2020 was going to be the banner year for celebrations – to be married in the new decade, the feeling of hope was high and exciting times were ahead...
And yet 2020 has of course been memorable for all the wrong reasons and one aspect of life which was impacted incredibly was the ability to celebrate and also remember life – the ritual of bringing together loved ones to welcome in a new addition, to see love commitments made and to say goodbyes to those we lost ( and this year we lost many) - were all put on hold.
And the impact was huge… for those that could not do the above it meant putting on hold life plans – a wedding is so much more than the day itself – it’s whole new way of being. It meant being unable to send someone onto their next adventure in the next life in a way that truly honoured them – impacting on the feeling of closure and ability to grieve... and impacting on the those whose livelihoods were dependant on the celebrations and ceremonies that took place.
As we now start to slowly make plans for the future these rituals still look very different and yet people will still go ahead ... because for many reasons these events are more than just an Instagram able picture and more than simply the event they are.
With the wedding industry in the UK alone valued at around 10 billion and the average cost of a wedding now reaching over 30K the question is why do we invest so much into these times?
All of these events come under the heading in Psychology of Life Transitions and the marking of these events and the timelines we live by have been part of our cultures for 1000’s of years. We know through evidence that early settlements marked the death of members... whether this was due to dealing with loss and remembering or whether they already felt part of something bigger and formed views of next lives is up for debate ... but we do know that these rituals soon became elaborate and important parts of our societies.
As humans we are tribal in nature- building our communities and finding safety within it. There is natural urge to want to belong and these ceremonies allow us to show case this as we bring together family and friends. When a new child enters the world they welcomed both into their faith ( if appropriate) but also into the community that is around them and it interesting to note that we still do this today as structured religious ceremonies in the UK decrease, Naming with no religious input are on the increase and so the desire to make the arrival official in the eyes of their people is still important.
Weddings have only had legal standings in the later centuries of mankind – but before this they still took place. It was a demonstration of a commitment to each other or a joining of communities and nowadays it is a declaration of love for one another in front of the important people who will play a part in their ongoing adventures.
Of course in modern times there is still that feeling of ‘ showcasing’ to have the best day possible... couples will go to extravagant lengths to produce a ceremony that in many cases is simply to be ‘ the best’ and produce the wow factor.
In the coming weeks I will look into each different type of ceremony and it’s history in more depth ... the ones mentioned here are really just the tip of the iceberg now – with coming of age, celebration of life and even divorce ceremonies in place .. the concept of marking our lives through these occasion is only going to continue to grow .. I for one look forward to being part of all the special days I have got coming up in the year to come and have missed them dearly this year.
If feels as though this year itself has been such a roller coaster the need to celebrate with family and friends in whatever way is possible is needed more than ever.