Looking down at the latest wedding invitation, I saw an original letterpress design on textured, handmade paper. It announced the names of the happy couple in an elegant script, and it listed their registry and RSVP information for the formal dinner after the event.
Yes, it said “event.”
But then, I got multiple invitations to several bridal showers as if the gift I would give them at the ceremony was not enough. I guess it wouldn’t have been enough when you consider the average wedding in America costs over $30,000.
With all the lights, music, and entertainment to match, weddings truly are events. A slideshow showed how they met with voiceovers of them recounting their favorite relationship moments. Everyone laughed and smiled as they shared about their hobbies, their favorite foods, and any pets or kids they may have.
Flowers were everywhere! The venue—yes, it is a venue, not just a church or a community center. (They would have gotten bonus points if it had been at an arboretum or a hilltop winery.) The venue was gorgeous and had been transformed with enormous floral arrangements artfully placed throughout the space.
Then, there were two photographers, one videographer, and a florist. On the stage by the groom was a pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, vicar, chaplain, or some other officiating individual. A wedding coordinator was waiting in the wings. He made sure everyone was in place for the procession down the aisle, pacing between them and the sound booth to ensure perfect timing.
As the bride walked down the aisle, Perfect by Ed Sheehan played over the arena-quality sound system. Occasionally, at some weddings, it will be Canon in D Major performed by a quartet or a small orchestra. I always tear up during the music. So beautiful!
The bridesmaids were in their matching dresses. They each had the same color but different styles to better match each bridesmaid’s body type. It only seems fair since each dress costs anywhere from $150 to $300, and you can’t return a bridesmaid’s dress. They wore matching silver necklaces and diamond earrings the bride gave them as gifts during the bachelorette party.
After the vows, everyone drove to or walked to the next venue, where they had a sit-down dinner and an open bar. I’m not complaining. No one appreciates free food and booze more than I do.
Except then, there was the dance floor, lights, music, and the ongoing celebration of marriage. The DJ loudly prompted everyone who was married to stand up amid a round of applause. This immediately ostracized all unmarried people in the room, including widows and divorcees, who were obviously still sitting down and trying not to notice the pitying looks from the standing married couples.
The wedding cake was layers upon layers of fondant icing and cake decorated with real flowers cascading effortlessly from top to table. Who knew sugar, eggs, and flour could create such an expensive masterpiece? I never want to eat it because I don’t really like cake. No, seriously, I don’t like cake. Not a birthday cake, not cupcakes, and—of course—not a wedding cake. But it sure looked pretty.
A part of me understands the expense. Couples want a wedding their friends and family will love and remember for years to come.
But by the time I paid for a new dress, shoes, a gift for the wedding, two gifts for two different bridal showers, a gift for the bachelorette party, the fuel for my car, and a hotel room in order to attend, I was just about broke for the month.
A part of me understands the expense. Couples want a wedding their friends and family will love and remember for years to come because it is a special event. But by the time I have paid for a new dress, shoes, a gift for the wedding, two gifts for two different bridal showers, a gift for the bachelorette party, the fuel for my car, and a hotel room in order to attend, I’m just about broke for the month.
Honestly, I would prefer they had a quiet, simple ceremony with a cake made by their Aunt Ida because that woman can make a pretty cake. Maybe not as beautiful as those confections down at the bridal cake shop, but good with real frosting. I still wouldn’t eat it, but I would have appreciated it more.
Then, I could have bought them one present, and they could have used all that money they saved as a downpayment on a new car or their first home.
At the same time, I admit that I, too, dreamed of a beautifully designed wedding.
I wanted original, elegant, letterpress invitations; a professional photographer; a Vivienne Westwood or Vera Wang wedding dress; and a large but classic diamond ring. I would walk down an aisle of lights and flowers surrounded by smiling faces. We’d have a sit-down reception with white tablecloths and bouquets in a room with a wall of windows overlooking a lovely valley as the sun sets in the distance. Deep sigh! It is all so beautiful and romantic.
The perfect day, right?
However, at my age, vocation, and current personal proclivities, the odds are stacking more towards a small wedding, like tiny sized. A simple white dress, a gold band, and a small reception at a local restaurant, probably a brewery, is pretty great as long as my love is with me.
Plus, we could use that extra money for a downpayment on a new car or our first home.