Were a Messiah to walk the earth today, sermonizing on mounts and attending the occasional wedding, He would do well to ask before turning water into wine whether the bride prefers cabernet sauvignon or merlot or pinot noir, and whether it ought to be poured by bartenders or served by waiters from bottles or decanters or carafes, for the bride’s every whim has the force of a religious diktat at the modern wedding. It is “her big day,” you see. She cloaks herself in white, washes her hands of usual etiquette and tongue-lashes any heretic who crosses her.
The rise of Bridezillas is troublesome precisely because most women are considerate, reasonable and humble as anyone else prior to their betrothal — so many behave worse as their wedding day nears because the very culture that surrounds marriage is flawed. The typical bride is lovable enough to inspire a man to kneel before her, offering to tie his fate to hers. Imagine her thrilled “yes,” her endearing tears, the giddiness she feels come morning when she awakes and remembers that she is engaged, and the impulse, when she next patronizes a supermarket or passes a magazine stand, to snap up a half-dozen bridal magazines, publications like In Style Weddings, For the Bride, Bridal Guide, Modern Bride and Bride.
So begins her tragic transformation.
Take a recent In Style Weddings, which happens to top her stack, and subject it to a close reading. “Make It Your Dream Day!” the cover proclaims — “How to put your personal stamp on every detail.”p>Says Sarah Gray Miller in her “Editor’s Note”: br> /p>
Just as we began dreaming up this issue of In Style Weddings, one of my dearest friends became engaged (congratulations, Landsdale!). Suddenly I wasn’t just a bridal editor, but a bridesmaid too — giggling over the phone about the proposal, surfing the Internet in search of adorable attendants dresses, and pressing my pal about what, exactly, a bona fide bride-to-be hoped to see in our pages. Her answer? Gowns, of course. And flowers. And cakes. And, well, anything that would make her day uniquely and utterly hers. As a result, you’ll find the magazine packed with ideas for personalizing every detail, from boutonnieres to bouquets, makeup to music.br> An alien reading that passage would never guess that weddings involve a groom, never mind that his lifelong pledge to the bride occasioned the event. Allow me, at least, to congratulate Landsdale’s fiance, and to insist that their day is the appropriate locution.
The modern bride is taught since girlhood that every detail is her prerogative; the groom, having never expected a say, rarely objects. It is the bride who suffers for her sense of entitlement: invitations must be addressed, sealed and stamped. Mothers-in-law must be consulted and appeased. Consider poor Landsdale, curled up on her sofa reading a bridal magazine that foists certain expectations upon her that she simply cannot meet.
Acquire those most traditional bridal accessories, she is told, the cake and gown and flowers that are standard at civilization’s oldest genre of celebration. And choose carefully, she is made to understand, for everyone expects these traditional objects to reflect her essence “uniquely and utterly.”
SURVEYING THIS LANDSCAPE, it’s hard to fault those who fret that marriage is becoming a selfish indulgence, rather than a covenant that confers responsibilities to family and community. These culture warriors err when they focus on celebrity divorce and same sex unions, for these are too rare to influence heterosexual couples much for good or ill — compare their negligible influence to magazines sold at every supermarket that nearly every bride-to-be peruses, specifically hoping to glean ideas and advice about how to get married.
Some even consult these publications prior to getting engaged. “You’ve decided on the groom,” In Style Weddings notes. “Now for the hard part: settling on a single, ideal engagement ring.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online