There’s an engagement party. Friends and family gather to express their excitement and joy. A handsome collection of towels, platters and salad bowls are given to the happy couple and stored away while preparations for the BIG day roll on.
The house is bought or a rental property secured and furniture is purchased or gathered from friends and family looking for a charitable reason to upgrade their own.
The bride is treated to a Shower or Kitchen Tea – where the women in her world huddle to exchange recipes and tips, play random games with pegs, stock her pantry and laundry closet with hundreds of dollars worth of consumables and thirty tea towels and, more importantly, let her know that there are women in her world cheering for her and supporting her in this next stage of her life.
Then comes the wedding day. People come from interstate and even overseas. They file into the church in their finery – the married ones reminiscing about their own special day and everyone feeling the privilege of sharing in such a sacred and momentous occasion. Then they eat and dance and raise their glasses as parents and best friends speak blessing and hope on behalf of everyone. The wedding gift registry has been bought out; providing tableware, appliances, linen and decorative items to ensure the couple are well established as they create their first home. And the questions commence about when you might be expecting the arrival of your first grandchild.
Now imagine this.
Your daughter is 26 years old.
And she moves out of home.
Perhaps she has a housewarming. Maybe she receives a couple of cards and a few candles or table runners.
Exchange your daughter for a son and though there’d be some differences in the narrative the end result is similar. A well celebrated, highly affirmed, and practically supported launch into the world.
The contrast ought to raise a few questions for us.
Who knows if there is marriage in their future or not. Maybe there are still the engagement, showers and wedding to look forward to. But maybe not.
What do you think? How do we launch adults with any sense of ceremony and passage without the engagement and wedding process? What is missed for those exiting home and establishing themselves independently without these experiences? What mechanisms might there be to facilitate intergenerational connection or verbalised support?