It took just 72 days for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries to realize that their life together would not be the fairytale they had anticipated. The $10 million wedding was broadcast on E! Entertainment network as “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding.” The 31-year-old was getting anxious to start a family soon, hoping her union with Humphries would be eternal. Now that the marriage is lifeless, cyberspace is bubbling with speculations as to why the two got married in the first place. Whether for love or part of a publicity stunt, the Kardashian wedding affair indicates that weddings still mean something in today’s world, though long-term marraige may not.
Planning a wedding still seems to be a priority for many young people. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that what used to be a highly-valued social institution is now losing its appeal with millennials (ages 18 to 29). The survey found that 52% see good parenting as one of the most important aspects of adult life. Only 30% considered marriage to be that important. Young people today are waiting longer to get married and according to Pew, only 22% of millennials are currently married. More young people care about high-quality parenting than they do about getting married. But these numbers don’t mean that we are curbing our obsession with the world of wedding gowns and engagement rings.
The concept of marriage may mean less to young people today, but the idea of a wedding is just as enchanting as it ever was. On April 29, two billion people across the globe witnessed the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. There are too many television shows about weddings to keep track of. Say Yes to the Dress, Birdezillas, My Fair Wedding with David Tutera, Four Weddings, and so many more are watched by millions of people around the country. In 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl is a bridesmaid 27 times before she herself is married at the end of the film. Weddings are a visible part of our culture and do not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Pop culture’s obsession with weddings is clear. The attention and emphasis is on how to throw the most fabulous wedding and less on how to make a marriage last a lifetime. The shift is moving from a focus on marriage to one on weddings. So while we are less interested in the mechanics of sustaining a long-term relationship with someone else, we are blindsighted by the chance to plan an extravagant event that everyone can remember even if the marriage does not last. It is interesting to see that the wedding industry is booming as more and more marriages are breaking. The Pew survey tells us that marriage is less important to young people today, but American culture is still fascinated by a lavish wedding.
Kardashian may have missed the mark this time around, but we can be sure to expect another wedding spectacular in her near future.
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