When did shameless money-making become a wedding theme?

The cure for wedding season blues? Flannery Dean says some old-fashioned hospitality would be nice.

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Dollar banknotes falling on bride and groom figurines
(Photo Getty Images)

Like a criminal waiting to shake you down for all you’ve got, wedding season lies just around the corner. If comparing your best girlfriend on the happiest day of her life to a thief may sound a tad extreme, maybe you haven’t been asked to be a bridesmaid recently.

With all of the showers, engagement parties, dresses, shoes and fittings, not to mention the pre-wedding makeup and hair trials, playing the part of second fiddle to your best girlfriend can break many a working gal’s budget.

But that’s not the only reason why most women — single, committed, or a mix of both — dread the advent of wedding season. The real reason: weddings aren’t that much fun. Notions of hospitality have gone out the window and guests are made to feel less like beloved friends and family and more like necessary contributors to a financial enterprise.

Recently a pal received a wedding invitation in the mail that cheekily advised her to make a cash donation of $200 in lieu of a wedding gift.

Blame wedding planners and the bridal industry, which naturally puts greater emphasis on pricey décor, catering and locales than on say, abstract notions of grace and hospitality, which don’t cost a thing.

But not every bride and groom has fallen for the hype. Last year, I found myself doing the unthinkable: enjoying myself at a wedding. Here’s why: the bride and groom behaved as gracious hosts rather than spoiled prom king and queen. They moved throughout the reception, happily taking time to greet and thank each person for attending. They asked their guests if they were enjoying themselves, if they had had enough to eat and drink.

The effect on the guests was evident in the overall atmosphere, which was buoyant and convivial — a real party! All felt appreciated, desired and cared for by their hosts, and as a result pretty lucky to be in the presence of two people at one of the most significant moments of their lives. For the bride and groom that seemed to be the gift enough.

Tell us, do you feel like weddings have become too much about making money and too little about family and friends?