Why have weddings become such a hassle? Little girls are bombarded from early days by society to go for the big, complex weddings “because you deserve the best on your day of days.” 

It has gotten way out of hand. Weddings are now so complicated that you have to have a wedding planner to handle all the fritzy details. 

First you’ve got to decide on 921 different details to make sure everything is coordinated. Get a photographer, DJ, rehearsal dinner, cake, flowers, reception, dress, attendants, church, decorations, planning the honeymoon. 

Then, what? Well, it’s all over in 30 minutes and reality sets in. And mom and dad are Ramen Noodles broke. That’s so silly, you can’t sling a cat in a circle without hitting a preacher, judge, justice of the peace in this county. Any of them can do a pretty good job of putting the shackles on.

I knew a very young couple who were so in love and so very young — but they just had to have a big wedding and the bride’s parents were — shall we say — rolling in the green. They spent many thousands on that wedding. Three months later — poof! Marriage was kaput. “Solly-Charlie!” Such a waste in more ways than one.

The most outrageous wedding bill was $60 million (or $66 million when adjusted for inflation) in 2005. Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia. The bride was the beautiful daughter of billionaire steel-magnate Lakshmi Mittal. The groom was a London-born i-banker, owner of Swordfish Investments.

The wedding featured invitations mailed in silver boxes, including plane tickets and rooms at a five-star Paris hotel. Five-day festivities at a 16th-century chateau and Versailles and a temporary wooden castle. Performances by Kylie Minogue, complementary Mouton Rothschild, and designer gift bags filled with jewels. And — I wasn’t invited. Go figure.

In China in the 17th century (and still goes on in a few cases), the Tujia people had crying rituals. The ritual itself is pretty simple — the bride has got to shed tears. If she doesn’t or is unable to, her neighbors will look down upon her as one of poor breeding. Worse still, she could even become the laughing stock of her village. In one extreme case, the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding. Perhaps the girl was so happy to be free from her mother she couldn’t muster up a drop.

Well, somebody should have sat that bride down and told her all about what she was in for and she would have boohooed without ‘a mama whoopin.’

On the island of Java, as in most countries prior to the registration of marriage the couple must pay a fee. But it is not money, It is in rat tails. Twenty-five tails, the couple must submit to the local administration as a wedding fee.

The concept of the wedding night in Albania is very conditional. There is a tradition that for three days and three nights, the new wife must resist her husband in the performance of wifely duties. This is done in order to confuse evil spirits. I thought they were confused enough, but what do I know?

Then, there is the dowry. Dowries are most common in cultures that are strongly patrilineal and that expect women to reside with or near their husband’s family (patrilocality), dowries have a long history in Europe, South Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world.

One of the basic functions of a dowry has been to serve as a form of protection for the wife against the very real possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family. A dowry used in this way is actually a conditional gift that is supposed to be restored to the wife or her family if the husband divorces, abuses, or commits other grave offenses against her. Land and precious metals have often been used in this form of dowry and are frequently inalienable by the husband, though he might otherwise use and profit from them during the marriage.

A dowry sometimes serves to help a new husband discharge the responsibilities that go with marriage. This function assumes special importance in societies where marriages have regularly been made between very young people; the dowry enables the new couple to establish a household, which they otherwise would not have been able to do. In some societies a dowry provides the wife with a means of support in case of her husband’s death. In this latter case the dowry may be seen as a substitute for her inheritance of all or part of her husband’s estate.

That ought to cool down any feisty groom. If she’s fighting him off for three days and nights, that could establish a precedent. Poor little groomie. Of course, this is all assuming that there has been no hanky-panky before the ceremony. Ain’t no evil spirits like the evil spirits that are set loose in this scenario. 

DALE  LILLY  is Lifestyles Editor and may be contacted at lifestyles@desototimes.com.

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