After reading this post (by Meg at A Practical Wedding) (plus Mouse's story on Souris Mariage) about the pressure brides feel to turn their weddings into a show, I've decided to insert myself into the conversation because I don't think it's a subject which can be repeated too many times.
Like Meg says, the wedding industry is built upon the idea that a wedding should feel like a grand production which seeks to entertain those in attendance. If it weren't for the idea of a wedding as a production, the wedding industry wouldn't be able to convince us that we need to hire a caterer, lighting designer, personal stylist, baker, wedding planner, florist etc.. And, well, without all of those professions, the wedding industry would be out of business.
After doing some research on The Knot and exploring their articles, I've discovered several articles devoted entirely to explaining how the happy couple can impress their guests. In gems like "15 Ways to Wow Your Guests", brides are reminded how important it is to make an impression upon the guests:
- "all eyes will be on you, so it'll be a huge shocker when you go from a classic wedding dress for the ceremony to a shorter, flirtier dress at the reception"
- - "take a few dance lessons [...] kick it up a notch by learning a sultry tango or a high-energy swing routine, and then surprise everyone during your first dance. For an unexpected surprise [...] imagine the looks on your guests' faces when you and your pops break into a hip-hop routine mid-father-daughter dance".
Logically, the answer is no, of course not. You'll still be married. You'll still have each other. And you'll still be in love.
But when guests are spending their valuable time and money to celebrate with you, there is a certain amount of pressure to create one of those weddings that "people will remember forever".
As if that weren't enough, there's articles like this one which "conveniently" list many common complaints from wedding guests "so you can avoid these nuptial no-nos and throw a wedding that's fun for everyone". Now, not only do couples have to worry about the ceremony, food, music, decor but they're also burdened with the idea that their guests will be offended by bad wedding singers, the distance between the ceremony and reception locations, instrusive videographers, seating charts ... honestly, that article goes on forever with people moaning about the carefully planned weddings of friends and family.
One of the first things I got a complaint about when we started discussing the reception was the concern about how the guests would be entertained while we were doing private photos between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception. And I remember thinking to myself: "um, I don't know... they're adults... can't they entertain themselves?". While we always planned to have seating available, appetizers and drinks, I was suddenly made to feel as though I should hire some salsa dancers which cost $500 to travel 40 minutes out of town just so our guests would have something to stare at for 40 minutes. Totally normal, right? It's entertaining. And we have to entertain our guests, right? No matter what the cost?
Um, oh yeah... no. I want my wedding to feel more like a family reunion. I want people to talk, to laugh, to share stories and for the two families to enjoy the collective experience of watching us commit ourselves to one another.
For an introverted bride such as myself and one who is constantly worrying (though she really, really wished she didn't) about what other people think, the pressure to turn our wedding into a show is enough to make me want to elope.
In the months leading up to our wedding, the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not the ice water is too cold for the guests with sensitive teeth or whether or not we should reduce the number of Bible passages from our ceremony so as to not offend our agnostic friends. What I really need to worry about is the marriage we're entering into and how we're going to make that work in the real world.