"Rev. Know-it-All" on caring more about your wedding than your marriage


#1

I was sent this advice column written by a priest, where he gives a tongue-in-cheek reply to a seemingly innocent question, which turns out to ring true for our society.

enjoy,


*Warning:: THIS EPISODE OF THE REV. KNOW IT ALL IS EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW. PLEASE READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE. THE REV. KNOW IT ALL IS NOT OPPOSED TO ALL WEDDING CELEBRATIONS. HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT YOUR WEDDING
WHICH WAS A TRIUMPH OF PERSONAL SANCTITY AND GOOD TASTE. HE IS PROBABLY JUST HAVING A BAD DAY.

Dear Rev. Know it all,

I visited your church once and am thinking about having my wedding there. How long is your main aisle?

Mary O’burne

Dear Mary,

I am often asked that question, and never quite understand it. Are brides curious about the length of the aisle because they think a longer aisle may give them a few more minutes to back out of the whole thing? Or, as I suspect, does a long aisle
prolong the glorious promenade of which a young girl dreams as she thumbs through bridal magazine as she contemplates her special day, when all eyes focus on her as she approaches her enchanted prince and all the world thinks she’s gorgeous and
knows that she has bagged her man just as surely as a Wisconsin bricklayer bags a deer and ties it onto the roof of his pick up truck? I have certainly seen a few grooms who look like a frightened deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.
Why is it that weddings cause people to spend so much time, energy and money? And more money.

The average American wedding costs almost $29,000, according to “The Wedding Report”, a market research publication. $29,000!” Oh, by the by, the usual donation to the church is about $200.00. That $200 goes to the church, not to the priest. The usual gift to the priest is a hearty handclasp. The usual cost of the photographer is
$2,000.00. All this tells me that the photographs are one hundred times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation. The usual fee for the DJ is $1,500.00. I am consoled by this. It means that painful,occasionally obscene music loud enough to cause brain damage is only 75 times more important than the grace of the sacrament.

You must be thinking why is this guy so down on weddings? I am down on some weddings because I am very “up” on the sacrament of matrimony and really in favor of marriage. That’s why the modern method of marrying and the wedding industry
make me crazy. They militate against marriage.

Here is the heart of my complaint. IT IS STUPID TO SPEND MORE TIME AND MONEY
PREPARING FOR THE WEDDING THAN YOU DO PREPARING FOR THE MARRIAGE!!! I have known people who are still paying the credit card bills generated by the wedding years after the marriage is over.

The Modern Method of Marriage, a Reprise. The following is taken from my own experiences and things people have told me (outside of confession, you’ll be glad to know.) Here goes.

A young man and a young woman meet and have a few dates. They go for a weekend at a bed and breakfast where they bed one another, and then have breakfast. If he isn’t too much of a jerk and she isn’t too picky, they are then an item. She goes to the doctor gets a prescription and goes on to a more permanent form of birth control. At some time during this stage, the uncomfortable meeting with the parents happens. Everyone is polite and “supportive.” Secretly the father of the young woman who knows exactly what’s going on, contemplates buying a gun and the mother of theyoung man begins gossiping with whomever will listen about how her little boy could do better.
After a while, if things hold up, they begin to have the conversation about taking their relationship to the “next level” by which they mean shacking up,
as we used to call it. Now, I think it’s called moving in together.

Mom and Dad buy housewarming gifts in an attempt to, once again, be supportive. They don’t want their little dears to hate them and besides, it’s what everyone is doing these days, so it can’t be wrong. They have vague thoughts about getting married at that point and mom explains to grandma and to friends at church that they are
just doing it to save money for the wedding. At this stage an engagement ring may appear. At some point, when they think about getting the house and the kids, because that’s what you do, they decide to have the wedding. They rent the hall and then go see the priest. He tells them there are four other weddings that day and they
respond, “but we’ve rented the hall already.”

Someone suggests a garden wedding if the church is occupied. The priest says we can’t do garden weddings. (More on this later.) The young couple begins to complain about how narrow minded the Church is with all these rules and regulations. They eventually pick a date. Then the bottom drops out.*


#2

*It seems the groom is not Catholic. He was baptized in the First Reformed Church of the Druids, though he never practiced. This means there must be a dispensation for the marriage,another irritating Catholic invention, and the wedding date cannot be confirmed until the dispensation is received. The bride goes back to her doctor, this time for a prescription for valium. Her mother joins her on this visit. Finally the
dispensation is granted, The groom’s druid will do one of the readings at the wedding, the loans are taken out, the banns are published. Then there is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The best man comes to the rehearsal drunk out of his mind, the groom only slightly tipsy. The bride is furious at everyone for some reason known to her alone. Probably because the groom is far more interested in drinking and watching the football game on hishand held computer thing than he is in gazing lovingly into her eyes in anticipation of the great day. In fact they haven’t been, well… friendly in weeks. It is, after all, football season.

The special day comes, the best man is still drunk, the groom is hung over, no one knew about that interesting tattoo that the maid of honor had way low on her back, now revealed by the plunging back of her dress that is held up only by wishful thinking. Grandma, upon reading the logo of the maid of honor’s tattoo, has fainted.

Somewhere in all this the vows are exchanged, and quite a few of the wedding party receive their first Holy Communion that day, however one of the ushers
puts the host in his suit pocket not having a clue what it is. (This actually has happened to me twice.) The pictures have been taken. The noise level in the church reaches that of an English soccer match after the riot has broken out. The children are jumping off the altar and the priest is scowling at everyone. Now on to the pictures in the forest preserve, a “must” at every wedding. There the wedding party is attacked by mosquitoes, one of the children falls into the lagoon and the bride is having a hard time smiling for the photos. The best man passes out. On to the reception.

The bride loses it because the shade of fuchsia in the floral center pieces clashes with the shade of fuchsia in the wedding party’s outfit. The groom adjourns to the bar where the game is on the television. The wedding dinner is served as music is played at a mind numbing volume. Grandma is better now. She has turned off her hearing aid. The priest is seated with the pious relatives in plaid suit coats and leaves shortly after the grace before meals. The best man makes the toast which drones on about how he loves the groom and one begins to wonder. The college roommate/maid of honor does the same for the bride, going on for fifteen minutes about how she knew the bride would find eternal marital bliss the moment she met her in the third grade and they have been like sisters ever since.

Then at some point, there is a video presentation of embarrassing photos not unlike the ones that are now shown at wakes. The bar opens up again.The music reaches levels that cause blood to drip from some peoples’ nose and ears. The joyous event ends with the bride and groom being the last to leave the hall. They are slow to go up to the room they have rented in the hotel because nothing new or beautiful awaits them there. The groom promptly falls asleep, being heavily sedated already, and, as he snores away, with his shoes still on, our blushing bride, having shed her dress of virginal white, thinks back on this day, her special day, the most important day in her life, the day she has dreamt of since she was a little girl.

They will stay an extra day at the hotel, but cannot afford the time or money to go on a honeymoon because on Monday they will both be back at work in order to pay off the colossal bill that their special day has incurred. For some reason, the bride is depressed. Perhaps she is realizing that the high point of her life is now past and the rest of it will be spent with the lump that is now snoring beside her with whom she has never really had a serious conversation, except about the proper shade of fuchsia for the floral centerpieces. So it is that we celebrate the marriage of Christ and His Church in these enlightened and tolerant times.

Remember, none of these things happened at your wedding, thank God and don’t think from reading this that I am down on marriage or even weddings. I love a wedding celebration when there is something to celebrate. Also, it is never too late to begin again by taking Christ and His gospel seriously.

PLEASE SPEND MORE TIME AND MONEY PREPARING FOR THE MARRIAGE THAN YOU DO PREPARING FOR THE WEDDING.

Yours,

The Rev, Know it all

P.S. Garden weddings. They look good in all the bridal magazines but they are just opportunities to feed biting insects and suffer from sunburn. It is however amusing to watch the bridesmaids sinking in the mud as they try, after a few margaritas to maneuver the newly laid sod in spiked heals. The bride is generally exhausted from not having slept for three weeks as she worries about the weather reports which are promising a 50 percent chance of typhoons and earthquakes that day. And destination weddings. Don’t get me started on Destination Weddings! You want to be married with just your closest friends on a beach in Maui. That means that Grandma can’t go because she hasn’t flown since the Hindenburg Disaster, and is thinking of cutting you out of the will, and all the friends and relatives who aren’t with you on the beach in Maui realize they aren’t very close to you after all. And I haven’t a clue how long the aisle is here at St. Dymphna’s.*
stumbleupon.com/su/2abGZg/fumare.blogspot.com/2009/10/read-this-before-you-get-married.html


#3

I got the message- don't marry during football season!
:D
God Bless
Rye


#4

Seems bitter but has a ring of truth. TBH I don't know why priests just don't refuse to marry people who don't understand it.


#5

Reading that made me laugh out loud, …and it was very sad as well.

I remember some of the weddings I attended with my parents when I was a little girl. The bride and groom came back to the bride’s house, where they sat and received guests who stopped in for about 1/2 hour or more, had a cookie or two and something to drink. That was it. Relatives and friends were in and out all afternoon. It was cordial and very pleasant. People brought, mainly, money gifts. Someone took pictures with their own camera, not a professional photographer.

If they did have a professional photographer, only about three pictures were taken, and they were black and white.

If someone in the family played guitar or violin then there was some music at the house.

I suppose the bride and groom had no bills pertaining to the wedding!


#6

I think there is a lot of pressure about weddings on all sides. Parents or grandparents want a church wedding. Magazines tell you that you have to have cute party favours. You are expected to invite a hundred relatives and feed them all.

Almost everyone I know who did a destination wedding did it to escape from all those crazy expectations, whether it was buying a $5000 or more dress, or parents insisting the wedding has to be a ceremony of a religion the couple doesn't believe in.


#7

When I got married in the late 1960's, it was the usual thing to have the ceremony, then a cake and punch reception in the hall of the church or whatever, everybody visited, and then they all went home. When did this elaborate, expensive, ridiculous business start anyway?
I had a great laugh and Rev. KIA, he is spot on to the way things frequently are now.


#8

Sorry…this type of discussion is somewhat of a sore spot. Not only was in married in NJ where the cost of living is ridiculous, I also have a rather large extended family with lots of cousins and young children and we’re all up in each other’s business. I had a large bridal party that was made up entirely of siblings. I always cringe a bit reading stuff like this because my wedding was was nothing short of beautiful…and yet was still considerably more expensive than the budget averages listed (and there certainly was room to get even more outrageous if we wanted to put ourselves in debt).

But that kind of warm, loving, family and friends, atmosphere that ran through it…no amount of money, large or small, will buy you that. You can throw a backyard reception and still make a fool of yourself. I’ve seen a variety of weddings ranging from expensive galas to clever and cute money savers…and I really *REALLY *don’t think money is as big an indicator for whether a marriage will thrive or fail.

What made or broke the mood was all about the atmosphere generated by the couple. The vast majority of the problems mentioned by the priest (even though it is tongue-in-cheek) could have been avoided if the couple and those involved with the party came in with a proper disposition. If people didn’t show up to the wedding rude, drunk, and angry, he probably could have gone to their expensive party and had a blast. :wink:

If the right attitude is in place, you’re in a better position to make decisions regarding money and as long as you approach the day with the proper disposition, who really cares how expensive or inexpensive your wedding is?


#9

yeah personally I think my wedding was more expensive than I would have liked, I would have been happy with cake and punch in the church basement. But I don't think having the hall and nice dinner and stuff is incompatible with also having a strong marriage. The wedding seems like something I did a long time ago, but being married and having kids is something I love more and more every day.

I once heard a priest say a good sign of trouble is when you have a fancy wedding reception, and the bride spends all of the time with her friends, and the groom spends all of the time with his buddies, and they don't spend much time together except for a few staged moments where they cut the cake, do the first dance, etc.


#10

I think having the right attitude or perspective on what is most important on the wedding day is what the priest in the OP is really getting at. I think some people in his audience would miss that if he didn’t concentrate on all the expenses incurred by most couples. I understand what you are saying, my wedding was probably a low ball park figure according to the costs the priest used, but I’m sure there would still be some people that would say some of the stuff we paid for was unnecessary. But when you’re trying to please two sides of family, and they are willing to pay for some of the stuff, you go with it.

My job though, and my husband’s, in my mind was to concentrate on the sacrament and preparing ourselves for our marriage vocation. That was the most important job either of us had. Everything else, was minor, including how little or how much either family wanted to spend for the extras.

I’ve been to low cost weddings and I’ve been to big galas, in either case, if the couple hadn’t put the sacrament of matrimony before any other planning, it was always “cheap”.


#11

Take out the word “fancy” and replace it with “frugal” and you still would probably have a good sign for trouble.


#12

He didn’t outright condemn expensive weddings, but did make the point that there is beauty in simplicity, and extravagance is not a virtue. He also makes the prescient point that there are only so many things you can worry about, and worrying about an expensive wedding often comes at the expense of caring less about marriage preparation.

Reverend has noticed the correlation between extravagance in earthly pleasures and barrenness in heavenly ones, and that is the main thrust of the article


#13

[quote="PatriceA, post:10, topic:254069"]
I think having the right attitude or perspective on what is most important on the wedding day is what the priest in the OP is really getting at. I think some people in his audience would miss that if he didn't concentrate on all the expenses incurred by most couples. I understand what you are saying, my wedding was probably a low ball park figure according to the costs the priest used, but I'm sure there would still be some people that would say some of the stuff we paid for was unnecessary. But when you're trying to please two sides of family, and they are willing to pay for some of the stuff, you go with it.

My job though, and my husband's, in my mind was to concentrate on the sacrament and preparing ourselves for our marriage vocation. That was the most important job either of us had. Everything else, was minor, including how little or how much either family wanted to spend for the extras.

I've been to low cost weddings and I've been to big galas, in either case, if the couple hadn't put the sacrament of matrimony before any other planning, it was always "cheap".

[/quote]

I know...and I completely agree. Just getting in my :twocents: pre-emptively...which may not have been the wisest move ever. :o

I guess I've seen too many discussions like this turn into some bizarre mirror image of the rich bragging about their expense and looking down on the little people and their quaint little gatherings...only it's the frugal bragging about their expense and antagonizing others for their extravagance. It's my opinion that both groups miss the point.

I do agree that the priest's point is to point out that it's important to look at the long road and look at planning the marriage as opposed the wedding. But it's so easy to say that this is an "extravagant wedding problem" when the problem isn't stemming from the party itself but the attitudes of the people planning it. Especially when the word "extravagant" is so subjective.

Take out the word "fancy" and replace it with "frugal" and you still would probably have a good sign for trouble.

Exactly. This is a problem that everyone must work on to fix.


#14

Although one or two of the things mentioned in the Rev's letter may have applied to my wedding, I'm quite glad for the ones that didn't. The part the really got to me was this:

*The joyous event ends with the bride and groom being the last to leave the hall. They are slow to go up to the room they have rented in the hotel because nothing new or beautiful awaits them there. *

While my wife and I were two of the last people to leave our reception (we were caught up in celebrating the day with friends and family we hadn't seen in years and honestly thought we were expected to stay until the end), we were overjoyed once we got back to our new house as man & wife (we passed on a hotel to save money), and, to be honest, spent most of the night just holding one another and talking about how excited we were to finally be married. During the following months & years, we got to witness friends and family go through what the Rev described. One friend ended up passed out in the bridal suite while his disappointed bride spent the night with one of her bridesmaids. Another couple drank so much at their reception that the bride passed out before it was over and the groom spent most of the night with his groomsmen playing drinking games. Still another set of friends had a private civil ceremony then had a reception for family and friends a few weeks later, after which the husband went to work. My wife and I were always glad that we'd waited until our wedding night, but seeing these friends and several others go through similar experiences helped shed even more light on how blessed we were.

We certainly had our struggles in the beginning, but my wife and I knew going in that the marriage was more important that any of the ceremony or preparations. A lot of the weddings we've attending in recent years, as pointed out, had things the other way around. Too many of them seem to pander to the individuals' egos while ignoring what's really important. And as far as preparations go, at the last wedding we attended, the priest called the groom by three different names throughout the ceremony, none of which were correct. :eek:


#15

[quote="Kit15, post:13, topic:254069"]
I know...and I completely agree. Just getting in my :twocents: pre-emptively...which may not have been the wisest move ever. :o

I guess I've seen too many discussions like this turn into some bizarre mirror image of the rich bragging about their expense and looking down on the little people and their quaint little gatherings...only it's the frugal bragging about their expense and antagonizing others for their extravagance. It's my opinion that both groups miss the point.

I do agree that the priest's point is to point out that it's important to look at the long road and look at planning the marriage as opposed the wedding. But it's so easy to say that this is an "extravagant wedding problem" when the problem isn't stemming from the party itself but the attitudes of the people planning it. Especially when the word "extravagant" is so subjective.

/QUOTE]

Yeah, I know. Read similar threads, felt the same way at times, like I had to somehow justify why we spent the money on the things we did because it wasn't everyone's cup of tea.

[/quote]


#16

Well my wedding only cost 3 pence and a button so I win! :p


#17

bump for other readers :cool:


#18

I found Rev. Father Know It All to be both hilarious and spot on!

One of my past pastors said he always noticed that the more time and money spent on the wedding ceremony, the more unstable the actual marriage proved to be.


#19

While my wife and I were guilty of some of what Rev KIA describes we were very glad that we could spend an order of magnitude less than the national average on planning our wedding - and half of that was on a honeymoon that was intended to be a once in a lifetime experience. (the averages typically exclude the honeymoon costs)

When inviting guests we deliberately omitted the full details of the reception, insisting that guests come to the Nuptual Mass before attending the wedding "breakfast", (with the exception of some of our more local work colleagues - especially my wife's colleagues who were working that day).
If you didn't join us for the Nuptual Mass you didn't get your belly fed either.

The Mass and especially the Nuptual Rite included specific traditional moments taken from the national traditions of both Ireland and the Philipines, (I'm Irish, and my wife is half Philipino, half Bajan)

Ironically, hiring a dance floor to go in the middle of the reception venue cost more than the venue itself!!! (we had been taking ballroom dancing lessons & wanted a dance floor for our 1st and 2nd dances)

While we did have a DJ, we also had invited guests to bring their own instruments & do a bit of a jamming session.

Food was a mix of traditional family favourites from the three nations of our heritages. It was the most expensive item, but as we lived in a town with no family we had to have it professionally prepared.

finding a caterer who would coop Philipino, Bajan and Irish food was dificult - but luckily we found a low cost venue that was ideal where the in house chef was happy to cook to our recipies.
What made it even better is that the venue was a de-consecrated church - the one where St. Thomas Moore had been baptised! The result was that the venue linked in beautifully with the clothing we had chosen which all had a subtle Gothic theme running through, but also maintaining the theme of putting God at the centre of our marriage.

Preparing for the actual ceremony did take a lot more effort than most people put into it, and I would highly reccommend
www.gettingmarried.ie
a website run by Dublin Diocese it contains resources for planning a catholic wedding ceremony.

The annoying thing was that after we used the resources on there to write our own catholic wedding vows our local priest turned around and objected - not on religious grounds but on the grounds that he thought they didn't meet the secular rules!!! (a quick word with the registrar sorted out the problems with only a tiny change!)

It was lovely having a moderate cost wedding - but I still had criticism from my family, as my brothers had got married for a sum of money just barely more than the cost of the registrars fees. (e.g. family cooked food served in a local pub that dosn't charge for hosting events, but we weren't able to do that & didn't want a reception in a grotty pub for the biggest day of our lives)
As all the family and most of our friends were travelling hundreds of miles we did need to feed them all.


#20

What about when the priest doesn’t care about the engaged couple? DH and I were married by a priest who just did not seem into Pre-Cana or anything relating to marriage. He even sent us “away” to another parish for a two day retreat type thing. When I see what others did prior to marriage, both on their own or with their priest, I feel like we were cheated out of something, or that we should have done more. I don’t feel as though DH and I were given proper instructions in how to be good Catholic spouses. Not just from the priest, but our families neither.

I can’t be the only one out there…


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