After happening onto some gossip, I learned that the rather shitty wedding I attended Saturday was at the hands of a mother-in-law. The bride herself had wanted a tiny backyard wedding due to limited funds of herself and her family.
Immediately I was grappled with guilt, because I have done nothing but make fun of this wedding for days now. Had I known the idiocy of this wedding was due to the control friek mother of the groom I would have shared more sympathy.
However my attendance at this wedding has led me to speak out and share my wildly unpopular opinion.
A belief so unpopular people will riot in the streets outside my parents house and my parents will beg me to tell the picketing crowds that I don’t mean it. But I do, I really do.
If you don’t have money for a nice wedding then do not have one.
Did I say don’t get married? of course not. I said don’t have a wedding.
After the picketers egg my parents cars they’ll ask me to come out and speak to the crowds. “Bride on a budget” magazines will litter the streets. Women will wave their signs wildly as they scream, “We can make it work! Just because we don’t have a lot of money, we can still have the wedding of our dreams!”
If your dream was cheap linens, terrible music, and a dress that alarms people, then sure. I’ll attempt to say this before I’m interrupted by-
“We’ll invite less people! Everything we buy will be on sale and and we will carve our chairs straight out of trees for people to sit on! I’ll steal yards of lace from a fabric store to make table runners and my grandma will sew my wedding dress together from pieces of other wedding dresses!”
Continue to stomp your feet and tell me why it will all turn out okay, but it won’t and you will have yourself to blame.
On Saturday I sat through a wedding ceremony in a park. The park was nice, sure. We had chairs to sit on, sure. But the match that ended minutes before the ceremony started, resulted in a most captivating conversation between sweaty tennis players walking to their cars.
When the officiator began talking about unconditional love one of the tennis players said “oh shit” in conversation which I found incredibly amusing and well timed. I found myself tuning out to the wedding officiator completely (which I had been trying to do all along) and instead trying to remember what “match point” meant. Fascinating stuff.
I won’t even bore you with how boring everything about the ceremony was. It’s not worth the energy it takes to type this sentence. Watching my cat next to me lick his paw and then rub the paw all over his face to clean himself is cuter and more complex then the officiator saying the most cliche things about marriage that I never wanted to hear for the millionth time.
The reception took place about two feet from where the ceremony was. The music was being played from the couples IPhone, hooked up to speakers.
Listen readers, I get it. You feel you have to convince your two year old nephew and another friends toddler to aimlessly stroll down the aisle ahead of you carrying pillows and baskets half the size of them.
You have to go under your new wife’s skirt with your whole family watching so you can claim that garter. You have to dance awkwardly with your dad through that father daughter dance to a good ol’ slightly terrible country song. You feel you have to pour sand into a jar, with your partner also pouring sand into a jar, otherwise all your happiness is at stake.
You want cute notes written on that huge cardstock with you and your forever love’s name, under where it says “forever love” If you don’t get that cousin on your moms side to write “blessings to you both” then you will obviously divorce in a year.
You want your best friend to stand up and give a toast and accidentally give too much information about your former discrepancies. You really want your maid of honor to talk about how much better your newly husband is then your ex.
You guys, I get it. You feel these are the rights of passage in order to be married to someone. If you don’t have a wedding even though all your other friends did, you are poor and your marriage will fail.
But guess what? If you have a shitty wedding and subject us all to be a part of it, we will talk shit about it until we are eighty.
It will be the measure we will use when comparing weddings. Your friends will attend another wedding and when trying to explain to a friend that it wasn’t as good as Suzy and John’s wedding but of course it wasn’t anything as bad as Michael and Kate’s wedding, you will in fact be the Michael and Kate’s wedding that no other wedding could be as bad as.
And for what? Because you wanted to be like everyone else? Everyone else had MONEY. They were marrying an engineer or maybe they got married right out of college when their parents were still paying their phone bill, and figured they had but no choice to pay for a wedding as well.
Now I’m not just here to bash everyone for not having enough money to fulfill their fantasies of matrimony, but I’m also here to provide other solutions:
Get your parents and your brother and sister, and your maid of honor and best man and say meet me at this church at this time. Ask your pastor, or a pastor, to marry you. Wear a dress you like, have a family take pictures of the two of you at the alter and do whatever religious rituals that are important to you. Instead of a reception, take these immediate family members and best man/maid of honor to a nice dinner or have a meal together at home.
The courthouse is also nice. They have an aisle to walk up and a painted gazebo to stand in front of and you can invite your parents, grandparents, two or three friends and then go out to lunch after.
3. Outdoor. Get married in the backyard of a nice house of a family member or friend and have someone you know officiate. Borrow a little awning or pick a nice tree to stand in front of, and like with the others have immediate family and your best man and maid of honor. Then eat a meal together inside the house.
Sometime after you are happily wed, whether it’s later that night or the next day or next month, is when you throw a party.
Invite people out to a bar or club for a WE JUST GOT FUCKING MARRIED BITCHES!! celebration. Have a house party or rent out a space if you feel like the partying is the place you wanna be putting the money on.
Everyone can be drunk and slur cheers to your happiness and you didn’t have to rent out their chair for a ceremony or buy them a meal at a reception.
You didn’t have to buy lights to string about your venue make believing it hides that it’s in a ghetto community center on the edge of town, or make five billion cupcakes and beg a friends band to sing for free.
If you DO have money, by all means do it big. Go to town. Give each table a theme, have open bar be six hours instead of two, buy a designer gown, have three different photo booths, and purchase an obnoxiously decorated cake. Get a well known DJ and only the best champagne for toasting.
Buy so many freaking barrels people wondered if they stepped into a bar in Portland and maybe get an officiator with a sense of humor, if such a thing exists.
Get married under some huge gazebo that’s overlooking the sea while an indie band in suspenders sing softly on the sideline. Do it all and let it be sensational! Let it feel great that you feel great that you married someone great, and that everyone present thought being there to see all that happen was so great.
But listen if you don’t have money that’s okay! Maybe you’re older and the parents don’t see any need to chip in, and your finances aren’t so great. You still want to marry your sweetheart surrounded by close friends and family, while feeling pretty. That is still important and still totally do able!
But please, as a frequent wedding attender I beg you, don’t play the game if you don’t have the money to see it through.
Small and sweet trumps having a kids jungle gym next to your reception site. Promise.