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The Princess Bride: Royal Weddings for Everyone

By Katy E. Shrout

It’s a fairy-tale opener with a contemporary coda: Once upon a time, Prince William, the twenty-something who will be king, married the comely commoner, Kate Middleton, in a grand ceremony in Westminster Abbey. The event inspired two sorts of media reactions: first, a barrage of intense interest, including giddy scrutiny from wedding experts and the large pool of people who have written books about the royals, and second, grumbling about the press coverage on the grounds that it is frivolous, distracting, or stupid.

Neither of these reactions is a surprise, and both fail to raise the most important question about the Western love affair with weddings: why? Why do we devote such attention to this ritual?

Why does the average cost of an American wedding hover at roughly half of the average annual income? Why do we have a seemingly insatiable market for reality TV shows about weddings? Why, in a culture that eschews formal ritual in other contexts, do we seem so fascinated by processionals and symbolic candle-lighting?

Read the original article at: Religion Dispatches

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