Friday, January 26, 2007

Weddings schmeddings...

I've been surrounded by the topic of weddings for months now, starting with a co-worker planning her wedding for this June, then another co-worker's daughter getting engaged last month and wanting a June wedding, and now my dearest friend, GA girl, getting engaged over Christmas and stressing over how the hell she wants to get married. She called me earlier this week about that, wondering how much my full-fledged wedding cost and whether I'd do it all over again.

I didn't pay for my wedding, so I didn't know how much the real total was, but I was fairly certain I recall it being in the $10-15,000 range. That was an outdoor wedding in a gazebo with fewer than 100 guests, buffet-style reception held at a military officer's club (open bar only for the 5-person wedding party, although three-fifths of us were technically underage), modest flower arrangements with limited roses (just not my favorite flower), a dj, a photographer, a limo, two maids of honor and one best man (two plane tickets and one dress bought), me wearing a $700 dress. Nothing huge or elaborate but still very nice and in reality, quite costly for an afternoon's worth of events. The part about whether I'd do it all again was a little tougher to figure out, though.

I know I wouldn't want that now, decision being left solely to me, but would I have given it all up back then, knowing what I know now? Two of my other co-workers have been previously married. Both have less-than-zero desire for the hoopla again. While my wedding day was beautiful and unexpectedly almost perfect, it was just a whirlwind that is now a bunch of blurry memories with only pictures to help preserve them, so I tend to feel like it isn't worth the money or the painstaking planning, even though I don't actually have regrets about having done it that way. Does the fact that I'm no longer married to that man influence those feelings? I'm not sure, but it might. Since getting married was definitely, without a doubt not a once-in-a-lifetime thing afterall, how could I possibly believe the expense and the year of organizing and arranging was worth it? Well, I observe what my co-worker is going through with her own wedding planning, and I never had to do most of the stuff she's doing. My mom was my wedding planner and did a fantastic job at it; I only had to go to my dress fittings and fly up a couple times to approve the location and pick out flowers. Hearing about the stress this woman's been suffering with for the past six months and the upcoming, even more stressful five months she's looking forward to, I could easily say that it's better to do the simplest of ceremonies, still getting professional pictures taken in the fancy garments, and spend the money on a remarkable honeymoon, which should still allow you to save thousands, rather than the full-fledged wedding. If family and friends insist on celebrating, then a reception party could still be done, but that's still got stress involved with hiring music and catering and finding a location and picking a date and time that works for most people. I might say I'd prefer those that truly wish to celebrate the joyous occasion with the couple take them out to dinner instead of feeling slighted for not having been invited to a family union/reunion extravaganza.

While I doubt anyone that has the big blowout wedding day will ever really regret having done it, I don't necessarily believe it will be a regret not to, either, so I'm sticking with my advice to have the no-frills ceremony, to have the pictures done, and then to spend only a portion of the money that would have been spent to have the honeymoon of her dreams.

It may be worth mentioning that I wasn't a little girl that dreamed of her wedding day all her life. Before I met IFKAMH, I never even wanted to get married and probably would have sworn that I never would unless I was 60+ and looking for a stable male companion. I had thought for years that I would be a single mom, having a baby when I wanted one, not feeling it necessary to settle on a Mr. Right before doing so. Women that were the little girls that have known what kind of wedding they wanted from the time they were 4 might think I'm crazy for believing that missing out on the total wedding experience wouldn't lead to any regret, but having a wedding was never on my list of lifelong dreams to achieve, so maybe that makes it seem more sensible.

4 comments:

de said...

I feel you, girl!

We had a small wedding and spent the majority of our money on our honeymoon and photographer! I just can't deal with all the drama, and the big to-do is just not me. I wanted only our closest family and friends. We made it really personal, and about us.

Dr.Jeeeol said...

Its only cool to spend that much money on a spot that has a lot of meaning to you. I'd do mine over again in a heartbeat!

I'd love for GA Girl to get married in FL. That is my vote! I've got some places picked out...if only I couyld get them drunk enough long enough to convince them.....

Eunice said...

I was the same way. Once I was talked into getting married, I tried to plan the princess wedding that I thought was expected of me. I hit a point where it was just too much, and I said "screw it!" immediate family and one friend each. That's it. There were 12 of us and the damn thing still cost % grand.

Eunice said...

uhm, that would be 5 grand.