As someone who is engaged to be married, it is suddenly painfully obvious to me how weddings have been co-opted by commercialism. My boyfriend and I just want a simple wedding, but even at that, we are finding it difficult to stay within a reasonable budget. Food and drinks alone are priced outrageously.
We do not want an elaborate wedding because we feel that spending that much money and worrying so much about immaterial details actually detracts from the occasion. The wedding becomes about the fancy venue, the fancy dresses, and the fancy food. And of course, it should really be about love.
My experience with wedding planning has made me consider how commercialized so many of our sacred moments in life have become. Christmas, baby showers, graduations – and on and on. They have all been taken over, to an extent, by companies that want to sell us more stuff. All the holidays and important moments of life have become, for many companies, opportunities to make a buck. And in our frenzy to throw the best party or buy the best present, we wind up doing nothing but causing ourselves unnecessary stress.
Part of living mindfully is realizing the extent to which being present for the events in life affects one’s happiness. Truly showing up for a celebration and remember what is actually being celebrated is what makes an event memorable. Not the fancy decorations or the expensive gifts. And by choosing not to buy into the materialism foisted upon us, we are thwarting a capitalist system that is, in many ways, deeply exploitative. The system tells us we need these possessions to lead a happy life – which serves the system but does not serve us, because it draws us away from the things that bring true happiness.