Defining Marriage – Confusing? You Bet!

 Nearly 80% of all weddings take place in a church, synagogue or other place of religious worship. I found this shocking. Mainly because, I thought that it would be the opposite, that  more weddings were civil ceremonies held at reception sites, officiated by individuals licensed by the state rather than performed by ordained members of various religious institutions in a house of worship.  In fact, ‘church’ weddings are on the rise. However,  it is technically not the signature of the priest or rabbi  that makes your marriage legally binding, it is the stamp by the state. So, the thing that  makes the marriage legal has nothing to do with religious affiliation or lack thereof.  If you are keeping score, this means that technically ALL marriages are ‘civil unions’ but, not all ‘civil unions’ are marriages.

Of course that takes us into the whole same sex marriage debate.  Miriam Webster defines civil unions as: “the legal status that ensures to same-sex couples specified rights and responsibilities of married couples“. However, aboutcivilliberties.com states: “Civil unions are legal contracts between partners that are recognized by a state or government as conferring all or some of the rights conferred by marriage, but without the implicit historical and religious meaning associated with the word ‘marriage’.” No mention of same or opposite sex. I was married in the Cook County Courthouse in a civil ceremony… no priest, no rabbi, no minister. Therefore, although I am legally ‘married’ to my husband, by definition it is still a civil union. However, technically it is referred to as a ‘civil marriage’ . You see, because we have different chromosomal makeup, we are allowed to be legally married.  Are you still with me?

If you are confused, welcome to my world. But, lets get back to the church for just a second.  Centuries ago, people who wanted to be joined together for life simply set up house together (mutual consent), no questions asked. No ceremony, no gown, no DJ or flowers. Somewhere around the middle ages, things got confusing. Some countries required the government to sanction marriage, some required sanctioning by the ‘church’. Realistically, this was done to document, track and control marriages and probably to make a profit somehow.  To this day, some states still recognize common-law marriage which is based on  length of co-habitation and mutual consent.

Without getting into a detailed  history of marriage , let’s fast forward to the year 1999.  Bombarded by requests for marriage licenses by same sex couples, Vermont lawmakers took matters into their own hands and decided to create a parallel license (equal to marriage in everything except name) to issue to same sex couples wishing to be afforded marital rights. Thanks a lot, Vermont…. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! If I understand this properly  (please correct  me if I don’t), “Civil Union” licenses were created to appease some voters  without offending the other voters along the way. In order to be completely politically correct, perhaps it should be called a “Duplicate  Chromosome Union” license. This way individuals with gender re-assignment wouldn’t have to have an additional parallel license.

This brings us to 2012 where  you can have a civil ceremony and civil marriaige  but, it isn’t considered a civil union.  You can have a civil ceremony which can be a civil union but not a civil marriage. Fortunately more churches are accepting of all kinds of marriage, unions and cermonies and are willing to accept the religious and cultural differences of couples everywhere. Perhaps that is why ‘church’ weddings are on the rise. Stilil shocking to me but, then again, I’m still trying to figure out who came up with the idea of a  ‘parallel’  license.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Cutler/Cavallari Wedding – It’s On!

This week we found out that our very own Chicago Bears Quarterback, Jay Cutler, has rekindled his engagement to his former fiance, Kristin Cavallari. Of course the media has bombarded them with questions about the date and location (he lives in Chicago and her primary residence is L.A.). For me, the bigger question is, ‘Will she do another pre-wedding photo shoot?’ Because according to my calculations, this might just be the mother of all “it’s bad luck to see the bride in (any) wedding gown before the big day” stories.

If you are just catching up; Jay Cutler is the QB for the Chicago Bears. Kristin Cavallari is a reality/actress/socialite who recently appeared on “Dancing With The Stars”.  The two became engaged and the wedding date was set for last summer. In June, Ms Cavallari was photographed in several bridal gowns for a Life & Style photo shoot.  4 days later he ended their relationship and just this week it is reported that they reconciled and are once again engaged to be married. Was one of the gowns she wore in the photo shoot one that she had selected for her wedding? Maybe not.  But, this is still a very odd coincidence in my book.

So, how do you break a curse, if there is one? 

When you are handed a second chance at happiness, it’s time to do things differently. If I were Kristin or Jay I would keep my lips sealed tightly shut. Of course I would opt for a quiet Chicago wedding and stay far away from the spotlight. Particularly any photo shoots with bridal gowns or endorsing any wedding related products until after the wedding. I would turn this wedding into a family event and not invite the HD reality TV crews. I would not use this as a way to gain publicity or attention and spend this time focusing on the relationship. The last highly publicized ‘reality darling/professional athlete’ wedding was an EPIC disaster (as if the  Hindenberg landed on the Titanic just as it was about to sink). If they are really committed, they will focus on the relationship and forget about the publicity.

Maybe I’m just being overly skeptical or maybe it comes from being a Cubs fan but, the last thing you want on your wedding day is the slightest hint of a curse. Better safe than sorry….. and whatever you do DON’T invite Steve Bartman.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kim’s Fairytale Wedding – The Party’s Over

There is always that moment after the wedding is over when you wish you could do the whole thing again. The dress, the party, the dancing and seeing all of your friends/family in one place – everything and everyone looking so wonderful. Then you start addressing the Thank You Notes and settling into married life and realize how much work went into the whole thing, thinking maybe you can wait until your 10th anniversary to plan another event of this magnitude. After about six months, when all of the excitement has died down all you want to do is have one nice quiet evening at home with no tasks or ‘to-do’ lists.

Then there are those cases when the wedding lasts longer than the marriage. Whether it is finances, place of residence, children, or infidelity, the realization that you married the wrong person has to be painful.  Yesterday’s announcement of Kim Kardashian’s probable divorce did not come as a shock to as many people as she would have suspected. While I would like to say that Kim Kardashian deserves some time to work this out in private, I can’t for several reasons:

-With all the debate over gay marriage – also known as civil unions or in my house, just plain “marriage”, I wonder why people can’t let this go. Another example of two heterosexual people who have all the rights afforded to them by the state and federal government (and the approval of conservative marriage activists) to marry whomever they want and have it televised to the tune of $18 million +, to stay married for 2 or 3 months and divorce for no reason, to marry multiple times to whomever for whatever reason and treat the process in a disposable manner…. yet two men or two women who are truly in love and have already shared more life experiences than most couples cannot legally ‘marry’ in their state. AND even when they are afforded the rights, they walk away with a certificate that says “Civil Union”. This is completely unjust and I feel a public explanation is due.

-When you are married in front of television cameras for ratings and profit, when the entire romance and proposal and engagement are televised for ratings and profit, when you live every moment of your life for ratings and profit, you should have to answer every single question from every single person who contributed to your ratings and profit.

– If you are able to turn a  self-indulgent lifestyle into a career, you should have enough sense to ask your future husband or wife a few simple questions: “Where will we live after we are married?” and “How will we support ourselves… will we both be working?” or “Where will we raise our children”.

In my opinion, Kim Kardashian should have to answer every question, return every gift and donate every dollar made  to a charity … one that fights for equal marriage rights for all. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago