Many weddings these days have become productions “stretched over months or even years, beginning with engagement parties, followed by bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette weekends, ladies luncheons, golf tournaments, welcome parties and rehearsal dinners,” writes Ellen McCarthy of The Washington Post.
McCarthy has hit on something. A lot of people are suffering from wedding weariness. It’s not that people don’t want to share in their friend’s or family member’s special day. It’s not even that they don’t want to give the couple a nice gift. It’s just that they – and I -- take exception with the many events and the multiple obligatory gifts that are expected to be showered on the engaged couple.
“When you become a bridesmaid or any part of the wedding, people think it’s an honor — but you quickly realize that it’s not,” McCarthy quotes one four-time bridesmaid. “There’s a lot of work involved that’s not really divulged when you get into it.”
One Washington area wedding planner said her stepson married a woman whose own mother is also a wedding planner. There were two engagement parties, four wedding showers, separate bachelorette and bachelor parties, a family rehearsal dinner and a meet-and-greet for all the guests.
Really? Four showers? What’s the reason for all this excess, you might ask? At least I ask that all the time.
I believe it comes from a sense of entitlement. Here are some things we – the invited – often hear:
— This is my day.
— This is our day.
— I’ve been dreaming of this wedding since I was 6-years-old.
— You have to do what I (we) want because this is all about me (us), not you.
I thought the day was about sharing your commitment with others.
Judith Martin, the Washington Post columnist better known as Miss Manners, and her daughter co-wrote “Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding.” As McCarthy points out, the two women argue that it’s time to stop the madness. They think engagement parties are a farce, shower gifts should be simple tokens rather than $400 toasters and wedding registries should be abandoned.
I agree, but how can it be stopped?
What do you think? The Color of Money Question of the Week: Are engagement parties, shower gifts and registries too much? Send your response to email@example.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “Wedding Weariness” in the subject line.
The Bridesmaid Chronicles
Over the years Washington Post columnist Carolyn Hax has received a fair share of letters from bridesmaids expressing their frustration dealing with a bridezillas and/or the costs of participating in a wedding.
Recently, Hax did a roundup of the advice she’s given over the past 15 years to bridesmaids. The letters aren’t all about the financial end of committing to be in a wedding but should be a lesson for all when asking someone to spend their time and money celebrating your big day. It’s also important to respect a couple’s budget. In one letter, a bridesmaid was upset because she couldn’t invite someone to the wedding to be her plus one.