Some Advice Before You Get Married

I am a single man that believes that my vocation is that for marriage.  So when I came across this article I thought it prudent to read it since I have much, much to learn about marriage.  Me being the type that I would like to prepare for it the best I can rather than “learn on the job”.

Regardless, this struck home, not because of any past sin, but because it is rare to see a good priest speak truth to power.  Once cloning technology gets perfected I plan on mass-producing this priest.  Yeah, I know, cloning destroys the dignity of man so I was only speaking rhetorically.

So here is a warning for you all before you read the article.  Of course the author issues his own warning, but it is best to be safe than sorry!

Warning: This article may be offensive to poorly catechized Catholics, dissident Catholics, left-wing extremists, Pescetarians, men-hating feminists, dog-and-cat-hating John Bircher types, Freemasons, the Reformed Royal Order of Water Buffalo’s and the city of San Francisco.

Here is the original article:

A rant on weddings…

Warning:  This episode of the  Rev. Know-it-all is extremely offensive.  It is not about you or anyone you know.  Please read the whole article.  The  Rev. Know-it-all is not opposed to all wedding celebrations.  he is not talking about your wedding which was a triumph of personal sanctity and good taste.  He is probably just having a bad day.

Dear Rev. Know it all,

I visited your church once and am thinking about having my wedding there. How long is your main aisle?

Mary O’Burne

Dear Mary,

I am often asked that question, and never quite understand it. Are brides curious about the length of the aisle because they think a longer aisle may give them a few more minutes to back out of the whole thing? Or, as I suspect, does a long aisle prolong the glorious promenade of which a young girl dreams as she thumbs through bridal magazine as she contemplates her special day, when all eyes focus on her as she approaches her enchanted prince and all the world thinks she’s gorgeous and knows that she has bagged her man just as surely as a Wisconsin bricklayer bags a deer and ties it onto the roof of his pick up truck? I have certainly seen a few grooms who look like a frightened deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.

Why is it that weddings cause people to spend so much time, energy and money? And more money. The average American wedding costs almost $29,000, according to “The Wedding Report”, a market research publication. $29,000!” Oh, by the by, the usual donation to the church is about $200.00. That $200 goes to the church, not to the priest. The usual gift to the priest is a hearty handclasp. The usual cost of the photographer is $2,000.00. All this tells me that the photographs are over one hundred times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation. The usual fee for the DJ is $1,500.00. I am consoled by this. It means that painful, occasionally obscene music loud enough to cause brain damage is only 7.5 times more important than the grace of the sacrament.

You must be thinking why is this guy so down on weddings? I am down on some weddings because I am very “up” on the sacrament of matrimony and really in favor of marriage. That’s why the modern method of marrying and the wedding industry make me crazy. They militate against marriage. Here is the heart of my complaint.  It is stupid to spend more time and money preparing for the wedding than you do preparing for the marriage!  I have known people who are still paying the credit card bills generated by the wedding years after the marriage is over.

The Modern Method of Marriage, a Reprise. The following is taken from my own experiences and things people have told me (outside of confession, you’ll be glad to know.) Here goes.

A young man and a young woman meet and have a few dates. They go for a weekend at a bed and breakfast where they bed one another, and then have breakfast. If he isn’t too much of a jerk and she isn’t too picky, they are then an item. She goes to the doctor gets a prescription and goes on to a more permanent form of birth control. At some time during this stage, the uncomfortable meeting with the parents happens. Everyone is polite and “supportive.” Secretly the father of the young woman who knows exactly what’s going on, contemplates buying a gun and the mother of the young man begins gossiping with whomever will listen about how her little boy could do better. After a while, if things hold up, they begin to have the conversation about taking their relationship to the “next level” by which they mean shacking up, as we used to call it. Now, I think it’s called moving in together.

Mom and Dad buy housewarming gifts in an attempt to, once again, be supportive. They don’t want their little dears to hate them and besides, it’s what everyone is doing these days, so it can’t be wrong. They have vague thoughts about getting married at that point and mom explains to grandma and to friends at church that they are just doing it to save money for the wedding. At this stage an engagement ring may appear. At some point, when they think about getting the house and the kids, because that’s what you do, they decide to have the wedding.

They rent the hall and then go see the priest. He tells them there are four other weddings that day and they respond, “but we’ve rented the hall already.” Someone suggests a garden wedding if the church is occupied. The priest says we can’t do garden weddings. (More on this later.) The young couple begins to complain about how narrow-minded the Church is with all these rules and regulations. They eventually pick a date. Then the bottom drops out. It seems the groom is not Catholic. He was baptized in the First Reformed Church of the Druids, though he never practiced. This means there must be a dispensation for the marriage, another irritating Catholic invention, and the wedding date cannot be confirmed until the dispensation is received.

The bride goes back to her doctor, this time for a prescription for valium. Her mother joins her on this visit. Finally the dispensation is granted, The groom’s druid will do one of the readings at the wedding, the loans are taken out, the banns are published. Then there is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The best man comes to the rehearsal drunk out of his mind, the groom only slightly tipsy. The bride is furious at everyone for some reason known to her alone. Probably because the groom is far more interested in drinking and watching the football game on his hand held computer thing than he is in gazing lovingly into her eyes in anticipation of the great day. In fact they haven’t been, well… friendly in weeks. It is, after all, football season.

The special day comes, the best man is still drunk, the groom is hung over, no one knew about that interesting tattoo that the maid of honor had way low on her back, now revealed by the plunging back of her dress that is held up only by wishful thinking. Grandma, upon reading the logo of the maid of honor’s tattoo, has fainted. Somewhere in all this the vows are exchanged, and quite a few of the wedding party receive their first Holy Communion that day, however one of the ushers puts the host in his suit pocket not having a clue what it is. (This actually has happened to me twice.)

The pictures have been taken. The noise level in the church reaches that of an English soccer match after the riot has broken out. The children are jumping off the altar and the priest is scowling at everyone. Now on to the pictures in the forest preserve, a “must” at every wedding. There the wedding party is attacked by mosquitoes, one of the children falls into the lagoon and the bride is having a hard time smiling for the photos. The best man passes out. On to the reception.

The bride loses it because the shade of fuchsia in the floral center pieces clashes with the shade of fuchsia in the wedding party’s outfit. The groom adjourns to the bar where the game is on the television. The wedding dinner is served as music is played at a mind numbing volume. Grandma is better now. She has turned off her hearing aid. The priest is seated with the pious relatives in plaid suit coats and leaves shortly after the grace before meals.

The best man makes the toast which drones on about how he loves the groom and one begins to wonder. The college roommate/maid of honor does the same for the bride, going on for fifteen minutes about how she knew the bride would find eternal marital bliss the moment she met her in the third grade and they have been like sisters ever since. Then at some point, there is a video presentation of embarrassing photos not unlike the ones that are now shown at wakes.

The bar opens up again. The music reaches levels that cause blood to drip from some peoples’ nose and ears. The joyous event ends with the bride and groom being the last to leave the hall. They are slow to go up to the room they have rented in the hotel because nothing new or beautiful awaits them there. The groom promptly falls asleep, being heavily sedated already, and, as he snores away, with his shoes still on, our blushing bride, having shed her dress of virginal white, thinks back on this day, her special day, the most important day in her life, the day she has dreamt of since she was a little girl.

They will stay an extra day at the hotel, but cannot afford the time or money to go on a honeymoon because on Monday they will both be back at work in order to pay off the colossal bill that their special day has incurred. For some reason, the bride is depressed. Perhaps she is realizing that the high point of her life is now past and the rest of it will be spent with the lump that is now snoring beside her with whom she has never really had a serious conversation, except about the proper shade of fuchsia for the floral centerpieces. So it is that we celebrate the marriage of Christ and His Church in these enlightened and tolerant times.

Remember, none of these things happened at your wedding, thank God and don’t think from reading this that I am down on marriage or even weddings. I love a wedding celebration when there is something to celebrate. Also, it is never too late to begin again by taking Christ and His gospel seriously.

Please spend more time and money preparing for the marriage than you do preparing for the wedding.

Yours,
Rev. Know-it-all

P.S. Garden weddings. They look good in all the bridal magazines but they are just opportunities to feed biting insects and suffer from sunburn. It is however amusing to watch the bridesmaids sinking in the mud as they try, after a few margaritas to maneuver the newly laid sod in spiked heals. The bride is generally exhausted from not having slept for three weeks as she worries about the weather reports which are promising a 50 percent chance of typhoons and earthquakes that day. And destination weddings. Don’t get me started on Destination Weddings! You want to be married with just your closest friends on a beach in Maui. That means that Grandma can’t go because she hasn’t flown since the Hindenburg Disaster, and is thinking of cutting you out of the will, and all the friends and relatives who aren’t with you on the beach in Maui realize they aren’t very close to you after all. And I haven’t a clue how long the aisle is here at St. Dymphna’s.

_._

I came across this great article from the Reverend Know It All blog, via the FUMARE blog by Columcille.  It is originally titled, A Rant On Weddings…

_._

The American Catholic articles on marriage and selfishness:

To read Sexual Selection and Modern Dating by DarwinCatholic click here.

To read Sex, the Fall, and the Resurrection by Ryan Harkins click here.

To read Dr. Patrick Lee on the Nature of Marriage by Chris Burgwald click here.

To read I’ll Take Her on a Test Drive by Ryan Harkins click here.

To read Inequality and the New Aristocracy by DarwinCatholic click here.

To read Dolan: Man-Woman Tradition Is In Our DNA by Tito Edwards click here.

To read Culture Crash by DarwinCatholic click here.

To read How to Live a Selfish Miserable Life-and Fail at It! by Donald R. McClarey click here.

  1. I have seen/been to weddings like this – well, maybe not so caricatured – thankfully though, not in the Catholic Church. Mainly the garden variety wedding.

    But don’t let your own post put you off Tito. It doesn’t have to cost $29,000 you know.

    I would have thought that an articulate dude such as yourself would have been hitched by now anyway. :-)

  2. Don the Kiwi,

    I’ve learned that it will be on God’s time! :)

    But, yes, I’ll be keeping an eye on costs if I ever get there. It probably won’t be that much since I’m nowhere near where I need to be to afford something like that!

    I gave up on credit long time ago. I only use credit for home and car loans. (and sadly I need to have a credit card because rental car agencies don’t accept cash, debit cards, nor checks anymore.)

  3. My wife and I had our wedding reception at the Parish Hall of Saint Mary’s in Paris, Illinois with food supplied by my Mom and her friends. I doubt if more than $500.00 was spent for the whole thing. 27 years later, I’d say my wife and I have gotten our money’s worth.

  4. Getting married in January, I will say it’s very very difficult to keep costs down. You can’t find bridesmaids dresses for much less then 200, and when you do you have to pay for alterations to put sleeves on them to make it proper for churches. Having a rehearsal dinner & a large family for guests at the reception racks up very quickly. In the end, I think we’ll be under 10,000 but we’ve had to be real smart about it.

    Of course, if you can get away with a small wedding, then the costs will be much cheaper, as you can ditch the large cots with catering i.e. Donald

  5. I agree some of the absurdities of modern weddings, but I have to take issue with this:

    “All this tells me that the photographs are over one hundred times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation.”

    If a priest really held that opinion, I would harbor serious doubts about his orthodoxy. Would he then expect people to pay big dollars to the priest every week for all the sacraments?

  6. Michael,

    You can get the materials for the sleeves by cutting out the mid-riff area. You see girls showing their belly buttons as being the fashion now, so you can be hip and cost effective at the same time!

  7. This was certainly tongue in cheek; however, it is sadly quite true.

    Our modern culture has elevated the wedding far above the marriage. I think that may be one reason why we are tempted to have multiple weddings and virtually no marriage.

    My wife and I paid for our own wedding, our bridal party was no help because most people think the job of the bridal party is to plan the debauched bachelor and the worse bachelorette party, rather than host the wedding so the bride and groom can celebrate the sacramental union.

    We didn’t spend much money because I didn’t have it. Thank God for that – it can be a waste of money – not that money shouldn’t be spent but it should only be spent in honoring Christ and sharing the best wine, not on frivolous and vain trimmings. Our marriage has been great because of Grace and not any of my doing. We were so hip when we did it that I convinced my wife that we did not need the sacrament so we had a civil wedding. No one in the family objected and I wouldn’t have put up with it anyway because I was going to give my wife her day because I was an arrogant prick.

    God had different plans, as He always does. He allowed us to be married because He ordained the union even though this prideful sinner had no idea at the time. We so easily blind ourselves. Bridezillas and $10,000 dresses institutionalize the vanity of that pride. God breaks it down.

    Thanks be to God we enjoyed the convalidation of our wedding without fanfare, without a million people who could care less about the sacrament or about Jesus and we had a nice (albeit expensive) dinner following with both of our fathers and a couple of close friends and relatives. It was amazing and I cried. I didn’t cry the first time. It was just a contract that I was going to will to keep because I was my own god. This time it was a sacrament and I was called to climb on the cross for my bride and she was called to submit to me. Without the acknowledgment of sacrifice in a marriage instituted at the wedding, it is just a mere modern convenience (or is that inconvenience). Why would I be emotionally caught up in that? I didn’t. I love my wife. That is with MY OWN love for her the first time.

    When we did it right I loved and love her more today with His Love, He is Love and without that, the marriage is dead before it starts.

    Before anyone is to think that our marriage worked or didn’t until we came back to the Church let me clarify. Our marriage worked but not because of our wedding, it worked only because of our convalidation. Since God is not subject to time, He must have graced us in advance of our convalidation prior to our own knowledge of the convalidation. He knows that we were coming back home.

    I tell you these things because I want you, especially Tito, to know that He has blessed you with a wife or He has blessed you without a wife. What transpires doesn’t matter. All that counts is that you turn to Him, He’ll do the rest. I thank Him everyday for my wife and more importantly, I think Him for Him. Without Him I don’t know how long I would have had a wife (or for that matter a living soul), not that we had any shattering problems, but I am sure we eventually would have. He married us. I used to think I did that. Pride and arrogance lead to envy and vanity. The modern wedding is vain, the modern marriage is empty, the modern family is dead.

    We must have strong sacramental weddings, which lead to stronger trinitarian marriages. A marriage in which the purpose is to help each other get to the third person in the marriage – God. It is not a 50/50 (partnership) split. It is 100% (communion)! Either you are all in, sacrificially, or you may as well be all out. Strong marriages make for even stronger families and authentically orthodox Catholic families are what this vanishing country, this dying civilization and this decadent world needs to be lifted up out of the mire and set on a hill.

  8. Tito:

    Between telling me to have the bridesmaid bare their midriffs (which would cause a heart attack for the poor priest at whose church-which has mandated Latin hymns at all weddings there, god bless them-we’re having the wedding) and telling me to move to Houston on facebook, you’re just full of terrible ideas.
    ;)

  9. And people wonder why kids these days are just living together.

    Let’s see….

    “Dear ignorant slut;
    How dare you ask about something like how long the main isle is? I will proceed to assume that it is to prolong “your” section of the ceremony, which you have somehow managed to bully the poor idiot you’ve been sleeping with into going through with, and which you only want because it’s the Done Thing.

    What kind of creature are you, to hold a once in a lifetime event as somehow special, or something to be daydream about? You are obviously totally ignorant about anything to do with the Church, and you don’t even care about the actual sacrament, because I won’t charge you as much as the photographer or DJ will.

    (Nevermind man hours invested, material investment, supply and demand or any other things that change price– it’s purely an expression of what you value, and you can set the price at will!)

    There is no way you could actually have everything not related to the location under control and just want to know how long the isle is; you can’t actually both be Catholic, or give a damn enough to have researched what’s required to be married in the Church. Because you’re an ignorant slut trying to get married to the first guy who didn’t run away fast enough.

    -Yours truly, Rev. Know-it-all
    PS- why are so few people getting married in the Church, and why do the young not follow the Church’s teachings on sex?”

    Yeah, totally not offensive to those folks who actually grew up faithful, and fought against the assumption that they were going to have sex with anyone they dated for more than a month, or for that matter that they screwed anyone male they were around socially for more than a month.

    How dare a young woman dream about a celebration of her unity with the man she loves, before God and all? What, does she think marriage is special or something?

  10. I’ve heard it said that many women these days get divorce only so that they can get married again simply because of how they’re so infatuated, not with the Sacrament of Marriage itself as any such sacred institution (obviously), but because of the very experience behind all the big hoopla of a wedding event.

    As regarding how non-Catholics view the Catholic version of Marriage, it’s often a common complaint that Catholics take marriage too seriously by requiring too many things prior to an actual marriage (e.g., Cana, etc.). Those non-Catholics I’ve met who’ve married Catholics (including the Catholic herself) often complain why the Catholic Church can behave so unreasonably.

    Whenever I hear such things from non-Catholic acquaintances, in the back of my own mind, I often wonder if only marriages were taken as seriously as the Catholic Church does, then perhaps their marriage might perhaps live up to the Sacrament that it actually is.

  11. Foxfier, I’m mostly with you. I saw this linked elsewhere and did find it entertaining at first — and was very surprised that it was on a real parish website! But it laid on the sarcasm so thick that I started to think that rather than shedding new light for anyone, it would serve mainly to inspire pride and self-righteousness like I started to feel in myself reading it (because I mostly don’t see myself in the negative description, although I was hardly the ideal bride,) or to alienate those who either have not been taught or have rejected the different and better way and who are being so harshly characterized.

  12. Clearly this was ‘sarcastic’ and somewhat tongue in cheek. Perhaps that isn’t the best approach. Nevertheless, it is precisely because the Church is ‘strict’ that makes her attractive. When I decided to come back to the Church the difficulty I had was in accepting Christ; choosing which church was easy. There is only one Church. If I had found the Church lax in the application of the teaching of Jesus Christ or in her sacraments or precepts then why would I waste my time?

    The Church is attractive because she is strict. If I had found the church to be relaxed or I had stumbled into a liberal parish I am not so sure I’d be Catholic today and I may not have brought my marriage into the Church. I found no appeal in any of the Protestant churches and I may as well have remained totally democratic in the church of me.

    I had a good marriage and I thought that was because I made it so. Marriage is only good in Christ. Can someone stay married and maybe even seem ‘happy’ without? Probably, but it is not real and the purpose becomes to exult each other rather than help each other get to Heaven. It degrades into hate or idolatry. Ultimately, it is a loss. Deep down inside we know that; so if we know it is a loss anyway, then why bother keeping it when it gets hard. Why not just get a do-over?

    Weddings do overshadow marriages in the modern culture and it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart. Look at what is being proposed now. Men marrying men, women marrying women, multiple partners seeking the same ‘right’. It is falling apart and the only constant seems to be the ever expensive ‘virginal’ white dress worn by non-virgins marrying drunk grooms after sleeping with the bridesmaid – that may be the groom or the bride – hard to tell these days.

    Marriage has become a joke and the wedding just another debauched party. If we want weddings back and we want wedding feasts back we have to restore marriage to what it is supposed to be. I have never been happier, more in love or had a clearer sense of purpose and duty in my marriage than now after bringing the marriage back into the Church. How many more are out there? Unless the Church offers a true solution, who cares?

    Human freedom is broad, but it has limits. Those limits, set by God through His Catholic Church are what set us free to become who we are supposed to be. Without those limits, our priorities get skewed and we fall into slavery disguised as freedom. The married state is for the purpose of bringing the bride and the groom to Heaven where they can be united, all in all, eternally. Without that intent it is just a legal contract and headed toward disaster even if it is not legally dissolved.

    Stable marriages, even those without a huge reception and expensive accessories, may be especially those, build stable families and stable families build stable communities. It is absolutely necessary. Additionally children from sacramental marriages and stable families make for single people who are more likely to choose the priesthood, religious life, consecrated virginity or matrimony. Why? Everyone of those is a lifelong commitment, you know, like a sacramental marriage. We have been too lax and careless about this for too long.

    We cannot confuse the message and the messenger. I am a sarcastic person so this letter appealed to me. You may not be so it won’t. The message is still accurate.

    There is money to be made in weddings, marriages lead to families and that is a burden on our government and Mother Earth. If we could just kill all the married people before they are born, we’d solve the problem and then Fred and John can walk down the isle and act like bridezillas with virginal dresses by Vera Wang and drive off in a Humasine. How cute?

  13. There is a world of difference between being abrasive or sarcastic, and being flatly insulting to someone who has shown no sign of deserving it.

    Again, I’ll point at the assumption that the Rev. puts forth that anyone who would be interested in being married in his church is a slut. Amazing how when my mom was growing up, that was a major insult– and now, it’s a defended base assumption against any young woman interested in a wedding.

    Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.

  14. “it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart.”

    It is not the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament or else marriage itself falls apart.

    The responsibility lies where it has always been in the first place: both spouses.

    This is why the sacrament of marriage itself is actually not conferred by the priest but by the spouses themselves. As the Catechsim itself teaches:

    1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125

    The only reason why the ceremony has to take place in the Church in the presence of a priest is precisely because:

    1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.122

  15. I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them. Like I said, I read it at first with some feeling of enjoyment — and superiority, essentially, not really gratitude to God for His grace that my life isn’t like that. I already know the writer’s point and it’s not giving me ideas on how to evangelize those who don’t. I’m not saying there’s no place for this kind of commentary anywhere, but seriously, what is its effect on most of the people reading it?

  16. It made my laugh.

    e., you are right, perhaps faithful wasn’t the right choice of words. However, most lay people look to the clergy for guidance and cathechesis, so the clergy’s committment to the sacredness of all the sacraments including matrimony will guide the flock.

    Reverence for marriage is essential for society to fucntion. The bride pursuing her wedding based on popular media, modernist cultural (de)values and the peer pressure of prurient minds is not going to respond to a ‘nice’, PC message about how holy marriage is. And young men don’t even want to bother – why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds, drink beer and play video games without ever growing up. If they have an ‘oops’ there’s always abortion.

    Some people, especially stupid young ones and their hippie parents need an in your face approach. Or I could be wrong, but it is worth a shot.

  17. “I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them.”

    Foxfier’s comments more than made up for it:

    “Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.”

    American Knight may have a point here:

    “And young men don’t even want to bother; why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds…”

    I remember some saying that goes: why buy the cow when you’re already milking it? Or something like that.

    Anyway, most acquaintances I know from university practically utter the same: that is, why marry your girlfriend when you’re already receiving fringe benefits from her already?

    Sad, but true.

  18. Why would anyone marry in the Catholic Church when annulments are so easily obtained that “counting” on a life long commitment has become a farce?

    It is a sad state of “affairs”, quite literally.

  19. Karl,

    The easy access to annullments is a problem, no doubt. But why would someone want to marry in the Church? I married outside of the Church and I can tell you the grace we have been freely given since we married in the Church is amazing. The reason to marry in the Church is to be married to each other in Christ, the bridegroom supreme. It makes a difference and those who do not beleive are missing out on the beauty of this world and I shudder to think what awaits in the next.

  20. One of the best articles I ever read on this topic was “The Wedding Merchants” by Caitlin Flanagan, in the February 2001 issue of The Atlantic. You can read it at this link:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200102/flanagan

    I wish I’d read it before my own wedding in 1994. I tried very hard to do everything on the cheap and be elegant but not extravagant. In the end we (me and my parents) spent just under $5,000 on the whole thing, well below the national average to be sure, but in retrospect, even THAT amount of spending probably wasn’t necessary.

    The formal wedding as we know it today is really a relic of early 20th-century high society culture, in which 1) brides married very young and went directly from living with their parents to living with their husbands; 2) they were presumed to be innocent, not only of sexual experience, but also of experience in running a household; 3) women didn’t work outside the home, and so could devote all their time to planning and attending social events like weddings; 4) attending and giving formal parties was a routine part of life, so they didn’t have to learn the etiquette involved from scratch.

    As Flanagan says, there was a time when a girl who “aped the ways of rich folk on her wedding day” would have been ridiculed, not admired.

    Perhaps more Catholic couples should consider getting married during regularly scheduled parish Masses… it CAN be done, sometimes very beautifully; it saves money on flowers and church decorations since they are already there; and it enables an otherwise tiny wedding party to enjoy the presence of a packed church.

    This story contains a wonderful example of how it can be done:

    http://www.sj-r.com/homepage/x19928804/Dave-Bakke-Soldiers-strangers-celebrate-wedding

  21. Dear Am Knight,

    I was married in the Catholic Church and once believed as you do. In theory, only, I still do.
    Pray for the Church and if you have time left over, for my family as well. Thank you.

    My snide remarks come from heartbreaking experience, not bigotry against the Church. I appreciate the kindness of your response.

  22. Karl,

    You will be in our prayers. Life can be painful and we are all looking for healing and you are already in the right place to receive it even if the perception is that the problems are caused by the Church – God only allows that which sanctifies us; that is probably going to hurt.

    I didn’t find your remarks ‘snide’; I think you are accurate re: annullments. The question we have to ask is why bother getting married at all? It is biologically possible to have children without marriage and these days a willing partner for ‘just sex’, ‘friends with benefits’, ‘I don’t want a husband just give me a baby’, etc. are easily found. If you do bother, why stick through the rough spots? I can just get marriage 2.0, you know, an upgrade.

    There is only one reason – Christ. We can keep our marriage vows to our spouse even if they do not reciprocate. Remember that our disposition at judgment is in how we directed our will, selfishly or conformed to God’s. Will there be pain and damage? Yes. Will there be grace? Of course.

    God bless you.

  23. It thought the article was a hoot. I somehow missed the slut part, but the opening question is just plain funny. “I visited your church *once* and am thinking about having my wedding there ….” That alone is worth a chuckle, and then punctuated with “how long is your main aisle”? Come on, that is just classic display of superficiality.
    Sarcasm and parody can be effective. Many people who are invincible to measured reason (often due to their own arrogance) are quite vulnerable to well-placed ridicule. Like the fellow who insists on wearing white socks with dress trousers because he thinks the conventions of dress are just stupid anachronisms. He’ll stop only after folks point at him and giggle.

  24. I guess horribly superficial things like “I’d like my parents to be able to come to my wedding” never crossed your mind, Mike.
    Most of the folks I know who aren’t getting married near a parent’s home do get married at a different place than the one they live– so that people can actually make it to the celebration.

    Silly, superficial things like “airports” and “hotels” come into play, though occasionally “the church is breathtakingly gorgeous” or “my grandparents were married in that church” will influence such a desire.

    Oh, and when you accuse a lady of routinely sleeping with whoever they’re dating, you’re calling them a slut. First block-quote in, second line.

    I must say, I didn’t know that we had so many mind readers around! To know that Mary is a shallow, materialistic person who knows nothing of her faith from a single line? And to know the only thing she’ll respond to, from a two-line note, is to be publicly mocked and accused of multiple violations of binding Catholic teachings?

    So, where’s the “funny” and “effective” accusation against the lady of having had a couple of abortions?

  25. Another issue I’ve seen discussed in other forums is the difficulty of finding MODEST wedding dresses that aren’t strapless or cut extremely low in front or back. Apparently designers assume that all brides want to look “sexy,” which creates problems for those who want to show proper reverence in church.

    One way to get around this problem is to shop at a store or website that sells Quinceanera dresses (for Hispanic girls celebrating their 15th birthdays). The online stores carry all sizes (up to size 28!), most styles are available in white or off-white, and most come with matching jackets or shawls to solve the problem of dressing modestly in church.

    There are also stores and websites that cater to Mormon brides who need modest dresses for their temple weddings. I don’t think there’s any law against non-Mormons shopping there :-)

  26. Elaine,

    That is what I see among my friends as well.

    The difficulty of finding modest wedding gowns. It’s amazing how our culture have degenerated.

    Like I joked before, but it’s true, I’ve noticed now bare mid-riffs at wedding ceremony’s.

  27. Tito:

    Now, come on.

    What precisely can be a better way of celebrating the Sacrament of marriage than having your to-be-wife dressed up as a crack whore, except without the dignity?

  28. Pingback: Round Up – November 3, 2009 « Restrained Radical