Seemingly, weddings and funerals have lots of similarities. For instance, individuals dress up; families assemble, part of the crowd weep and guests of honor travel in expensive vehicles. After considering that huge sums of money are time and again spent on ceremonials, researchers have attested the availability of a lot of money in different nations of the world. In fact, while looking for new torrents on income, most families tend to add multipurpose regional centers for the purpose of societal meetings as well as post-funeral receptions.
In spite of the fact that marriages and funeral ceremonies have turned out to be highly expensive, it is asserted that 2,300,000 weddings are celebrated each year along with infinite figures of funerals in the United States. This essay tries to explore, compare and contrast the activities in a wedding and funeral ceremony with special emphasis on Rebecca’s one perfect day: the selling of the American wedding and Jessica’s book entitled The American way of death revisited.
According to Rebecca, America’s wedding lacks total uniformity. However, there are some basic aspects that have been observed in nearly all marriages in the United States. Generally, the bride put on a white gown, a religious ceremony is performed, and subsequent to this is a reception along with drinking, eating and dancing. Wedding celebrations in the United States are seen as events for self expression. This tendency in the US is inevitable and distinct.
They also present themselves extremely beautiful, well dressed and affluent. Marriage is the most conformist, respected and highly exalted ceremony within the US society. Various irresistible forces have developed in the wedding sector which has posed a challenge to the conventional way wedding. American wedding is presently shaped by commerce as well as marketing (Mead 16). Marriage usually changes an individual’s lifestyle to a prospective purchaser of bridal manufactured goods.
Researchers approximated that the American wedding industry had accumulated to 161 US dollars to the United States economy in 2006. In most cases, brides who purchase wedding merchandises from the industry are assured of a happily life ever after. This incites them into spending much while approaching their wedding ceremonies.
Rebecca states that her stand regarding the amount of money spent in wedding ceremonies is sternly negative. She sees this as a waste of money and a creator of havoc to the financial stability of the newlywed couples. Rebecca asserts that “most brides are always gripped by the desire to have their guests’ chair-backs tied with ribbons and colored to coordinate precisely with the envelopes in which their save-the-date cards have been sent out” (Mead 20). All these cannot be attained without money.
Rebecca explores the extent to which wedding ceremonies have been transformed through selfish interests into machines of income. The bridal media has influenced the industry through brokering relationships between brides and industries that serve them.
Wedding ceremonies are also performed through hiring of vehicles and also hiring places where the bride and groom spent their times together. Different varieties of wedding gowns have been manufactured to provide a variety of choice to the newlywed couples. Wedding gowns worn in America were initially manufactured in the US but they are currently manufactured in Chinese Factory Floor.
Department stores in the wedding registry have progressively strived to secure brides as their clienteles for life. The significance of religion in a customary wedding has been mentioned along with the ways through which nuptial spirituality is marketed. Honeymoons along with journeys traveled by couples are also recognizably expensive.
Mitford’s book concentrates on the field of death. Death has also been considered as an expensive activity. Jessica’s book focuses on the high costs of funerals as a reason behind her discouragement of funeral activities. She talks of how the writing of her book was troubled and discouraged by most Americans especially the media mortuary experts.
As a matter of fact, the “standard cost of a funeral nationally had risen from seven hundred and fifty US dollars in 1963 to one thousand six hundred and fifty US dollars in 1977 in exclusive of a burial plot” (Mitford 10). The price of cremation had also doubled within a period of thirteen years.
In consideration of this, Jessica asserts that from the probable profitability, a Neptune Society was initiated by an enterprising businessman, a (for profit) direct cremation business enterprise that enjoyed instantaneous achievement and soon attracted customers from different parts of the world.
Cremation, which was the sole alternative for low class individuals due to the fact that it is cheap and simple, has turned out to be extremely expensive. Jessica also explains how the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Bureau had initiated a policy to restrict reckless funeral buyers in their contracts with the undertakers.
This rule that was brought forth by the Federal Trade Commission had a great deal of loopholes. Most individuals in the United States have gone further to construct their own mortuaries and cemeteries as their sole source of income.
The major difference between Rebecca’s book and Mitford’s is the fact that Rebecca’s book focuses on weddings as events that consume huge amounts of income while Mitford’s book concentrates on funerals as events that consume a lot of income from the individuals involved.
Despite the fact that the two activities produce similar impacts, they are totally of different settings. Rebecca’s book talks of pricey reception services entailing drinking, eating and dancing along with traveling in fancy vehicles, provision of special treats to the guests of honor, purchasing of costly gowns, preparation and distribution of wedding cards to the invited guests, honeymooning and traveling for fun On the contrary, high costs entailing pricey reception have not been mentioned in Mitford’s book.
Both books regard marriage and funeral ceremonies as extremely pricey events. Marriage entails couples traveling in fancy vehicles, purchasing of costly gowns, feeding of individuals at reception centers, preparation and distribution of wedding cards to the invited guests, honeymooning and traveling for fun as well as paying for the hired activity places.
Funerals entail expensive mortuary services, caskets, cemetery services as well as burial plots (Mitford 20). Both books clarify that the costs of marriage and funeral have been gradually increasing as compared to the previous years where all classes of individuals could afford the services. In fact, the costs of wedding gowns, reception centers, rings, fancy vehicles and weddings invitation cards have sharply increased. In Mitford’s book, the cost of mortuary services and burial plots have also increased.
Rebecca’s book discourages the way in which the expenses in marriage have sharply increased. The highly exalted conventional marriage has been gradually replaced with a business oriented activity. Marriage is seen as an activity that individuals show off their status in terms of capital.
Presently, people in America try to employ all means to make their wedding ceremonies expensive than their colleagues. Business persons also strive to make the brides their permanent clienteles in each and every way. Similarly, the values of funeral services have progressively increased from affordable prices to highly unaffordable prices. The outlays of funeral services have progressively increased from $750 to $1650 within a period of seventeen years.
When Rebecca tried to bring to people attention that the high costs of marriage ceremonies should be done away with, she was shunned by both the media and the managers of different business corporations. This was due to the fact that if the weddings were averted, then most marketing corporations would their sources of income.
Marriages are presently considered as major sources of capital in most corporations (Mead 13). Likewise Mitford was also troubled in the publication of her book. She was not even allowed by the media to publicize her stand regarding the cost of funerals. In revisiting the American way of death, Mitford asserts that the changes in the costs of funerals are not positive and thus there is need for restructuring the system. She was objected by different people as well as the media.
In Rebecca’s book, weddings are regarded as sources of income to various corporations. First of all, the media gets cash in advertising new wedding gowns introduced to the market. Companies also get capital from the sale of wedding gowns and rings. Individually owned centers are also sources of income as they serve as reception centers during wedding celebrations. In Mitford’s book, funerals have been regarded as sources of income to various corporations. Individuals have also constructed their own cemeteries and mortuaries for income.
Conclusively, both marriage and funerals are expensive events. They should therefore be done away with. Fault concepts that the lives of couples can only be happier if their wedding ceremonies are well celebrated should be done away with. The amount of money spent in these events should be reduced so that the money is channeled to other important sectors of the nation. It is also important to note that different nations around the globe are unknowingly surrounded by money.
Mead, R. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. New York: Penguin Press HC, 2007. Print.
Mitford J. The American Way of Death Revisited. New York: Vintage, 2000. Print.