Culture Critique: Wedding Traditions Need to be Rethought

Weddings baffle me. First and foremost, why do people drop so much money on them? Someone please explain this to me — my email is in the byline. It is one day. The average wedding costs $38,700. $38,700 is more than 3 times my college tuition for a semester. 

But alas, I can’t write a whole piece about the idiocracy that is the price of a wedding, so I am going to write about some of the tired rituals that, in my unpopular opinion, should be taken out of these debt-inducing days of misery. Sorry if that offended anyone. Not really.

Garters. These small elastic bands used to be tied below the knee in the 18th to 20th centuries to hold up stockings. Then, somewhere along the way, someone (probably a man) decided that this piece of clothing should be taken up to the thigh, thereby introducing the idea to women that their thighs should have the same circumference as their calves. 

Then, whomever it was that made that decision said, “actually, let’s ditch the stockings all together,” thereby making this fetishable strip of lace devoid of any use besides facilitating the sexual fantasies of men. 

It gets better. 

This decision maker then topped his innovation off with the notion that it doesn’t have to be a fantasy at all. No, the now-husband will actually have the pleasure of getting on his hands and knees, and removing the nonsensical clothing article with his teeth, while he and the bride’s heavily intoxicated families get to watch. The groom then gets to fling the saliva and sweat-saturated fabric sample into a pack of his barking friends. As testosterone pumps through their veins, one of them will catch it. The lucky man might actually put it over his head and let out the wild scream of a rowdy fourth grade boy using his “outside voice” as he plays cops and robbers at recess.

Moving on.

Last week I gave away one of my Mars erasers to a girl in my art class that didn’t have a Mars eraser. It was my property and then I gave it away. Interestingly enough, fathers get to do that with their daughters that are apparently, much like my Mars erasers, pieces of property.

To whom are they giving their erasers ­— sorry — their daughters? The groom! The father slowly walks his daughter to her doom — sorry — groom. She can’t see, due to the veil, and she needs someone to keep her up, as she hasn’t eaten in weeks. She arrives, and is unveiled, finally able to take in the confused, nervous and sweaty man-child that she now belongs to.

Some weddings go above and beyond with bonus rituals like a “sand ceremony.” Ever heard of it? Maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to witness some sand mixing at a wedding that you yourself have been to.

Basically there are two jars of colored sand. One representing the bride, one representing the groom. The happy couple then pours their jar of sand into one big container. The symbolism here is that the bride and groom are now one. Having a sense of self is for sad, single people. 

You are now one colorful entity that can never, ever be separated. And if one day, you are contemplating a divorce … STOP! Look at your sand jar. Look at your sand jar and remember how difficult it would be to separate each individual grain of sand. Good thing you have your sand jar. You almost remembered you are your own person!

Love is beautiful. Marriage is beautiful. But why do people continue to spend loads of money on a day that may or may not go according to plan? And if you’re a fan of tradition, knock yourself out. But look at the traditions you’re engaging in and what they really mean. It’s never too late to start a new tradition with a better message.

About Ethan Eisenberg 49 Articles
Ethan Eisenberg is a third-year psychology major and this is his sixth semester on The Oracle. He currently holds the position of Co-Editor-In-Chief, having previously held the positions of Managing Editor and Arts and Entertainment Editor. He feels privileged to exist in and work for a space that has the potential to uplift voices that may not typically be heard; he feels his experiences in psychology and journalism neatly intersect to aid in this process. When Ethan isn't Oracle-ing (yes, he considers it a verb) he is a Research Assistant on the New Paltz Evolutionary Psychology Lab, the President of the Evolutionary Studies Club and a Course Assistant for the Evolutionary Studies Seminar. Outside of academia, Ethan enjoys watching horror movies and loving his friends, family and boyfriend, Jayden.