It shouldn't be a surprise that when your kids get to a certain age, they and their single cousins begin to drop like flies and get married. This creates a second Marriage Season in one's life. (The first Wedding Season was when we got married - we also seemed to have scores of friends from college getting married at the same time, too.) We have three coming up in rapid succession this summer. The first is a niece, then our son, who has set up a wedding web site for all his friends to share the experience, then another niece. For the Dad, a nice time; for the Mom, a flurry of activity that seems endless.
It is also interesting to see how religion has changed - or stayed the same - in wedding fashion. All three have different styles:
- one is a destination wedding, at the college where they met, with all the trappings of a religious wedding including the Gothic Catherdral, but little actual religion
- another is a HIgh Wedding, very formal, with the Latin Mass and strict requirements for attendees - strict enough it put off some relatives, who will decline attending! Amazing
- the third is more of an elopement, and to yet well-planned, but I expect it to become more of a religious wedding as the day approaches
For many in a secular society, religion is met at weddings & funerals, and a bit in between (Easter! Christmas! Passover!). Weddings are often approached casually, as if it is no different than living together. What I found, and I think our children and their cousins & spouses will find, is that marriage is different in kind not just degree - the commitment is real and changes the couple to much more future-oriented as well as more tolerant of foibles and quirks. This commitment may be essential to go through the long time together, building a family and retirement, with all of its costs and compromises.
Religion serves a critical role in weddings, to add solemnity, purpose and tradition to the ceremony, and by doing so reframe the couple from a new way of living together to a new way of life together.