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26/03/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

I will be getting married soon. It's a bit of a shock at the age of almost 42, but thanks to my future wife I'm very much looking forward to it. What I hadn't realised, however, was the extent to which marriage is an industry. Indeed, mention the word «wedding» and some people start rubbing their hands in anticipation.
For a start, consider the tradition of the wedding list. This enables one store to monopolise the entire gift-giving process, ensuring that most of the money spent by your guests goes into the same cash register. Ker-ching! Then, of course, there is the reception, which involves hiring a room for a party. When you check the websites of the various spaces available, you'll notice that the prices for regular events and wedding parties vary considerably. After that there are rings, dresses, suits, transport and hotels to be taken care of. All fair enough.
What has shocked me most, though, is the way that the entire world suddenly knows that we are getting married. As soon as we had booked the date at the mairie our letterbox became crammed with advertisements from professionals offering to photograph, video and for all I know tweet about the happy occasion.
The worst things are the telephone sales calls. The other day I got one from a woman from AXA. She began: «Monsieur, bonsoir: vous allez bientôt vous marier.» Yes, but not to you, so stop using it as an excuse to sell me insurance. What happened to romance?

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