With the cost of weddings rising exponentially – the average wedding now costs around £20,000 – and with the age of austerity imposing more and more financial pressure on the average family, perhaps it is time to take a more traditional view of our marriage celebrations. Newly-engaged couples, or those considering whether to tie the knot, could do worse than to think about the way weddings were conducted in the 1950s.
By the 1950s, the younger generation were beginning to move away from their family homes in search of work. However, in comparison to today’s atomised society in which family ties are stretched to breaking point, family structures in the 1950s were far closer. This meant that intimate weddings were far more the norm, with young people seeing the celebration of a marriage as a smaller event which should focus on the family. The extension of weddings to a large group of family and friends has crept up on us in the last fifty years, and stands in sharp contrast to the attitude of the mid-twentieth century.
The wish to make one’s marriage vows before witnesses is an intrinsic part of the process, but doing so in front of more than one hundred ‘close friends’ is perhaps missing the point of this very personal declaration of intent. Refocusing on the heart of a wedding – the promise of emotional and physical support between two people – may well lead to a wish for a smaller event which allows you to share your day with loved ones without diluting that in a bigger party.
The 1950s are synonymous with the glamorous look of iconic film stars. Think Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall. With the trend for vintage clothing at its height thanks to hit television shows like Mad Men, why not take advantage of this and invest in a vintage wedding dress? Style doesn’t come much sharper than the 1950s, and there are a huge variety of show-stopping wedding dresses on the market. You can either surf the web, or enjoy hunting through second-hand shops which specialise in the 1950s for that hidden gem. Not only will you look stunning, with a look which is all your own, but the chances are your dress will cost far less than most modern dresses.
Back to basics
Marriage is a curious mix of the public and the intensely personal. No two marriages are the same, and getting married is a very public declaration of a private relationship. Glitzy weddings should not be confused with the sometimes challenging daily life of a long-term relationship; what counts in a life together is the ability to compromise, and to enjoy the small happinesses which a rewarding partnership brings.
Perhaps, in an age of global financial meltdowns and regular apocalyptic warnings from our media, we should all stop for a moment and consider the important things in life – friendship and families, not large and expensive parties.