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Sat, Apr 19, 2014

INSIDE THE ISSUES: For richer or poorer?

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At least one survey shows that September is gaining on June as the No. 1 month for weddings.

Either more pregnant brides are gearing their nuptials to Labor Day because they have a warped sense of humor, or they are synchronizing the start of their married lives to the start of the federal fiscal year because they know the bills are coming … and coming … and coming.

College graduates find themselves burdened with increasing amounts of debt at the start of their professional lives because many times that is the only way they can pay for college.

But why do married couples have to find themselves burdened with any more debt than is necessary at the start of their lifelong adventure for one blessed day of ritual and recreation?

The wedding industry is a $120 billion pot of gold for caterers, limousine services, apparel stores, florists, musicians, jewelry stores and liquor stores.

Brides meet with an estimated 40 different businesses when they plan their weddings.

And the average cost of most weddings today is $26,800.

That’s in the ballpark with the average amount of debt a college graduate is stuck with after making off with the sheepskin.

Wedding marketers have swirled sentimentality, religion and partying into a spending spree that would lead one to believe that the American economy is thriving and the European economy is not leading the global markets down the toilet — or down the bidet, as it were.

And it’s all justified with the canard that a wedding is the day every little girl dreams about and that it must be so fairy-tale special that she can live on the romantic atmosphere of it all for the rest of her life.

Is it utterly impossible for a couple to have a wedding and reception that are simultaneously elegant, tasteful, poignant, joyous and celebratory without spending what  amounts to a year’s salary for some people?

Why does everything have to be overdone, overdecorated and overdressed for a kitschy spectacle that makes Graceland look Spartan by comparison?

I’m not suggesting that everyone should just slip on a pair of jeans, get hitched by the justice of the peace and make a beeline for the Hole-in the-Wall Hotel.

However, the extravagance some couples pour into an event that lasts only a few hours (when the wedding and reception are combined) is directly at odds with the counsel they surely received from parents, counselors and clergy about the need to be on the same page when it comes to finances.

So why get off to a bad start when the rest of the marriage is going to require tag-team economizing?

Is it any wonder that most marriages that end in divorce break up over money issues?

They shot their wad on one frilly, fluffy day instead of pouring it into a lifetime of food, clothing, shelter, children, transportation and other not necessarily romantic things.

If a wedding is to mean anything at all, it seems that it should mean something more spiritual than the usual material madness. The “for richer or for poorer” phrase in the vows shouldn’t necessarily have to start with “for poorer.”

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Inside the Issues
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Entertaining, Gina Logue, Shopping, Voices, Weddings
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