by ALEXIS CAREY
My 26th birthday is just around the corner, and talk has suddenly turned to marriage.
Not between my boyfriend and I mind you, but from well-meaning family, friends and acquaintances keen to know when we are planning to tie the knot.
Except for one little problem: just like Carrie Bradshaw, I seem to be missing the bride gene.
Call me crazy, but I have never seen the appeal of shelling out $36,000 (the cost of the average Aussie wedding) for what is basically one big party.
I don’t enjoy being the centre of attention, having my outfit scrutinised, listening to cheesy speeches or dancing The Nutbush- all wedding staples.
I can’t imagine ever caring about napkins or bonbonniere or beige invitations or matching bridesmaids’ shoes and I don’t believe that if you like it, then you necessarily better put a ring on it.
Yet all of a sudden, I seem to be dodging The Marriage Question on a regular basis and every time it happens, I experience a little jolt of horror.
Before we go any further, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I am not dissing the institution of marriage. I am not judging those who do want the big, traditional wedding or those who choose to marry young.
Don’t get me wrong, I can fully understand why the whole white wedding fairytale thing appeals to so many people. Just about everyone I know wants to get married eventually and I may well end up taking the plunge myself one day.
But it’s important to remember that it is not everyone’s cup of tea.
At (almost) 26, I’ve got other things to prioritise. In 2012, it should not surprise anyone that at this stage of my life I am far more concerned with my career, travel and saving for a house deposit than getting hitched. And these days, there is no real rush, is there?
We all know the facts and figures. The average Australian bride is now 29. Marriage rates are in decline, cohabitation is off the Richter and we are now perfectly able to own property, have children, survive financially and have sex without a ring on our finger- so why do people still assume that marriage should be every young woman’s ultimate goal?
And while I am ranting, here is another thought – asking a couple when they plan to marry can be fraught with danger, incredibly confronting and just plain rude.
(Maybe the couple can’t afford to get married. Maybe she desperately wants to get married but he’s just not that into her. Maybe he is certain she is The One but she secretly thinks she can do better. There are countless reasons why couples don’t choose to get hitched and prying runs the very real risk of opening up some pretty serious emotional wounds. Just a thought.)
I don’t expect to walk down the aisle anytime soon and I have always believed that you should take your time when it comes to making the biggest investment, risk and gamble you will most probably ever make.
I have also noticed again and again that the success and longevity of a marriage does not always match the elaborateness of the nuptials (Kim Kardashian, I’m looking at you.)
In fact, the very opposite is true in many cases. There seems to be an awful lot of people out there who are so focused on the fairytale wedding that they lose sight of what it is really all about- building a life with someone you love and respect above all others.
So while there are many out there who disagree with me- and power to you- I for one will be biding my time before deciding if and when to say “I do”.
Rachael Finch married Michael Miziner
Alexis Carey is a mathematically-challenged journalist who is addicted to pub trivia and red liquorice. She is also an aspiring children’s author and has just started her own blog at realitybitesblog.com.
Do you have the bride gene? What was your wedding like?