I haven’t watched much on i-player this week: I ended up watching the tennis live as seeing the highlights of the previous day just left me so far behind the base-line that I couldn’t see the ball until it had landed. I went to a friend’s house to watch the final anyway; then thanks to the good weather and a couple of evenings out I’ve seen very little since last week. However, an episode of ‘Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?’
set me thinking, especially when coupled with this morning’s news that the numbers of children born out of wedlock (now there’s a phrase to conjure with!) are set to overtake those born to married couples: and I began to examine once again whether marriage is a Good Thing.
I’m wondering if the decline in marriage is due to people not bothering, or whether on the other hand it’s the recession and couples thinking they ‘can’t afford to get married.’ That, of course, is nonsense: it costs potentially very little to get married if that’s what you really want to do. What people really mean, is that they can’t afford the ridiculously expensive wedding package that most couples seem to think necessary nowadays. The statistics I hear about the cost of weddings make me blench: the fact is, people seem to give so much thought to the wedding that they forget to think about the marriage – and it’s the marriage that counts. What’s the point of spending thousands on a wedding if you’re only going to stay together for two years?
I know I’m going to sound smug here but our wedding cost £200. Yep, that’s right: £200. No, I haven’t missed a zero off the end. We were married by a Quaker friend in the Friends’ Meeting House; many people gave their services for free: we had friends playing at the reception and the pub room was free due to a promotion and all we did was provide food: people got their own drinks from downstairs. My dress cost £40 as I had it made in India; I bought cheap sandals to go with it, and Mark’s clothes came from the Very Bazaar. Oh, and Mary made the cake.
So there you are: £200. And here’s the killer: we’re still together 20 years on.
It’s the marriage that counts, folks, not the wedding!