This is a guest post by Elizabeth M. Briel.
Have no doubt, weddings have become an industry. The average cost of a wedding last year was just over $25,000. And the pressure on young people in particular to get caught up in the wedding—versus preparing for the sacrament of marriage—is enormous and rather grotesque. I had a taste of this, even getting married for the first time at 44 years old.
The thing I’d do differently: I wouldn’t register. I caved to pressure to register, but hey, let’s face it, I’m middle-aged and I don’t need a cheese grater or a set of steak knives. Registering at a department store was, however, hilarious. The good woman who walked me around and explained to me how I was to use what looked like a little toy gun to “fire” at item codes and then enter how many of each—two washcloths, four bath towels, one 8×10 silver frame—was quite accommodating despite my poor attitude.
She took me to the china department: “Sorry, we already have china, two sets.”
She took me to pots and pans: “Sorry, we’re trying to get rid of the extras we have already.”
She took me to bedding and bath and kitchen and what could only be described as “the useless knickknacks department.” “Sorry, we don’t really need any of this.”
Undaunted, she took me to luggage; finally something my fiancé could actually use! I bought him some very nice new luggage since his was ancient, and he travels internationally with great frequency.
But as we wandered through the dazzling displays of shiny gadgetry and sparkling crystal decanter sets, I kept telling her, “Don’t think ‘bridezilla,’ think, ‘bride-osaurus.’” She laughed and said, “I’m going to love helping you.”
People will want to be generous, and it may be more appropriate for you to register if you are just starting out and really don’t have a cheese grater and think your life would be more meaningful with one. But do not cave to the pressure that will tell you your wedding is more important than your marriage; that your reception menu is more important than your marriage prep; that your wedding dress is more important than dressing yourself in the patience, charity, and chastity that will need to be your constant companions in marriage.
If I could do things over, I would have asked folks to make a donation to a charity instead: the Foundation for Aging Brides.