My brother got married a few weeks ago to a woman he met at work. They dated for about a year until he proposed. The wedding date was set just a year and two months after the engagement. Planning a wedding is a long and tiresome process for everyone involved. They say little girls dream about their big day and their husband-to-be, of their family and friends there to watch them walk down the isle in a white gown, of the life-long happiness that marriage is supposed to bring, right?
Admittedly, my adolescent daydreams were rarely ever about my future wedding. At 22 I have thought very little about the kind of wedding I would want to have, what kind of wedding gown to wear, the location of the ceremony, or what centerpieces would look like..etc. In some parts of the U.S., 22 is considered an average year to get married. I am thankful to live in the northeast where “early-marriages” are not necessarily coveted as first-jobs are more valued more than getting married.
When I sat down to think about interesting cultural practices in this country and others, I thought about the traditional wedding and how different aspects of getting married can be given different meaning. My brother’s year-long engagement reminded me how much of a financial investment a wedding is. Everything is expected to be high quality, or at-least look that way, with tons of guests and in fancy dresses, fine wine and gourmet food.
I am interested in focusing on the cultural practice of the engagement and the engagement ring, and the hype that surrounds it. For the purpose of the case-study paper, I will use cultural theorists to dissect the meaning and understand where it came from. I will address gender and societal roles, the influence of religion, and symbolism of a wedding.
I am looking forward to dong some research on the history of weddings and how culture can be represented through the wedding ceremony and practices.