Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2004 / 6 Kislev 5765

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Consumer Reports


Wedding Psychosis: A new diagnosis is born


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | 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 in gold!


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 time usage.

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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 dollars.


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. Your call!


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. Comment by clicking here.

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