May 1, 2013

Weddings today v. yesterday

The Little Brown Church
is little, brown
These days, being married is less common, but getting married is usually a massive to-do. There may be some causal connection.

To get a sense of how things have changed, consider one wedding that took place not far from where I grew up. I would sometimes walk past a church called, aptly, the Little Brown Church. It's made out of wood, has virtually no decor, and is extremely little. It's belltower is about 13 feet tall. Seating capacity might be 60 people. It's the least pretentious church imaginable.

Where are the other 14 people?
Yet, it was the site of a 1952 wedding that turned out to be of historic importance. Ronald Reagan married starlet Nancy Davis in the Little Brown Church on March 4, 1952.

The best man was Sunset Boulevard star William Holden and the matron of honor was Holden's wife Ardis.

You call that a wedding cake?
A small reception followed at the Holdens' house in Toluca Lake. The bridal couple then went to the fanciest hotel in Riverside, CA, then on to Phoenix to visit Nancy's parents on their honeymoon.

It was Ron's second marriage, but Nancy's first.

It's hard to imagine anything like this today.

81 comments:

DR said...

Our culture in general has moved towards a more event-centric one. It's not just weddings that have blown up into massive events. It's also bar and bat mitvzahs (girls didn't even use to have bat mitvahs), sweet 16s, proms, quiencieras, graduations parties, bachelor(ette) parties, milestone birthdays, milestone anniversaries, corporate holiday parties, corporate new hire/intern events, mega-church bashes, proms, spring break, and up-scale night clubs. All of these things have become significantly more common, important, extravagant and/or larger in the past 40 years.

I see a few major trends that can explain this.

1) Rising disposable incomes from economic growth. The share of income spent of services relative to goods has increased. The percent of GDP spent on food, clothing, automobiles, consumer goods, furniture, and energy is much lower today than 50 years ago. That extra GDP needs to go somewhere, and one of the major consumption shifts is away from "things" to "experiences" (like travel, entertainment, health and beauty, sports and outdoor recreation, etc.). Throwing a large event like a wedding definitely qualifies as an "experiential" good.

2) Increase in income inequality. One of the primary ways that we gauge other people's wealth and status is by the events they throw. The extravagance of yours or your child's wedding (or other event) says a lot to your peer group about your social and financial status. Everybody wants to project themselves as being in a class above where they are. Since inequality is higher, the gaps in wealth between classes is higher. Ergo to "fake" their status people have to spend more on weddings when inequality is high.

3) A cultural shift towards more outward and egregious displays of wealth. Old-money WASP culture has a persistent streak of "understated elegance." Look at the clapboard style mansions of New England. In technical terms this would be called "counter-signaling." Spending a lot of money on things that don't appear to look very extravagant (except to the discerning eyes) paradoxically signals that you must have be quite wealthy. You see this in fashion a lot, where the more expensive and high-end lines have smaller and more conspicuous branding.

Today a much higher percent of the wealthy are new money, and many from cultures very foreign to old-line WASPs. Counter-signaling only works to the degree that other eyes are discerning. A tech billionaire who grew up in the Soviet bloc simply isn't going to be that tuned in to the "understated" cues of wealth that old-money uses. Hence wealth signaling has moved more towards an gaudy and in-your-face signaling equilibrium.

Chief Seattle said...

Off Topic. Sorry to post this here Steve, delete this if you want:

Buried on page A5 in yesterday's Seattle Times. A positively Stevian summary of the presidential election, with discussions of how Romney would have won if white turnout (58%) matched 2004 levels (62%), and how Hispanics' turnout is still low for their population share. Who says the MSM doesn't tell the truth? It's just six months late:

In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites
http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2020876815_apusthetippingpointminorityvoters.html

Steve Sailer said...

DR says:

"Our culture in general has moved towards a more event-centric one."

I've been thinking something along those lines, too.

I vaguely associate it with Mediterranean culture v. Northern European culture.

David said...

In the past 30 years, the party line has become: turn everything into a business, and turn every business into a million-dollar revenue stream. Culture? Tradition? Yeah, those are great hooks we can use to sell our $5,000 wedding dresses to every Jane Schmoe!

Everything is commercialized, including human beings (Brand You) and anything they do.

Result: a hollowed-out, phony world... where 50% of "Dream Weddings" end in divorce court and/or bankruptcy court.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Yes I noticed American weddings of even middle class folks can outdo Bollywood type weddings when it comes to lavishness

Anonymous said...

Right. Well the point of getting married used to be to Be married, not to Get married.

Real marriage is what happens on day two going forward. These people who pay $80k and up with borrowed money on destination weddings are out of their minds.

Off topic, I was at the gym today and Rachel Maddow was showing pictures of GW Bush on the screen while talking about the failures of his administration. I guess since Obama is having a couple of bad weeks it is time to fire up some two-minute Hate for Goldstein.

The immigration bill is going nowhere, and Obama's already in lame duck mode. Who wants to bet that the 2016 race will be all about GW Bush?

Dr Van Nostrand said...


I've been thinking something along those lines, too.

I vaguely associate it with Mediterranean culture v. Northern European culture."

Rather go for the easily reachable ethnic explanation again perhaps it is of declining Republic vs Empire thing.

If we have to discuss the Northern European thing, I will say this most of America is under the latitude that crosses Spain.
So despite the Arctic winds(tempered on West coast by Pacific) , U.S recieves much more sun than Europe.

Im sure you noticed that Northern Europeans,staid and soberly in their own native foggy environs, become quite mad ,possibly with ecstasy ,when they encounter even moderate warmth ,blue skies and warm water beaches.
Notice the behavior of the English and Irish in Spain,Italy,Greece and yes even Dubai(sharia be damned -we are having sex on the beach -and I dont mean the chick adult beverage)

Most Hispanics seem to be of humble means, their quincenieras and weddings may be more racuous and hearty than say WASP weddings but they dont go raiding the savings or go into debt to celebrate them.
The Med Italians are much better to do but they look more to the Church and its template on weddings and it tends not to be overdone.

Indians and Iranians OTOH...dear God! Indians in particular are compelled to give a 10 day or so bash with hundreds of guest(many of whom are accomadated at the expense of the bride's family)
Even middle class families these pay heavily for the presence of a Bollywood celebrity or two.


Anonymous said...

It's all a chick status thing, right?

Anonymous said...

- Everyday living is now so horribly, unpleasantly casual (from driving on concrete freeways through endless dreary suburban sprawl...to just seeing everyone in t-shirts and jeans)that just once...it would be nice to dress up and be the Princess

- I dream of being surrounded by family and friends in some meaningful way other than standing around at a bar

But yeah, I agree with Steve the Med versus Northern Europe thing. As a Nordic female though the above two reasons are why I dream of a maybe not physically big...but at least Classy, Elegant, and unfortunately Expensive wedding.

Anonymous said...

I am sick of the female bashing ugh some of you guys are just seriously pigs.

No, it's not always about status whoring. Sometimes you crave quality and beauty...cuz there sure as hell ain't any of it in my real third world slumville life.

Everything is so cheap and miserable nowadays...that yeah...I want to agonize over my invitations and have them be just perfect, and I want to have beautiful flowers, and I want the perfect china and the perfect table settings.

I actually think for some women a wedding is an outlet for creativity and an escape from everyday sludge.

In the 60s everyday was a party...everyone always had their hair done and wore dresses. I can't afford either. Driving through California was probably a party and a joy. We don't have any of that anymore. So we need the escapism.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

.I want to agonize over my invitations and have them be just perfect, "

I agree, imagine you pick out cheap invitations whose envelopes happen to be toxic and every time you lick them ,the poison accumulates thereby killing you!

Anonymous said...

Matt Damon had a simple ceremony.

It really depends on the person. Today, since there are less people who can think for themselves, more people are drawn to extravagant events, thanks to the mass media, pop culture, mass marketing, etc., in addition to the reasons pointed out by DR.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have noticed...

All of the Weird White Male/Ugly Asian Female couples have the cheapest most Slap in the Face weddings imaginable.

Like there's 'inexpensive' weddings that are full of love and class...and then there are 'slap in the face' weddings. The above are slap in the face weddings.

If a guy tried to pull that crap on me, he'd be ball-less or something else-less. Like a trip to the court house in a navy JCrew bridesmaid dress and then pictures outside by a tree in the parking lot...he'd be dead...his life would be over. (I've seen this wedding several times)

So yeah, I do look at weddings as some sort of (don't use the word shit test) 'test' for how much the guy really cares.

A guy should want to inconvenience himself and venture into girlie decoration land if only once to create a memorable, quality experience.







Anonymous said...

If you can't tell I spent the day stuck on the freeway in 90 degree weather and had to go return something inside a mall in which I saw a never-ending sea of middle aged gang bangers covered in tattoos complete with a few white females covered in tattoos speaking Spanish with their insanely brown babies in tow.

So yes...a Garden Party with tea sandwiches sounds nice right about now.

Auntie Analogue said...



All this extravagant flash used to be called "putting on the dog" - trying to make others think you were better off, classier than you actually were.

Putting on the dog is exactly what our Dear Rulers have been doing with their foreign-borrowed deficit spending to the tune of our national $17-trillion dollars deep doggie doo-doo debt. It's what they also baited Negroes and La Raza-ites to do once our Dear Rulers put the official squeeze on lenders to offer loads of sub-prime mortgages.

It may be called putting on the dog, but eventually, ultimately those chickens come to roost. (I just love an apt mixed metaphor, don't you!)

Look at people's savings - back in the day when sensible self-control and thrift were taught, cultivated, and practiced, Americans owned a lot in savings, and this gave the middle class a large proportion of its political as well as its economic power. But in this putting on the dog age, Americans' savings are pathetic, if they exist at all. And our public treasuries, in the hands of our Dear Rulers, have no money in them at all - they have, in fact, piles of IOU's to foreign powers.

It's not about "events" or "experience," it's about immature lack of sefl-control - it's about the adults having, since the 1960's, left the room.

Anonymous said...


No, it's not always about status whoring. Sometimes you crave quality and beauty...cuz there sure as hell ain't any of it in my real third world slumville life.

Everything is so cheap and miserable nowadays...that yeah...I want to agonize over my invitations and have them be just perfect, and I want to have beautiful flowers, and I want the perfect china and the perfect table settings.

I actually think for some women a wedding is an outlet for creativity and an escape from everyday sludge.

In the 60s everyday was a party...everyone always had their hair done and wore dresses. I can't afford either. Driving through California was probably a party and a joy. We don't have any of that anymore. So we need the escapism.


You want escapism, go watch a matinee. Everything you wrote confirms the chick status thing. All chicks want to be a princess for a day. And no one's gonna stop her!

Anonymous said...

Another factor leading to splashier weddings in some American demographics is the ebbing of religious faith and its concomitant cultural significance. 50 years ago, if you took your vows, and took them seriously, there was plenty of significance built right in. Now, if you’re a typical indifferently-educated fuzzy-agnostic, you may have a powerful desire to invest your wedding with added shots of significance.

This is of course fed by celebrity culture. Many celebrities’ weddings, it seems to me, aren’t that much associated with classic status marking; after all, those involved are already rich and famous. The competition instead is to show how special, deep, significant your love really is, however long it may or may not last . . . .

Another point against straightforward status-marking as explanatory: in ‘show-off’ cultures that throw big weddings, the desire to issue status markers usually comes from the families of the bride and groom. My theory helps explain why far more atomistic Americans may still want to go all-out on their weddings, no matter what their families may think.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, just as I was writing my comment above about the contemporary desire to invest weddings with added "significance", up comes this comment:

"A guy should want to inconvenience himself and venture into girlie decoration land if only once to create a memorable, quality experience."

Yes, exactly. If a man takes solemn vows that, in the eyes of God and society, bind him to you for life, that's not really showing he cares. No one takes all that boring stuff seriously anymore anyway. No, instead he has to be willing to help you "create a memorable, quality experience".

In all seriousness, anonymous commenter, I hope you can find a good man who is willing to take his vows to you seriously, and who will help you see that the pricetag on the reception is really not that important.

Anonymous said...

It's generally accepted, if not understandable, that women want as expensive a wedding as possible, be it classy or extravagant. Many couples go into debt, if they can't get their parents to spring for it. That said, I really don't understand or accept big weddings when it's the bride's second or third wedding.

Steve Sailer said...

I had a big wedding in 1987, but I didn't, personally, pay for much of it other than groomsmen's gifts (pith helmets, I recall). My parents paid for the rehearsal dinner, and my new in-laws paid for the reception. I believe that's standard protocol -- the father of the bride pays.

Anonymous said...

You guys don't get it.

You know who helped me pick out clothing in high school?

MY DAD.

Every nice outfit I have ever worn has been picked out by My Dad. I still send him pictures of stuff. My mom is oddly Scandinavian Utilitarian so we really don't mesh. (what's up with that strain of Nordic style eh?)

One day you guys will have...Daughters.

And then...then you'll understand!

So yes, I want a guy who can sit around and deal with my female chirping over Pastels.

I spend 99% of my day bitching over Nancy Pelosi, condemning interracial marriage, talking about ultimately masculine subjects...the Least...The Least a man can do is indulge that 1% in girlishness.

Or else ;)

Anonymous said...

But I (comments at 12:21 and 12:29) do have a daughter! She's almost 11, and I think we've now watched the six-part BBC production of "Pride and Prejudice" five times.

But her mother and I keep reminding her, effectively, I pray, that what's important from these stories is not the flashiness of the festivities; it's the seriousness of the suitor.

Incidentally, if you watch that version of P&P, you might be amazed at how low-key the wedding scene at the end actually is (sorry for the spoilers, I guess). The brides and grooms and families all are in clothing that's similar to what they've worn for dress-up events such as balls and church throughout the series. Assuming this is historically accurate, it shows how the significance of the event did not depend on its ostentation.

dearieme said...

"I vaguely associate it with Mediterranean culture v. Northern European culture."

I tend to associate it with the Infantilisation and Girlification of Everything, when I don't identify it with Universal Vulgarisation. Those, I assume, spread out from California.

It is, by the way, a mistake to assume that Mediterranean culture is always undignified. Quite wrong.

Anonymous said...

I just attended a $80K wedding in the OC. Second one in 8 years for the bride. She wore white anyway. The men were dressed in tacky shit, and the women all had boob jobs, face lifts, and were FAT!
What the hell has happened to California?? The women here used to be the most fit in the entire United States! At this wedding, i might as well have been in St. Louis! The men were mostly piles of goo too! Fat, sweaty pigs!
Anyway, it was depressing and silly.
Weddings used to be a grat place to meet beautiful women. I'd rather take my chances on Craigslist! Southern California is over!

Maya said...

Okay, I can get behind the smaller, more modest weddings. Ours was, essentially, a production to appease our mothers, and neither of us enjoyed the idea of being at the center of a large black tie event. I did love my dress and the cake, but I really could have done without the rest.

However... WHAT A HORRIBLE HONEYMOON THESE TWO HAD!!! I can't get behind THAT. No Sir! If I were them, I would have killed myself. Other than the marriage itself, honeymoon is, like, the best part... The thoughts of the coming honeymoon is what got us through the hell that was the prolonged ceremony with matching cloth of various sorts/large family gathering. WEll, that, and the best man was taking his job seriously.

Anonymous said...

I think a wedding does show the seriousness of a suitor.

I really truly do.

If a guys not willing to help me plan a wedding and care then what good is he?

When a guy groans about planning the wedding it's like a little mortal wound...and a good indication you should throw him to the crocodiles! :)

We're not talking about ostentatious, we're talking about caring.

Nah...you gotta have a wedding.

I associate shit weddings (court house/dinner) too closely with ugly asian female/nerdy white man.

Now that I'm thinking about it there are three levels of weddings:

50K---Ridiculous...but the couple totally fit and has children.

10-15K---Shit Waste of Money. Crap wedding, my 500 dollar gift was 1/20th of the cost and they will never receive a present from me ever again. None in this price range have children.

20K- Eh. Decent but Overpriced. Couple has children.

See? Cost of Wedding is Directly Related To Number of Children.











Maya said...

Wait... These things are, how much? Our parents split the cost of ours because they were the ones who wanted it anyway. Now, I just realized that I don't even know the final figure. Well, at least, the two moms got to know each other closely as they battled it out over napkins and patterns.

The seriousness of the suitor is measured by his enthusiasm and willingness to pay for a honeymoon that the bride already planned without him, before she even met him. And also by other stuff that the bride was already supposed to have measured before she agreed to get married in the first place... But, yeah, an awesome honeymoon is also a beautiful thing.

Steve Sailer said...

The way my fiance explained it, we have an indirect dowry system in the U.S. My wife's parents paid for the wedding and reception, and the guests gave us gifts or cash roughly equivalent to their share of the cost of a fancy dinner and dance. So, it works like a dowry from the bride's parents to the couple, but it gets laundered through the guests.

My new father-in-law had just been elected head of the musician's union in Chicago, so our reception was also sort of a victory celebration for him. There must have been about 100 of his union political allies at the reception on my in-law's farm. It was not at all unfun to have all these complete strangers come up to me and hand me envelopes with not insignificant amounts of cash in them. My father-in-law was re-elected to two more terms, so I assume a good time was had by all.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Chick:I think a wedding does show the seriousness of a suitor.

DVN: I would think the very fact that the man has agreed to commit despite the 50% likelihood he would get ass raped in divorce court is enough seriousness.

Chick:I really truly do.

DVN: Well that settles that then!

Chick:If a guys not willing to help me plan a wedding and care then what good is he?

DVN: You want to get a man interested in planning and paying for wedding? Consider a role as a "beard" to a closeted gay rich man.Better move fast, every day that passes advancing gay interests is day lost in getting your man.

Chick:When a guy groans about planning the wedding it's like a little mortal wound...and a good indication you should throw him to the crocodiles! :)

DVN: Gentlemen, run dont walk towards proposing her! Dont let this peach get away!

Chick: We're not talking about ostentatious, we're talking about caring.

DVN: Honey the problem is to chicks like you they mean pretty much the same thing

Chick:Nah...you gotta have a wedding.

DVN: QED

Chick:I associate shit weddings (court house/dinner) too closely with ugly asian female/nerdy white man.

DVN: Most men associate shit weddings(and life) with women like you behind the veil.

....remaining stupidity and crass materialism deleted

Anonymous said...

"I think a wedding does show the seriousness of a suitor.

I really truly do.

If a guys not willing to help me plan a wedding and care then what good is he?

When a guy groans about planning the wedding it's like a little mortal wound...and a good indication you should throw him to the crocodiles! :)

We're not talking about ostentatious, we're talking about caring.

Nah...you gotta have a wedding.

I associate shit weddings (court house/dinner) too closely with ugly asian female/nerdy white man.

Now that I'm thinking about it there are three levels of weddings:

50K---Ridiculous...but the couple totally fit and has children.

10-15K---Shit Waste of Money. Crap wedding, my 500 dollar gift was 1/20th of the cost and they will never receive a present from me ever again. None in this price range have children.

20K- Eh. Decent but Overpriced. Couple has children.

See? Cost of Wedding is Directly Related To Number of Children.
"

How big is your herd of cats these days, miss?

Seriously, do Americans actually still feel shocked at the debt levels in their country when their culture produces princesses like this who demand spending a down payment on a house for nothing more than a memory?

Anonymous said...

Culture? Tradition? Yeah, those are great hooks we can use to sell our $5,000 wedding dresses to every Jane Schmoe!

Kim Kardashian is a businesswoman.

Cail Corishev said...

No, it's not always about status whoring. Sometimes you crave quality and beauty...cuz there sure as hell ain't any of it in my real third world slumville life.

That explains why poor women are the only ones overspending on weddings, while the middle class and wealthier have understated ones.

Oh wait....

It's partly small family size. The bride's family pays for most of it, and if you have one daughter you can afford a bigger wedding than if she has four younger sisters coming along.

My own wedding would have been small and cheap -- my wife was even on board with that -- but her mother insisted on paying for extra stuff we were going to do without. Since she wanted to pay for it, there wasn't much point in arguing. Mothers of the bride are commonly at least as insane as the brides themselves, to the point where wedding planners nickname them "Monster of the Bride."

One more reason: everyone knows half of marriages fail today, but each couple wants to declare that this marriage is forever, of course. So a big wedding is a way to shout to the world: "We mean it, really!"

Anonymous said...

"I associate shit weddings (court house/dinner) too closely with ugly asian female/nerdy white man."

Well, you got my number, but let me explain. Many Asian brides have run out the clock on their J1 or H1B visas and need a green card. The wedding must be prompt, not memorable. The Asian in-laws usually don't bother to show up until there is issue, a sign the marriage is actually semi-permanent -- but their wedding gift is child care services, a valuable commodity. The nerdy white usually is marrying in his 30s, long after his more socially successful college friends have been family men for quite some time; most of them can't get away from their jobs and home commitments to attend a geek wedding, and many feel awkward about the biracial union, anyway. And since neither bride nor groom have many local friends, they get hitched on the cheap with little fanfare and put the savings into a house down payment or household goods. But all's well that ends well. Geek is no longer lonely and usually ends up having cute, smart hybrid kids and a wife who doesn't gain two pounds a year. Wife gets to continue in her high paying career and live out her married life in a single family home with a yard instead of in some crappy apartment in a crowded, polluted Chinese city. Yes there are cultural disagreements, and mixed marriages with Asians can be less than ideal, but for us white beta males who are the leftovers in the dating/marriage market, it beats the grim alternatives, like marrying a divorced white woman with kids and a c section scar or one who has gone through a bankruptcy because she has expensive tastes. Or a younger white woman with tattoos and face junk who has been enrolled in the local junior college for the past six years with no degree in sight and has just been evicted by her landlord. You get the point.

Bill said...

A guy should want to inconvenience himself and venture into girlie decoration land if only once to create a memorable, quality experience.

When did Monty from "Say Yes to the Dress" start reading Steve?

Anonymous said...

"See? Cost of Wedding is Directly Related To Number of Children."

My Irish Catholic grandparents got married in front of a handful of family members, and then celebrated by going out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. They were married for 57 years and had a dozen kids.

Dahlia said...

Steve,
I got married at the tail end of 1998 and our wedding was under $1000.
My father is a true-to-life miser, so I wasn't get anything from him which left my mom and I to pay for it. She had divorced husband #3 so we struggled to make ends meet. I had a minimum wage job and was going to college.

As a Christian, shacking up was unthinkable, so waiting until I could afford a nice wedding wasn't possible.
I bought my own material and sewed my own dress. My aunt bought my shoes and veil as well as printed out our invitations. My sister baked the cake. Other family members, including my mom, cooked the food.

The one thing I splurged on was a violinist to provide the music. I bought some roses, too. We were forced to outfit the bridal party in a more casual style as I had to pay for their dresses. The ideas out of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine were used to pretty things up.

I wish I could have had a wedding that was more beautiful and had more class; many people didn't get invited due to shame. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same thing, but would have invited the people originally left out. Especially, as they know how my dad is and would have been understanding.

Anonymous said...

"the Least...The Least a man can do is indulge that 1% in girlishness.

Or else ;)"


Or else what?

You'll end up single, childless, and alone? And depressed and angry, and blaming everyone else for it? Yeah, we already know.

Cail Corishev said...

So yeah, I do look at weddings as some sort of (don't use the word shit test) 'test' for how much the guy really cares.

Then you deserve to live and die alone. And yes, it is exactly a "shit test" -- one which, if the man fails it by going along, will continue for the rest of his life.

A guy should want to inconvenience himself and venture into girlie decoration land if only once to create a memorable, quality experience.

Nice bait and switch. We weren't talking about inconvenience or allowing yourself to be surrounded by girlie things; we were talking about expense beyond people's means. The man who insists on cutting costs by doing some things himself is more "inconvenienced" than the one who throws $50K at a wedding planner and shows up on the day. Girlie things don't have to be expensive, at least for any decent girl.

When my sister got married, she printed her own invitations, and her aunts made the cake and food for the reception which was held afterward in the church hall. They've now been married 20 years and have 5 kids, and their frugality has made it possible for them to own their own house outright before the age of 40. How many couples who spent $20K on their wedding day can report results like that?

Hunsdon said...

DVN at 4:11 AM:

Well said, sir.

flavia said...

....Aside from the grandiose and narcissistic nature of people these days, and the infantilization of the culture I think lavish events are linked to-

1) Lack of meaning in one's life. People need these events in order to feel like they are reaching milestones or doing something of worth.

2) A culture that desires reward, but not the hard work that usually comes form it.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

If you can't tell I spent the day stuck on the freeway in 90 degree weather and had to go return something inside a mall in which I saw a never-ending sea of middle aged gang bangers covered in tattoos complete with a few white females covered in tattoos speaking Spanish with their insanely brown babies in tow.

So yes...a Garden Party with tea sandwiches sounds nice right about now."

Just remember, dear lady, that it was largely the compassion of women voters who made all that possible.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

A guy should want to inconvenience himself and venture into girlie decoration land if only once to create a memorable, quality experience."

You may find a guy who will pay for it, but don't expect the guy to like it or get interested in it, unless you want an Arianna Huffington marriage.

Elli said...

$1000 wedding, 30+ years ago, college chapel, reception in student center, made cake and appetizers myself, delayed honeymoon, four children, still happy.

Wedding requirements for groom: see priest, pre-Cana, get the license, choose our rings (plain gold) together, not ogle dorm-mate who jumped out of cardboard cake, keep the vows.

Decor: daisies. Daughters can have it a little fancier but we didn't raise princesses.

heartiste said...

The more ostentatious the wedding, the shorter the marriage. And if the marriage manages to last, the quicker the time to spousal disillusionment and hours spent tucked into porn and pulp erotica.

Same goes for elaborate marriage proposals and gaudy engagement parties so beloved by the striver SWPL set. If you find your woman pushing you in this direction, it is a warning sign. Leave her, or do your job as a man and guide her back to rationality and humility.

Rohan Swee said...

If a guy tried to pull that crap on me, he'd be ball-less or something else-less. Like a trip to the court house in a navy JCrew bridesmaid dress and then pictures outside by a tree in the parking lot...he'd be dead...his life would be over. (I've seen this wedding several times)

So yeah, I do look at weddings as some sort of (don't use the word shit test) 'test' for how much the guy really cares.

A guy should want to inconvenience himself and venture into girlie decoration land if only once to create a memorable, quality experience.


I'm sure this gracious lady must have a line of "quality" suitors eager to compete for the prize of a memorable, "quality" experience of life with this "quality" woman.

What degree of quality, we shall not specify.

John M said...

I have a son and three daughters. My son is ten, my daughters all younger. When asked "Where do you get married?" they reply, "In a Catholic Church!" When asked "When do you have babies?" they reply, "After we get married!"

I'll be willing to part with a pretty significant sum if those conditions are met.

Thanks Steve, I donated today. Much better you than NR and the folks to whom I used to send money.

Captcha is Hymn, how apropos!

Dr Van Nostrand said...


No, it's not always about status whoring. Sometimes you crave quality and beauty...cuz there sure as hell ain't any of it in my real third world slumville life."


If you want to get out of the third world and inch closer to the land of "beautiful people" then practice delayed gratification.
If you have saved up any money for a wedding- dont spend it.And find a man with a similar outlook.

If you blow a lot of money on a wedding and/or get into debt for it,you will never escape your situation.

Use the money to get an associate degree in vocational training in which jobs are readily available(yes they exist even in this economy)

And for the love of God, rent ,dont buy.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand the big wedding thing. I know the owner of the local Merle Norman (make up) store and she told me last year that 2 of the girls who came to them for make up for the bride and bridal party had the experience of the groom getting cold feet and cancelling out just 2 weeks before the big wedding.

It gets to a point where the couple is really, really worried about how much money they've spent and how many of the guests won't give them the $100 or $200 or even $300 per person that they figure they're spending on the whole thing. The only people likely to give that kind of money (chumps, in other words) are older relatives or, possibly, your father's business associates who owe him.

Anonymous said...

I just read this week that a typical prom costs over $1,000.

I suspect it's several, inter-related things:

1) Inflation in the cost of everything;

2) The general belief that everyone is "special" and really ought to be a "celebrity"; and

3) With easy credit, people just don't feel the cost of "stuff" anymore. Wanna go to Vegas or on a cruise? Just put it on the plastic. We'll worry about the bill next month... or next year... or whenever.

Anonymous said...

Participating in planning a BIG wedding shows how serious the guy is? I thought that was the purpose of the diamond ring?

Anonymous said...

just attended a $80K wedding in the OC. Second one in 8 years for the bride. She wore white anyway. The men were dressed in tacky shit, and the women all had boob jobs, face lifts, and were FAT!
What the hell has happened to California?? The women here used to be the most fit in the entire United States! At this wedding, i might as well have been in St. Louis! The men were mostly piles of goo too! Fat, sweaty pigs!
Anyway, it was depressing and silly.
Weddings used to be a grat place to meet beautiful women. I'd rather take my chances on Craigslist! Southern California is over!
5/2/13, 1:58 AM Most people are fat, I'm fat, you need to wake up to reality.

SC said...

I don't think that the cost of a wedding has anything to do with whether a marriage will last or not. White Americans spend lavishly on weddings, yet their divorce rate is around 50%. South Asians, Arab peoples, Turkic peoples, and Iranian peoples also have a tradition of spending lavishly on weddings, yet their marriages have a higher rate of success.

As for people who have small cheap weddings, if the woman commenter above who criticises Asian women for having cheap weddings is correct, I don't think it is bad for Asian people to have cheap weddings if that is their custom.

I think that White Americans will continue to have spectacularly high divorce rates, whether they go for an expensive or cheap wedding. I also think that Asian Americans will continue to have divorce rates that are somewhat lower than White Americans, as will South Asians, Arabs, Turkic peoples and Iranian peoples. For it is not the cost (or lack thereof) of a wedding that signals the likely success or failure of the marriage. It is the strength of character of the man, the woman, his family, her family, their ethno-cultural community, and their religious community that affects the marriage.

Christine said...

My favorite wedding party in cinema is the one from Hobson’s Choice, and if I get married again, it will probably be an opportunity for a new dress from Lily Pulitzer.

Either we elope (like my first marriage) or we have a ceremony with family and a dozen friends who live within a 20 mile radius. Pol Roger, chicken and egg sandwiches and a pyramid of cream puffs. Then, off to the airport!

Anonymous said...

"One thing I have noticed...

All of the Weird White Male/Ugly Asian Female couples have the cheapest most Slap in the Face weddings imaginable.

Like there's 'inexpensive' weddings that are full of love and class...and then there are 'slap in the face' weddings. The above are slap in the face weddings.

If a guy tried to pull that crap on me, he'd be ball-less or something else-less. Like a trip to the court house in a navy JCrew bridesmaid dress and then pictures outside by a tree in the parking lot...he'd be dead...his life would be over. (I've seen this wedding several times)"

It is rather odd that such a beautiful and caring person as you keeps getting invited to these weddings.

Anonymous said...

No actually I am a catch. I'm a female who reads Steve Sailer.

It's just that I've had it with attending shit weddings.

A wedding is your introduction as a couple to the world. It embodies what your 'couple culture' is and what you stand for.

When you don't put any thought or caring into a wedding (that's not money people...that's Planning and Thinking) it is a big reflection upon the relationship.

I have some female friends who practically killed each other trying to compete. But the reason why they were competing was one girl half-assed her wedding and was feeling guilty because the other girl (though a bitch) actually...actually...cared and tried to make it nice for those in attendance.

A wedding is like everything else in life...you gotta put work into it, you gotta put time into it, and you gotta put thought into it.

If you men don't want to do those three things I've already told you the solution and who to marry. But then again...what type of guy wants to be known as the guy too lazy to plan his wedding?

Anonymous said...

The disappearance of the tradition "low church" Protestant aspect from North American life. More common for Protestants two generations ago to get married in the church manse with a few close family members and friends in attendance.

el supremo said...

@Steve Sailer

Traditional Mediterranean weddings were bigger and livelier than traditional WASP weddings, but they not as pretentious or ego driven as modern weddings (they could often be tacky).

The pretense and ridiculous consumption of modern American weddings comes because there is no sense of what the wedding itself means in society, and that void needs to be filled with self-inflating consumption.

In contrast, the meaning of traditional Mediterranean weddings was clear - a religious ceremony, followed by a gathering of extended family (which makes them bigger, but for a good reason) at which certain traditional foods of your ethnic group were eaten - quite different from how Bridezillas decide all aspects of their own wedding based on projecting an image.

Anonymous said...

"So yeah, I do look at weddings as some sort of (don't use the word shit test) 'test' for how much the guy really cares."

Run away.

One wonders what else anon will be demanding a month after the wedding to ensure she has the "quality and beauty" she'd like, and what the level of hostility towards her new husband will be when he realizes that providing what she regards as an adequate level of "quality and beauty" is well above their income.

Most people looking at marriage don't have a lot of money. That usually happens after 30 years of hard work and saving.

Anonymous said...

It's quite possible to have a nice wedding and keep the expenses low-ish; you just have to keep the guest list small. That having been said, my hypothetical future children will be told that they can get just as married at the county courthouse.

Cail Corishev said...

If a guy tried to pull that crap on me, he'd be ball-less or something else-less.

Clearly, any man who proposes to you is handing those over anyway.

Alden said...

"The pretense and ridiculous consumption of modern American weddings comes because there is no sense of what the wedding itself means in society, and that void needs to be filled with self-inflating consumption."

Well said.

Icepick said...

I wish I could have had a wedding that was more beautiful and had more class; many people didn't get invited due to shame. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same thing, but would have invited the people originally left out.

If they knew you well and had any sense and/or decency, they would have understood. If they didn't know you well and didn't have any sense/decency, you shouldn't have invited them anyway.

...

I don't think it is a Northern European vs. Mediterranean thing at all. Of the wedding receptions that I have attended, the most fun has been had at weddings that featured Italians prominently, sometimes as close friends of the family. But that hasn't meant ostentation or expense. (Especially not expense.)

I think it has more to do with three other, related items mentioned above: the transition from republic to empire, in spirit; the erosion of religious culture; and the atomization of society.

Incidentally, I had one of those justice of the peace courthouse weddings. Two other people in attendance, her father and my mother. No reception and a minimal honeymoon. But we had been living together for two years, were just getting ready to start grad school, and we barely had the money to do what we did. There are times when my wife wishes we had done more, but then she sees these modern weddings and thinks we did alright. Anyway, we've been together over 19 years and been married for over 16 of those. So far so good on that front.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Captcha is Hymn, how apropos!"

Do these captchas operate on the same principle as google Ads? They seem too apropos too often for it to be a coincidence!

seth said...

You elide the fact Nancy Davis was 3 months pregnant at the time of her marriage to Ronald Reagan. They probably didn't want to spend a few months planning a wedding where she would be showing her imminent maternity.

Steve Sailer said...

Nowadays, they'd wait until after the baby and after she lost all the baby weight to have a big wedding (e.g., Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes).

One reason for the rise in illegitimacy rates is that average women are convinced that they will be as good at losing weight after the baby as their favorite stars were, so let's not get married until I'm back down to my pre-baby weight.

Good luck with that.

Maya said...

"One reason for the rise in illegitimacy rates is that average women are convinced that they will be as good at losing weight after the baby as their favorite stars were, so let's not get married until I'm back down to my pre-baby weight.

Good luck with that."

My mom says that it will be very easy because breastfeeding requires a mad number of calories. Then again, she never gained more than the recommended amount to begin with, and advised me to follow her example.

Anonymous said...


Big weddings are gauche.

Anonymous said...

Pregnancy can induce temporary hyper thyroidism. That happened to me and I lost all the pregnancy weight plus 15 pounds and ended up slightly underweight. This is actually a bad thing because high thyroid means less muscle mass. If you get back down to pre pregnancy weight within a week or two and are still losing, get your thyroid checked.

Anonymous said...


"Weddings used to be a grat place to meet beautiful women."


That was back when young people got married.

Anonymous said...


"Our culture in general has moved towards a more event-centric one."

I've been thinking something along those lines, too.

I vaguely associate it with Mediterranean culture v. Northern European culture.


Right. As others have noted, we now have culture of personality rather than a culture of character.

JSM said...

"My mom says that it will be very easy because breastfeeding requires a mad number of calories. Then again, she never gained more than the recommended amount to begin with, and advised me to follow her example"

Gained 40 lbs. in pregnancy. Lost 42 by the time Baby Son was 7 months old, from nursing (no formula, no bottles, no anything else.) Every time Little Bit gained a pound, I lost two.
Good Baby!

Chris McFarland said...

TO 5/2/13, 10:56 AM Anonymous
No actually I am a catch. I'm a female who reads Steve Sailer.


A catch for the reason specified? Perhaps but it depends on how you look.

When you don't put any thought or caring into a wedding (that's not money people...that's Planning and Thinking) it is a big reflection upon the relationship.

This is completely untrue. If you don't put any thought or caring into the relationship itself, that is a bad sign. The wedding means nothing beyond what it means to the couple. People say it is for family and friends. They are wrong. It is for the couple. Some try to show off. Some treat it respectfully. Some do it on the cheap. None of it matters unless the relationship is strong.

If you men don't want to do those three things I've already told you the solution and who to marry. But then again...what type of guy wants to be known as the guy too lazy to plan his wedding?

Me? Middle age white dude. My wife? White. Cost of wedding? $350 in 1999. My participation in wedding planning? Zero. Our discussions of wedding spending? Keep it super small, exchange vows on our own (our wedding, not theirs!), have a party with lots of alcohol, spend what money we had on a honeymoon. Marriage status? Strong and happy with two kids. Number of dubious relatives? High. Amount I cared? None. Number of princess sightings? Zero. Your argument strength? Poor.

Assuming you are real and not already married and thinking back to a fictional desire from ten years ago, my advice is this. Stop putting restriction on your fictional husband to be. Any self-respecting guy will sniff that out very quickly and you'll be dumped. Of course, you may not be looking for a self-respecting guy, in which case you will get the wedding you want and a life you'll hate.

Maya said...

"The wedding means nothing beyond what it means to the couple. People say it is for family and friends. They are wrong. It is for the couple."

Not everyone agrees with that. Even though, I generally like pretty traditions, I also hate large parties and find it embarrassing to be at the center of a symbolic ritual, especially, when the things I'm being made to utter are rather personal, even intimate. My husband is a guy. He always figured that weddings are unavoidable because girls need them. We saw our wedding day as something to get through for the sake of others.

We would've been quite happy to elope. But it became obvious that the both of our families, especially our mothers, would see it as a huge spit in their faces.
- You don't want to share a memorable event with your families?
-No, mama. It's just that it's something personal.
- And we are what? Strangers?

Perhaps, it's because we were both not yet 30, so our parents still felt like should bend to their expectations of what's proper.

Tenneby said...

Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball team, made his money in printing, particularly the printing of wedding invitations. Apparently, he controls about 90% of the formal wedding invitation market and this is primarily what made him a billionaire. Yes, that's right, printing wedding invitations made someone a billionaire. Is this a great/sick country or what?

Laura said...

Don't make your finance plan the wedding with you, Anonymous! If you leave him alone, there is a 99% chance he will be perfectly happy with whatever you want to do. On the other hand, if you make him read bridal magazines as a proof of his love for you, you will then have to incorporate some of his suggestions as proof of your respect for him. He won't be any happier with the wedding, because at bottom he doesn't care, and you will be less happy with it.

It sounds like having a certain kind of wedding is important to you, so don't put yourself in the situation where for the sake of peace you have to include some horrible tacky thing your groom has randomly latched on to. Save the compromising for situations where you have a difference of opinion which is actually important to you both. Don't go manufacturing trouble.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

White Americans spend lavishly on weddings, yet their divorce rate is around 50%. South Asians, Arab peoples, Turkic peoples, and Iranian peoples also have a tradition of spending lavishly on weddings, yet their marriages have a higher rate of success."

They are more lavish because they its Old World,religious and all that. And divorce ,though increasing in these communities as well, is still as stigma.
Divorce is especially tough on the woman as no one wants "used goods" but OTOH marriage is not seen as the culmination of an adolescent infatuation but a union between two suitable families so while a divorced woman has it bad , a widowed woman is looked after by the grooms family
In Indian weddings,this point is driven further home where the relatives ,brothers and sisters are more heavily involved in the rituals than in Western weddings.
In some Arab weddings, the groom goes as far as to symbollicaly marry the bride's brother in order to emphasize his commitment to her family rather than her.

Having had my share of moocher roommates and friends,the last thing I need is my future wife's illiterate and unemployable siblings and relatives crashing in my house or hitting me up for cash.And my wife insisting that I tolerate such odious characters for her sake.

It doesnt matter how wonderful the girl is (even a Sailer reader!) but if she comes with a undesirable family baggage, then its a no go.

@ChrisMcFarland

You are white Anglo. I come from the old world ,I dont have the luxury of not caring about dubious relatives due to above reasons.

I envy you!

Dr Van Nostrand said...


And for the love of God, rent ,dont buy."

Forgot to mention, that applies not just to housing but the tux and bridal gown.

Of course its much easier to convince man to rent the tux than the woman and the gown! Which would defeat the point as the latter is always much more expensive.

Honestly though, what will you do with the gown? Sentimental value? You have photos and video.And when you are better off, perhaps you can purchase the same gown for keepsake.
And just FYI-if you are the type of woman who wears occasionally wears the gown well after the marriage just for kicks,your husband will just assume you are a psycho. Unless you want him to turn into Al Bundy , be reasonable and let your feminine instinct for conspicuous consumption take a back seat to reality

Maya said...

"Honestly though, what will you do with the gown? Sentimental value?"

I used to love to try on my mom's gown. My baby sister still does, once in a while.

It doesn't have to be that expensive to look really nice. Especially if you order from China or Vietnam. They make each gown for your specific measurements and are very willing to alter any given design in any way that you'd like. I was very happy with their work. Bet it was only slightly more expensive than renting.

Maya said...

"No actually I am a catch. I'm a female who reads Steve Sailer."

Is that all a girl needs to do to be considered a good catch?

I thought I was a catch because I know how to prepare rice water that stops diarrhea...

Anonymous said...

"If you men don't want to do those three things I've already told you the solution and who to marry. But then again...what type of guy wants to be known as the guy too lazy to plan his wedding?"

I recommend you look for the man who is too lazy to plan his wedding. This will be a good first approximation of a worthy man.

Maya - if you are indeed a woman - which I doubt since you are too clever by half - close your ears to your Mom and all the Sailer site know-it-alls and just get pregnant. The rest will follow.

Regarding the optimal wedding, why not have several? Statistical conclusions generally improve with sample size.

Neil Templeton

Anonymous said...

Laura @ 10:29

Brilliant!