With Australians spending more than $3.5 billion a year on weddings celebrations it’s no wonder parents quake with anxiety.
A reception for 70 people can cost $10,000, the dress $2,500, flowers $400, wedding cars $1,200 and a honeymoon to Fiji $5,000.
It doesn’t take long for the cash register to ring up $30,000 or more; something in the league of a new car or reasonable house deposit.
And that is not to mention the months if not years of planning and the amount of stress that often comes from trying to keep two families happy while stamping the ceremony as uniquely your own.
All of this goes together with some bizarre traditions and symbols which mostly have their origins in pagan fertility rituals.
The familiar tossing of the garter is remnant of the times when the wedding guests would follow the bridal couple to the room where the sexual consummation of the marriage would take place to observe and cheer the bridal couple on.
It was thought that securing a piece of the bride’s clothing would bring good fortune so to obtain a piece of the lucky garment guests would tear at the wedding dress leaving it in tatters.
In time a piece of clothing, such as the garter, came to be thrown at the mob to appease their bawdy appetite.
We no longer cheer on the consummation but still applaud the tossing of the garter and close our eyes to the extravagant budgets.
Somewhere amongst all of this nonsense, prayers that the covenant being made is a holy mystery and symbol of Christ’s love for the church fade into the blur of confused cultural metaphors and over-priced pageantry.
Perhaps one of the most significant things Christian men and women could do to witness to the faith that transforms their lives is to work with their minister to create and craft wedding celebrations that reflect Christ-like values, use Christian symbolism and speak loudly of justice in the stewardship of God’s generous provision.