Even before I knew what polyamory or any other type of non-monogamous relationship was, I was invited to many weddings. Fairly quickly I understood the general idea:
You receive a stylish invitation in the mail, to which you become obligated the moment you open the envelope. You mark the date in your calendar and are forced to go against your will with a check to an event to which you have been invited in order to cover the cost of the wedding, because if you are not close family, nobody cares how you are feeling anyway. Your job is to give the check, preferably a healthy sum, to cover the cost of the wedding (you can even mail it).
Don’t misunderstand me. It really is a great experience to meet your extended family, but the whole ceremony, with the ridiculous white dress that costs the earth, is the most banal thing possible on the day monogamous people consider as the most important day of their lives.
A huge, profitable and prosperous industry has developed around the wedding day, including catering, photography, music, a dress, a suit, bar services, invitations, design, hairdressing, nail extensions and, of course, the ring.
The happy couple wants a wedding that they will remember forever, because “you only get married once”. Planners exploit this opportunity to offer the happy couple an abundance of attractions that will leave the guests speechless. Here is a partial list: a Hollywood wall, harp playing, violinists, a pianist, dancers, huge dolls, luminous printed heart brooches, fire acrobats, living statues, a video drink bar, a fireworks avenue, fireworks, confetti, doves, balloons, slow dance, exploding balloons, harp and violin music, a laser tunnel, a huge bubble, huge flower circles, 8-meter-high flowers, flower columns, a fireworks circle, heavy smoke and dry ice, bubbles, confetti, balloons that glow in black light, alcohol on wheels, a balloon artist, photo magnets, an active sweets bar, a passive sweets bar, body paintings that glow in black light, a LED robot, a drum circle, lasers, dancing bottles of alcohol, a flip book, a package of fluorescent accessories for the event, and the couple may give souvenir gifts to the guests.
50% of married couples in the United States divorce
After the reception, the bride and groom arrive in a fancy car decorated with hearts to the wedding venue. They enter the venue accompanied by cymbals and drums or on a white grand piano or perhaps on a white boat; others will enter inside a huge heart or via an avenue of huge flowers, and those going overboard will enter in an Egyptian or Greek carriage or a fairytale carriage to the sound of cheering by family members and close friends, while the other guests stand at a distance, waiting for the meal…
After the ceremony, the guests are invited to return to their tables, showering forced praises on the bride’s amazing dress (reminiscent of the Emperor’s New Clothes) and waiting for the waiter to bring the menu, which includes only three main dishes, reduced and economical, but everyone will tel you that they cost a fortune! After you have eaten without being full, you will be invited to dance on a flashing LED dance floor with a DJ and deafening music. This is also the time when your relatives ask you questions of the sort you would prefer they didn’t ask, such as when are you getting married? Somehow you manage to evade the embarrassing questions using some white lies and smiles, and then you realize that you have fulfilled your duty to participate in the wedding and you are filled with pride. All that’s missing is the family photo and that’s it; now is your chance to say goodbye and make your escape.
More than 20% consider alternatives to a monogamous relationship.
I wonder why married couples punish themselves with such ostentatious weddings.
The answer seems to be out of fear. It would be better if our desires, aspirations and dreams shaped our future, but unfortunately the strongest emotion or at least the longest dominant one is fear, in this case the fear of being different, the fear of social criticism when you have a modest wedding with few guests and certainly the fear of thinking outside the box and having a non-monogamous relationship. They simply would not dare – it is taboo!
The monogamous wedding is an extreme product of the monogamous culture that rules our lives, in which our freedom to love is restricted and replaced by the illusion of “the one”, “the knight in shining armor”, making us think that we will still love the same pepperoni pizza we love today twenty years down the road.
It is the illusion of monogamous love that provides justification for having an ostentatious wedding and seeing it as a dramatic event.
How is it with us?
We polyamorists also celebrate a new love, but not at the start but during the relationship. Some polyamorous partners may celebrate the period of time they have been together, such as one year or a decade, and this is also true for monogamists. However, I don’t think that polyamorists would have a big, sumptuous once-in-a-lifetime event such as a wedding, because the emphasis is on the quality of the relationship between them and not on what they are expected to do. For polyamorists, a wedding is not and cannot be an eternal act, as they recognize that love is dynamic and infinite. Technically speaking, we have several partners, and just as you do not throw a dramatic event when you buy a new car or a new apartment, as if this is the last car or apartment you will ever own, but rather you are content with a modest housewarming party, this is also how we view a new partner who comes into our lives. It can be a colorful and exciting event, but without all the drama.
Finally, research has shown that the more monogamous couples spend on the wedding, the lower the chances of their marriage’s survival.
Note: The article is based on my experience attending Jewish weddings whereby the average cost of such a middle-class wedding is 30,000 dollars.