A reader writes:
Torie Bosch writes that "if that isn’t a demonstration that a wedding is for everyone else but the couple, I don’t know what is." Maybe I'm way out of the mainstream on this, but why is this such a surprise? Of course your wedding isn't about you. By getting married, you're bringing together two families who barely know each other, and your wedding is the big event when they all (not just the parents) get to meet, and when the realisation that they're now all collectively invested in your marriage really hits home. The big frilly dress is a distraction.
Of course weddings are for the guests, and not the couple. They're like funerals, which we don't hold for the benefit of the deceased. We hold both weddings and funerals to make statements about what we value before the community we value – communion, in short.
A wedding is to avow in public that you've made your choice and you plan to stick with it. Eloping, while convenient, doesn't carry that same public commitment. And yes, I know that families have unpleasant members. I have a few in mine. But still, to stand before G-d and everyone and say, "This one, and no other" is the point of the wedding – and more importantly, the point of the marriage.
By making our wedding a larger event than just the two of us, all of our guests had a vested interest in our success as a married couple. That may be deeper than what many who were there enjoying themselves with drinks and dancing thought about, but I certainly reflect on it, and any time in my marriage when things have been rocky, I think about all of those people who were and are here to support this marriage. Because they shared in that day and witnessed it, I feel obligated to them to make this marriage work, and know that I can reach out to so many of them when we need support. It is surely true that those who elope have great support systems too, but for me, having it made obvious and official that day gave my wedding day an even deeper meaning.