Are "Engagementcations" Ruining Marriage?

Couple on vacation

The wedding-industrial complex wants your fiance to be just like Prince William.

The world has been all a-twitter (especially on Twitter) about the royal engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The future Princess brings a newfound sense of romance and excitement to the royal family, as well as some much-needed genetic diversity. Their long-term romance, culminating in a proposal while on vacation in Kenya, is prompting other couples to engage in the next big trend—the "engagementcation." Prince William & Kate Middleton Officially Engaged

USA Today explains this newest craze as being all about trips dedicated to engagement proposals. Just like Prince William, you, too, can take your future fiancee to Kenya to give her a ring before you're both eaten by the local lions or abducted by the local warlords. Could You Plan A Wedding In Six Months?

This idea isn't particularly new, although it's never had such an obnoxious name before. Couples from time immemorial have been jetting off to Paris to pop the question and be treated rudely by waiters who have not discovered the modern wonder of deodorant. But thanks to a travel industry desperate for anything to get people to take a vacation, the concept of the "engagementcation" has become yet another pop-culture buzzword. Couple Uses Facebook To Raise $30K For Their Wedding

Of course, there is a caveat. Before plopping down the money for both the ring and a trip to that romantic bed and breakfast, it would be a good idea to make sure your intended will actually say "yes." Because being dumped is bad enough. Being dumped while on vacation is even worse. Being dumped while on vacation surrounded by snotty Parisian waiters is simply a nightmare.

But it's time to take a critical look at this new phenomenon. We've seen weddings become a $40 billion industry in the United States, and now after your "engagementcation" your "Bridezilla" can compete to have a "Bridalplasty" before "Say[ing] Yes to the Dress." And if by that time you've not already consulted your local divorce lawyer, you probably have the patience of a saint. With all the commercialization of the wedding industry, it's a wonder anyone gets married at all. What we have here is nothing short of a worldwide wedding-industrial complex. Be A Great Groom: 3 Wedding Planning Tips For Men

So while travel planners may want everyone to copy Prince William, and wedding planners would love it if everyone had a family that could drop millions on a wedding, a storybook romance doesn't require "engagementcations" or the other trappings of the wedding industry. In fact, all the added expectations and commercialism gets in the way of what should be a celebration of love.

The average couple in the United States spends nearly $20,000 on their wedding, and that figure continues to increase even despite the recession. It's time to fight back. Forget the "engagementcation." In fact, maybe it's time to fight buzzwords with buzzwords. Combine that "engagementcation" with a "staycation" and propose at home. It's perfect for those who are "funemployed."

"Engagementcations" are just another way to industrialize and commercialize what is already an over-commercialized and over-industrialized process. Couples don't need more stress and more expenses in their lives, especially when they're just getting started with their lives together. As much as the travel industry wants the "engagementcation" to catch on as a major fad, what's best for couples is not always the same as what's best for the wedding industry.

Is the commercialization of weddings ruining marriage?