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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Blog 73 Wedding Psychosis & Pre-nuptial Agreements

Pre-nuptial agreements and modern wedding psychosis go together like a horse and carriage (as the old saying goes). And it’s most definitely the cart before the horse – nay (neigh!!) it’s the cart without the horse. Or is it a too heavily laden cart and a lame mule or a horse-burger in a shopping cart – or should we stop the analogies there?

Having been through the dreadful ‘D’ myself I would still suggest that if you think you need a pre-nup what you really need is not to get married.
It’s not about being unrealistic concerning relationships but expectation is a powerful thing. Once you boil it down to worries about who gets to keep the dog or the new oven, marriage – which some would argue is a strange archaic concept in any case - is pretty much in the knackers’ yard.
Couple that with the current wedding psychosis, evident at all levels of society, fuelled by women’s mags and the big soap opera which is celebrity life in the 21st century, and you are on a hiding to nothing – going through the desert on a horse with no name.
According to one bridal magazine I had a quick shufty through while waiting for the dentist, the expected cost of a wedding is now around £24k. Having once been to a wedding fare, I still can’t work out how that figure is reached. Before you criticise - everyone should go at least once wedding fare in their life even if there is no one you know getting married. The sense of relief when you leave is worth every second spent inside.
Worse again is that young folk of less than ordinary fiscal means seem to feel they have to do it in the prescribed way. A young acquaintance of mine spent much of last year attending hen do’s (we’ll go into that horror another time) and then weddings. Usually the couples were from ordinary backgrounds with fragile incomes and already burdened with student debt but still there were the stately homes in the background, the ridiculous dresses, the chocolate fountains, sumptuous receptions, jewellery, wedding cakes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Disney cartoon. Whatever happened to funky weddings? Whatever happened to make-your own dress? Granny made the wedding cake? Friends did the flowers and we all just had a good time?
We’ll leave themed weddings because I feel a migraine brewing.
When I look around my mature married friends there is absolutely no correlation between the amount spent on a wedding and the longevity of the marriage or the quality of the relationship. Though on reflection there may be an inverse relationship!  In fact three of the longest married couples I know with solid relationships that have weathered the storms, eschewed the whole financial meltdown, shop-front, meringue dress, six tier monstrosity events completely. Is that possibly because they were always more focused on the relationship?
My uncle’s in-laws had the distinction a few years back at the ripe old ages of 106 – to have been (then) the longest married couple in Britain – marrying in their late teens. Obviously I did not attend the wedding but I’m pretty sure they managed without a chocolate fountain.
Leaving multi-million dollar celebrity circus weddings to one side (at least they can afford it I suppose and no one expects them to last) this mania for showcase nuptials feels suspiciously like national psychosis? We supposedly know that money doesn’t equate to love so what is going on here? Young people have to get into debt to get educated, to buy a house, even now to get employed as the trend for internships (unpaid work to you and me) seeps in along with zero hours contracts and other work inequities. But getting into debt to get hitched? What is that about?
Tack onto the other end of that scenario the idea of pre-nuptial agreements and doesn’t marriage become ultimately pointless? Pre-nups are legal in America and in their defence, have provided much media entertainment over time. Until now per-nups have been kept at bay here but are now being championed by some law firms.
But if young people are saddled with the idea that they have to get hitched in a blaze of tat with birds of prey flying down the aisle with the rings and flesh spilling out of thousand pound frocks, champagne receptions and manor house settings so that there is nothing of the personality of the families involved but it’s simply a homogenous characterless modern magazine wedding – should pre-nups start with how to divide up the wedding-day debt?

Cartoons are in the usual place and for the people who still can’t find them – for heaven’s sake GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN AND CLICK ON THE ORANGE ‘Amanda Baker’


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