As is typical of me, I am late to be aware of the latest social trends. I just heard of a fad called “destination weddings”. I have known about unusual weddings such as scuba divers getting married underwater and sky divers getting married as they fall from a plane with a parachute, but a destination wedding is new to me.
In my day, the folks I knew were in modest financial situations when they got married. I have attended touching ceremonies in parks and city halls as well as rousing drunken brawls in various rented Legion halls across the province.
I often hear about young couples who go to exotic places and far away climes to get married. I think that is just fine. I believe strongly in travel for young people because anyone who expands their awareness of other parts of the world will return much wiser. When I was young, going away to get married was called eloping and back then eloping to an exotic place usually meant a drive to Niagara Falls from Toronto in a ’57 Chevy or similar vintage vehicle. Only in my time, a ’57 Chevy was not a vintage vehicle – just a used car. And in my day, it was only the bride and groom who went.
I understand that destination weddings have been going on for years but it is a whole new term to me. For all my old friends, I will explain the concept to both of you. A destination wedding is a marriage that takes place far away, usually in a resort down south but other places as well. It’s not eloping. It is a wedding that family and friends travel to attend and see the happy couple get married as well as stay a few days to celebrate with them. It is all thought-out and planned right down to the hotel rooms and plane tickets.
This isn’t just for rich people either. It is for ordinary folks who are given months and even years to save for and plan time off work to attend. Even if you don’t like to travel, even if you would rather go somewhere else for a holiday, even if you have far better things to do with the money and even if you will be in debt for the next few years to pay off the loan you had to take out to pay for the trip, you have to go. Because if it’s good friend or relative who is getting married, you have to go.
I looked up some of these weddings through travel consultants and I was astonished to see it is not unusual to plan for 60 people and many times even more. I understand that all these folks pay their own way. When I think of the money that must go into one of these weddings I am staggered.
So here’s an idea that might be more practical. How about a real estate wedding?
Suppose instead of planning a destination for a wedding, how about a property wedding? Instead of consulting with a travel agent, how about consulting with a Realtor? It occurs to me that if a couple can bring 60 or 80 people to a resort hotel for a wedding at about $1,500 to $2,500 per person to attend, why not bring them to the front lawn of a condo property or a house and ask each one to bring $1,000 for the down payment? That’s half the cost of making people fly to a resort and it can help a young couple buy a home on the day they get married.
There are some very creative Realtors in Canada and I will wager there may be an opportunity for them to become real estate wedding specialists. It makes a lot more sense to me than destination weddings.
That’s all I have to say about weddings except one last word about marriage. A few weeks ago, the President of the United States declared that he was in favour of same-sex marriage. Some opinion polls show that about half of the people in the United States do not believe gay couples should be permitted to marry and become a family. I believe this could be politically damaging for the president and I applaud Mr. Obama for having the fortitude for saying what he did. If I could I would go down there and help him get re-elected.
I know a lot of people do not agree but I am proud to live in a country where opinion is respected but dignity for all families is the law.
Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email email@example.com.