Princess Weddings

Last week’s blog post brought on a flurry of conversation in the comment section about choosing appropriate reading and audio visual material for the very young reader. I spent the week reading and chatting and visiting other blogs and links dealing with this topic. When I reviewed all of the comments under my original post last night, I noticed something. No one really said anything about how Β girls and young women are affected by the advertising that makes them long for that prince to come along and

1. sweep her off her feet

2.present her with the most enviable and lustrous of diamonds and

3.share in that one perfect day with her. The Wedding Day.IMG_6901

I wondered if my question somehow got lost amidst the opinions and ideas about children’s literature. But those girls in their long white dresses up on that stage singing “Someday My Prince Will Come” right in the middle of my post were hard to miss. So, I’m opening it up again to any views or comments on this somehow misplaced topic and I wait with an open mind for thoughts from the older generation, the boomers, the millennials, anyone out there who has had or longs to have some type of “Wedding Experience” to tell me about it. Men, you are welcome in on this conversation, be you princes, ogres or just plain ole beloved boyfriends or hubbies. All perspectives are valued.

 

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132 thoughts on “Princess Weddings

  1. My observation is that the bridal industry has learned how to manipulate images and emotions better than Hollywood. Ever see “Bridezilla” or “Just Say Yes To The Dress”? Add to that Prince Charming songs & movies, which encourage young girls to have unrealistic relationship expectations, and you get shallow relationships with perfect weddings. Which is all that matters, right? πŸ˜‰

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    1. I’ve never seen either of those. I tend to stay away from reality TV, but even the title “Bridezilla has awful connotations. I do feel ads to be manipulative, but that is the nature of the beast and I’m not sure how we as a society can counter that or even fell the need to???? The Hollywood connection is a whole other thing. The millions that celebrities spend on weddings is shocking, particularly for the amount of time some of their marriages last. Thanks, Ally. your points have brought even more for me to ponder on this topic.

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    1. I would love to hear the opinions and experiences of anyone reading this post. I’ve had some experience of weddings throughout my life and I married at age 50. Charley, my husband, wanted to throw a party, so we did and it was simple and lovely. I’ve felt that advertising can be manipulative now-a-days, but maybe others don’t feel that way. And since many of the people who come to visit me here and comment are from other countries, maybe their ads are not geared toward selling the Perfect Day to girls? I thought it would be interesting to hear what they have to say.

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  2. Marriage centred about the wedding day and the prince to come? And diamonds ad a pretty dress and be swepy off one’s feet? Pah! This is saccharine or sugar or marshmallow or whatever, but this no truth. Marriage is based on a solid relationship, mutual confidence, shared interests, things that last. Marriage is not one day. Lots of people cannor afford diamonds and they haveno importance, as a pretty dress has no importance but is mere ill-spent money. A husband has to be worn everyday – as Beatrice tells the Prince, who she refuses, in Much Ado About Nothing; Let’s be realistic and tell girls that wedding may or may not happen, marriage is not a goal, partnership neither. Sometimes love happens but it not a goal. A woman may be very happy by herself, fulfilled. And to be fulfilled and happy is the most important thing. The rest is just “pah!” πŸ™‚

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    1. Camille, I agree. I never intended to marry, but at age 50 met someone I knew would be a wonderful partner.Beatrice had a mind of her own, as did I, and that quote is perfect for explaining the day-to-day life after the wedding festivities. Marriage can be such a difficult set of hurdles to jump and not being prepared for them often results in giving up before the race even be begins. Sadly,so many marriages in the US do not last beyond a few years.How do we counter the false images in ads and television that are being given to girls with the wisdom of people who see through them?

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      1. Same for weddings ending in divorces in France. And yet, couples live together and even have children before being actually married! As to being married or being fulfilled only hen you are married or in a partnership, it is something still too much in the minds of girls and women. Feminism has not changed everything. And why should it? Should people think a bit, they would see that marriage has nothing to do with love and/or reproduction: it is only a social institution – including Church marriage.

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      2. I went to college at the dawn of feminism and had high hopes for women moving toward a future ripe with equal opportunities. But everything seems to have moved slowly and I think women have become their own worst enemies in many respects. They are more educated but what good is that if they are so accepting of the manipulative ways that surround us today. Methinks they do not protest enough!

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      3. Iwas raised by a mother and grand-mothers who had read Simone de Beauvoir and Le Deuxième Sexe, then Hélène Cixous or Elisabeth Badinter. They were educated women, married, had raised their children; the great-grand-mother I remember was very modern for her times as well, but had educated her children. Anyway, they all had a streak of independence and there was equality in their couples. I think these couples were partners first. At the same time, these were women who had gone through wars with husbands sent away. And my mother had taken all decisions when my father was posted abroad in some part of the world where women and children were not welcome. Probably these circumstances made them more independent. They developed their abilities and personalities not through dreams but (sometimes harsh) reality. And transmitted their experience to their daughters!
        I belong to a feminist online reading group where I find some of the women (almost all intellectuals) too strident for my taste. But what comes again and again in their discussions is the fact that their students (most are university teachers/professors) are less feminist than they were and do not fight anymore to be respected.
        It seems to be rather what you are saying…

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      4. Yes, and that worries me. A complacency appears to have settled in. I think I would prefer some stridency as opposed to this. Also, I think your insights on women who have experienced war and hardship very important to any discussion on feminine viewpoints.

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      5. Feminism ebbs and flows like the tide. The pendulum swings between stridency and complacency. What we called feminism has changed into something quite different. The important thing is to keep talking about it.

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      6. Emotions play such a large role in both discussions we’ve been having – appropriateness of children’s lit and subliminal messages of ads and fairy tales on girls. I think the latter is much more complicated to deal with in this day and age.

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  3. I don’t remember longing so much for a prince as a partner. My parents made sure my sister and I went to college and learned to be independent. Hubby didn’t buy me an engagement ring till we’d been married awhile and getting married was more important than the wedding itself. I have seen that change in my sons’ generation. The diamonds are huge, the dresses expensive and the receptions and honeymoons lavish.

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    1. Your parents were wise to impart a message of independence in their daughters. And your remark about a partner as opposed to a prince shows their daughter to have inherited this trait. Back in the 60’s all my friends and cousins were rushing to get married right after college and some of those marriages have lasted. But today, even though girls are marrying later, they don’t seem to be wiser for the added “think time”. So much is said about the amount of debt being incurred from college loans. How are they affording these weddings or are the parents enabling all of this? Why?

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      1. Oldest son and his wife paid for their own wedding, or most of it πŸ˜‰ we paid the bar bill, her parents bought her dress and we paid for some hotel rooms so all the kids/grandkids could be there. Son and DDIL did have exactly the small, casual destination wedding they wanted and it was lovely. I think some parents want to control the guest list and are willing to pay a lot. Would I have preferred they get married close to home so all our friends could have gone? Yes, but it wasn’t the parents’ decision to male!

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      2. Ah, yes, the Bride’s Day. I’m a bit sensitive in this area because my stepdaughter rationalized that since it was her perfect day, no one else needed to be considered. Many people were really hurt badly, including her dad. And I had to sit back, and watch it all unfold. When I think back on it, I should have stepped forward and said something early on, but I didn’t. Shame on me!

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      3. I’m a stepmom to 3 and its very hard to know where you fit in! Two of the three steps have married and were very nice about things, the ex-wife, not so much! It is tough. It was even tricky when my son married cause when you’re the groom’s mom your role is pretty small. DDIL invited me to go pick out the dress, which was so sweet. My basic take, though, is that nowadays the brides and grooms pay for more, control more and don’t really worry about other people’s convenience as much as we did. I pretty much did what my mom wanted for my wedding. But I don’t think I cared that much either!

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      4. Ah, the ex – Don’t even get me started on that! I get it! Bit it’s the not caring about other people’s feelings, especially people who have loved them through their lives, that really bothers me. The whole self-absorption of some brides is mind boggling.

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      5. True, but it would appear the person with the conscience ends up being the white elephant in the room and unfortunately it follows that there isn’t enough room for an elephant with a conscience.Since then, I’ve become more vocal and although it has not been welcomed, I feel so much the better for it.

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      6. Yes, there always seems to be someone fanning the sparks, trying to set a fire and then crying foul when someone yells “Arsonist”. I’ve learned from experience to look in my heart and do the right thing early on. It makes for less pain in the long run.And being a “Grumpy old Woman” gives me a perfect excuse for being less than discrete.

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  4. Somehow I missed your first post, so had some catching up to do!
    I started reading to my kids when they were very young, and naturally I wanted them to hear the stories I grew up with. But many of them, especially the fairy tales, bothered me greatly. Nothing to do with the darkness or violence, but with exactly what you mention — the girl’s greatest hope in life was to marry a handsome man. Only then could she be happy.
    There was another lesson too — it was the soft-spoken, dutiful child who was lifted up as being best. Always humble, never demanding, always doing exactly what she was told. And naturally this was the little girl who in the end would have the happiest life by (obviously) winning the prince.
    I still have my collection of Hans Christian Andersen tales — I think I read two to my kids before giving up on them.

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    1. Yes, I have a beautiful collection of Hans Christian Andersen along with elaborate illustrations. I’ve read the stories often, myself. They are lessons on life and by the time I bought the books for myself, I was ready to read them with a cautious eye.I must have always been the critical, doubting type, even as a child, because the messages about princes had no effect. That is why I’m so curious to hear what others feel on this topic. That message about the quiet, accepting, giving little girl is still being doled out to us, wholesale, whether we realize it or not. Some are not buying it, though. I think I would love to do a post on that idea. I probably would use The Giving Tree and my own thoughts on that allegory, reading it for the first time as an adult.

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      1. I read an article not that long ago about how children who are demanding, obstinate, in short – brats, actually have a greater likelihood of being successful adults. So the mild-mannered compliant child, while easier on parents and teachers, may not be what we want?

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      2. Nothing wrong with being mild-mannered and compliant but on one’s own and equal terms. I was one such child and adult for many years. Only now am I finding a way to live my independence and equality. I ascribe to the view that feminism is looking at the world through BOTH eyes. I think it was Gloria Steinem who said this. When you look carefully at gender inequality you can see that society as a whole is the poorer for it.

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      3. Having both male and female voices in on any conversation is a boon and the resulting balance can only make for better decisions. I feel the world will be a better place when there are more females at the conference table helping to enlighten through both eyes.

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  5. Your remark in one of your replies to a comment about the lavish weddings of celebrities made me wonder if that is what makes non-celebrity brides want what they see others having? I don’t understand the need or desire to spend thousands on a dress and all the things which now appear to be essential on the wedding day. If I had that much money to spend I think I could find many other uses for it – down payment on a house for instance.
    My own wedding was a simple event, which we paid for ourselves, with close friends and family around us and it was lovely – off-the-peg dress and all. Maybe it’s an age thing and I’m just turning into a grumpy old woman!
    I don’t think today’s need for an expensive fairy take wedding comes from story books but from an enormous and highly manipulative wedding insdustry.

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    1. Yes, I’m thinking that, too. Yet these extravaganzas are happening every day and it appears middle class parents are taking out second mortgages to finance them. Why. I’ve wondered if intact it could be the mothers living vicariously through their daughters or the fathers wanting to show they can give their daughters a better extravaganza than the guy next door did for his??? Where is this money coming from? Why is it so out of control? Who is supposed to be imparting the values of creating a healthy, happy, satisfying relationship in which to thrive or to bring up a family (should one choose to have children together). It is a real conundrum to me. An important topic society should be dealing with on some level, I feel.

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    2. I though that nowadays most couples paid for their own weddings, particularly as here in NZ they tend to have been living together for a while – sometimes a long while – first. Maybe it’s different in the US?

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      1. Oh, no. The entitled ones feel duly entitled and parents(especially the girls’) are still paying for all if not part of the costs even before they’ve finished with their children’s expensive college loans. It never ends in the US! Too much media and manipulation.

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  6. I suspect there’s a difference between the importance marriage has in the original versions of the folktales and it’s importance in the schmaltzy movie versions, though I’ve scarcely ever seen the later. The songs sound bad enough. Clare, I didn’t even look at the video clips you posted!

    I don’t think we can blame the stories for what we’ve done to them. (Well, I say “we” but it’s mainly Hollywood – I can’t think of a European movie that treats the tales in the same way.)

    In the original versions, marriage often arrives at the end as a wrap-up happy ending after our heroine or hero has demonstrated their true worth. (Yes, the boys get to marry Princesses.) True worth involves things like humility, patience, courage, and kindness to the aged and to animals – who, in return, display power to reward. So, our unprepossessing heroine or hero sets out (or is driven out) on a journey of growth and self-discovery and finds her or himself transformed by the end.

    Of course, that’s only one type of tale; many don’t include marriage at all. Some end sadly, though without false sentiment. And I don’t like analysing them too much because it destroys their potency, usually conveyed through vivid imagery.

    As for the inane culture around marriage, specifically weddings, today? And people who are famous for being famous? I just don’t get it. Well, I do. Consumerism. Narcissism as a product. Why so many girls and women seem to be buying into it bewilders me. But that may be marketing, too. I’m sure most don’t.

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    1. Allegories and such tales are potent teaching tools and when understood for their underlying messages can do much good. As to this inane culture – Yes, why are women buying into all of this? Are we truly becoming a nation of narcissists? Hide the mirrors! PS I really did love the video with the children’s choir – added it in at the last moment.

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      1. I remember years ago, a psychologist explaining this wedding obsession as a symptom of the lack of self esteem in our young women and their need to have one day where they can be the center of attention and in total control. Now, that is truly a cause for much angst in my opinion. What are we doing that leads to low self-esteem in our young women? Or better yet, what can we do to give them a better sense of self? I think the comments on feminism touches on this.

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      2. Mmm .. that’s a curly one. I need to think about that because I’m not sure I agree it’s lack of self esteem. Your comment about narcissism rings truer for me given the culture of celebrity worship that exists. So interconnected.

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      3. I have two daughters and one grand daughter. I see my girls as far more confident than I was. But I also see the expectations they have of themselves as being far greater too. Perhaps not being the superwomen they aspire to may lead to feelings of inadequacy?

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  7. I don’t have a daughter so I won’t have to sit her down and explain why her father and I are not going to take out a second mortgage to pay for her wedding. Actually, if I had a daughter I hope she wouldn’t want the extravaganza! Like you, I feel it has got out of control but I don’t know how we begin to reverse it.
    I know someone whose marriage only lasted a few days – turned out his ‘wife’ had only wanted the wedding, not the marriage. It was in church, too!

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    1. I have two step-nieces whose marriages didn’t last 6 months, but they kept their wedding gifts and their parents continued to pay the bills accrued. I didn’t have children either and thought I would avoid the whole wedding fiasco. But marrying a man with two grown-up kids, alas it was not to be! What is happening and how do we fix it?!

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  8. The culture of entitlement is creeping in here too, though not specifically with girls. It seems a case of a pendulum having swung too far. Immigrant settlers looking for a better life for themselves and their children develop a belief system of, “I’d like to see my children well-educated, have access to better medical treatment for the family, maybe even own our own home…and here those things could be achievable. With hard work, why can’t we have the things we want?”

    That’s fine.

    But now it seems to be morphing into a belief system of, “If I want it I can have it, and if I can have it, then I’ll have it right now.” Regardless of how unrealistic the expectations are, and the debts incurred along the way.

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  9. I have a son – he’s gay and at the moment not keen on the idea of marriage. If he changes his mind, I don’t imagine he’s going to want an extravaganza πŸ™‚
    I can’t help feeling some of the parents have to take part of the blame. Maybe they are the ones who need to change their attitudes?

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    1. You’re welcome, Robyn. It has help me in working out some of the issues I’ve been dealing with in the last few years. I really did intend to write a lighter post this time, but I just couldn’t let it go until both questions were discussed. Next post will be on the lighter side. Maybe Roxie will jump in???

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  10. It seems the wedding and all that goes with it becomes more important than the relationship between the couple that are getting married. Unfortunately, weddings have become BIG business because of the desire to keep up with the Joneses; and unfortunately some of those marriages don’t last.

    Times have definitely changed, even the wedding gowns, etc. It is too bad that something that should be sacred between two people can turn into a major showing of tastelessness and wealth.

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    1. It is all about the show and therefore all about the money. And for only a few hours time. The short-sightedness amazes me. It is a day to be celebrated with family and friends and it’s steeped in tradition, but it would be difficult to find the sacredness you speak of amidst much of the superficiality.

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  11. Oh my goodness, Clare! From all the comments, you obviously struck a nerve here! Girls are so programmed by the “princess” cult- (yes, I did!) that they are done a disservice. They can’t recognize real love when they see it, because mister regular guy doesn’t ride in on a white charger. He just gives his life for her daily, by going to work, and thinking of her needs first. But since that’s not lauded, he goes unrecognized and appreciated so much of the time.
    Don’t get me started! (Well, I guess I already am.)
    Extravagant weddings make me sad. It’s all about the money and show. But, they’ve neglected to give any thought to the MARRIAGE. All the planning, and Preparation was for the WEDDING. I was guilty of that myself the first time around, but I spent less than $7,000.00. (Poor girl problems! lol)
    Anyways….. I think you have plenty of feedback here for several more posts!!
    Lucy

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    1. Lucy, I believe ours cost $5,000.00 for everything including my dress and his suit. He had 2 kids in very expensive colleges at the time, so forget about putting ourselves first for a very long, long time. He went to work the next day.
      It was more of a party than a wedding. Charley wanted his family and friends to know he was finally OK after what his ex had done to him (Way before I came on the scene). He had some pretty bad years after that betrayal. So, he wanted a celebration. I didn’t, I’m not much for large parties. But I felt he should have his day in the sun and he loved it.
      Yes, there have been quite a few conversations going on, but not a one word from the much younger bloggers and I really would love to have had their input without the hindsight we all have. Hmmmmm? You know, I really only intended this to be one post on a serious topic and then jump back in with the lighter stuff, but it became so interesting that I wanted to know more about what others were thinking. Love, Ethel

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  12. Wow, I’m loving the conversation going on here, ladies! My kids are teenagers (a boy & a girl) and through the years we have seen the insidious (to borrow a word from a previous comment) role of consumerism. When the kids were little, we were amazed and dismayed at some of the huge birthday party extravaganzas they were invited to. A kid could literally have 20 friends at a party, resulting in a stack of presents that in our humble ways, totally eclipsed Christmas morning. If that kind of lavish attention is being bestowed on a kid at age 6, then of course by 15 they have a Mustang promised to them for when they turn 16. So naturally, their wedding day — the pinnacle of having arrived in adulthood? — has to be so completely over-the-top. Then throw in the social media pressure, and of course, what else can you do but hire a celebrity photographer to capture the stunning visuals of multiple scene & outfit changes? And that’s just for the “Save the Date” invites. In all the pressure/expectation of real (or imagined) competition for attention, are we losing sight of the fact that, as others have pointed out here, that the hard work of lasting love, of a truly committed relationship, is quite pedestrian? It’s hanging up wet towels, taking turns cleaning the kitchen, sensing when a snarky comment really means that the other person is dealing with a thorny issue at work.

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    1. Nancy, welcome to our ongoing discussion which all started with a comment on Russ Towne’s post about a song from Frozen. It just got me to thinking and I wrote a post and it has spiraled into some great conversations.
      Ah, yes, the children’s birthday extravaganzas and the gifts and the expectations.Insidiousness at its best or worst!
      It just never ends unless, as you point out, it’s recognized for the manipulative thing it is and clipped in the bud immediately, if not sooner. I think you’ve hit upon the solution.
      And I really love how you speak to the reality of day-to-day married life and the work involved in maintaining a solid relationship. Thanks for joining in ….Clare

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      1. The Spectacled Bean found my blog the same way which then led me to her blog. It’s nice how it all interconnects.I guess that’s why my subtitle is now “Conversations with Kindred Spirits”. When I first started it was “Conversations about Storytelling and Reading With Children”, but after taking WordPress 101, I branched out. This is the first post in a while on the old topic.I have so much catching up to do with You and Bean, but I know I’ll enjoy the reading. Thanks, Nancy. I’ll visit you very soon. Clare

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  13. Not sure if this is what you want but my thought is girls build up these fairy tale thoughts as I did and then it doesn’t end up being at all what they thought! They put all of their efforts into one special day and then reality hits!

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    1. I was hoping for personal insight and experiences and yours is a valued one. I think many girls did think that way years ago. Then people realized they could make big money using this knowledge. I believe this has evolved into a multimillion dollar business centered on manipulating and convincing young women that this is the way it should be and the bigger the better. Celebrities are feeding into the whole thing, sending the message” enjoy your big day and don’t worry about the future”. In your case, Lynn, you tried so hard to make it work through the years and you always put your children first. I’m not seeing that in today’s marriages where the bride starts out demanding her perfect day at great cost (monetarily and emotionally) to others.

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      1. Thanks Clare and yes I do feel girls are being lead down a rosey path, one day does not change your life or a bad relationship. I find many women are in a hurry to have that special day at any cost and in the end reality can be bitter! Lots of debt left and tons of potential problems. I hate to be corny but making a life time committment and doing what works for both parties on that day is key, whether that means just saying I am committed to you or walking down a beautiful path or just sitting in a chair haha

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  14. I fear that many women get swept along by the idea of a fairytale wedding. The cost alone is quite terrifying with couples saving for years to afford the wedding of their dreams instead of enjoying a simple day where they commit to their future together and then get on and work at it. The statistics speak for themselves because 2 in 3 of those marriages will end in divorce. I don’t think, however that the dream is sold in childhood, I think it is a cynical industry that works on the competitive instincts of young women past dreaming of being a Princess but terrified of not having every detail of the day point perfect ….

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    1. Yes, The media is really selling a bill of goods to young women and they are buying it wholesale at great cost. I have another post which will conclude this topic, about Charley’s and my experience with his children’s Princess Weddings.
      But I think I’ll do something a little lighter this weekend. Hunker down, a New England storm is expected this weekend.Stay warm.

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      1. Sounds like a good plan to me …. both the posting schedule and the snuggling in. Two Brains is off to Chile tonight so it’s just The Bean and I for a week …. she’s a keen snuggler πŸ™‚

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      2. I have spent much of the last two days staining boards to be made into library shelves for our little sitting room. I am a complete mess because 1.I didn’t wear gloves and 2.I’m a total slob when it comes to painting – the messier, the better.
        All the wood is finally stained and Charley painted the room so it’s ready for its transformation into a library.
        I’m exhausted. How did you do in Vermont? Oh, and Roxie wants to know how L’Haricot Marveilleuse is faring in New England and if she’s ready for a storm?

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      3. I love painting – not because I’m any good at it but just because I can. The Marvellous Bean says that she is really enjoying New England. – the people are very nice to her (essential or she sulks), there are many walks (though some local places ban dogs which she finds sulkworthy), the smells are uber interesting – skunk , racoon, chipmonk, opossum are all very smelly and very worthy, the storm is on her radar …. she is keen to stay indoors for the duration and is not listening to daddy who says it won’t worry us a jot!

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      4. Osyth, We were once snowed in for two days in the Hotel at Copley Plaza. Nothing was plowed (workers on strike) and we trudged through the snow to the BSO to have dinner and listen with a few other hardy souls to Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz Orchestra. It was one of our nicest adventures. New England storms are strange and must be viewed with a cautious eye (always be prepared) but enjoyed for what they end up being (which is sometimes a tempest in a teapot). Stay warm and keep in touch. We are relatively close by (compared to when you’re in France) if you need us. Love, Clare PS Roxie wants Bean to know she’s always welcome here.

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      5. The Bean can report that her mummy is now driving so we will definitely come and see you when the weather permits. I love this story – definitely a beautiful adventure! Two Brains says he thinks this one will blow itself out before it gets to us but you can never be sure, say I! Love to you all from almost just up the road!

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  15. I feel the same as many of the commenters above – in Australia we still have strong advertising that shows the ‘perfect’ wedding (between females & males of course – that’s a whole other story right there!) with all the very expensive trimmings. My parents encouraged me to look for a partner rather than a husband, & we had a lovely, slightly quirky wedding in our backyard that involved our two rather large families, heaps of friends, a massive mud cake (no fancy tiers or white icing), flowers from our garden, and some very candid photos taken by the guests. It is lovely that we could get married by a celebrant in a backyard – I also like that some of my siblings didn’t get married until long after they’d had their kids, & my brother & his partner just didn’t want to get married. It’s nice to have that choice, without pressure. I wish it could be the same for everyone, including same-sex couples πŸ™‚

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      1. Perhaps surprisingly, they are a little conservative in background, having been born in the Depression era and being religious themselves, but they are amazing in how they encouraged us to go our own way, even when it was a different direction to theirs! As long as we all get along & don’t hurt each other or others, that’s all they ask, really. I have to say they’ve grown (or been forced to grow by certain family events) but they’re great examples of people who have expanded their beliefs over many years πŸ™‚ I got married for the first time at 45 by the way, so very similar to you – I guess we knew what we wanted by that time!

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  16. I love your wedding photo. It is so sad to see the palaver surrounding the ‘wedding’ and less focus on the marriage. My family were disappointed that my social anxiety made a conventional wedding unfeasible. There were 8 guests, we paid for both the civil ceremony and a meal at a lovely restaurant. My dress was reduced from 100 pounds to 15 and I cycled to the flower shop on the morning of the event. More than 33 years later we are still married.

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    1. Your wedding was a definite success! I’ll bet your dress was lovely, since you were wearing it. I really wish we, as a society, could get some control of this craziness. Young people really need the money they waste on these lavish parties to get a good start in their married life. And parents just can’t afford to be footing the bills. Where are our priorities? And by the way, congratulations on 33 years and counting! Clare

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  17. Ah, late to this discussion, but that’s never stopped me from sharing my thoughts! My husband and I eloped after 7 years of dating, and 4 years after buying our house together. We felt no need to get married until we were ready to have a kiddo, because I’m still old fashioned about that. My mother-in-law, pulled me aside a few years before we got married and told me, “Johanna, I eloped, and it was the worst decision of my life. I’m going to make sure my son gives you the wedding I never had.” Uh, what?!?! My parents eloped, my mom’s parents eloped and we’ve had a long history of successful marriages based on simple weddings. I didn’t want the big wedding. I wish I could have had my dad walk me down an aisle, and I wish I could have had my mother in law play the piano at our wedding, but those were tiny moments not worth the hoopla of a big wedding, for me.

    As the mom of a daughter, we’ve experienced big weddings together and poured through the wedding album of her dad and my elopement in Scotland. She knows that both options are out there, but someday when/if she gets married, it will be her choice to do what she wants, not mine, not feminism, and not her grandma’s. Some women want that big, amazing, special day, and some don’t. Isn’t that the point of feminism? That we, as women, get to make the choices that work for us as individuals. Isn’t our job as mothers is to help our kids decipher all the media blitz and get to making their own decisions? It’s not just about the wedding. We all have to learn how to do that.

    One last recommendation. If you want to balance out a kiddo’s princess thoughts, please pick up a copy of The Princess and the Pig (http://amzn.com/0802723349). It’s a great story that lets kids know that sometimes it’s okay to not be a princess. One of my favorite children’s picture books.

    Well, time to get off that soapbox. Thanks for publishing a post that created such amazing discussion Clare!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful comment adding to a great discussion that has continued through the weeks. I agree adults need to help kids decipher the media blitz so they don’t feel they have to spend thousands on one day just because they’ve been told it should be that way. I am definitely getting a copy of The Princess and the Pig. Thanks for the link and for joining the discussion. It’s never too late to add a thoughtful and inciteful opinion and I’m always glad to hear from you. I’ll be visiting your blog later this evening. Thanks, Clare

      Liked by 1 person

  18. It seems to me that couples are in two camps regarding relationships and the need for a big, expensive wedding. There are so many couples nowadays (in the U.K. at least) who don’t get married at all, and many of them stay together as long as married couples – if not longer in some cases. But, for most of the couples who do decide to marry, the wedding itself generally has still got to be the best they can afford (far more than they can afford, in some cases). For the bride, it is still viewed as her big day and she wants to shine. The more expensive the wedding dress the better.
    So it’s all about choice. Yes, many girls are starry-eyed about their prince and no doubt many see no further than the honeymoon. Others see the whole picture and go into a partnership with open eyes and the determination to make it work. I suppose my last point also applies to the men, and doesn’t only apply to modern times. I do think that women having far more control over their lives now makes the biggest difference to ideas of the wedding day.
    Now, I’ve rambled miles away from what to asked Clare. As usual! I just popped on to sya ‘hello’ after over three weeks of ignoring my blog (in favour of my writing). I intended to put a post up about my book being free on Amazon today, and decided to do a flash fiction instead! Typical – I got tempted. Back to the book tomorrow. I can see you’ve been busy on your blog! You’ve really started something here. Great! Talk again soon. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Millie, This is the first long discussion I’ve been involved in since starting to blog last year. It is really illuminating and helps to clarify some of my own ideas. Although it was posted a while back, people are still commenting and I think it’s great. Hopefully, the discussion will never end. I’ve been writing, too and haven’t posted in two weeks, so I’d better get cracking today! I have been reading blogs between writing and am heading to yours now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re both in the same position, aren’t we? It’s so hard to balance the writing with blogging etc. I’m still trying to get my head around Twitter. Hope your writing is going well and you have lots of good plot twists – and all the clues you were taliking about nicely dropped in the right places.

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      2. Millie, I was thinking the same thing as I read your blog this week. Right now I have someone locked in a basement and I’m not sure how or if I want to get her out?? PS If I ever finish the book and you ever read it, please forget this as it is a major plot twist!Best of all with your writing, too. Love, Clare

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    1. Thank you, Kally and I intend to follow your posts, too. I started writing this blog to let people know about my book A Berkshire Tale and the places in it. But then I took a Word Press 101 course and it helped me to branch into other topics and meet some very interesting people. I have learned so much over the past year and I hope blogging has been a good experience for you, too. Clare

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