engagement centerpiece slaughtered a village in the Congo!  Look how shiny it is!

Diamonds really have no redeeming social value.  If any of you are thinking of buying one, I recommend you do even the tiniest bit of google searching on the diamond trade, and I expect you too will be easily convinced to stay away. 

If you really want a rock on your finger, the least you can do is choose one that has some meaning to you as a couple.  Defaulting to diamonds is not only socially irresponsible, but very unimaginative.

vern

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #72 on: July 17, 2012, 09:51:42 PM »
Damn straight Sol!

And don't forget that the Russians have been manufacturing diamonds for decades!  (There was a good episode of NOVA about it a while back.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_diamond

Do you see that gravel in your driveway?  That's about what a diamond is worth.


igthebold

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NC Piedmont
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #73 on: July 19, 2012, 09:08:44 AM »
Here's an example I've seen recently:
  • Bride borrowed dress from a friend after inquiring on Facebook
  • I don't remember whether the men wore rental tuxes or what the bridesmaids wore

There's another thing I've really never understood about mainstream weddings.  Why dress up in the sort of clothing most of us would never voluntarily wear on any other occasion?

Two reasons I can think of: it's the way people do weddings now, and some people like dressing up. They would voluntarily wear it if it weren't so weird. Heck, I'd love to own a tux that fit if I had a place to use it, but the only places to use it these days also cost a lot of money. Therefore, I don't have one.

As for rings, I have doubts about typical engagement rings, too.  Any woman I am likely to even consider marrying is going to be spending a significant part of her time doing physically active things.  So she's supposed to wear a stone worth say $10K on her finger, where it could easily be knocked out of its setting and lost?

I bought a diamond engagement ring because that's what I figured was expected. I was 21 and liked the idea of giving something nice to my future wife. I also wasn't the miserly curmudgeon that I am now. Relatively speaking.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #74 on: July 19, 2012, 12:49:23 PM »
Two reasons I can think of: it's the way people do weddings now, and some people like dressing up. They would voluntarily wear it if it weren't so weird. Heck, I'd love to own a tux that fit if I had a place to use it, but the only places to use it these days also cost a lot of money. Therefore, I don't have one.

Maybe they should look into the Society for Creative Anachronism http://www.sca.org/ or similar groups?  Then they could dress in costume every weekend :-)

Quote
I bought a diamond engagement ring because that's what I figured was expected. I was 21 and liked the idea of giving something nice to my future wife.

Sure.  I have no problem with the "giving something nice" part.  It's why that sort of ring would be considered nice that puzzles me.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #75 on: July 19, 2012, 01:23:41 PM »
Sure.  I have no problem with the "giving something nice" part.  It's why that sort of ring would be considered nice that puzzles me.

This article might help clear that up. Basically, as the "Breach of Promise to Marry" laws were abandoned in this country, engagement rings rose as a replacement for virginity insurance. Thus partly the "two months salary" rule-of-thumb for value of the ring. Since most people usually considered engagement an informal marriage contract, people would get it on before the actual wedding day. The ring stood in as a deflowered woman's financial compensation for being damaged goods if she got stood up at the altar.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #76 on: July 19, 2012, 06:20:12 PM »
Thus partly the "two months salary" rule-of-thumb for value of the ring.

The two months salary rule is an entirely arbitrary creation of the diamond industry marketing machine.  Note that it is a different amount in different countries.  Google it and be amazed at the brazen audacity of it all.

Quote
The ring stood in as a deflowered woman's financial compensation for being damaged goods if she got stood up at the altar.

I like IPD so it hurts me a little to have to say this, but I think the above statement is probably the most archaic, paternalistic, misogynistic, and dehumanizing statement yet recorded on this website.  Shame.

Perpetual_Student

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: Longmont CO
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #77 on: July 19, 2012, 08:02:09 PM »
Thus partly the "two months salary" rule-of-thumb for value of the ring.

The two months salary rule is an entirely arbitrary creation of the diamond industry marketing machine.  Note that it is a different amount in different countries.  Google it and be amazed at the brazen audacity of it all.

Quote
The ring stood in as a deflowered woman's financial compensation for being damaged goods if she got stood up at the altar.

I like IPD so it hurts me a little to have to say this, but I think the above statement is probably the most archaic, paternalistic, misogynistic, and dehumanizing statement yet recorded on this website.  Shame.

Right on, sol.  Should not be a surprise that I detest weddings and marriage...I'm not interested in legitimizing a system that was devised to buy and sell women like chattel.

Plus, weddings are moronic, boring, self-involved, and EXPENSIVE :)

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #78 on: July 19, 2012, 08:06:48 PM »
Thus partly the "two months salary" rule-of-thumb for value of the ring.

The two months salary rule is an entirely arbitrary creation of the diamond industry marketing machine.  Note that it is a different amount in different countries.  Google it and be amazed at the brazen audacity of it all.

Quote
The ring stood in as a deflowered woman's financial compensation for being damaged goods if she got stood up at the altar.

I like IPD so it hurts me a little to have to say this, but I think the above statement is probably the most archaic, paternalistic, misogynistic, and dehumanizing statement yet recorded on this website.  Shame.

No worries Sol. I'm not offended in the least and I agree with you wholeheartedly, because it's not my opinion you find offensive so much as my statements about the era regarding the understood reality of what was going on in this country at the time. My apologies for not framing myself as finding it offensive, though. DeBeers certainly had a hand in this mess, and obviously promise ring values vary from country to country due to cultural variance... but there was more going on at the time than just the marketing machine in this country. Is the idea sexist and even a bit misogynistic? No argument from me... but we're talking about a cultural era in this country that despite the Roaring 20's and the wonderful progress of the Suffragette movement, was still primarily steeped in Victorian-era prudence.

For better or worse, this was a wang-centric society that continued to value a woman's virtue as the #1 criteria for marrying potential at the time, and the laws protecting women from men who'd "love 'em and leave 'em" at the altar (a problem bad enough that governments felt fit to enact laws to guard against it to begin with) were being repealed from the books partly due to the excuse of women's liberation. Much like many other things throughout history, it can most likely be written off as a confluence of multiple issues resulting in a perfect storm. To lay the blame of the default two-month salary engagement ring as an idea in this country fabricated purely by Madison Avenue execs is a bit generous. For all the manipulation and envelope pushing they've done over the years, advertisers exploit societal trends far more than create them.

Margaret Brinig did some fine economic research on the topic, and I'm quite inclined to agree with her even if I don't particularly like the reported practices from the time.

On the subject of my personal opinion on engagement rings? Reality is, my wife and I didn't even bother with an engagement ring (mutual decision), and our wedding bands are CP Grade 2 titanium from Cascadia Design Studio that didn't cost more than $145 combined with shipping. Heck, we didn't even get legally married until six years in and it was more a voluntold situation. (Long story there not fit for public - and no, it didn't involve anything as trope-tastic as a pregnancy.) We treated it like a marriage from nearly the get-go, but didn't entirely feel it necessary or even appropriate to ask the state permission to act as such, even if it granted us tax breaks, so we had embraced Common Law. Our parents were pretty supportive of it as well, oddly enough.

Anyway, I hope you rest well in the knowledge that I'm not actually a jerktastic woman-hater, my friend.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #79 on: July 19, 2012, 08:17:35 PM »
Right on, sol.  Should not be a surprise that I detest weddings and marriage...I'm not interested in legitimizing a system that was devised to buy and sell women like chattel.

Plus, weddings are moronic, boring, self-involved, and EXPENSIVE :)

It wasn't about buying and selling women. Given the religious practices and culture of the time, the repealing laws in question and the cultural zeitgeist that created the expensive engagement ring in this country were actually movements there that came about to try and help protect women's rights and at least give them a safety net from the consequences of lotharios and the social stigma within their families and community.

Again, don't hate on the institutions... hate on what people have done to them, especially in this country.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #80 on: July 19, 2012, 11:04:16 PM »
Basically, as the "Breach of Promise to Marry" laws were abandoned in this country, engagement rings rose as a replacement for virginity insurance. Thus partly the "two months salary" rule-of-thumb for value of the ring.

I don't think that makes sense.  (Though I do realize that human behavior is often not sensible.)  The problem is that (from what I've read - I've no personal experience, as the only diamonds I own are in cutting tools) the market value of a diamond sold by a private individual is only a fraction of what you'd pay a jeweler for the same stone/ring.  If it was insurance, it'd make a lot more sense to give the woman cash (or stocks, etc), perhaps in an escrow account...

Perpetual_Student

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: Longmont CO
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #81 on: July 19, 2012, 11:06:12 PM »
I hear what you're saying, IPD.  I was referring more to the whole marriage concept, not the ring per se.  I'm talking about transferring a woman from her father's authority to her husband's, not the idea that the worth of a woman can be measured by two months' salary (though: disgusting).  I personally reject that I belonged to someone to give away...and the whole state involvement with the certificate etc. makes marriage seem eerily like transferring a title.  No thank you!

That said, everyone has to make their own bargain with the patriarchy, and I like that you are practical and frugal in the matter. :)

englyn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 432
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #82 on: July 19, 2012, 11:24:10 PM »
Hah, well, I got married about a year ago, so obviously I'm a bit biased.
I had a fantastic time and if I had to go back in time and do it again I'd make all the same choices. We had an awesome party where we fed our closest friends and family seriously good food in a family-run restaurant in a beautiful location in the countryside. It wasn't remotely cheap, but it was about half the average wedding spend for this area, and paid in cash.
Having lived together for many years beforehand, it changed very little between us, but it was still very meaningful to me to promise ourselves to each other. No giving away or to. We're even happier and smugger than before.
And I am in the SCA and do get to dress up all the time ;-) and still got a 'wedding dress' and loved it.

I guess I just wanted to say each to their own - you can define your own wedding (and marriage!) to be whatever you want it to be.

Perpetual_Student

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: Longmont CO
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #83 on: July 19, 2012, 11:29:46 PM »
We're even happier and smugger than before.

Ah, smugness.  Another reason I so adore weddings.  Never have people thought so highly of themselves for doing so little.

Glad you had fun.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #84 on: July 19, 2012, 11:33:07 PM »
I hear what you're saying, IPD.  I was referring more to the whole marriage concept, not the ring per se.  I'm talking about transferring a woman from her father's authority to her husband's, not the idea that the worth of a woman can be measured by two months' salary (though: disgusting).  I personally reject that I belonged to someone to give away...and the whole state involvement with the certificate etc. makes marriage seem eerily like transferring a title.  No thank you!

That said, everyone has to make their own bargain with the patriarchy, and I like that you are practical and frugal in the matter. :)

That's what I'm saying though... there's nothing wrong with the concept and act of marriage itself (or weddings for that matter). Marriage is fine, marriage is wonderful, and marriage is simply the process of uniting two souls as one which is a pretty wonderful and valuable thing to cherish. Your problem lies with how most societies treat the institution. Apples and oranges, my friend. Getting mad at the institution of marriage is like getting angry at the neighbor's dog that barks all night. It's not the dog's fault that the owner ignores and leaves a social pack animal alone on a chain in the yard all its life, so kicking the dog out of anger doesn't solve the problem. The problem here is people.

englyn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 432
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #85 on: July 19, 2012, 11:54:18 PM »
Never have people thought so highly of themselves for doing so little.

Ouch?
Actually, we're smug that we have built such a strong relationship despite adversity, and that it is still getting better after 10 years together. Getting married was one brick in that building, and not the biggest one either. I am sure that many other couples feel the same way, and also don't think that's 'so little'.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 11:57:09 PM by englyn »

Perpetual_Student

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: Longmont CO
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #86 on: July 20, 2012, 12:02:22 AM »
Well, IPD, we'll have to disagree.  I don't have a problem with people deciding to commit to one another.  I do have a problem with codifying it, entrenching it in society, spending ungodly sums on throwing a showy party for it, and artificially elevating it above other loving relationships.  Not to mention the tragic discrimination that our own country still perpetrates on its citizens in that regard, and the sad hypocrisy of people promising forever when half those forevers never last.

Uniting two souls as one seems like pretty lofty language for such an artificial and useless construct, but I can tell you disagree, and that continuing to restate my views with start pissing off a lot of marrieds. 

Maybe you'll understand if I put it this way: I'm just like everyone else in that I have that one niggling thing that everyone around me reveres, but I regard as a crock of shit.  For some people it's a sports franchise that everyone else seems to love, or a religion, or a book, or whatever.  I think marriage and weddings are outdated relics of a more primitive time and we should be quit of them.  But I realize that I'm probably alone in this sentiment most everywhere I go.  It's frustrating as hell.

So there's that.  My problem does not lie with how societies treat the institution.  It's with the institution.  Marriage is horseshit.  But you're right, the problem here is people, the ones who came up with this nonsense in the first place.

I think I'd be a lot less annoyed if marriage remained a religious and private thing that people did for themselves and their friends and the god of their choice.  I'd still think it was backwards, stupid, laughable, and a waste of money/time, but getting the government out of the business of marrying people would really take some of the stench off of that sorry rite.

I think I'm going to leave this one alone, then, because I'm not furthering the financial discussion very much anymore.  Not worth trying to talk about the Sox in a room full of Yankee fans.

So yeah, I stand with my original contribution: weddings are a moronic waste of financial resources, and should be avoided as much as possible.

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4752
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #87 on: July 20, 2012, 07:48:27 AM »
The issue isn't that you disagree with the other posters. The issue is that you can't even pretend to respect their opinions and acknowledge the fact that they may have legitimate reasons for feeling the way that they do about it, and that the second someone disagrees with you you start slinging insults. Even though I think the NFL is dumb as hell (and for the record, I truly do), I don't walk around with the conceit that I alone am smart enough to see through the bullshit and that anyone who disagrees with me just isn't.

You're entitled to your opinion, but you could at least pretend you had a little bit of respect for the people you're talking to.

To put this a little more eloquently, I'll leave you with a quote of AJ's:
when people I know to be intelligent disagree with me on a subject, that is my cue to pause and rethink. Maybe I'm in the right, or maybe they are, but the simple fact that someone smart disagrees with me is enough to warrant a quick glance at my own assumptions and conclusions ... If we cling to certain ideas religiously, or get emotional, we lose that ability and begin to throw out logical fallacies to back up our deeply held convictions.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #88 on: July 20, 2012, 09:07:43 AM »
The issue isn't that you disagree with the other posters. The issue is that you can't even pretend to respect their opinions

To take AJ's advice, is it possible that PS is right?  When you stop to think about it instead of just accepting the social norm, it does seem pretty weird that the government should have any role at all in codifying personal relationships. 

I'm in favor of loving commitments, and big parties.  I could even be in favor of outrageously overpriced jewelry and ornate dresses and flying flower arrangements, and I still couldn't justify needing the state's permission to tell someone I love them.

Technically I think I side with PS on this one; marriage should be a religious or personal ceremony, not a civil one.

The only reason I can see for letting the government be involved is so that they can deny marriage to some people.  If it's just filing a record of the event (which is also creepy and unacceptable to libertarian types) it might be okay, but a marriage certificate can be denied by the state so it's clearly not just a matter of record. 

Can anyone think of a good reason for requiring the government to sanctify and approve their relationship?  I can't, yet, and so I think PS may be right.


grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4752
  • Age: 27
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #89 on: July 20, 2012, 09:40:04 AM »
I never addressed anything even relating to law in my post, and her post wasn't about law and weddings, so I'm not sure why you're assuming that my beliefs and hers are at odds on that issue. In fact, they're not, so I'm scratching my head figuring out where you got that one from.

My beliefs, for what they're worth: I think that the law must by necessity acknowledge civil unions in some cases, such as for inheritance. I do think that those cases are somewhat limited, however. Beyond those, I think it's wrong for the government to involve itself too much in the question of marriage; to me, this seems like a case where the social norms should work themselves out rather than being codified and restricted by law.

It's fine if you don't think the government has a place in marriage. I largely agree. But that's not what was said. Let's do a play by play.
Uniting two souls as one seems like pretty lofty language for such an artificial and useless construct, but I can tell you disagree, and that continuing to restate my views with start pissing off a lot of marrieds. 
"I think this is dumb, so it can't have value to other people" and "the fact that people choose to be offended by this statement reflects a personal flaw of theirs and not the statement"
Quote
I think marriage and weddings are outdated relics of a more primitive time and we should be quit of them.
"I don't value this, so it has no place in society." Not no place in government, even. No place in society, like 'the institution should be abolished'. What would the forums say if I walked in, said I was an atheist, and so all religion should be abolished immediately, then personally insulted anyone who said they were religious? If I said that I didn't believe in evidence-based medicine, so all NIH-funded research should stop immediately and the only doctors allowed to stick were homeopaths?
...
Quote
My problem does not lie with how societies treat the institution.  It's with the institution.  Marriage is horseshit.  But you're right, the problem here is people, the ones who came up with this nonsense in the first place.
Again. What was it I was saying: "her post wasn't about law and weddings"?
...
Quote
weddings are a moronic waste of financial resources, and should be avoided as much as possible.
Not "weddings don't fit into my values", "weddings are wrong for everyone".

See what I mean?

Heather

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #90 on: July 20, 2012, 10:34:54 AM »
As for rings, I have doubts about typical engagement rings, too.  Any woman I am likely to even consider marrying is going to be spending a significant part of her time doing physically active things.  So she's supposed to wear a stone worth say $10K on her finger, where it could easily be knocked out of its setting and lost?
You don't need to go with a traditional ring-with-a-rock-in-it.  I asked my wife to marry me with a ring that cost around $250, with a pretty Celtic knotwork design on it.  Mind you, she'd also been dropping hints at me about the kinds of rings she liked, so YMMV.

Some friends of mine solved this problem by having their wedding rings tattooed on their fingers.  Celtic knots, as it happens.
Can't break it, can't lose it, can't take it off ;-)

When I got engaged, I suggested we go down to the local market.  I picked out a $20 ring from a street vendor.  It lasted until just before the wedding, then it fell apart from taking part in my active life.   
 

tannybrown

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South Scottsdale, AZ
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #91 on: July 20, 2012, 10:52:40 AM »
I agree with grantmeaname here.  The vitriol from the anti-wedding crowd in this thread is pretty off-putting, especially from Perpetual Student.  It hurts the discourse.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #92 on: July 20, 2012, 11:00:48 AM »
her post wasn't about law and weddings, so I'm not sure why you're assuming that my beliefs and hers are at odds...
It's fine if you don't think the government has a place in marriage. I largely agree. But that's not what was said.

I suspect we're just focusing on different parts of her posts, because my reading definitely was about law and government, to wit:

I'm not interested in legitimizing a system that was devised to buy and sell women like chattel...

the whole state involvement with the certificate etc. makes marriage seem eerily like transferring a title.  No thank you!

I do have a problem with codifying it, entrenching it in society, spending ungodly sums on throwing a showy party for it, and artificially elevating it above other loving relationships...

I think I'd be a lot less annoyed if marriage remained a religious and private thing that people did for themselves and their friends and the god of their choice.  I'd still think it was backwards, stupid, laughable, and a waste of money/time, but getting the government out of the business of marrying people would really take some of the stench off of that sorry rite.

These are the parts I was focusing on.  As for the bits about weddings being a huge waste of financial resources, isn't that kind of what this thread is all about, just elevated a level?

igthebold

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Age: 40
  • Location: NC Piedmont
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #93 on: July 20, 2012, 12:12:31 PM »
These are the parts I was focusing on.  As for the bits about weddings being a huge waste of financial resources, isn't that kind of what this thread is all about, just elevated a level?

There are at least two ways you can formulate the idea that they're a waste:
  • Weddings are a waste by virtue of what they are
  • Weddings are often executed in such a way that they are wasteful

Most everybody here agrees with the latter. A few have dived into arguing for the former. The former is something that touches less on frugality and more on culture, beliefs, and the like. As such it's more likely to (and has) ruffle feathers.

The OP seemed to be something like, "Look, this wedding is wasteful (latter idea), it seems like (former idea)." And the thread became primarily about the former, which divides along ideological bounds: staunch defenders, staunch opponents, middle-ground people who don't see what the big deal is.

All that to say, the thread is *kind of* about weddings being a huge waste of financial resources. :)

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #94 on: July 20, 2012, 12:49:03 PM »
That's the problem, Sol... you should be looking at the context of what's being said. For as many good points that Perpetual Student has made about what certain cultures have done with the institutions, there is no distinction between the act itself and the condemnation of the practices surrounding that act.

The argument being presented by Perpetual Student is basically: Terrible practices in culture around the institution that technically have nothing relevant to do with the institution at its purest core are loathsome things, so the institution is a terrible thing worthy of anger and hatred. Therefore, anyone who has the capacity to be able to differentiate between the two and still support it, even if there's common ground about many of the practices being loathsome, are clearly idiots for supporting something that I think should be abolished.

Fact of the matter is, whether you call it biologic wiring or a divine precedence, humans as a general species are social creatures and seek out lasting and meaningful companionship for purposes beyond mere procreation. Marriage in culture is a logical outgrowth answering to that impulse and embodies the desire to love, cherish, respect and honor one another due to the emotional state of not being able to imagine their life without the other's presence. Without that partnering, there are no families. Without families, there are no communities. Without communities, there is no society. Without society, there is no civilization. Without civilization, we would have no meaningful progress that creates paradigm shifts. Without that progress, we wouldn't be sitting here today in front of magic blue glowing rectangles hundreds (or even thousands) of miles apart having this discussion, let alone be blessed with the abundance of resources we have today to even consider the lifestyles pursued and sought after in this community.

Keep in mind there's a Mr. PS, fer' crying out loud. Do you not see the hypocrisy in denouncing the purest elements of a societal construct grown out of human nature as stupid and outdated when Perpetual Student is embracing and acting upon many of those very same elements in life, even if their expression doesn't fit the warped modern cultural expectations attached to it?

Enough out of me in this thread, though. I don't think this particular line of the discussion can sustain much beyond this point without devolving into an internet flamewar. I'm all for productive and even prickly discussion topics, but it requires respect and recognizing common ground. I'm not cursed with a silver tongue and I don't have enough brain worms to keep telling a brick wall that basically has the message, "You're an idiot for your beliefs, Daley," spraypainted on it that we have a hell of a lot of common ground but their reasonable anger is targeted poorly. I've made my case, and I'd like to think that I have been more than reasonable on this subject, but I'm personally bowing out on this one. I can't add anything that I now haven't already said to the topic, and I don't classify name calling and ad hominem attacks as discussion.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 01:10:45 PM by I.P. Daley »

Sylly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #95 on: July 20, 2012, 01:32:16 PM »
Quote
Keep in mind there's a Mr. PS, fer' crying out loud. Do you not see the hypocrisy in denouncing the purest elements of a societal construct grown out of human nature as stupid and outdated when Perpetual Student is embracing and acting upon many of those very same elements in life, even if their expression doesn't fit the warped modern cultural expectations attached to it?

I believe she's said in some other thread (found it) that they're not actually married. So whatever other flaws one finds on how she presents her beliefs here, she's not a hypocrite on this point.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 01:33:47 PM by Sylly »

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27766
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #96 on: July 21, 2012, 01:50:56 PM »
The issue isn't that you disagree with the other posters. The issue is that you can't even pretend to respect their opinions

To take AJ's advice, is it possible that PS is right?  When you stop to think about it instead of just accepting the social norm, it does seem pretty weird that the government should have any role at all in codifying personal relationships. 

I'm in favor of loving commitments, and big parties.  I could even be in favor of outrageously overpriced jewelry and ornate dresses and flying flower arrangements, and I still couldn't justify needing the state's permission to tell someone I love them.

Technically I think I side with PS on this one; marriage should be a religious or personal ceremony, not a civil one.

The only reason I can see for letting the government be involved is so that they can deny marriage to some people.  If it's just filing a record of the event (which is also creepy and unacceptable to libertarian types) it might be okay, but a marriage certificate can be denied by the state so it's clearly not just a matter of record. 

Can anyone think of a good reason for requiring the government to sanctify and approve their relationship?  I can't, yet, and so I think PS may be right.

While I agree with many other's about PS's attitude on the topic making discussion difficult, I do want to discuss this idea sol presented, because I do think this idea is worth exploring.

Now I haven't fully thought out this answer and the consequences, so it may be ridiculous, but I figured I'd type it up and we can hash out if it's dumb or not.

Although in general I want less government, and it may be better if they didn't get involved in marriage (and, for the record, I think they should give a marriage certificate to any two people of legal age who want one, regardless of gender or anything else), I think I'm okay with them issuing marriage certificates (again, they shouldn't be choosing who gets one, just granting them when asked).

Here's why.

Government is generally set up to protect its citizens and promote a stable society.  Marriage and families often lead to more stable people and society in general (see: Arafat's terrorists).

With that in mind, promoting the idea of marriage may fall under an acceptable thing for government to do.

The marriage certificate is basically like a contract.  Were they not issued, I think many would take marriage less "seriously."    If we could just say "we're married" without doing anything, many more people (teenagers especially?) would do it willy-nilly, and then "divorce" likewise.  Having to go through formalities makes it more serious, and especially makes it more of a commitment.  Ditto with divorce.

It forces people to consider more, and while the government shouldn't necessarily be "sanctioning" the union of the two people, formalizing it through a marriage certificate I think helps promote the seriousness of the commitment, which could be a good thing.

Of course denying that certificate is *, and I think that's where many have issues.  Others may have issues in that the government shouldn't be involved in their relationship.  Okay, it's not.  You can be committed and not married, and that's fine.  PS is a great example of someone like that.  But if you want the full commitment of getting married, you jump though those hoops.

IDK if that's a legitimate use of government or not, but what do you guys think?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #97 on: July 21, 2012, 05:27:18 PM »
The marriage certificate is basically like a contract.  Were they not issued, I think many would take marriage less "seriously."

Less seriously?  Are you kidding?  In your state you can get married on a whim by an Elvis impersonator without ever taking off your seat belt.  How serious is that?

More than a contract, a state-issued marriage license is a recognition of legal status.  Marriage confers taxation and insurance privileges not granted to partners.  It allows you to make medical decisions, or visit a spouse in hospital, in situations where a partner cannot.  It's a convenient way for granting all kinds of rights and privileges in one tidy package.

(Almost) all of those same rights and privileges can be granted to a non-married partner if you have a good lawyer, but it costs a lot more than the drive-through hitching post.  State-sanctioned marriage, available to only some people and not others, is just a way to deny those rights to some subset of the population, no different than Jim Crow laws or poll taxes.

Quote
would do it willy-nilly, and then "divorce" likewise.

Much more so than marriage, a divorce is primarily a property transaction.  You divide up your belongings, your house, your assets, with the help of a lawyer or a judge.  People manage to end cohabitating relationships all the time without such intervention, though not always equitably.   This suggests to me that the reason we have divorce lawyers is to protect the interests of the non-working (usually female) partner who was being financially supported by the working partner.  In this sense, divorce and by extension marriage, is more about the transfer of the man's assets to his wife than it is about the transfer of the wife as property from her father to her husband.

In which case, traditional marriage suddenly looks like the most feminist of institutions.  In cases where the woman doesn't work or does work but makes less money.

Quote
while the government shouldn't necessarily be "sanctioning" the union of the two people, formalizing it through a marriage certificate I think helps promote the seriousness of the commitment, which could be a good thing.

Surely we can conceive of other ways to formalize a relationship without asking the state for permission.  Publish a notice in the local paper.  Throw a party.  Get a tattoo.  Make a public vow of commitment.  Skip the part about asking the state to allow you to do any of it.

Quote
You can be committed and not married, and that's fine.  PS is a great example of someone like that.  But if you want the full commitment of getting married, you jump though those hoops.

Sadly, there are some rights an unmarried partner still cannot acquire.  For example, the federal government does not award survivor benefits on social security income to unmarried partners.  Federally, we still discriminate against people without a marriage license.




arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27766
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #98 on: July 21, 2012, 06:17:13 PM »
The marriage certificate is basically like a contract.  Were they not issued, I think many would take marriage less "seriously."

Less seriously?  Are you kidding?  In your state you can get married on a whim by an Elvis impersonator without ever taking off your seat belt.  How serious is that?


Moreso than if you didn't have to do anything, and could just say "we're married."  Just because some treat it as a sham doesn't mean that's always the case.


More than a contract, a state-issued marriage license is a recognition of legal status.  Marriage confers taxation and insurance privileges not granted to partners.  It allows you to make medical decisions, or visit a spouse in hospital, in situations where a partner cannot.


Right.  It is a convenient way to grant those rights.  Shouldn't some people have the the power to make those decisions?  Absolutely.  Marriage is a way to codify those rights.


State-sanctioned marriage, available to only some people and not others, is just a way to deny those rights to some subset of the population, no different than Jim Crow laws or poll taxes.

That's one way it's currently used, unfortunately, but that doesn't mean it has to be that way, or that is the only use.

If it was granted to any adults who consented, wouldn't it then have legitimate uses?  Aren't there countries that do this, and don't deny those rights to people?  Just because the government in the U.S. abuses that state-sanctioned marriage to deny rights to people doesn't mean all governments do.  Just like one country denying voting rights to some subset of people (say.. women) doesn't mean all countries do, and that the whole institution of voting is illigitimate, just because unequal and inappropreate things can be done in its name.

Quote
would do it willy-nilly, and then "divorce" likewise.

Much more so than marriage, a divorce is primarily a property transaction.  You divide up your belongings, your house, your assets, with the help of a lawyer or a judge.  People manage to end cohabitating relationships all the time without such intervention, though not always equitably.

Right, and the marriage is a required prerequisite to this.  We get the certificate of marriage to signal our commitment, create a contract, and codify the rights and responsibilities.  The divorce dissolves this contract and acts as a property transaction to hopefully dissolve it in an equitable way.  Isn't that a legitimate use for sanctioning marriage? (Again, given that they make it available to all, rather than deciding who can and can't.)


Quote
Surely we can conceive of other ways to formalize a relationship without asking the state for permission.  Publish a notice in the local paper.  Throw a party.  Get a tattoo.  Make a public vow of commitment.  Skip the part about asking the state to allow you to do any of it.

I'm open to suggestions.  None of the things you listed is sufficient, IMO.   I agree, you shouldn't be asking the state to "allow" you. They should always do so, when requested.  But marriage would be the way to formalize it.

Quote
Federally, we still discriminate against people without a marriage license.

Right, and I'm agreeing that's terrible. My point is that - if we took that away - isn't there a potentially legitimate reason to have the state recognize (although not "approve") marriages?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Daley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3955
  • Location: Cow country. Moo.
  • Got that mustache feeling.
Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
« Reply #99 on: July 21, 2012, 11:51:04 PM »
While I agree with many other's about PS's attitude on the topic making discussion difficult, I do want to discuss this idea sol presented, because I do think this idea is worth exploring.

Now I haven't fully thought out this answer and the consequences, so it may be ridiculous, but I figured I'd type it up and we can hash out if it's dumb or not.

Although in general I want less government, and it may be better if they didn't get involved in marriage (and, for the record, I think they should give a marriage certificate to any two people of legal age who want one, regardless of gender or anything else), I think I'm okay with them issuing marriage certificates (again, they shouldn't be choosing who gets one, just granting them when asked).

Here's why.

-snip-


See, now this I can sink my teeth into and discuss. I think you're perhaps on the right path here, but let me perhaps present a similar yet alternate proposal.

I believe it would help to properly frame what we're truly discussing first as I believe we're dealing with two reasonably distinct issues. The first being that of the cultural function and necessity of partnering, or marriage, if you will. The second being both the preservation of the individual's rights within the legal system of the individual's nation-state and the necessary legal protections needed to allow for a joined partnership within that legal framework. Utilizing the label of marriage for both only confuses the subject.

As Sol has pointed out in a fashion, legal divorce is not so much about the dissolution of a marriage... it is the removal of rights and financial dissolving of a legal entity. This means that legal marriage at its core is primarily the legal unification of financial assets and durable power of attorney over one another. Although these items are logical and necessary outcomes within modern society, neither of these legal functions have anything to do with cultural and biological marriage. Marriage is the act of uniting two souls together as a single entity to strengthen one another, their families, and the community, and should be regarded as a serious commitment towards a lasting bond. Divorce only being the option necessary when the hardness of the married couple's hearts cannot be overcome to prevent further rupturing of the family and community than necessary, and should be equally treated with as much gravitas as marriage and not broached lightly either.

Let us have the government exit the business of dictating what constitutes a loving couple within cultures and societies and get back to their intended purpose of a legal framework protecting the legal rights of its constituents. We abolish legal marriage and divorce, and replace it with what I'd like to call civil union contracts and dissolution. This provides a winning situation on multiple fronts.

We simplify extending legal rights granted by current marriage laws to any two people or more who choose to enter into a legally recognized entity extending durable power of attorney, survivor rights, tax benefits, and any and all legal governmental interference nightmare scenarios that ride shotgun along with it as well as the legal nightmare that can potentially ensure upon ugly contract terminations. There is no restrictions on the parties involved beyond age limitations and sharing a residence, with granted exceptions for partners who are active military or are involved with many of the professions that involve extensive travel and/or remote isolation so long as a shared primary residence is maintained.

Theoretically speaking, this means that if you decide to be a perpetual bachelor for the rest of your life, but you live with your brother and trust his judgment, you could create a civil union for the two with all the extended financial benefits that were once reserved only for married people now extending to two people who trust one another to share a domicile. Clearly, the civil contract can and will have absolutely nothing to do with intercourse or reproductive, offspring, and guardianship rights, the legal management of these issues would need to be handled separately with legal repercussions regarding property and financial care of offspring within civil unions only addressing children born through natural biological reproduction between or adopted by both parties.

This leaves communities, right or wrong by your own moral and ethical guidelines, to define and police their terms for marriage and divorce themselves as they feel appropriate. We allow Abrahamic based faith communities to preserve their own sanctity of marriage without feeling the government is bullying and trying to redefine marriage while simultaneously removing what other groups consider to be civil inequality. This technically extends to others faiths for that matter, but you don't hear Buddhists for example carrying on about how homosexuals are destroying marriage. We also get the added benefit of people then being allowed to be married and simply opting out of government involvement within that partnership with all the potential losses of benefits and heightened risks that it involves with one's legal responsibilities as well.

How's that float your boats?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 11:54:32 PM by I.P. Daley »