Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2004 / 6 Kislev 5765
Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak
Wedding Psychosis: A new diagnosis is born
It hasn't quite made the DSM 1 yet but "Wedding Psychosis" is real, and
can render nearly any father-of-the-bride certifiable.
Trust me on this one. I know.
Now, weddings have always been festive (read here, "expensive") affairs.
Today, however, tying the knot is big business. Every year in the US. 2.3
million couples wed which translates to nearly 6,200 weddings a day. Love
and marriage is a $100 billion/year industry with $72 billion spent on
weddings, $19 billion on wedding gift registries and $8 billion spent on
honeymoons. One recent study showed that the cost of a wedding ceremony
today is 15 times what it was a generation ago. The average number of
guests invited to a wedding is 178. The average wedding budget is $20,000.
I know. As the father of the bride-to-be, "Just keep your mouth shut and
your wallet open," has become my personal creed.
Still, I feel I'm entitled to at least a few questions whose very silliness
suggests that they might require serious answers.
1. Having planned parties their whole life, why do parents need a wedding
coordinator? Perhaps it is because they will need one to argue with the
church, temple or hotel wedding coordinator. Do I sense conspiracy here?
Figure a few thousand dollars and up and advance to number 2.
2. The Wedding list. All of a sudden every relative or friend you ever met
has an advocate to place them on the list. Where did these extra hundred
names come from? No email invites allowed here only engraved invitations
2. Then there is the dress. "Pick the dress and the whole wedding will take
shape and develop around it," says a Kleinfeld advisor in Brooklyn, New
York. Maybe that's an excuse for them charging $800 to 8,000 for a wedding
dress "custom made from parts." Why does it take 4-6 months to make?
Because beading and pearling have to be outsourced to India. For a few
hundred dollars more, you can have it cleaned and embalmed after it's one
3. Most women bathe, shampoo, blow-dry, comb their hair, put on make-up and
dress themselves. Why does the bridal party suddenly require stylists and
assistants? Add a few thousand dollars and proceed.
4. Over 91 percent of all to-be-weds register for gifts. The couple
receives gifts from an average of 200 invitees, most spending between $70
and $200 per gift. That tallies to $19 billion. In one sense, the father of
the bride may get a decent return on the hundreds of bridal, wedding shower
and baby shower gifts he's donated over the decades. Except, of course, the
gifts ain't for him.
5. The average cost of wedding rings for the bride and groom is $1,016.
But at least diamonds are an investment paid for by my future son in law.
He is a great kid and must love her a lot, judging by that stone! So with
both a ring and a date Dr. Laura will be happy!
6. You pay all your life to a church or synagogue to be a member and when
you finally get your kid married they want an additional few hundred
7. Kids blast their CDs all their lives but tonight you have to have a band
to get the guests involved. So for this you may pay $5,000 - $10,000
dollars to some local group of questionable talent to get your guests to
sing and dance to Hava Nagillah.
8. Most people are already on diets but on this night you have to provide
enough fuel, liquor and food to last a week. This is the big buck item.
9. And finally the cake. No one eats very much but you gotta have it at a
cost of hundreds to thousands. In contrast to myth the leftovers do not fit
into the refrigerator.
10. The Rehearsal Dinner. So no one from out-of-town dies from thirst or
starvation you have to feed them the night before. Add $5,000-20,000 more.
11. The honeymoon. Ninety-nine percent of newlyweds take a honeymoon and
will spend three times more on their honeymoon than a regular vacation.
Honeymoons usually last 7 to 9 days. Well, that's their concern. Now we all
have our independence.
12. There was a number 12 but it got lost in all the madness.
But there is good reason for all this fuss. In truth, we love to do it and
we love to complain about it. And in truth, no matter how much or how
little we spend it is one of life's best and most special moments. I fully
expect to be there in my classical
James Bond tuxedo no funny turned up collar, girlie man studs but
with a black bow tie and cummerbund and holding one red rose. Just enough
to make Richard Gere a little jealous and J Lo breathless as I ask my
daughter one more time, "Shall We Dance?"
(1) The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American
Psychiatric Association, generally considered the Bible of dysfunction.
They're always finding new diagnoses. (This month they've added, "Post
Election Liberal Democratic Blues," but no need to talk about that now.) I
suggest therefore that everyone who has ever suffered from Wedding
Psychosis a temporary but nonetheless frightful malady petition the
APA to include it.
Editor's Note: Michael Arnold Glueck wrote this week's column
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments
on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute
Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians
and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists.
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