Christian Weddings and the Bridezilla Phenomenon

I found a link to a post about how Christian weddings should be in contrast to the often tawdry shows of the world. It got me thinking about the subject. The average wedding in America now costs $30,000 and the last few decades of hedonism in America have put the wedding industry on steroids. There are entire television shows dedicated to these circuses where the brides-to-be are screaming at and otherwise abusing those they supposedly love, and where huge debt is incurred for the most lavish festivities possible. Brides on these shows will say things like, “Well, I have a budget of $50,000 I’m working with.” I always wonder if that’s the maximum on their credit cards or if they actually have $50,000 in the bank.

The world says to women, “This is your day. Live it up, do whatever you want.” But as the post link above will point out, it’s not supposed to be all about the bride. Nothing is ever supposed to all about us. In Bible times, the groom would go with his groomsmen to the home of the bride to get her. He had the processional, so to speak. The bride is supposed to adorn her husband, not the other way around. Instead, weddings today are often fashion shows and wild parties, and the couple can miss the entire point of what the marriage ceremony is supposed to mean. A wedding is an hour or so. The rest of your lives together is what matters most.

Out-of-control brides have earned themselves a TV show called, Bridezilla. In one clip on YouTube, which I won’t link to for obvious reasons, a bride on the war path, dressed in virginal white with a demure veil, proceeds to use language so bad that every other word is bleeped out. Pity the poor groom awaiting this lovely specimen who sounds like she wants to punch somebody on her way down the aisle. One quote from the bride has her saying, and I quote, “I feel like knocking the *bleep* out of somebody right now. Anybody.” What a gem. I have also heard stories of brides who are so obsessed with the visual impact of their big entrance that they prohibit bridesmaids from gaining weight before the wedding at risk of being booted out of the wedding party. No pregnancies allowed either in the months preceding the big day for members of the bridal party. Nothing ruins wedding pictures more than an expectant Matron of Honor.

Clearly, Christian brides ought to have a different approach to weddings. Consideration for people involved is a good place to start. How many close friends have been put to expense they could ill afford because Bridezilla says that the $400 bridesmaid dresses are the only ones she wants. One friend of mine had to pay her own airfare across the country in order to be the Maid of Honor, and her family was strapped to pay for it. If it hadn’t been her best friend, she would have said no. It was an awkward situation that was brought about by the bride’s thoughtlessness.

Weddings are supposed to be celebrations, but the idea that you have to spend huge sums of money to celebrate and that you absolutely must have sit down dinners at so much per head and multiple attendants and so forth, is nonsense. My parents were married in their pastor’s home with only family present. It was an afternoon wedding, and they just had cake and punch afterward. Back then, you didn’t go into debt for things you couldn’t afford. Tom and I married in my parents’ home with about 30 close friends and family there.  Afterward, we had a dinner for everyone at a restaurant on a lake nearby. It was as wonderful an evening as if it had been a cathedral wedding. (I would have married Mr. Schlueter anywhere, actually.)

My mother told me about something she used to see done at her church years ago. Couples who wanted to share their marriage with the church, but who couldn’t afford a formal wedding, would come up after the morning worship service. The bride and groom would exchange vows in front of the church, and afterward, there was a pot luck celebration in the church hall with the wedding cake. The church women would bring their best dishes and felt like they could contribute something to the celebration. All their church family could be a part of it, yet the bride and groom were not bankrupted. I think that is a great idea!

If the economy continues to go downhill, which it no doubt will, I think ideas like this may make a comeback. Big church weddings are beautiful and memorable, and if brides can afford them, that is wonderful. No Christian bride, however, should get so caught up in the many details and in the ceremony aspect that she is walking over other people, or turning it into “her” day at the expense of others. That misses the entire point of what the event signifies. Marriage is supposed to be  picture of Christ, the bridegroom, and His bride, the Church. The thought of the church abusing her bridegroom over details of the wedding ceremony is unthinkable. Yet there are videos all over YouTube with brides-to-be screaming at their fiancés and family members because they want their show to be perfect.

What a difference it makes to have a Christian outlook on things. I’m glad that the blogger at Reformed Sheology (clever name) posted on the subject. More discussion along these lines might be helpful to young women.