Lately, I feel like I’m being followed. Not by a person or even an animal, but by an idea. I just can’t seem to escape it. Everywhere I turn, I see weddings. I see them in movies, TV shows, songs, everything. Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it’s annoying. Just look at the frenzy created by a certain royal wedding — people got up at four in the morning to watch coverage of two people from a foreign country exchange marital vows.
Most girls dream of getting married one day. Some even start planning their weddings from an early childhood, which of course sets them up for big bridezilla meltdowns when their fairytale wedding dreams don’t exactly pan out. I have never been one of those girls. I have no idea where, when or how I want to get married. I don’t know if I will have a sweetheart neckline on my dress or whether it will have lace on it or what my “something blue” will be. Does that mean I don’t want to get married? Of course it doesn’t. Just not any time soon.
Even though it might sound like it, I am not picking on the idea of marriage, even though I’m sick of seeing it splattered on everything. I saw “Bridesmaids” and I thought it was hilarious. I read “Something Borrowed” and I thought it was a very nice little story. Of course people live happily ever after and of course people fall in love all the time. Both of my big sisters did. But people — especially girls — are so focused on the end result of dating — marriage — that they forget to enjoy their time as independent people. Aside from college and the single years to follow, there is really no other time when we can be completely devoted to making ourselves the best people we can be without worrying about anyone else — non blood-related, of course — in the process.
And no matter what, it seems we are inundated with the thought of marriage at every click of the remote. Think “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Shedding for the Wedding” and — the most horrifying of all — “Bridalplasty” in which contestants are actually required to go under the knife in order to win a dream wedding. These things not only make young women feel like they need to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their own weddings but also make women feel like they must measure up to an unattainable goal.
I think that people are still so shaken by the recession that they turn to things like weddings because of the happiness they are associated with. Weddings mean love, a big party and a special celebration with family. Weddings are great. What people are forgetting, though, is the process necessary to get to the rehearsal dinner and the big white dress. There is a whole progression of dating, of making connections, of meeting families and walking through a little bit of life together before the big day comes. And people like to have someone walking next to them — when times are hard, it’s so nice to have someone to lean on. However, this does not mean we should all race to the altar. That special someone will still be waiting and will step in when the timing is right.
In the meantime, I cherish my independence. Being constantly inundated with images of matrimonial bliss (largely a result of the film and TV industry) makes me cherish that independence even more, but it also can make it difficult for me to just sit back and enjoy being young and free — something that I want to last for a while.