More on the Business of Weddings

15 February 2007 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

| Cliff Grammich |

In an earlier discussion of the business of weddings, Peter, responding to one commenter, expressed hope that by the time his “daughter is of marryin’ age, some kind of ‘peasant weddings’ will be in style.” I might even encourage elopement, although it’s fascinating how this assumedly cheap option has apparently evolved into the less cheap “destination wedding.”

I’m curious why women “were understood to be the main consumers of wedding-related goods and services.” Yes, as I’m guessing nearly any married man would confirm, Traflet and Howard are right about this, but I’m interested in how this came to be.  My seat-of-the-pants hypothesis: a wedding was, perhaps, at one point in time more central to the life of a woman than a man.  But I’m guessing something in the literature on family sociology that I haven’t read proves a more plausible hypothesis.

And even I know there probably is something more to this than my seat-of-the-pants hypothesis.  Last year I participated in a series of seminars held for foreign executives on American culture and values.  Those of us leading discussions on different topics met beforehand to critique each other’s introductory presentations.  When the woman who was to lead the seminar on changing patterns of consumption mentioned how women working outside the home have more power to influence family consumption, which she apparently thought they had lacked, the married men among us, whose wives were at different places in their family and career lives (from advanced-career childless to stay-at-home mom) glanced at one another and repressed giggles until one of us (I’m not witty enough to have done this) let loose with a vulgar, tauro-scatological, hilarious, and maybe even accurate observation that such power might not have been lacking beforehand . . .

Entry filed under: Former Guest Bloggers, Institutions.

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