I don’t see weddings as an achievement even though I’m a wedding blogger

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Funny Marriage Congratulations Card alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
What, you want me to throw a party or something? Ok, fine, I will. Funny Marriage Congratulations Card by TrapCardStudio

There, I said it! If you've been an Offbeat reader for some time you now that I, Suki, wholeheartedly love weddings. I love the art of celebration, I love heartfelt vows, I love wedding dresses and dance floors and most of all, I LOVE love! And I especially love seeing people express their love in ways that are authentic to them, which is probably why I've been an Offbeat Wed fan since I was a sophomore in college (and now I write here, yay!). It's sincerely a joy and honor to experience and publish the incredible nontraditional weddings submitted to us by readers and vendors that proudly take the offbeat path.

But I don't consider weddings as an accomplishment

Ok, a marriage that you're proud of is certainly an accomplishment! Y'all went through a lot of shit together, which I believe merits a trophy or, at the very least, an all-inclusive vacation. But the act of getting engaged and married? Celebration, yes! However, the idea of praising someone for getting married makes me cringe.

This is not a new conversation, either. Offbeat Wed has discussed the patriarchy behind weddings and within the wedding industry since 2006. But even today, marriage is still placed on a higher pedestal than any success associated with careers, education, or other personal milestones.

alexandrite black gold ring alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
I plan to buy a ring for myself when I hit my career goals! Alexandrite Black Gold ring by WinterFineJewelry

Here's an example:

You post on social you got your dream job promotion! You get about 100 likes, mostly from your close community and people who've watched your journey to this goal. Versus…

You post on social that you're engaged! Woah, 200+ likes and counting. All of a sudden strangers, old bosses, and people from high school who haven't spoken to you in 10+ years are coming out of the woodwork. “CONGRATULATIONS!” “Who's the lucky bride/groom/partner?” “When is the wedding?” Suddenly people are interested and curious, and the dopamine from all the attention makes you think “Damn, I did something good here!”

But really, you posted something that people are conditioned to like and pay attention to. Thanks a lot, patriarchy and wedding industrial complex.

Another example of the patriarchy hard at work: My friend Stacy's parents (names have been changed) saved a whole-ass fund for her future wedding. When she came to them expressing that she doesn't see herself getting married (she'd rather elope anyway) and asked to use the money to start her own business instead, they refused.

red wedding dress alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Who says gorgeous gowns are just for weddings? Wear this when you get sworn into the bar, baby! Red Wedding Dress by FashionLaceDesign

Considering weddings as a life accomplishment is deep rooted

There's no escaping it. From government forms to doctors' offices, everyone seems to really, really care if you're engaged to be wed. You might even see this conditioning in places you least expect, like your college's alumni newsletter.

Every month I get a fancy magazine from my alma mater with a thick section of it dedicated to alumni news. Somehow, a massive wedding photo makes its way in there every time. Only one of the marriers pictured is an alumnus, although you would think that by the enormous amount of space the wedding photo takes up that every person pictured is an alumni who climbed Mt. Everest 60 times. The format is as follows: Alumni's name, what year they graduated, their partner's name, where their partner graduated (???), and what they both do for a living (?????).

What is the reason?! In between reading how my old classmate Shangela won a Nobel Peace Prize and Trixie Mattel, class of '18, found a cure for the un-curable, why would I care about this alumni's wedding and where their spouse went to school? They didn't even go here!

She Doesnt Even Go Here Mean Girls GIF by filmeditor - Find & Share on GIPHY

Apparently, publishing wedding announcements is a thing

I did a deep dive and learned that publishing wedding announcements in newspapers (remember those?!) is a common practice, but it wasn't always that way! According to a New York Times article, wedding announcements used to be considered un-classy until 1884 when Caroline Webster Schermerhorn and William Astor came along. On my own strange principal I do not give a fuck about the going ons of wealthy people, but to give you context this was like if someone from George Lucas' family (you know, the Star Wars guy) married someone from Beyonce's family. Anyway, the intention behind the Astor's wedding announcement was to literally announce the arrival of New York's newest influential elite class, the merging of old money (the Schermerhorns) with new money (the Astors). So basically, Gossip Girl, but make it 18th century. Since then wedding announcements that followed were intended to be a display of status, wealth, and success (duh!).

High School Power GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

And so begins the cycle

We get engaged. We announce it. We're met with attention and elation from our loved ones and society. It feels great! We're conditioned to believe this reaction is harmless and positive. We continue the cycle when we see the next wedding announcement, and the next, and the next. The younger generations grow up believing weddings are a goal to be accomplished, a baptism of sorts into being treated with respect and admiration, almost like getting your driver's permit. Society exacerbates this: seat upgrades if you tell a flight attendant you're on your honeymoon, free champagne if you get proposed to at a restaurant, or maybe your college alumni newsletter honors you with a two-page spread while So-and-so's Lifetime Achievement Award blurb is barely squeezed in. They'll throw you a surprise wedding shower with cake, but you'll only get a few text messages and maybe a bouquet when you pass the bar exam.

darkharvestrockyourrebellion 167 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Leave the eating of the beautiful tiered cake for wedding events? I don't think so. From these Halloween elopement ideas by Rock Your Rebellion Photography

So, should we be giving weddings less attention?

In the words of Ruth from Ozark, if you wanna stop me you're gonna have to f*cking KEEEELLLL MEEEEHH. I love engagements and weddings and I'll never stop making a huge fucking deal about them. But maybe, in addition, we can make more of an effort to make a huge fucking deal about other accomplishments too; new jobs, new business endeavors, academic achievements, pay raises (this person made an epic music video after she paid off her student loan debt), and even divorce!

Should weddings be considered an accomplishment?

What do y'all think of this? Do we have it in us as a society to celebrate other life accomplishments as hard as we do weddings? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And if you want to read more philosophical wedding-related musings, check out our philosophy archive.

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Comments on I don’t see weddings as an achievement even though I’m a wedding blogger

  1. This is so true and a bit frustrating! I didn’t really care about getting married but I wanted to have a party, a nice dress, and photos… So we got married! I’m certain nobody would have travelled to a location and celebrated with us unless it was a ‘wedding’. An all-about-us party just doesn’t get people excited the same way ?

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