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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Some Thoughts On....The Rising Costs of Weddings
It all started a week ago, flipping through a random Women's Interest magazine, in the waiting room of my doctor's office. It's a funny source of inspiration, I know; have you ever found the collection of magazines and topics ironically inappropriate at such times? The last thing I want to do is peruse Italian Vogue before a breast exam, or read about Paula Dean's home cooking prior to my bloodwork results! Yes the media is inadvertently half to blame for most of the health struggles I have, and my parents the other half (okay, I have some control, but that's all I'll admit for now).
In any case, this particular issue of this particular magazine happened to have a lengthy feature on Fall weddings and brides. I use the term 'feature' quite loosely, as it was obvious most of the pictorials were blatant ads (and some gorgeous, full page, ads at that). Now, I don't claim to know a thing about the wedding industry, though what few words were inside this article did inform me that Fall weddings are, by nature, "extravagant". And the term was used in such a colochial manner that one might think dropping $5k for the lowest end (of these dresses) was just the way things were if you wished to get married in the Fall. To have a Fall wedding meant you (the bride) needed to spend more on dress/venue/entertainment- and that anything less would be such a travesty you should move your date to the following Spring, now.
Of course my reaction was 'hogwash!' I know, having skipped the alter and joining at the courthouse, for marriage number 1 (no, I'm not looking to add #2 anytime soon), I may not seem very 'pro ceremony'. However, my feelings on the topic are far from rooted in personal preferences. Trust me, I love a good bedazzle and Dove release like the next gal- but when you get into all of the floral arrangements, choreographed wedding party processions, and cocktail hour; your relationship (and your wallet) will be lucky to survive. I may not have had a big wedding, but I do know, a marriage takes work. I'm not a big believer that the beginning, the middle, or the end is any harder than the next; I believe it is just plain dirty, often thankless, but completely worth it- work. Taking your relationship to the next level, marriage, is huge. It is no longer just about you and your partner, it is about both of your families, joining, and your potential family to be.
Now, two individuals taking the plunge, introducing new relatives, merging finances (debts and responsibilities); why would they need to drain their pockets to get there? A $5k dress? If you're with the right man, he should think you're a Queen in a prom dress from Macys. Your family? They'll love you and show up whether the chicken is served alongside lobster or mac n'cheese. Those memories? They'll be just as heartfelt and touching whether you book the most extravagant chapel, or get married beneath the willow at a local park. My point being, I sometimes wonder if we get so caught up in all the planning and rituals that we forget what the day is really about; all the ingredients are already there. Adding the dress, the band, the food, the entertainment, the limo- that's just icing. And if your cake ends up melting, or delayed, or the wrong flavor, well, that's life. You're getting married, expect a lot of melted/wrong flavor/late cakes along the way- it's not easy, but it's so worth it!
So, while I personally (someday far off) want an intimate sunset wedding in a field with nothing more than a tent, a dance floor, and some home cooked food by twinkle lights; I do understand the dream to feel like a princess on that one special day. Just remember, weddings became such a big to do, originally, because divorce was not an option, and when people 'traveled' to attend, they took boats and journeyed by carriage for days. The times have changed, so can your wedding, and it can still be just as special. You don't have to pinch pennies, but maybe, just maybe, there is an equally beautiful dress out there for .....say....$1k? And you can put that money towards your future- you're going to need it with a house, kids, healthcare.... Again, just remember, the most important part of your big day, the people, will love you no matter what you wear or where you wear it!
What about you? Did you have/Do you want a big wedding? Do you see merit in toning things down, yet still celebrating?
Update: Momma's response to this post: "My dress was only $89.95 at Hot Topic. Still happily married (10) years later..."