Word Worth®
                      World Magazine of Ideas and the Arts™ — ©Spring 2018 Volume XVIII,  Issue 2

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Columns

Takeaways from the Meghan and Harry Wedding

I have neither patience nor sympathy with Anglophiliacs who are like “…the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own.” Those who fawn over royalty baffle me. We—and by “we” I mean not only my country but also my family—fought two wars and won both to get rid of that nonsense, and then we fought two more wars and won both to save their skins. The endless low-level chatter is pathetic: “Kate upstaged Meghan by wearing white”; they made the same comment at Kate’s wedding about her sister. These are royal weddings. There are battalions of people planning and arranging them. There is no way that her sister would have worn anything that Kate disapproved of. At her brother-in-law’s wedding, Kate wore 0ff-white, and anything significant guests wore would have been carefully orchestrated in line with royal protocol.

What has intrigued me is how a tiny island country, roughly the size of California, can manage to get a large portion of the world population to view their ceremonies. Curious about that, I watched a portion of the event. Mystery solved: they married in a castle which has stood for 900 years and in a chapel which has stood for 500 years with vaulted arched ceilings displaying banners from ages past. Meghan Markle walked the approximately 250 feet on the checked marble in the chapel where Queen Elizabeth I strode; Henry VIII commissioned the heraldic beasts lining the roof of the castle and is buried beneath the floor with other kings, who, errant though they were, walked in the shining sun hundreds of years before us.

The bride arrived in a classic Rolls Royce as stately as the horse drawn carriage that she and the groom departed in. As she emerged from the Rolls, a multitude of bells pealed from ancient towers. The crescendo of the bells pulls something from the core of us. It’s as though there is buried in our genes a memory of the sound that told history forever changing at that moment, that the glory of the scene and sound makes all time pause and all time merge.

The problem for brides who fixate on weddings of the fantastically rich is that it simply isn’t a model of what a wedding should be. It’s said, “Every little girl imagines her wedding day.” No, not every little girl does. I never did, and if even one of my playmates did, they kept it a well-hidden secret from me, but those who do, make choices that endanger their futures. Having a wedding that pushes the purchase of a home far into the future is a bad choice. A girl who wants to model her wedding on a royal one is flirting with ridicule. Think first about the bells and about St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle: you can’t do that—same with the guards in classic uniforms on carefully selected and groomed horses, the thousands of people camping out along the roadway and standing for hours to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom. You can’t do that.

What you can do, but shouldn’t, is have a very expensive wedding dress, and cake, and hall. Anyone in the 99% who is wise will realize that the bigger and more expensive their wedding is, the greater the chance  the marriage will not be long and happy. Such a girl who happens to marry someone in the 1% and feels lucky about that can certainly have an expensive wedding, but there are hidden costs against her future. Her family won’t be able to pay for a luxurious event, and if the groom’s family pays for it, she enters the marriage indebted to them. In-laws are often difficult enough without that.

What should be taken from the recent royal wedding is the elegance and simplicity of the actual ceremony: vowing to love, comfort, honor, protect, forsake all others and be faithful as long as both shall live. Those vows, the same for both bride and groom, are all and only what is needed. Save how you fell in love with Sally when you saw her fall into the mud puddle and how you knew that Joe was “the one” when he won the snowball fight for the reception. Keep the wedding elegant.

Throw away traditions from past times that are foolish now. There was a time when the young man had to ask the young woman’s father for permission to marry. The marriage couldn’t take place without it. Asking now is insincere: if he says “no” are you not going to marry? The new tradition of asking for both parents’ blessing is one that begins the marriage with good feelings.

A small wedding or an elopement can be as fine as a large wedding. Just keep the ceremony dignified and elegant.

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