From Why This Way
Weddings are marriage ceremonies.
Because we value consent, we have discussed the following practices for weddings.
- Do not put any pressure on people to expend excessive money or resources to attend or participate in your wedding. For example, if you ask someone to participate in your wedding as a bridesmaid, and then require them to purchase an expensive dress out of their own expense, you have caused them to incur an expense without their consent. The same could apply to pressuring guests to attend a far-away wedding when having to pay for travel expenses out of their own pocket.
- If choosing outfits for people to wear in a wedding party (i.e. bridesmaids' dresses), pick outfits that are practical and can be re-used for later events, so that any investment of money is not wasted in the long-term.
- If having a wedding that contains or is in the form of a religious service, in which people from outside the religious tradition of the service are attending, do not use the wedding service as a means of pushing beliefs onto people.
Most people have a period of engagement between the time they decide to marry, and when they actually marry in an official wedding ceremony. The engagement period can serve the function of giving people time to reflect on their choice to make sure that they are actually comfortable making the commitment to marry a person.
Our beliefs specify that, in a healthy state, people are not coerced into doing things that they would not do of their own free will, and also that people take responsibility for their actions, but not for things outside their control. In some circumstances, people can place social pressures on an engaged couple to actually go through with a marriage, if one of the people is having doubts or decides they do not wish to go through with the marriage. We would consider this pressure to be unhealthy, as we see the choice of whether or not to get married as a choice and commitment of the people being married, not the others involved. This pressure could also cause people to go through with a marriage that they would not normally go through with, if the decision were left completely up to them. This could undermine the integrity of the marriage and increase the risk of divorce or trouble in the marriage.
Expensive and involved weddings can create social pressure for couples not to break off an engagement, because they create sunk costs, both in terms of money and time and effort. It is also reasonable to expect people (such as family, people in the wedding party, or even guests of the wedding) to be frustrated or uncomfortable if people call off a wedding late enough that people have already expended their own resources (such as on buying clothing, or travel) and cannot get these resources back. This frustration can produce a social pressure, which we would see as unhealthy.
This argument provides an explanation of one reason why we see it as important to limit the expenditures and costs of weddings.