20 September 2010

Is The White Wedding Every Girl's Ultimate Fantasy?

Are big fat white weddings a girl's ultimate fantasy...?

Or, are they in fact...

- expensive
- nerve wracking
- an admin black hole
- to blame for turning a reasonable, intelligent girl into a crazed bridezilla
- famous for creating hideous family dramas
- did I mention that they're really, really expensive?!!

A year and a half ago I became engaged. And so began the questions of how, when, what, who!?  Well, I actually knew "who", at least. But little did I know the word "Yes" came with 15 months of admin, expense and a splash of diva. I could have bought a jumpsuit from Biba and eloped to Mauritius, but no, I opted for a big, fat, white shebang. Why?!?  

This was the catalyst for my investigation into why people get married at all. In an age where co-habiting isn't taboo and having a baby out of wedlock is hardly front page news, why do people still want to tie the proverbial knot?

In Cherry Gets Married, on BBC3 tonight at 9pm, I meet women of all ages to try and capture a snapshot of why we're still getting hitched. The youngest girl I met was barely 16 and desperately wanted to marry her (also teenage) love. After five days of being together they decided to get engaged. With one parent objecting, they are having to wait, but with the dress bought and the catering organised they are certainly raring to go. For this couple, I felt that the security of marriage played a huge factor. Setting their love in concrete was a way of dealing with the insecurity and instability of life.

The other women I met all also had their own reasons for getting married. For some it was about upholding family tradition, for others it was a part of their faith, and for others, there were some very practical reasons. But the one common factor was, of course, love!

But knowing that a couple can be just as close without getting married and with 40% of marriages ending in divorce, it is easy to see why marriage is viewed as naive. But after meeting all these women I can see that the reasons for marrying are varied and, for many, declaring the union in public is important. There is something amazing about standing in front of your family and friends and asking them to support your marriage, and hearing the booming ‘We Will’ in response. And it is a powerful moment when the person you love makes the promise, in public, to stick by you. Forever.

And whilst no one knows the future, and although we’re all slightly crossing our fingers, it’s pretty romantic to take that giant leap of faith.

Cherry's documentary Cherry Gets Married is on tonight at 9pm on BBC3; www.cherryhealey.com

- Cherry Healey


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