Marsh
Marsh

I'm nearing the end of this year's wedding season, and possibly the end of "wedding season" as my early adult self knew it. I seem to have reached the age where the frequency at which my friends get married has slowed to a trickle. And as much as I've bitched about the endless parade of weddings, I'm sad to see my Saturday nights open up again. I have learned to find a quiet joy in being a wedding guest.

When I reflect on the past 10-plus years of nonstop weddings, I can remember so vividly the beautiful ones, the ones that had the best food, the ones where the energy on the dance floor surged, the ones where I truly felt love radiating from the couple and their nearest and dearest.

The sap in me loves a good wedding, but the feminist in me is on the fence about this whole government-sanctioned arrangement. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe in the partnership and the commitment; I sure as hell believe in the party. But marriage is a legal exchange of property, and that's something I just can't separate from the love fest.

Recently I was looking through the paperwork from when I bought my house. I skimmed through the deed of sale looking for the information I needed, and my eyeballs came to a grinding halt at a specific section of the document: "To Have and To Hold." Sound familiar? I had almost forgotten that the most common start to a couple's vows is also a legal term for the transference of property. It's really just the kick in the nuts to the whole affair, and I'm not sure how to reconcile that.


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Even though we no longer think of marriage as a business transaction, there continue to be economic advantages — tax breaks, health insurance, splitting the Netflix bill. We haven't quite divested ourselves from a bygone era where women were bought and sold, when money, livestock and dowries exchanged hands between their fathers and husbands-to-be.

Maybe that's why I like weddings so much. A marriage might still have its roots in finance, but a wedding is just a celebration. No one has a wedding for the tax break. The wedding is a moment to pause, surround yourself with people who love you enough to put on a fancy dress and buy you a gift, and publicly declare your commitment to another person. It's a time for remembering the people you love who are no longer there to celebrate with you. It's a time to eat cake and drink too much, to dance around with the friends you don't get to see as often as you would like. And it's a time to look across the table at that wonderful, crazy person who loves you enough to make the same commitment. Most of all, it's a time to celebrate the unbelievable fact that, of all the billions of people around the world, you found one who fit.

Read more Marsh: coloradodaily.com/columnists