Weddings are highly ritualized rites of passage that have traditionally functioned to transform a single man and woman into a husband and wife. Although the restriction of weddings to heterosexual couples is relaxing in some parts of the world, the debate around this topic is highly controversial. A wedding signifies to witnesses and to society in general that the couple has made a commitment both to each other and to the institution of marriage. Because few modern cultures retain rites of passage that signal the transition from adolescence to adulthood, the wedding often serves to signify this change in stature as well. Because of their great expense and the time required to execute them, weddings are often the most sumptuous activities consumers will experience in ...

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