Grunt 7 November 2012

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Just the other day, I remembered an advertisement in one of our local newspapers way back when. It’s always struck me as such a sad advertisement. It read, quite simply: For Sale: One wedding dress, white, size 38. Only used twice. I recall wishing her good luck the third time around. Perhaps her bad luck would change when she finally got rid of that wedding dress; she might eventually acquire a new one. Remembering the advert set me to thinking again about the whole business of weddings – and I do mean business. What used to be a modest, family-centred ritual celebrating a rite of passage has now become a hugely profitable venture for a whole range of entrepreneurial exploitation. And I place considerable blame on the media, whose voracious appetite for celebrity engagements, weddings (with the out-of-wedlock children in tow), and divorces is utterly insatiable. So why do we delude ourselves into thinking we deserve that sort of multimillionaire wedding, especially when we work at mundane jobs? Is it reasonable to take out a second mortgage on the house to sponsor a flamboyant ceremony joining the couple together in holy deadlock, when their chances of remaining espoused are lower than 50%? If Holy Matrimony were a horse in the Durban July, you’d probably want better odds before placing your bets. In a Sunday supplement, I read that a wedding dress could cost between R15 000 and R120 000, especially if you wanted something special. The whole bash – excluding the dress, of course – could make a hole in your budget to the tune of R200 000 or more. (Frankly, I’d expect share certificates if I were paying that amount!). So now they’re off on their journey of wedded bliss. After their honeymoon in Croatia or Thailand, they return, ecstatically in love and miserably in debt. Then the old adage resounds: when debt comes in the front door, love goes out the back. Whatever happened to commonsense, I wonder? After all, this might be happening again in a couple of years. Then, perhaps, you might need that second-hand wedding dress after all.