Wedding season is coming to a close, and for those of us who aren't huge fans of the local wedding scene, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Don't get me wrong, Lebanese weddings can be true works of art, from the exquisite decor to the top-notch entertainment. But, frankly, we seem to have drifted to a toxic extreme in which weddings have lost their true essence and begun to center to materialism and appearances.
The bigger the bill, the harder you impress
The financial burden of hosting a wedding can be overwhelming almost anywhere in the world, but the issue is all the more problematic in Lebanon, where couples feel pressured to host weddings way beyond their respective budgets.
Many couples go above and beyond to host an impressive wedding, even if it means weighing themselves down financially and even taking out loans to fund it.
Social pressure every step of the way
So, why do many couples bite off more than they can chew while planning a wedding? Two words: societal pressure.
The Lebanese are one tough crowd to please, or as popular saying goes: Ma bye3jebon el 3ajab (They wouldn't be impressed by a miracle).
As with almost every aspect of life in the country, weddings are scrutinized and judged based on ridiculously high standards by people who feel the need to put couples under a microscope and comment on each and every one of their decisions.
Not to mention the drama that is bound to come along with every wedding, with some of the couple's friends and family members taking things personally almost immediately. They make a huge fuss out of the most trivial details, like where they are seated or how many members of their family were invited.
Guests carry the burden as well
With the ever-increasing prices, attending a wedding can be a bank-breaker, especially for female guests. Apart from the expenses spent on one's looks, there comes the notorious liste de mariage (wedding registry) and the social pressure associated with how much money you offer the newlyweds.
Guests are also subjected to the social burden, as they are pressured to feed society's obsession with appearances and adhere to typical beauty and behavioral standards. In other words, you need a whole lot of confidence and a carefree attitude to just "be yourself" at a Lebanese wedding.
The gossip knows no bound
Some guests turn into critics and feel compelled to give their two cents on everything, from the food to the seating plan. You can count on them to find flaws in the most perfectly-planned weddings.
Such guests not only judge the hosts but other guests as well. They watch other guests' every move and share their observations at every opportunity. They discuss everything, from your hair and makeup, to the way you danced, to who you chatted with, and how your husband was staring at the belly-dancer.
It's all about the social media buzz
Lebanese weddings seem to be evaluated based on how much buzz they create on social media, so much so that an entire Instagram platform is dedicated to covering luxurious weddings and allowing couples to boast about the millions of dollars they are spending. This leads to an outpouring number of social media posts that are anything but authentic.