Eh, I’m separated and probably getting divorced, and I still disagree with most of this. The ceremony itself can virtually be dispensed with unless you feel the need to be the center of attention among your peers and family for a few months and a day, but the concept of a monogamous union (at least for a short while) is still pretty much necessary even today.
Marital unions are definitely antiquated in terms of the definition of ancient vestiges for what “union” means today. Back then it was obviously for the sake of joining families for sake of social and economic advancement, hence, the dowry. It also ensured bloodlines remained intact for inheritance and line od succession in the familial patriarchy. Then the Christians converted most of Western civilization to its values and adultery and patriarchy was introduced to the pagan cultures that didn’t have much problems without these concepts before. But today, 99% of people in western civilization marry for love, whatever their personal understand of that concept is. And because of that it is a flawed system compared with prearranged marriages which see a much lower divorce rate statistically.
Still marriage (or at least monogamy) has a place in modern society for raising children in a stable environment that allows them to socialize better into society and grow to become more successful. It’s two people are pulling together their skills, experience, and resources and dividing the labor in making and rearing a family. That may also be a self-perpetuating, societal notion that even gay couples fall into, but we aren’t so socially advanced yet to offer consistent and comprehensive government assistance to single parents so that they are at least close to equal footing to a two-patent family. There are still too many people that are against this for religious, moral, taxation or other myriad practical reasons.
And, yes, wedding and married life does cost more. People spend on life whether is survival or celebrating it. Building a future with a spouse and offspring are motivators because a standard of living is set by communities. To that end they spend on a the best house and furnishings they can afford. Education, enrichment, culture, and other things that promote happiness. They will also dig into their retirement to pay for kid’s college or a family members uninsured, life-saving/prolonging medical expenses. Our emotions are heavily intertwined with familial bonds. It’s genetic.
It would appear that until the fears of what we can live without in a marriage is dispelled (if ever) unions, either conventional marriage or otherwise, will continue. The level of pomp and circumstance depends on people. The economy is buoyed by it, and the more that people buy into these notions the better for the industries catering to domestic life.
My mother and father were divorced. My mother remarried once and divorced a gain with two more children for it. My father never remarried and never had any other children after the two from his first marriage. They both ended up finishing their post-marital lives “living in sin” with a monogamous companion despite both being raised Roman Catholic. I see a lot of divorced people doing the same these days.