A stunning white gown, maybe strapless to show off just a bit of skin, a cascade of flowers, the most elaborate cake topped with two miniature figures. Soft music playing, hundreds of faces turning back to look at you, whispering of your beauty on the most special day of your life. And finally, your perfect match, waiting, smiling as you approach. You join hands as the preacher mumbles on; you aren’t even listening as you’re so caught up in each other’s eyes.
The white wedding. Every gurl’s dream. Or is it? Lately, the traditional dream of a perfect wedding has been evolving. Sure, some of us still want that traditional church wedding, but not all of us. Some of us gurls want an outdoor wedding, or maybe something extreme to celebrate our plunge into married life, like bungee jumping.
Whether you want a reserved wedding or a lively party, religious or non-religious ceremony, every wedding is essentially a celebration. The bride-napping trend on the rise in Romania is simply another way to celebrate.
Now, when I first heard the term “bride-napping” I completely misunderstood the term. I immediately began to fear for the good women of Romania who were being stolen from their beds and forced to marry some stranger who didn’t feel like asking their permission. The good news is that the trend in Romania has nothing to do with kidnapping. At least not real kidnapping. Bride-napping is when the bride is willingly stolen away from her husband-to-be before her nuptials, and taken by a group of friends to another location to party the night away. The bride-less groom must then come to the rescue of his new wife by offering her “kidnappers” a ransom of sorts.
The point of the new trend is to add another layer of fun to the occasion. It seems no different than the traditions of the bachelor/bachelorette parties. Even so, we have to wonder what this says about our society today. Could this trend be implicitly encouraging kidnapping and violence? After all, the “kidnappers” often defend their stolen brides with mock weapons and firearms. Does it in some way glamourize kidnapping and gun violence by incorporating them (even jokingly) in marriage ceremonies? Sure, the toy guns might be pretty harmless themselves, but the message they send will still influence the impressionable minds of young women. Either they will see it as a fun add-on to their marriage ceremony, or as a joke gone wrong. Really, anything to do with marriage is going to influence women everywhere because of the importance that has been historically placed on the institution.
Historically marriage is a rite of passage from the single life into the married life, and into the roles of motherhood and obedience to their husbands, traditionally expected of women. Some modern day ladies aren’t keen on the old expectancy of women to be damsels in distress though, so it’s understandable that this “rescuing” of the bride from the clutches of the kidnappers might ruffle some feathers with them. Of course, in the bride-napping scenario, the bride herself actually holds all the power over her husband-to-be. She is the one who decides if his “ransom” is acceptable and when she will go back to be married. This scenario creates a fun shift in power; one where the groom is the one in “distress” over his missing bride.
Since the meaning of marriage has indeed changed over time – seeing as men and women are equal partners in marriage- we ask the question: So, what is marriage today? Is it a mere legal bond between two people? A religious ceremony? Or is it the biggest party of a gurl’s life? The truth is marriage has more than one meaning. It has changed since the middle ages, when marriage was a strictly religious rite of passage. Marriage has even expanded beyond being between a man and a woman. So what is marriage to us?
To some, marriage is unnecessary and plenty of people are content without a legally binding contract to prove their affection for one another. For some, religion still plays an important role in marriage. For others still, like the brides in Romania, their marriage is a celebration that should be realized to the fullest. None of these are inherently the correct or incorrect meaning of marriage. They all hold significance for some people. And really, it’s your wedding, so it’s also your choice. If you want to have your wedding in a church, go ahead! If you want to plunge off a 200-foot bridge, have fun! If you want your friends to bride-nap you while your new spouse offers you a heartfelt declaration of love as a ransom? Do it!
The good thing about these new traditions popping up is that they are optional. Whether you’re old-school or leaning towards the crazy stuff, your wedding is yours and should be personalized. It should be a reflection of you and your special someone, and should be everything that you want it to be. It should be your dream wedding.
One last thing, does anyone know where I can get some bungee cord and a 200-foot bridge?