Although societal mores have seemingly conspired to escalate the costs of weddings with each successive generation, the financial problems and overwhelming credit card debt totals of United States citizens have finally started to alter perceptions toward a more practical approach. Not that we’ve entirely done away with Disney princess themes or hand-carved ice sculptures costing exorbitant amounts for prospective spouses barely living paycheck to paycheck, but cultural commentators agree that a new spirit has taken hold. “More and more, new couples are looking back to the age of their grandparents for ideas about how to manage a ceremony without breaking the bank,” says Moira Stannich, wedding planner, internet guru, and author of “Not Always For Poorer: Wedding Debt Relief”.
“Nowadays,” Stannich continues, “with so many brides and grooms as worried about having to avoid bankruptcy as having to dodge divorce in their first couple of years together, there’s been a real sea change concerning just how young Americans come to look at the whole presentation of betrothals. You can see it in the number of soon-to-be spouses opting to wait out a formal proposal until they finish their own debt settlement negotiation. It’s slowly but surely ticking back to the time in which a man would never dare ask a lady’s hand in marriage until he had a good, solid fiscal footing upon which to care for a family. From the wedding planning community, we’ve been counseling extended engagements since virtually day one, and, speaking for myself, I couldn’t be more delighted to witness a return to the old traditions.”
What are these old traditions? While, of course, the trend seems to be dominated at first glance by fashion — specifically, a simplified form of the classic wedding dress, brides often preferring to buy vintage ensembles from specialty boutiques — the surrounding philosophy has filtered down toward an overall transition that embraces uncluttered and realistically oriented affairs that keep one eye focused on credit card debt relief while abandoning none of the romance (and, perhaps, even enhancing some elements). Half a century ago, the ordinary American wedding was conducted within a church or household parlor for little more than a few handfuls of relations and well-wishers. There would have been food served, but nothing more exaggerated or costly than what would have been expected from a normal Sunday afternoon party featuring several guests. Those halcyon days, the price of the average ceremony was roughly ten percent of the current eye-popping estimates, and, not only did the concept of credit card debt relief barely exist, the statistics for divorce within the first year of marriage was nearly imperceptible.
“Although the traditional strategy does eliminate some of the pageantries every young bride — and many of the grooms, as well, more than they’d like to admit — may dream about, in her heart of hearts, there’s something so welcoming and earthy about a simple ceremony within the bosom of close friends and family. Leave aside the needs for debt relief, even the most well-to-do couples are now gravitating toward this idea, and, though their great rooms and backyards maybe that much grander, the notion’s the same. Scaling back costs and plans concentrates the energies of everyone involved upon wishing the best for the blessed union and reminding all invested parties of the undying bonds to be forged through the marrying of two souls.”
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