Out in the Open

Wedding ceremony needs redesign, says philosopher Alain de Botton

"It's like a giant Instagram account, which doesn't let in the true picture of life"

Many traditional fairy tales end with a wedding. But in reality, the wedding marks the beginning of the new complex relationship dynamics of married life.

Alain de Botton (Alain de Botton/Facebook)

But as philosopher and The Course of Love author Alain de Botton says, the current design of the wedding ceremony badly fails to symbolize the transition into family life.

"One would start by thinking of what the needs of a couple are long-term, and then work backwards to what the wedding should be," de Botton told CBC's Out in the Open host Piya Chattopadhyay.

"So it's clear that really what you need from society at the moment of the wedding is some kind of instruction manual on how you're going to get through your life together."

De Botton offers his thoughts for a redesign for the wedding ceremony: one that includes fewer material presents and a healthy dose of pessimism. This may sound like the complete opposite of the grand celebrations of love we've come to expect from weddings. But as the philosopher explains, such changes are necessary to increase the chances of the marriage's longevity.

"Fantasies can be great, but we shouldn't make the wedding a fantasy, because the wedding is the gateway to married life," de Botton said. "It shouldn't be a moment of illusion, it should be a moment of preparation."