With this bling, I thee wed

Modest: Weddings as they were in the old days

Modest: Weddings as they were in the old days

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The bride was beautiful; radiant. The wedding just perfect.

But just 10 days after, Gemma Redmond was a widow.

Tragedy: Ian and Gemma Redmond

Tragedy: Ian and Gemma Redmond

Her husband Ian, whom his wife described as ‘strong and brave, witty and intelligent – a remarkable individual’ was killed in a shark attack at their honeymoon resort in the Seychelles.

The shocking report of this honeymoon tragedy came just days after a newly-married couple from Yorkshire died on their honeymoon in the Maldives. Their buggy crashed into a tree, leaving their son an orphan.

Jonathan and Emma Gray were just 25. At least they had the wedding day they had dreamed of, Emma’s mother told reporters.

Just last month, two Antiguan men were jailed for the murder of honeymooning Brits Ben and Catherine Mullany, shot during an attempted robbery at their rented holiday cottage.

Royals: Charlene Princess of Monaco joins her husband Prince Albert II of Monaco at the altar during their wedding ceremony at the Monaco palace, Saturday, July 2, 2011.

Royals: Charlene Princess of Monaco joins her husband Prince Albert II of Monaco at the altar during their wedding ceremony at the Monaco palace, Saturday, July 2, 2011.

All utter tragedies, but all indicative of just how far the expectations of a young couple starting married life have risen.

Couples want so much more than their grandparents did. In the old days, honeymoons were as modest and affair as the wedding. Couples walked down the aisle at the local church and guests enjoyed a home-made spread in the church hall. Then the newly-weds honeymooned in Scarborough and loved every minute. Sex was the thrill,

Now the wedding day is not solely about plighting your troth, it’s about a huge and lavish celebration, of living the dream, being the celebrity for the day. And a far-flung destination, heady with romance and adventure (sex having already been fully explored), is how brides and grooms want to cap the event.

When did marriage become an elaborate theatrical production – and more importantly, why? Brides look at the weddings of the rich, the famous and the royals and, such is our Must-Have society, they want theirs to be not just happy, but epic. I’ve been there; I know how easy it is to get sucked into the bridal dream machine. I also know that afterwards you’re stuck with a huge bill or a second mortgage.

In 2011, the average cost of a wedding is almost £19,000 – with the reception and honeymoon costing a whopping £4,000 each. It’s one heck of a lot.

Heaven help the couples of the future, saddled with £50,000 of university debt apiece before they even get to the altar.

I’ll bet they still go for the fancy holiday, though. The need to escape will be greater than ever.

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