After exploring the world of weddings, I can’t blame all of the excess of the wedding industry on brides. Everyone groans about “Bridezillas,” those unfortunate souls who have let anxiety over that “perfect day” make them selfish and nasty. But the more observe, the more I'm shocked by the expectations that brides have to deal with. Expectations that are primarily established by the wedding industry itself. Of *course* they're going to try convince you that you need a limousine, a string quartet, a Vera Wang gown, embossed place cards, an eight-tiered cake, and caviar at your reception. Then they price those wedding services at a premium, which makes it very difficult for brides who don’t have the time and/or skill to make their own gowns or arrange their own flowers. It’s their livelihoods at stake, after all!
But expectations can also come pouring in from many other quarters -- including friends, family, and the bride herself. We've all gotten so used to seeing "perfect" weddings, with all the bells and whistles (and individual chocolate-dipped spoons at every place setting), that we've come to regard anything less as shabby and inadequate. And what bride wants that stigma on a day that’s supposed to be the most important of her life?
Thus, The Dilemma. On one hand, I am disgusted with the materialistic, money-grubbing wedding industry. But on the other hand, a wedding is an important covenant (both to God and man), and I want to honor that day!
How does one honor God through a wedding? By putting Christ at the center of it all. That’s easy enough to say, but what bearing does such a statement have on wedding favors and invitation fonts? It may be easy to apply to certain aspects (chossing modest wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, for instance), but it’s more challenging to apply to others. Even when you try to keep things simple, there are still details to deal with -- and details can be distracting.
So what’s a bride to do? Is there any compromise between ten minutes with a justice of the peace and a $50,000 extravaganza?
I’m still searching out the answers to most of my questions, still questioning myself constantly to find out why I want certain things a certain way. Or why others say certain things should be a certain way. My crafty soul is delighted by all of the creative outlets that a wedding offers, but it’s just as possible to get carried away in DIY land as it is in the pages of BRIDES magazine. What is it, after all, that makes a great wedding? I don’t think it has anything to do with aisle runners, or flower arrangements, or lighting. The most uplifting wedding I have ever attended was also probably the least expensive wedding I have ever attended! I think that wedding was memorable because the bride and groom were more focused on the marriage than the wedding – focused on the lasting reality of establishing a covenant family, not on whether or not their color scheme was trendy.
Deep down, I still want an elegant wedding. Just like every other bride in America. I’m rather curious to find out what my wedding will be like! A strange thought, perhaps, but I think it's the kind of thing you can’t predict. So onward we go, moving ever closer to the “big day,” trying to work through all the details without letting them take over. Trying to discover what makes a wedding elegant and memorable. Trying to redefine what's "necessary" and decide where "more than necessary" is okay. And (hopefully) avoiding the entanglements of trying to satisfy needless expectations!