Wife: You know, we don’t have a bag or anything for that present.
Me: We don’t need one. We’ll just take it as is. Gift wrapping is wasteful; we should stop doing it.
Wife: But it’s beautiful.
The tradition of gift wrapping, just to unwrap gifts and make a mess of wrapping paper on the floor is still, in my opinion, a waste of resources. I’ll concede that children enjoy opening presents the appropriate amount, and so, some amount of present wrapping might not be wasteful.
But for adults and particularly weddings, it seemed then, as it does now, over the top, which is why her three-word defense was at once disarming in its truth and poetic in its simplicity. The implied argument is making and having anything beautiful is inherently, at least partially, wasteful, and at least sometimes, it is worth it to make beautiful things.
As I sat through the wedding, I continued to think on this. Weddings are wasteful. Buying a dress that you only wear once, etc. Everything about them is even more wasteful when put in the context that marriage often doesn't work out. However, they are beautiful, because love is beautiful. The balance that needs to be struck is between that celebration of beauty for beauty sake and intentional use of resources. I would have expected weddings to mostly go away with the trend to minimalism among some in this country, but maybe not, because new love is probably always going to be too intense and too beautiful not to celebrate.