By Madison Frederick
Remember “The Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension? Nowadays it’s just not as easy as “Won’t you marry me, Bill?” Not in this time in history. There’s a whole pantheon of things to be done before we get to the marrying part!
And although this is a wonderful, much-awaited occasion, the wedding planning and details can bring on a case of the wedding bell blues. Not to worry. Few cases are fatal. Few cases bring on the death of a relationship. Most cases cause only mild bruising, which disappears in time.
I am, of course, referring to the bruising of feelings. Nuptials just aren’t as easy today as they were when we Boomers were saying the “I Do’s.” Things are far more complicated. What has caused this stress and the outbreaks of wedding bell blues?
In my opinion, one factor is the ages of today’s engaged couples.
Certainly today’s brides are older than in previous generations. We Boomers look on that with a little envy. We often went from our parents’ house to our husband’s house with no time in between for independent living. We never had time to kick up our heels with the girls!
So while that is an envied change, it also presents some traditional wedding changes. During that “heel-kicking up phase,” many young women decide to audition husbands. In other words, most couples live together before marriage. Shocking in our day, but completely acceptable pre-wedding behavior today (even for the Royals!).
And that one change has completely revamped bridal shower behavior and practices. Remember the old style bridal lingerie shower where there was a lot of giggling? OK, there is still a lot of giggling, but the gifts are very different. Most of the time the couple has already set up housekeeping and have all of the necessary household items. Today we have HONEY FUNDS to help the couple pay for a honeymoon. My mother would die to know that her grandson and his wife asked for money from their friends and relatives!
Due to the age of the couple, most of them are gainfully employed and feel empowered to make their own choices for their wedding events. The blues may begin here as Mom and Dad lose control of their “little girl’s special day.” Bruised feelings often follow. While it is a given that parents do not like to give up control, it is also likely that the parents’ generation is more aware of sensibilities, familial minefields, and logistical options. But when the “little girl” is a successful career woman, the statement most likely heard is, “It’s our day. We can do what we want. We are paying for it.” Ouch!
Emily Post, where are you? We need your daughter to help us navigate these societal waters. Although the shelves of any and all Barnes and Nobles are lined with wedding planning books (telling the bride when to change from her gown to her cake cutting dress, etc.), it is clear to me that we need some definitive new rules regarding weddings. At least for my generation….you know, the ones who grew up indoctrinated with wedding etiquette from the age of twelve? All the rules have changed for our sons and daughters. And for the Boomer Generation, whose claim to fame was rebellion against the rules, we are now lost in this social phenomenon. There are no rules for us to break.
I guess in the big picture view, we could say that we have brought forth a generation of independent women….of enlightened men….of free-thinkers. Now where did they get that?
Apply some ice to your wedding bruises and chill.
Until next month… MF