Something Old, Something New
Posted: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Brittany Sajbel is an associate attorney in Concord. Her March wedding planning has hit quite a few bumps in the road, but she remains positive and sane with the help of her amazing fiance, Neil Love, and their two furbabies, Gemma Bean and Kitty Caroline. Contact Brittany here.
Every little girl thinking about getting married one day wonders what her somethings old, new, borrowed and blue might be. Maybe she can wear her mothers veil, maybe she will have her husbands initials stitched into the train of her dress, maybe she will splurge on a pair of earrings that she will never wear again.Weddings are mired in tradition, but when does tradition cross the line into silly superstitions?Heres the deal. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Well, thats not exactly true, but the number is high enough. According to several sources, including statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York Times, and various advocacy groups, it is true that the overall marriage-to-divorce ratio is approximately 2:1. However, that is an annual statistic, comparing the number of new marriages per year to the number of older relationships ending in divorce that same year. In other words, apples to oranges.The magical fifty percent number includes first, second, third, fourth, fifteenth marriages that end in divorce, so one person can contribute to these rates multiple times. In fact, statistics have shown that it is far more likely for a subsequent marriage to end in divorce than the first, with the rates topping 70% for third marriages. Regardless of the statistic you choose, a sizeable number of first marriages end in divorce. Considering that a first marriage is the most likely to be traditional, I start to wonder, whats the point of a tradition, and who is it helping? If we want to reduce the divorce rates and keep our own relationships stable, shouldnt our generation be starting new traditions, rather than borrowing from those in the past that havent held up?While I dont know just yet what my plans are, here are some traditions that I think can safely be kicked to the curb:1. Not seeing each other until the ceremony. In a traditional wedding, the groom doesnt see his bride until shes coming down the aisle. After the ceremony, a cocktail hour is offered to placate the guests while photos are taken. Often, photos run late because of lighting or location, and guests are left waiting for the wedding party to arrive back at the reception. Plenty of brides are ditching this tradition to get the first glimpse and other photos earlier in the day in order to spend the rest of the time with their guests. With couples (and their families) shelling out big bucks to have nice canapés and drinks at a cocktail hour, a couple should be able to enjoy that time and really begin celebrating their marriage.2. Dress preservation. My dress is made out of a light, diaphanous chiffon: a moth-inviting smorgasbord. One flick of a cigarette or an ill-placed candle near this baby and its going up in flames like Big Tex. That said, as much as I love my dress and as beautiful as I think it is, Im not going to preserve it. The cost greatly outweighs the benefit of saving it. I still havent decided if Im going to trash it yet, but it might make for a great photo shoot with our two photographically-blessed attendants. Preserving the bouquet is also way up there on the list of stuff that Im not going to be spending money on.3. Not living together before marriage. Certainly, there are many reasons why this traditional value still holds its weight today, and Im not suggesting you get rid of an ideal that holds a spiritual or religious significance for you. However, there are ways to put this tradition to the test, even if you are choosing to wait until you are married to move in together. To be clear, Im not talking about having an intimate relationship before marriage, and I think thats where a lot of folks get all nervous and confused. Several of the Get Fit Carolina Brides, myself included, are teachers or are marrying teachers. Teachers have radically different schedules than the rest of the world. A 20-something getting married really needs to consider if they are ready to tolerate their partner waking them up at 5:30 every morning, when they dont need to crawl out of bed for another two hours. At the end of the day, that same teacher-partner might be ready for a home cooked meal or a night out the minute you get home from your 9-5, since theyre been home for two hours. Regardless of your partners schedule, you also need to know about the habits they have that you may or may not be able to tolerate. Does your partner leave his shoes in the middle of the kitchen each day? Does he floss over the sink and leave traces of lunch on the mirror? Does he willingly clean the dishes after you cook a meal? Even if you choose not to live together before marriage, you need to figure out what a persons daily routines and behaviors are and how they are going to meld or clash with your own. Some may unfortunately be insufferable, but many you just need to be prepared for.4. Something old, something new. This is a tradition that evolved from a Victorian poem written by that old wiseguy, Anonymous, who Im betting owned a bridal shop. Since Victorian times, the old/new/borrowed/blue and oft-forgotten silver sixpence in her shoe have come to represent, respectively: continuity with the past; optimism for the future; the help and support of family and friends; fidelity and loyalty; and wealth and good fortune. While these are all great things to wish upon each other, is it worth weighing down your wedding day trying to hunt these items down? Also, these are all values that your entire wedding celebration should be reflecting, whether its in the grooms speech the night of the rehearsal dinner, in your vows, or in the greetings written in your guestbook. I think its far more important to live each day with those values in your head and in your heart than it is to be bothered with them for a thirty-minute ceremony. Perhaps not feeling that way is what got us up to that fifty percent divorce rate??? Regardless of what traditions you choose to adhere to on your wedding day, the most important thing is to remember that it is YOUR wedding day, not your mothers, not your sisters, not David Tuteras. You choose what you want to do and what you want to remember, and maybe some day, something new and crazy that you decided to do will become your own familys traditionsomething that you can one day pass on to your own daughter on her wedding day.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views. Read moreRead less