Published: Wednesday, Jun. 10th, 2020

Wedding ceremonies are a public investment in the couple’s partnership. Why ceremonies matter more than ever!

It isn’t often that we come across a wedding blog post or podcast that adds much to our understanding of wedding ceremonies (mostly because we read so many that we sometimes think we’ve seen it all), but this week’s episode of 99% Invisible about wedding dresses did just that! While the podcast is ostensibly about, well, wedding dresses, it actually digs much deeper, and unpacks wedding ceremonies and what it means to have a public wedding in 2020. 


While we tend to think about weddings as being all about the couple, they are also about the guests. In fact, the guests are a more important part than most people realize. That’s because when guests travel (often thousands of miles) to the ceremony and participate in an emotional capacity, they buy into what’s happening and make an emotional investment in the relationship that's being proclaimed and celebrated in front of them. Here’s how the podcast explained it:

Avery Trufelman: And that is what a public wedding is all about. Letting other people invest in your partnership.

Benjamin Karney: A wedding does something to the couple. It also does something to the guests. If I attend a wedding, I was there at the institutional beginning of your relationship, and that means I’m kind of responsible for you.

Avery Trufelman: That’s a heavy thing. It’s not just a party. And that pressure quickly changed all of Vivian’s wedding plans, which had started simply enough.

99% Invisible producer Avery Trufelman


Here at American Marriage Ministries, we’ve always known that the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding day, but it helps to be reminded why that is. It’s also important to remember that it’s the ceremony that joins the couple and their community in this investment in the new family. 


Wedding ceremonies constitute what social scientists like to call “intersubjective” myth creation. That’s not to say that “myth” isn’t real. Quite the opposite. Our laws, money, nations are all things that we collectively believe in that are very much mythical. And on a much smaller scale, we create something akin during the wedding ceremony – a legally recognized family. Myth is how we create hierarchies and belief systems. And when couples promise to stay true “until death do us part,” it’s true because we believe them. 


And speaking of legally recognized, our online ordinations are recognized in all 50 states - so if this article has inspired you to get in on the action, consider getting ordained right here on this website. In addition to being free, our ordinations are backed by the best online and printed training materials you’ll find, and we’re always here to help if you have questions.


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