The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: windawake on July 11, 2012, 07:14:10 PM

Title: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: windawake on July 11, 2012, 07:14:10 PM
My best friend from high school is getting married in a week and a half, and I'm the maid-of-honor.  She's been engaged for almost 2 years and planning her wedding has utterly consumed her life.  I hardly see her anymore at all and we've had trouble connecting because starting about 1.5 years ago, her default conversation topic has been wedding planning.

Why do people get obsessed with weddings?  I don't understand it.  I'm a young woman of marriagable age (24), and poking around about this issue online brought me to some wedding websites, but they do nothing for me.  I've definitely spent a lot of time trying to distance myself from my wants (a la MMM), perhaps this is why?  I don't desire a big fancy wedding, or dress, or centerpieces, or whatever else goes into weddings because I know what really matters: committing to someone if that's what you want.

It's been hard for me to be the maid-of-honor because a big, spendy wedding really goes against everything I believe as a mustachian concerned about sustainability, and because her wedding has made her an absent and less interesting friend. 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Norman Johnson on July 11, 2012, 09:39:43 PM
The bride gets to be a princess for a day. And if you are really in to the wedding, fuck what groom wants, he's just one of many accessories to your Big Perfect Day!

Although I am naturally pretty adverse to dropping large sums of money on stuff, I will admit that I did start to get sucked in and had to give my head a shake after my friends starting giving me WTF looks when planning my own wedding.

I feel bad for people like your friend. After the wedding is over, people like her often have wedding hangovers. They are no longer the centre of attention and when they realize that, they try to hang out with their old friends and find out they don't have many friends anymore because all they could talk about was their wedding. I also feel bad because they often put so much into the Big Perfect Day that they haven't even considered what married life might be like on a day to day basis.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: vern on July 11, 2012, 10:41:46 PM
I hear ya' windawake.

When the wife and I got married 11 years ago, we snuck out to a local park without permission and got married next a beautiful river scene.  I had one witness attend and she had two.

Then we all went to our favorite Indian restaurant for the reception. 

I think the whole wedding (license and all) set us back ~$300.  We had a wonderful time and still have a bunch of great memories and photos.

When I hear that the average wedding in the U.S. these days costs ~30,000 dollars I feel ill.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol on July 11, 2012, 11:35:39 PM
Some people like buying things more than having things. 

If she's more concerned about building this one perfect experience than she is about building this one perfect relationship, then she can always repeat the wedding planning cycle on her next marriage.  Who needs friends when you can always be planning your next wedding?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Lars on July 11, 2012, 11:44:19 PM
I wish I knew why as well. Primarily so I could say something improbably clever and get them to stop, think, and make a thoughful, wise choice about their wedding and (especially) their marriage.

I am very thankful my wife was not someone who got obsessed with the wedding.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Grigory on July 12, 2012, 12:22:23 AM
Because Disney. I don't know how many of you folks lived outside the United States, but this country's girls are absolutely bombarded with "yay, wedding and babies!!!" messages from the moment they're born. Think about all the Disney cartoons, gooey romantic movies where wedding is the endgame, etc. It all adds up and gets further reinforced by the giant Wedding-Industrial Complex. :))

In Russia, things are a lot easier: the couple's parents rent out a banquet hall and hire catering or just host a huge party at somebody's house/apartment/wherever. Instead of fancy decorations, doves and limos, it's all about the social aspect. Granted, I haven't been back in nine years, so a lot of things may have changed, but my point is that in other countries, people can have fun weddings without obsessing about them.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Osprey on July 12, 2012, 12:56:35 AM
Hello everyone, my name is Osprey and I love weddings. I especially love the big, boisterous kind where the happy couple dances all day and into the night. It's a joyful occasion!
There's a lot of bride-bashing that goes on, sometimes for good reason. My theory is that a couple starts out with an idea of a few things that would be nice to have - good food, good people, good music, whatever - but they get sidetracked by centerpieces and napkins and whatnot.
But you know, the groom can say "whatever you want honey" about anything he thinks is unimportant. Those things are usually "housekeeping," like napkins, and now the poor woman must take care of it. And she's been told by the entire culture that she should care.
So, sometimes she goes along with it because it's what you're "supposed" to do, and with all the marketing and expectations it's easy to get carried away.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: gooki on July 12, 2012, 01:51:03 AM
I can't answer the main question, but my wedding philosophy is the less you plan, the less that can go 'wrong'.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: happy on July 12, 2012, 02:10:38 AM
I don't get it either and never have. BTW the bride doesn't always get her way. I would have liked a small private wedding maybe 20 or less, with the minimum of fuss. In the end my folks paid for the biggest part of it so they got what they wanted and my ex sided with them, so he got what he wanted.  In the end I gave up trying to be heard, since it appeared I was a party pooper, and let them have their fun.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: madgeylou on July 12, 2012, 04:47:56 AM
osprey, i think that's really well-said. sure some people get nutty about their weddings, but it's not just about ladies being crazy. i think it's a lot more about societal pressure. as you said, the bride gets stuck dealing with a lot of details that she may not care about, and when there's a lot of details floating about, it's easy to get carried away.

i'm in the middle of planning my own wedding now (T minus 10 weeks) and the strangest thing has been how everyone has a different expectation of how my wedding should be. i "should" invite all my siblings, though there are a few that i barely have a relationship with. i "should" have a shower, and a bacheloretee party, and a rehearsal dinner, and a fancy engagement ring ...

but i don't want any of that. just to have my favorite people there and have a great meal and do a little dancing, then fuck off to costa rica for a month the next day. so that's what we're doing.

OP, hopefully once the wedding is over you will get your friend back!!
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Norman Johnson on July 12, 2012, 08:04:15 AM
Madgeylou, I hear you on the "should have" people. I couldn't believe all the stuff I "should have". One way to politely stop those people in their tracks is to ask them to do that part of the wedding for you (if you like their idea or don't care either way). I didn't have one person take me up on it! And FTR, my matron of honor was the worst for telling me all the things I needed. I know it drove her nuts that I didn't care about picking out centerpieces and that I didn't have a cake at my wedding.

Gooki- I planned a nice party where we would get married and I went into my wedding day with the thought that as long as I was married at the end of the day, the day would be a success. Imagine my horror when the person who was supposed to be looking after our license lost it! It was found, but for a few horrible minutes, I actually thought my wedding just might be a fancy party with no main event!
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: gestalt162 on July 12, 2012, 09:04:14 AM
Like all things, follow the money trail. The wedding industry, between dress makers, reception halls, caterers, florists, limo companies, musicians, photographers, etc. makes billions of dollars a year off the idea that a wedding should be a dream in a day.

My fiancee and I are planning our wedding currently, which will be in August 2013. My fiancee wanted a very elegant wedding, all I care about is that we get married in the church, as it's important to me. We have struck a pretty good balance between the two. We have already gotten some of the 'big' planning things (church, reception hall, caterer, music) out of the way. I heard that the average American wedding runs $25K, ours should run about half that. Despite the fact that my family is wealthy, and hers is well-off, we're serious about keeping costs relatively low- I totally thank MMM for this. We don't see the point in hosting an elaborate wedding for tons of people that will financially burden us and/or our families, when we are looking to save up for a house and all the attendant things that come with homeownership. Some things we have done to keep costs low:

Sorry about the length, but I thought that other couples reading this post would like to have an idea of what we've done.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname on July 12, 2012, 09:44:50 AM
But you know, the groom can say "whatever you want honey" about anything he thinks is unimportant. Those things are usually "housekeeping," like napkins, and now the poor woman must take care of it. And she's been told by the entire culture that she should care.
So, sometimes she goes along with it because it's what you're "supposed" to do, and with all the marketing and expectations it's easy to get carried away.
'Society' also tells men and women that they're supposed to drive new cars, have iPhones and cable, and go to Cancun every year. That's no excuse for it, and if you do any of those things someone here will likely punch you in the face. If spending money on the wedding isn't in the groom's values, and spending money on the wedding isn't in the bride's values, they shouldn't spend money on the wedding!

There are literally dozens of people here of both genders across three different threads who have chosen not to spend money on elaborate weddings because it's not an expenditure they value. The pressure may be a little stronger than for buying that new Escalade or 62" plasma (the wife says "whatever you want, honey" to the husband), and the pressure may look a little different, but I'm not so convinced it's really a different thing.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Jamesqf on July 12, 2012, 02:21:50 PM
but i don't want any of that. just to have my favorite people there and have a great meal and do a little dancing, then fuck off to costa rica for a month the next day. so that's what we're doing.

Smart!  Now for a lesson on how not to do it, my friends' daughter got married earlier this year.  The guy she married is an up-and-coming lawyer (and IMHO jerk) from a background of money.  So they decide that in the interests of conspicuous consumption they're going to have the wedding in Cancun or some such resort place in Mexico.  This means that everybody they invite will get to spend about $4K on flights and hotel rooms.

Now my friends are reasonably prosperous middle-income people, but $8K is still a chunk of money to them.  They own a ranch, so they can't just pick up and leave for a week, and they don't like to travel anyway.  So after a lot of discussion, they (and a lot of her side of the family) wind up not going to her wedding.

Now the joke is that apparently the Mexican wedding is not legal in the US, so they had to have a legal wedding when they came home.  The bad feelings this couple created meant that most of her family didn't come to that either, and last I heard they're not even speaking to each other.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname on July 12, 2012, 02:27:09 PM
So wedding, then Central America is a superior choice to Central America, then wedding.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: salmp01 on July 12, 2012, 02:45:37 PM
I got married about 4 years ago.  My wife is an only child from a fairly well to do family.  Our wedding was obnoxiously big (400 guests) and it cost a fortune.  My father in law offered to pay for everything.   I told my wife a couple times in the beginning of the planning stages that I didnít agree with all that is involved with a big wedding but I let it go and let my wife and her family do all the planning. 

I have to say that I did have a good time at my wedding! 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Norman Johnson on July 12, 2012, 03:38:58 PM
Ah yes, the destination wedding...  They used to call that eloping, but now you invite everyone along to share your honeymoon. Not my idea of fun, but I guess it is for some people!
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Stacey on July 12, 2012, 03:59:28 PM
I don't know what type of wedding your friend is planning, but we had a small and very DIY wedding - my husband cooked all the food, we had an ipod and lawn games for entertainment, we did our own flowers, made our own decorations, had it at a friend's house, bought all the dishes at thrift stores, etc.  That made it so much more personal for us and certainly less expensive BUT it required a lot more time and effort than an "off the shelf" wedding.  We felt consumed by the process because we wanted to make sure everyone had a great time.  You know your friend so if this is at all the case, you may want to see if there's a way to get involved that doesn't involve a layout of cash on your part, but that you can have some alone time with your friend while you work on something related to the wedding.  I've done that with several of my friends and they've always said in hindsight that it was exactly the kind of support they needed.  But, that's still no excuse for not paying attention to what's going on in your life - just providing a different perspective that sometimes the more personal, DIY, small weddings tend to take up a lot of mental energy (in a good way, of course). 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Osprey on July 12, 2012, 05:17:20 PM
About societal pressure and the WIC: I do think it's different from the usual things that warrant a face punch. Due to the emotional component, you can't just say "don't get married" the same way you can say "don't buy a new car." For most people who want to get married, opting out is not on the cards.
Sure, nobody needs to have a big splashy event. But the point remains: who will be organising the cutlery at your backyard bbq reception? Who will be booking the camping space for your handfasting in the woods? Who will be coordinating appointments and photocopying documents for your lunchtime courthouse signing?
Who is supposed to care enough to volunteer?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname on July 12, 2012, 07:26:49 PM
I definitely agree that all that needs to be done, just like there are some people who legitimately need a car. Saying "don't buy a new car" is like saying "don't have a $50k destination wedding", not saying "don't get married. I'm not arguing that it's the bride's place in the world to do all the photocopying, or anything like that. I'm saying that you don't have to spend money on something you don't value spending money on, even if it's a wedding.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: windawake on July 13, 2012, 10:07:44 AM
Thanks for all the responses.  My feeling is that my friend doesn't even necessarily WANT to do all of the things she's obsessing over.  It's just in her head that she has to do them. 

My perspective is that weddings have this obsessive pull over some people, where at the beginning of their engagement they get really excited so start spending a lot of time online, exploring options, reading about weddings, and then it becomes a habit and they can't stop thinking about the wedding to the point that their entire life is consumed.  Something like that.  But I also think that it has a lot to do with consumer culture telling women (and men) that having a big, cookie cutter wedding is the only way to get married.  Like with many things in American life, many of the aspects are assumed.

My hope is that if I ever get married, I will only care about the things in my wedding that I had previously thought about (no bridesmaids, simple ring with no stone, possibly in winter, awesome cake), and either do everything else DIY (crafting parties are always fun) or go without.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: mustachecat on July 13, 2012, 02:04:54 PM
I'm always skeptical when I see stats for the average cost of weddings. The sources are always places like The Knot or the Wedding Channel, so I suspect that those surveyed are a self-selecting group.

That said, I'm sure that many people overspend on weddings. It's hard to resist the cultural programming around them.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: elincolnp on July 13, 2012, 02:49:23 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol on July 13, 2012, 03:01:19 PM
However, I feel like if we have nothing, are we really engaged? How is that different from what we are now?

An engagement ring is an expensive relic of a bygone era.  I'd skip it.  Hell, I did skip it.

Yes, you can really be engaged without a ring.  It's different from how you are now because you will be announcing your engagement, publicizing your commitment.

If you feel like the ring is the only point of the engagement, might I suggest you reconsider the engagement.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Norman Johnson on July 13, 2012, 03:03:01 PM
My husband bought me a ring, but we both went to pick it out. It is customary to exchange rings when you get married, but nothing says you can't use your engagement ring as the wedding ring. And nothing says you have to have a diamond. You can get many other beautiful gems that don't cost nearly as much as a diamond. There are also plain gold rings too.

A pawn shop could be a good place to look and aren't superstious about a used ring. Jewelry can lose value in the same way a new car does when you drive it off the lot.

As for are you engaged without a ring? Only the two of you can answer that! Congrats??? :D
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: twinge on July 13, 2012, 03:06:37 PM
we went ringless (and weddingless for that matter).  It's lasted over a decade, so I guess that says something.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: arebelspy on July 13, 2012, 03:43:56 PM
We did the ring thing, but nowhere near 3 month's salary standard.  Course we were broke college students.  I think the engagement ring was 6 or 700, and the wedding band was about 300.  Around 1k total.

I'm glad we did, because she absolutely loves the rings. She didn't need Tiffany's or a giant ring (hers is just under 1/3 a carat), but just something special picked out for her.

It really depends on the people involved.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: windawake on July 13, 2012, 05:14:52 PM
Re: engagement ring.

My mom had a beautiful blue topaz ring that my dad gave her for their 5th anniversary.  She reset the stone into a white-gold setting for my college graduation and I wear it every day on my right ring finger.  I think if I get engaged I'd just transfer that ring over to my left hand until I got married, then get a plain band and switch the blue ring back. 

Do you have a family ring or something that might mean something to both of you to use just for the engagement?  Otherwise, really the ring doesn't mean anything.  I definitely think that wondering about someone's relationship status is more interesting than having it advertised, say on a finger or a Facebook profile.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: smalllife on July 13, 2012, 05:19:48 PM
I do not understand the obsession with weddings - it is one big, expensive day if you do anything more than going to the courthouse.  All the fuss, trappings, and dealing with everyone else's expectations about your day . .  . no thank you.


The only wedding related trapping I want is an engagement ring, which I would prefer to be from a pawn shop to avoid blood diamonds, to cut costs, and to have something truly unique.  I've never heard of used rings being bad luck and since I don't believe in luck I'll just ignore the heresay :-)
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: happy on July 13, 2012, 05:43:35 PM
I do believe the engagement ring in previous patriarchal times was worn to show "she's promised" (betrothed). I guess the flashier the ring, the less likely it was another bloke would try to steal her heart... after all he would need to be a better catch, and hence able to afford an even bigger ring.

The significance of this is long gone, the rings to me are a special symbol of love and commitment between couples. How big and what they cost is not the point.

The funniest conversation that epitomises what we have been saying about weddings obsessively taking over lives:  I overheard an overgroomed hairdresser excitedly talking about her fancy wedding, in great and lengthy detail: then realised the wedding had happened 3 years ago.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: windawake on July 13, 2012, 06:24:33 PM
Happy - I agree!  I was talking to my buddy today wondering what my friend will talk about once her wedding's over.  He said that she'll probably talk about the wedding still.  That made me sad, because this whole time I've been hoping that after the wedding day this will be finished.  Guess not!
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: CeciliaW on July 13, 2012, 06:56:59 PM
then realised the wedding had happened 3 years ago.

It may be, that to her, this was the "best day of her life" and it's the only thing keeping her going through the years of 'real life' she's going through now.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: happy on July 13, 2012, 08:00:46 PM
Don't get too sad Windawake, I think most people do stop being obsessed about it, although it might take a few months. I think its pretty unusual to find people who endlessly  and continuously recount the event down to the last detail once its over.   There will be the obligatory sharing of the photos and some discussion about what to do with the dress, but usually it winds down. And of course we should all be able to share memories of something special from time to time.

You may be right Cecilia : poor hairdresser :(
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Jamesqf on July 14, 2012, 12:20:17 AM
...I'm going to be explaining for months why he didn't get me some eye-ball sized diamond.

Why not lay out a few hundred on an eyeball sized chunk of cubic zirconia, and let it be your secret shared joke?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: elincolnp on July 14, 2012, 07:05:19 AM
...I'm going to be explaining for months why he didn't get me some eye-ball sized diamond.

Why not lay out a few hundred on an eyeball sized chunk of cubic zirconia, and let it be your secret shared joke?

Fantastic idea :) We've definitely thought about it...
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: madgeylou on July 14, 2012, 07:24:49 AM
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 wear a pink one of these as my engagement ring and i adore it.

http://www.kielmead.com/forget-me-knot/

some people look at me funny, like what's wrong with me that i have a clearly inexpensive ring instead of some kind of rock -- dont i think i'm "worth it"?

but i adore my ring. it is so cute and sweet and it just feels like me.

do what you like! it only has to be meaningful to you.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sideways8 on July 14, 2012, 07:55:27 AM
madgeylou that's a cute ring! I'm actually afraid of wearing expensive jewelry because I'm not a very delicate or coordinated lady.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: REDxBULL on July 14, 2012, 11:39:26 AM
Ah yes, the destination wedding...  They used to call that eloping, but now you invite everyone along to share your honeymoon. Not my idea of fun, but I guess it is for some people!

This is what my sister and brother in law decided to do.  It seemed very selfish of them asking family to go Jamaica for a week to see them get married.  My fiancee (now wife) and I chose to kill two birds with one stone, and get married after we returned from the trip at a courthouse.  It probably pissed them off but we just called it our pre-honeymoon.  While they probably "only" spent around $10k they made it very stressful for people to see them get married. 

After they returned from the trip it seems like they are trying to still live the rich life.  They have since purchased a high quality bed, a 60" tv for the bedroom, an expensive coffee table, and to top it off a Dodge Durango, with a Hemi of course.  It's almost kind of sad watching them bury themselves in debt just to put on a show for those around them. 

Not including the trip we spent under $1,000 to get married, with an engagement ring.  Neither of us wanted to do any of the planning involved with a traditional wedding, so a courthouse seemed like the obvious choice for us.  I don't think there's anything wrong with traditional, but some people seem to get way to get in way over their heads.  I think a lot of wedding planners feel like a director trying to make sure everything is perfect for the show.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: keith on July 14, 2012, 07:42:36 PM
Agreed with others here... nothing wrong with weddings, but large/expensive weddings make me want to puke.

Definitely good to think carefully about why we do things, instead of just following cultural norms. To me a big fancy expensive wedding doesnt make sense. Its simply not worth the time/energy/money that goes into it.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: kdms on July 14, 2012, 08:07:11 PM
Re: Engagement rings

My husband brought me just the diamond when he proposed.  When I asked why, he said it was going on my finger, not his, and he didn't want to presume to pick out a ring that might not be to my taste.  :)  When we went to get the rings made, we had both the engagement and the wedding bands done at the same time and he wore his wedding band as an engagement ring.  For us, it wasn't about custom or society expectations -- it was a symbol between us of the commitment we were going to make to each other, and to hell with what anybody else thought.  He got a lot of questions about why he was wearing his band before the actual wedding, and his response was that he was committed, whether the wedding had happened yet or not.

When we were discussing the rings a few years later, he also admitted to a second reason - if I'd refused he would have had an investment to sell (lol).

I find it very odd that people feel they have the right to question such a personal symbol.  Nobody has ever asked or even insinuated a question about my rings.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: masont on July 14, 2012, 09:27:44 PM
My lovely wife has a lovely ring of moissanite and white gold I found on a 70% off sale for a couple hundred bucks.  It's really pretty.  You'll find that nobody ever asks "so, is that actually a diamond in there?" 

Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: elincolnp on July 14, 2012, 10:53:12 PM
Re: Engagement rings
 For us, it wasn't about custom or society expectations -- it was a symbol between us of the commitment we were going to make to each other, and to hell with what anybody else thought.

That's really adorable. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Norman Johnson on July 15, 2012, 06:56:01 AM
My lovely wife has a lovely ring of moissanite and white gold I found on a 70% off sale for a couple hundred bucks.  It's really pretty.  You'll find that nobody ever asks "so, is that actually a diamond in there?"

And if they do the appropriate response would be o_O

:D
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: mm1970 on July 15, 2012, 12:08:00 PM
I don't really know.  You might be asking the wrong crowd.

I had a "big" wedding.  100 or so guests, $55 a head, total was just under $10k in 1996 (including the honeymoon).

This was not really by choice. I would have preferred a backyard ceremony or an elopement to Vegas.  I really don't like being the center of attention - baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, etc. (I made it down the aisle so fast they were only 1/2 way through Here Comes the Bride.)

I can only think that many people are raised on the big wedding ideal.  And the big vacation.  Or they adopt their parents' and friends' expectations.  In the end, we had a "real" wedding because my husband wanted one.  He wanted to share our day with his friends and our families.  I couldn't fault him for that, especially since he paid for the thing.  I didn't spend a lot of time planning it.  I found a location nearby on an Army base with a Navy chaplain (I was in the Navy at the time).  I chose a Catholic priest/chaplain to make my mother happy.  I picked a hotel across from work that had decent food and places for out of town guests (which most were, I was in DC) to stay.  There was no limo or videographer.  I found a decent photographer, but I didn't feel the need for the artistic stuff that people do today.  The photographer did the wedding ceremony only.

It was very low key compared to most weddings these days.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: mm1970 on July 15, 2012, 12:12:30 PM
However, I feel like if we have nothing, are we really engaged? How is that different from what we are now?

An engagement ring is an expensive relic of a bygone era.  I'd skip it.  Hell, I did skip it.

Yes, you can really be engaged without a ring.  It's different from how you are now because you will be announcing your engagement, publicizing your commitment.

If you feel like the ring is the only point of the engagement, might I suggest you reconsider the engagement.
I agree.  I have an engagement ring, but I almost never wear it.  What does it change?  If you want one, great.  Otherwise, it's just a "whose is bigger" type of thing.  It was meaningful to me when I got it, but once I got married, it became just another piece of jewelry.

The only jewelry I wear is my plain gold wedding band.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: mm1970 on July 15, 2012, 12:19:11 PM
My lovely wife has a lovely ring of moissanite and white gold I found on a 70% off sale for a couple hundred bucks.  It's really pretty.  You'll find that nobody ever asks "so, is that actually a diamond in there?"

I have a moissanite necklace, and got a ring for my mom and my sister.  I used to work for the company that made the actual material (SiC), then sold it to a company that carved the stones.  When the jewelry company had stones that didn't meet their specs, they came back to our company and sold them to the employees at cost.  Which means a 3/4 carat was $50, 1/2 carat was $25.  (This was at our parent company, I'm at a satellite, so I only really had one chance at buying them.)

Anyway, it was good enough to fool the jeweler my mom went to when she had the stone set.  SiC is double refractive instead of single, it's the best way to tell the difference compared to diamond - at the time, most jewelers didn't have the equipment to tell.

yeah, I'm a nerd. 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Stacey on July 16, 2012, 11:33:30 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?

Of course you would be.  An engagement ring can be a beautiful symbol of an engagement - but that's what it is - a symbol - of what you actually are, which is engaged.  I think it's an entirely personal decision.  Personally, I did not want any engagement ring and my (now) husband knew that.  We both worked in high paying fields where most women wore very large engagement rings, so I was prepared to have to fend off a lot of questions.  But, I received very few questions about my lack of ring.  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. 

Do what you want, not what anyone else expects - whether that's with a ring or not.  I think the most important part is to make it a personal decision, and not based on expectations to (or not) get a ring.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: tannybrown on July 16, 2012, 12:27:14 PM
I'd say that a wedding is along the lines of healthy food, vacations, used car purchases, or other entirely worthwhile expenses that fit just fine with Mustachian living.  A wedding is a rite of passage and while you can break the bank on a wedding without even trying, you can have one that's reasonably affordable as well.  And very few other events bring together your friends and family like a wedding will.  I wouldn't have skipped mine entirely to gain another 6 months towards FI.

If you're hitting your savings rate goals, I'm not sure it matters too much what you do with the small portion you're not saving.  Where you spend your 30-50% is up to you.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Perpetual_Student on July 16, 2012, 01:10:35 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: arebelspy on July 16, 2012, 01:30:04 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.

That's true for most any wedding you'd hear about in the media (celebrity weddings, or over the top lavish things), but if that's all of the weddings you've been to, you need to get some new friends.  ;)

Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: igthebold 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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. (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/16/oxytocin-scientist-studies-what-makes-humans-good-and-evil/)

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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: smalllife 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: tannybrown 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: zinnie 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: amyable 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. 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: windawake 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Perpetual_Student 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
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: CeciliaW 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: elincolnp 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 :)
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: amyable 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. 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname on July 17, 2012, 08:11:35 AM
Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.
It's on her blog (http://windawake.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/on-taking-a-time-out/), which is totally worth reading if you don't already.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: igthebold 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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_industry_in_the_United_States) and the synopsis for this cited book (http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/14234.html) 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:

Not sure how much it cost, but it got a bunch of people to their wedding at what was likely minimal cost.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: windawake on July 17, 2012, 10:00:56 AM
Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.
It's on her blog (http://windawake.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/on-taking-a-time-out/), 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!
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: CeciliaW on July 17, 2012, 10:11:34 AM
Yoga farm?

Apprentice?

I don't understand.
It's on her blog (http://windawake.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/on-taking-a-time-out/), 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!
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Jamesqf 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: PotatoEngineer 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: kisserofsinners 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Jamesqf 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: vern 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.

Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: igthebold 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Jamesqf 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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 (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/the-strange-and-formerly-sexist-economics-of-engagement-rings/255434/) 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Perpetual_Student 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 :)
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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 (http://www.cascadiadesignstudio.com/) 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Jamesqf 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...
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Perpetual_Student 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. :)
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: englyn 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Perpetual_Student 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: englyn 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'.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Perpetual_Student 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol 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.

Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: grantmeaname 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Heather 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.   
 
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: tannybrown 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: igthebold 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:

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. :)
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Sylly 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 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/mustache-makeover-getting-comfortable-in-the-clenched-asshole-of-poorness/msg18659/#msg18659)) 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.
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: arebelspy 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: sol 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.



Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: arebelspy 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: Daley 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?
Title: Re: Why do people get obsessed with weddings?
Post by: moneymoney on July 22, 2012, 05:00:46 AM
My husband bought me a ring, but we both went to pick it out. It is customary to exchange rings when you get married, but nothing says you can't use your engagement ring as the wedding ring. And nothing says you have to have a diamond. You can get many other beautiful gems that don't cost nearly as much as a diamond. There are also plain gold rings too.

A pawn shop could be a good place to look and aren't superstious about a used ring. Jewelry can lose value in the same way a new car does when you drive it off the lot.

As for are you engaged without a ring? Only the two of you can answer that! Congrats??? :D

My wife and me picked her ring out togehther too. She did most of the picking but it was very easy cause we shopped online. I got a very good deal as a result, at JamesAllen.com

Even though the symbolism of rings does nothing for me, i went with it. Because  face it, everything is contrived. jewelry, cars, etc. what isn't contrived?

That said, I don't think marriage is for everybody. I think not wanting it is just as legit as wanting it and people should not be knocked because of thier personal marriage preferences. Some people are way better off NOT married.