Being A Maid Of Honor In Two Different Weddings Made Me Cynical Of Modern Marriages

It’s no secret that planning a wedding is stressful for everyone involved. The bride, groom, wedding party, and parents of the betrothed have a lot of responsibilities to ensure the big event goes off without a hitch (aside from, well, the couple getting hitched). But being the Maid of Honor to my sister and best friend has made me realize that weddings these days focus more on extravagance and expense than on everlasting love. These over-the-top weddings are why I’ve become cynical of modern marriages.

  1. Weddings are incredibly expensive. This is #1 because I cannot stress enough how ridiculous the expense of weddings these days is (do I sound too much like my grandmother?). Especially as someone recently out of college and relatively new to the working world, I can’t afford to drop $200 on a dress and shoes (not to mention bachelorette weekends and wedding gifts) each time someone I know gets engaged.
  2. With such a large guest list, it’s hard for the couple to focus on each other. Inviting more guests means more mouths to feed, drinks to pay for, and tables to rent. Cost of guests aside, couples have to worry about who’s going to walk Aunt Myrna from the car to the church, where out-of-towners will stay, and what time to cut the cake if Grandpa has to take his pills with food. It seems to me that couples will have hardly 10 minutes to themselves on their wedding day if they’ve got to greet and thank everyone who’s attended their nuptials.
  3. There’s too much pressure on vendors to “make it happen.” I get it—it’s the job of a wedding vendor to make sure his or her contribution to the wedding is in tip-top shape, but the perceived “success” of a wedding shouldn’t depend on what flavor the cake is, how big the flowers are, or where the tables are in relation to the dance floor. Unfortunately, the brides in my life aren’t willing to be flexible and I worry they’ve got the wrong priorities.
  4. I’ve witnessed the result of failure to compromise. Planning a big white wedding is practically an invitation for couples to argue. He wants a DJ; she wants a live band. He wants an open bar; she wants guests to pay in cash. More times than not these heated discussions end with the Maid of Honor consoling the bride and telling her she’s right (and let me tell you, she’s always right). The real compromises should come later in marriage—not during the party planning process.
  5. Wedding registries contain much more than the basic necessities. Can someone please tell me just who in the world needs a $100 stainless-steel bathroom trashcan? What are you going to be throwing away—gold? I’ve seen the most absurd items on wedding registries—a far cry from the kitchen utensils, tablecloths, bedding, and toasters that our parents asked for.
  6. The Maid of Honor is expected to be the “yes” woman. Let me preface this point by saying I love my sister and engaged friends and I am happy for them (is that not clear?). But I don’t think I’m doing anyone any favors by smiling and nodding when I see these girls spending thousands of dollars on long-stemmed roses and gift bags that their guests most likely will throw away. I’d hope that when I get married, my MOH will call me out when I’m being a diva and remind me of what this wedding is all about.
  7. Social media turns marriages into competitions (and brides into bridezillas). And I thought TLC series were bad. With the presence of Facebook and Instagram, getting married isn’t just about spending the rest of one’s life with his or her soulmate; it’s about having the prettiest dress, the best photos, and the most likes and comments. There’s nothing wrong with using social media platforms to announce an engagement, but when girls start comparing rings, things just get ugly.
  8. When the planning is over, brides get bored. Too often I’ve heard “I don’t know what I’m going to do when the wedding is over.” Um, how about invest in your marriage? When weddings take more than a year to plan, the whole concept of marriage gets buried under layers of lace and tulle until it’s all but forgotten by brides and grooms.
  9. Marriage has become synonymous with weddings and vice versa. Have you noticed how I used the two words interchangeably throughout this piece? That’s the problem. A wedding should be a celebration of marriage—the start of something authentic and enduring. When a wedding takes precedence over everything else for a year or more, the marriage is not only secondary but subordinate. And if the wedding is this stressful, I cringe to think of the marriage that follows. I’ve had enough of this nonsense. If anyone needs me, they’ll find me at the open bar.
Julia is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia where she majored in English and French language and literature. She's engaged in an on-again-off-again French love affair (with the country itself) and has been crushing on French pop star Jean-Baptiste Maunier for about 8 years. When she's not writing you can find her rereading The Wizard of Oz or trying to run away with the circus.