A wedding is a statement of commitment not a show of opulence

wedding

See the picture?

It’s me (or my back) on my wedding day 21 years ago. Why my back you may ask?

Because my sister in law thought that everyone takes pictures of the bride’s front but she hasn’t seen a picture of the bride’s back. Ever!

So here you go; a picture of my back which also happens to show a wonderful detailed of my wedding suit.

To tell you the truth, I have not thought of my wedding for a very long time. Even worse, I caught myself thinking the other day about the interesting stage of life I’m approaching.

When we are in our twenties, our whole life is ahead of us. There is so much celebrating to be looking forward to: weddings, having children, setting up out nests. What do we do? We waste out time worrying; at least I did.

When we are in our fifties most of this is behind; and the calm of certainty can easily settle in. There are no surprises and there are few celebratory life events left. This is when we celebrate the beauty in the life of others – our children and grandchildren.

Still, reading that Travis and Vonnie have their wedding anniversary soon reminded me that John and I had our 21st wedding anniversary couple of weeks ago.

And my mind drifted to weddings.

Today, I looked at our wedding photographs.

You know, we look young, elegant and happy. We look like we couldn’t wait to tell our family and friends that ‘we will love each other till death does us apart’ and get this party going.

John proposed in February. It wasn’t the most romantic proposal in the world: we were watching something on TV and he just turned to me and said:

‘Would you like to get married?’

‘I need time to think about it’ – I said. – ‘And where is my ring?’

‘Do you really want a ring?’

Of course I did! I wasn’t going to let this proposal thing hang in the air without getting some jewellery for it.

Anyway, I thought about it couple of weeks and accepted. We bought a ring – a modest one I still love and wear – and set the date for the wedding.

I never wanted a big wedding: the way I see it one can either have a big wedding or great fun. I chose to have fun.

We did all the right things: we invited family and friends, we booked the venue, we had a wedding lunch and we had a big party.

It was all very modest: let’s just say that my lovely suit cost me $135, my shoes were $60 and my pearls…I’ll never forget my pearls. I managed to get them for $70 and felt so proud.

So you see, all my bridal attire, including jewellery, cost me $265. I reckon that the whole wedding cost us no more than $1,500.

Compare this with the lavish weddings of today.

Did you know that the average wedding bill in the US currently stands at $30,000? Or that the most expensive place to get married in the US is New York City: get married there and you can expect to fork out on average close to $87,000.

For crying out loud! This is a very decent down payment on a house. Actually, some places this can buy you a house. No wonder young couples have started taking Debenhams wedding insurance (or similar) which can cover up to $85,000 in case the wedding is cancelled or postponed.

We didn’t take wedding insurance: we knew that we want to commit to each other and we knew that we want to keep it simple so that we can enjoy our wedding day.

Thinking about it, there are four wedding items on which people can overspend.

Dress

This is your day; wear what you consider elegant, appropriate and comfortable (if you are not comfortable you are not likely to enjoy the wedding day).

I chose the suit you see on the picture and I did so not because it was inexpensive. I bought it because when I went into the shop this suit started shouting at me: ‘Buy me, I’m yours.’

I felt like a million dollars at my wedding.

And you know what? Someone would have had to pay me a million dollars to wear a big layered wedding dress and look like a meringue.

(I love meringues; I just don’t want to look like one. Also, some women were born to wear this kind of dress; I am simply not one of them.)

Venue

From what I see and what I read people have started going really overboard with the venue for the wedding ceremony. People go abroad, get married on a beach, on a hill…you get it.

I suppose, this is about ‘once in a life time’. But, guys, ultimately the purpose of the whole ceremony thing is to pledge to love each other forever; oh, and for your family and friends to hear you make this pledge.

Is it really necessary to go to extremes with this one?

Wedding lunch

On this one the jury is out but I still think that it’s a great idea to separate the wedding lunch and the wedding party.

The wedding lunch is for close family, even closer friends and the ‘best’ people (who are likely to be close friends to begin with). This means ten to fifteen people.

We had the best ever wedding lunch; we took our guests to an Italian restaurant where not only the food was splendid but also some opera singers were having lunch.

I don’t remember what we ate; I have a vague memory of who was there. But I do remember the singing.

Party

Did you know that close to half of the cost of a wedding is the wedding venue and catering?

So I guess this is where people need to be particularly careful.

Do you need to invite 500 people to the party? Do you really want to have it the absolutely prime location?

We had our wedding party at home. And what a party it was!

Finally…

Your wedding is important; it is important because it is the day on which you completely commit to another person and make a promise to love them forever. This is the day when we make promises before witnesses, our family and friends.

It seems to me that this is memorable enough without having to make it a show of opulence.

Did you have a big wedding or a smaller one? Did you enjoy your wedding? Please share.

7 Responses to “A wedding is a statement of commitment not a show of opulence”

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  1. Cheryl says:

    We were married Jan. 5,1991 and it was my husband’s second marriage. I wore a dress from the JC Penney catalogue that cost $150.00. I spent more on my pictures than anything else due to wanting to look good on my wedding day. We also had a lunch, only 19 people which included us. I don’t understand the spending, stress, and driving yourself crazy that women do for one day. Rather have the money to own our own home . Don’t get me started on couples using GoFundMe to pay for their wedding and honeymoon, that is their problem to pay for it, not mine. Cheryl

    • Maria Nedeva says:

      @Cheryl: Thanks for sharing. And it seems we not only got married at similar time but share our attitude to weddings: I always thought it is important I have fun and not be overly stressed.

  2. Kathy says:

    Thirty-seven years ago our wedding cost around $100. We got married by a judge. Our family was present and after we went back to our apartment for cake etc. we went to a buffet for lunch. His parents and mine each gave us $50 toward the cost of the lunch. In looking back, I have absolutely no regrets. . I often wonder how often people are still paying for the wedding when they visit the divorce lawyer. Weddings today are more about the wedding than the marriage

    • Maria Nedeva says:

      @Kathy: Glad you raised this matter. I often wonder how many people are still paying the excessive bills for their wedding when they receive the bills from the divorce lawyers; and whether these bills have contributed to the break down of their marriage? At any rate, it seems more sensible to me that people focus on the marriage rather than the wedding.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Weddings have gotten out of control. Keep it simple, keep it about the couple, and above all, stay out of debt!

  4. hannah says:

    We were married by a justice of the peace or whatever he was, in a park. I thought we were having a bigger, fancier wedding in my home country later on so I never bought a dress – just wore white clothes I already had. The justice of the peace cost $50, my mother in law bought my bouquet, and our parents bought a simple white cake with congrats written on it.
    We had a small family gathering at the park, and everyone went back to the house afterward for the reception.
    Never did end up having that big wedding….. still regret that a little as we didn’t take much for pictures. I did buy a fancy dress – $100 – for a belated reception back in my home country a year later. I definitely don’t regret saving all that money though!

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