Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wedding Bells

OK. I am going to tackle a controversial topic today. The cost of weddings.

Dreaming of being a bride, becoming a bride, bridal showers, finding the dress, deciding on the menu...this can be very emotional stuff. These are the dreams that many young girls have embedded in their psyches as they see older sisters, cousins, girlfriends go through the bridal process.

I'm going to come right out and say it. We got married this spring--secretly at a historical city hall chamber in a favorite town of ours. There were no ring exchanges (I didn't know it was possible, but it is!), no dress, no reception, no party. Our families were extremely happy for us as they know we march to a different enough beat that they never expected us to get married.

The officiants and the provided witnesses, I think, were doing their best to figure out what our story was. We still chuckle about it. I guess it would seem odd that 2 professional looking, happy people ages 36 and 40 would get married on a Monday morning at 10:30am with no witnesses or obvious pregnancy? I remember thinking how fast the process was. Barely 15 minutes! The most important part of the wedding day (in my opinion) compared to the year or so average time it takes to plan a wedding. The irony didn't pass us by.

I know that I am in the minority here. Having been to my share of weddings and showers, I had decided long ago that the bridal process or "best practices" wasn't going to jive with my goals. Being married has never been a destination nor do I equate it with status or "completeness". I believe that a couple is "married" long before they make it to the alter. And for us, it is the commitment to love, honour and build a life together that are the most important aspects of marriage.

Even though divorce rates are so high, the average cost of a wedding has gone up. I've been to weddings that have cost $21000 and to ones that cost near a million. It is quite an industry and big business. When we decided that we'd rather spend our money fulfilling a lifestyle goal (more about it later) instead, it was as if a light went on. Here was something that was congruent with our life. It fit our overall financial direction and we gained peace from the decision. That's how we knew we made the right decision for us.

Don't get me wrong. I can get as excited about a Vera Wang gown or with designing the cake and flower arrangements as the next girl. Who wouldn't be able to appreciate the beauty of great design? Plus I love the fairy tale aspect of weddings. I guess I just didn't desire it enough to make the effort to become a bride for a day.


  1. Wow. We thought we did it small! We chose to have a small, intimate wedding to save money and to make it more special to us. We had a few upset relatives, but I'm sure they got over it.

  2. Hi! And to think I thought it Still cost a lot for the marriage licence and civil ceremony...$ 385...I know I'm kind of crazy...

    My next post is about what we did do with the money we would have spent on the wedding of our dreams!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Congratulations Newlyweds!!!!

    I never craved the big white dress or reception either. We were married in 1995 with 5 days notice - our city requires you to wait 3 days after you get your license - at city hall with 7 close friends and family there with us. We took off on vacation (our honeymoon) immediately following and sent announcements to the rest of our friends and family by mail. Some were upset, but they got over it.

    The marriage is what is important, not the wedding. We were busy saving our money for a house. I'd rather have a house than a white dress I won't wear again.

  4. Thank you so much! Five days notice? That's awesome! I think we were 2 weeks from the call to the ceremony.

    On a recent flight home, I got to see Sex and the City. I never watched more than 2 episodes of the series so it wasn't a movie I was going out of my way for.

    I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. It covered a lot of modern and relevant issues pertaining to women and relationships. One of them is the concept of weddings vs. marriage.

    I won't spoil the story for you by saying anymore just in case you have yet to see it. I think you would enjoy it.

    Thanks again for the Congratulations!

  5. Of course I've seen Sex and the City. It is an awesome movie. The series was amazing, too. I highly recommend it!

  6. I did both. I had a justice of the peace marry us 1 year ahead of our big splashy wedding.

    And one thing, weddings aren't for the couple, it's for everyone else. Our wedding was $50 for the license and no rings and a polaroid.

    It wasn't a big deal, we'd been living together almost 5 years by that point, had bought a house, gotten a dog, etc.

  7. Hi Living Almost Large! You reminded me of a funny point.

    After the ceremony, we realized that we forgot to ask our witnesses to take a picture of us so we ended up propping our camera to take a self photo! It turned out great as we were laughing so hard. Like you, we too had been together 4 yrs and owned properties.

    I really like the fact you did both with a time lapse in between. It really allows both events to be enjoyed on its own merit. Awesome way to go about it!

    I think parents and friends would have liked the option of seeing it all happen and partying together but we are such private people that they really "got" our decision and didn't see it as us being cheap or disrespectful to them or our relationship with them.