I will be in Houston this weekend to attend the wedding of a good friend’s son.
I will also have the opportunity to see my youngest daughter who recently became engaged.
Which left her mother and I slightly stunned.
Amy and her boyfriend recently took a week’s vacation to Nicaragua in order to hike to a volcano, relax at a beach and, apparently, become engaged.
She could not wait to tell us her news upon her return.
MOM: “Oh! That is so wonderful!”
ME: “You had to go to Nicaragua to pop the question? Are you nuts?”
Ahhh. The power of women.
While I was relatively certain my daughter would be married some day there was a lingering thought – similar to that which runs through so many millennial’s relationships these days – “Are these two EVER going to get married?
Yes, they are getting married closer to 30 than ever before – 59% of millennials are single and have never been married, according to a Gallup poll last summer, a total of 73 million of those born between 1980 and 1996.
According to historical U.S. Census Bureau data, 36% of Generation Xers, 48% of baby boomers and 65% of traditionalists were married when they were the age that millennials are now. For millennials currently aged 18 to 30, just 20% are married, compared with nearly 60% of 18- to 30-year-olds in 1962, according to the U.S. Census. When Gen Xers were the same age, 32% were married; for baby boomers, it was more than 40%.
Millennials are clearly delaying marriage longer than any generation before them, in spite of evidence suggesting that many millennials intend to marry at some point.
So this weekend will give me and my daughter the chance to talk about her wedding next summer – and the budget she will have to live with.
According to the dot-com site WeddingWire, there are several “must-dos” in wedding planning. And right out of the box they cross swords with fathers of the bride: “Don’t Start Small.”
The advice is to “dream big” and “plan big.”
I hope my daughter gets all her dreaming done by the team we see each other for some Texas barbecue at lunch Friday.
In fact, I’m likely going to make her pay for lunch.
“Don’t succumb to pressure” is another peice of advice.
My advice: Do succumb to reality. I don’t care if you want to get married in a church, on a beach or in a tree house – if you want me to be a financial partner in this escapade, you might want to take a hard look at the fact that I don’t often go into debt. Like, never.
So rent that nice church – but not St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Get married on a beach, but don’t ask me to fly your wedding party there.
Get married in a tree house but….wait a sec – that sounds like fun.
Millennials seem to work hard at doing things differently. But a wedding is a wedding. Right?
I’m quite sure that at some point in our conversations about next year’s wedding I will think of Tevye, the father-character in “Fiddler on the Roof” when he contemplates his daughter’s marriage and screams out: “TRADITION!” just before he approves of his daughter’s future husband.
A millennial through and through, Amy met a young man from North Carolina while in the Peace Corps. They didn’t bother to tell their parents they were an item as they worked through the early months of their relationship. Then she got a job in New York City, so, naturally, he quit his job in Chicago so they could live in Brooklyn.
Now they have decided her dad needs to buy dinner for about 100 of their friends and relatives.
Uh, I mean, they have decided to unite in holy matrimony.
Seriously, once we survive the budget talks, there is little doubt the planning for a millennial wedding will be…..umm, interesting.
The face of the American family has profoundly changed during the past two generations, with millennials picking up where Gen Xers left off. Along with these changes, or perhaps as a result of them, social norms within American society have shifted — and with them, nearly every aspect of our daily lives.