Weddings are a bit funny when you think about it. We gather our nearest and dearest around to watch us make a commitment – undoubtedly one of the biggest commitments we’ll ever make.
They watch us say I do’s, shower us with dead flowers and uncooked rice and stand by as we struggle to 1-2 step to overplayed songs on an overpriced dance floor manned by a DJ who’d, presumably, rather be anywhere else.
As a writer for an internationally recognised wedding magazine who’s dabbled in various parts of the industry, it’s safe to say I’ve seen it all when it comes to weddings. We’re talking behind the scenes of a bride’s cringe-worthy (cowboy themed) boudoir shoot, reptiles in top hats and horses used as props to set the scene for a Disney inspired portrait session.
You really can’t make this stuff up.
That being said, I think we can all agree, that’s not real life.
A quick disclaimer before you make any assumptions about my love life: I’m not single nor am I bitter. I’ve been in a happy relationship with a great guy for over two years, but real relationships aren’t fairy tales with impromptu ponies or frolicking through fields of daisies with a photographer oh so conveniently on hand (for a couple of thousand dollars, of course.)
In fact, my relationship is pretty typical and the only spontaneous animal run-ins we have are with our very needy, very orange cat. We argue about where to go out to eat, spend more time trying to pick out a movie on Netflix than actually watching it and bond most productively over our mutual love for 90’s R&B.
But as someone who works in the wedding industry and a 20-something year old woman in the year 2017, I get asked pretty frequently, ‘have you thought about marriage?’ And I have.
But in all honesty, while I had previously pictured myself as a ‘maybe one day’ kind of bride, working in the wedding industry has completely changed my perspective of that little thing called marriage.
Call me cynical, anti-romantic or what have you, but it all just seems a bit… silly?
I’ll admit, I haven’t always been this way. In what seems like a past lifetime now, I once dreamt up my imaginary wedding and spent way too much of my free time pinning away naked cakes and flower crowns galore. But did anyone ever consider how these hypothetical weddings are merely that? They aren’t a reflection of you and your forever human, more an expectation.
It’s what’s trending. It’s what Pantone and Martha Stewart and the Instagram Explore page told us it should be… this year. Next year will of course be different.
So I'll let you in on a little secret. I spend my days, nine to five, reading these so-called love stories, and after writing hundreds of articles on real life couples, I've begun to wonder. When did marriage become yet another commercialised task we're expected to partake in?
Maybe it's always been this way. A social right of passage where you're challenged to spend as much money as possible to prove to loved ones and strangers alike that you do, in fact, love each other. I've even heard of brides taking out loans to pay for their 'big day'. Yes. LOANS.
It sounds crazy, doesn't it? All of this money which we could use to fund so many other awesome (and worthwhile) things, be it a trip around the world, a beautiful place to live or a monthly donation to the RSPCA, but instead we put all of this time and energy and cash into a couple of hours that most guests won't even remember thanks to that lovely (and terribly expensive) open bar.
So I propose we forget the traditions. The expectations. Forget the smoke bombs and confetti cannons and the awful task of picking a first dance song (if I hear 'All of Me' by John Legend one more time, I'll shoot myself). Let's stop looking at getting married as what we 'should do' but rather do things our own way and on our own time.
I'm in no way saying let's boycott weddings (please don't, I'd be out of a job if everybody did). I just mean to say that despite it being dubbed the 'most important day of your life', there's still so much life to live beyond the knot-tying.
So before you jump onto Pinterest to ensure your wedding vision is still trendy, or fork out a fortune on that designer dress, just do me a favour and make sure you're doing this for you.
And if a light bulb clicks and you decide, 'ok, maybe this isn't for me, maybe I don't need a big production, I just need the person I love' then hey, I'd love to be your witness at the courthouse and I'm happy to pet-sit while you two lovers go off together and experience what I like to call the REAL adventure... life.