June 15 – 1: Why even wedding industry reporters should know basic statistics

I really enjoyed this Slate article about the price of an “average” wedding. Although I got married almost two years ago and never plan to have another wedding, I still read almost any article I come across that talks about weddings. I even have a wedding blog or two in my feed reader that I read regularly.

Weddings are celebrations of love – both a couple’s love for each other, and the community’s love for the couple. And I find them fascinating. In part, I like looking at them from an anthropological point of view – thinking about the different traditions and where they have come from, thinking about how weddings have changed over the generations, or how they differ from culture to culture (or subculture to subculture). I also like the pretty pictures that usually go along with wedding articles. Even within a relatively traditional, conservative wedding, a celebration that has a fairly set formula for what is going to take place and how everything should look, I am amazed at the variation and creativity that people show, the details large and small that they put hours or days into developing.

But beyond my interest in weddings, I loved this article because its author grasped basic middle school math, and pointed out the difference between reporting a mathematical average (also known as the “mean”) versus what “average” means to most people when they hear it. And how, at least in the context of an article about “average” wedding budgets, the median is a more accurate “average” than the mean. Go read the article for the reasons why.

June 8 – 3: Wedding celebrations

Tonight, we went to an engagement party for J’s high school girlfriend (which gave me an awesome response to “How do you know X?” – “I’m her ex-boyfriend’s wife.”) I really love weddings and wedding-like celebrations – it’s so fun to watch people who are in love and are about to make/just made a huge commitment to each other. I love the happiness, the caring, the gazing into each others’ eyes, the stolen kisses and other cute public displays of affection. And now that I’m married myself, it also brings me back to my own wedding and lets me relive it a little bit.

This celebration was particularly fun because a close friend of J’s was there with her toddler, who we haven’t seen in almost a year. It’s always amazing to me how fast kids grow and change. Last time we saw her, she was just learning to speak in single words, while tonight she was extremely articulate and asking her mother to let her go play with “the baby” – who was only a little over a year younger, but was in a drastically different place developmentally.