Snigger

Caroline Lowsley-Williams of Chavenage House, an Elizabethan manor in the Cotswolds, is blunt about the strains of keeping the old place going by hiring it out as a venue. “I wouldn’t wish the wedding trade on anyone,” she laments. “We peaked one year at 37. It helped the cash flow, but that meant 37 mothers-of-the-bride to deal with. I’m keener on funerals. They have a shorter run-in time.”

9 comments on “Snigger

  1. Modern weddings make me come over all puritan: they’re often conspicuous consumption of the most obnoxious kind. I also wonder how often the cult of weddings puts men off marriage.

    Parents should find some other way of diverting funds free of inheritance tax to their broods, instead of these orgies of vulgarity.

  2. dearieme,

    There also seems to be a bit of a “reverse value” to the thing.

    The couple (and especially the bride) want a magical day, and to some extent, it’s a project, something people do when people get bored with each other today.

    My favourite wedding I went to was my sister-in-law’s. Registry office, cheap dress adapted by my mum, no fancy car, I was the wedding photographer, meal with about 30 of us in a hotel. Local disco. The whole thing cost them less than £2K, but was more fun than some that cost £40K. Plus they’re still together a decade later.

  3. The Stigler – “The couple (and especially the bride) want a magical day, and to some extent, it’s a project, something people do when people get bored with each other today.”

    I agree. And weddings used to have magic because they meant something. That the groom would be getting some sex at last. But also that it marked a stage in a person’s life as they moved from being children to adults. It reflected the idea that you had found someone special.

    Now they don’t. It is a piece of paper that means the groom will be paying child support and alimony the moment the bride is unhappy about the direction of her life. No more. So the spending is an effort to make it special – to make up for what we have lost.

    Naturally it won’t work. You can capture the magic of, say, a Lubbavitch Hassidic wedding by spending on a luxury country house. Marriage means something to them it no longer does to anyone else.

  4. I wonder if there’s an inverse correlation between the money spent on the wedding and the time it lasts. It would make a good bit of research for the silly season.

  5. Marriage is now a token gesture like parenthood. It certainly is nowhere as serious as the driving licence.

  6. @BwaB… From my experience (and I realsie that the plural of “anecdote” isn’t “data”) you’re probably right – especially when said nuptials are conducted at huge expense on a beach or similar in an exotic location. So far, of the several that I have knowledge of, none of them has lasted more than five years.

  7. “Her Majesty was filmed in a 2013 documentary chatting to the Prime Minister David Cameron in her private sitting room at Balmoral with just a £20 electric convector heater in the ornate fireplace to keep them warm”

    And she’d probably only had that brought in for his sake.

  8. @ Bloke with a Boat
    My anecdata would support that: at my sister’s wedding in 1968, the bride’s and bridesmaid’s dresses were homemade (elder sister was a brilliant dressmaker as well as one of the earliest female programmers), we walked to our church (it was less than 100 yards away so easier than getting in and out of a limousine), no hired suits (on the grounds that we all would need to buy new suits on leaving university), taxis to the reception in a tasteful but not flashy local hotel. Somewhat later, I paid for my own wedding (parents-in-law did volunteer to help but we wanted control, remembering my mother’s refusal to invite my second cousin to my sister’s wedding) – made a lot easier by masses of unrequested volunteer help (and some professional help at prices that were close to cost or, in the case of the choir and organist, nil) e.g. the churchwardens personally rearranged the chairs in church the previous evening, the curate arranged the reception at his squash club (to which we walked), a neighbour made the best wedding cake (I made a second-best one for the guests not invited to the reception, handed out with champagne by members of the choir, most of whom subsequently sang in opera). The only expensive wedding in my family (that of the other second cousin) was the only one that didn’t last. So that’s 70-odd years for two cheap weddings and less than one for the expensive one.
    Anecdata is just anecdata and none of this relates to the argument that paying stupid amounts for the wedding puts a stress on future relationships because the couple are stretched for cash, but

  9. john77 – “Anecdata is just anecdata and none of this relates to the argument that paying stupid amounts for the wedding puts a stress on future relationships because the couple are stretched for cash, but”

    But … ? Not Australian are you?

    I don’t think the causal mechanism would be stress on the future relationship. I would think it would be that among many people marriage is taken less seriously – but they still want their Special Day. So a focus on the wedding itself, on the ceremony, is evidence of a lack of interest in the marriage. They want to get married, not be married as the cliche goes. But a girl who agrees to a dirt poor wedding ceremony is someone who likes the groom and wants to be his wife. Thus is likely to stick around.

    So the sensible advice is to refuse to marry anyone who won’t do it on the cheap.

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