I read an interesting article in the Novemnber issue of U.S. Catholic (as of today, the article is not yet on their website) on whether lavish weddings take away from the religious significance of the ceremony. Peg Conway presents the case that the modern marriage ritual needs some reworking with a greater emphasis on the sacramental aspects of the wedding. She encourages couples to take a more active role in the liturgy that accompanies their marriage - for example, doing the readings or bringing up the gifts, and perhaps going back to simply having two witnesses rather than an extensive wedding party. She even suggests having weddings be part of a normal Sunday liturgy much as baptisms are often celebrated. She says the cost of the average American wedding should be reduced because it is an unfair burden and not necessary.
I know even as I got married 9+ years ago, I lamented the cost. Although compared to many weddings, we did stick to a budget and my parents and my husband and I split the cost. I would have been perfectly happy with a very small wedding, but my parents really wanted to invite our extended family, and in a sense, it was their day, too, to throw a big party. Looking back, it is wonderful to have those memories and the photos to show our children. Getting married is a big deal and I think it should be celebrated, although obviously some people have gone way over the top with the whole celebrating concept. I do like Conway's idea of incorporating the bride and groom into the liturgy more as well as inviting the larger faith community to witness your marriage via Sunday mass.
What do you think of Conway's ideas? Please post a comment and let me know.