Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'll Have Matrimony - but Hold the Trimmings

There once were 10 couples who did almost everything together. Some divorced and remarried, most had children and some couldn't. We spent weekends together, we holidayed together, we raised our children together. Now we're spread across two states and two of us have lost our husbands another has happily remarried. One couple rarely keep in touch. But, for about 10-12 years of our lives our children were born within a short time of each other, they grew up together and we were in every way 'tight'. So, the first to get married is my best friend's son.

Yep, received a wedding invitation for March. They've been together for four years, living together for about 8 months and time has come to tie the knot. I love this boy and I like his choice of bride but was surprised a little that he's gone down the conventional wedding path.

This got me thinking about weddings (not marriage) and there relevance to Gen Y. Whilst I'm over the moon and delighted to be part of his celebration, I can't help thinking that perhaps they do something more constructive with the money. So much to consider with weddings, especially when your folks are paying the bill:

First, there's the guest list. Big family vs small family, work friends vs old friends, demands of in-laws and parents, who makes the list? Do you include children, girlfriends and boyfriends? Adam was invited, but his girlfriend of 3 years (who both the bride and groom know very well) was not. I know they're mindful of numbers but . . .seems a little odd.

Then who pays for who? I have this rather old fashioned thing that if you move out and live together, you pay for your own wedding. OK, I'll buy the booze or help with the caterers but hey? You're grown up enough to work, vote, fight . . why do you need your folks to pay for your party?

I also think that you should do it your way. Just because Aunt Mable sends you a crocheted tea towel for Christmas doesn't warrant an invitation or her condemnation because you want to get married on a beach or not wear shoes. If you're paying for the gig, invite who you like. If you're not . . well I guess you have to suck it and see. Dress how you like and be as conventional or as bohemian as you like. Again the proviso being that if your event is being paid for by someone else, you are subject to their whims. With sponsorship, come conditions and demands.

Where to have the ceremony? OK you're not religious but you want a church wedding because that little Chapel in the Rocks looks oh so beautiful for your photos and Elton John married a girl there even though he's a screaming queen (this is not the venue chosen for this particular wedding by the way, they're not doing the Church thing) If you don't believe in God, why marry in a Church? I actually understand Cleric's points of view on this. I married a Catholic and so there were certain 'conditions' but I loved him and it was important to him so I conceded. But a Church wedding would not have been my choice. My sister was married in our garden, it was lovely, heartfelt and truthful.

Gift registries. Now I know that receiving a smashed alabaster telephone wasn't the highlight of my wedding. Nor were the three toasters and golf trophy towel sets with bath towels so small they'd barely dry a Bichon Frise, so I guess a gift registry has merit but keep it realistic. A plate of Chicken Cordon Bleu and soggy vegetables and half a bottle of spumante does not equate to a full set of Royal Doulton China so leave some alternatives for the cheapskates. Personally I think a Bamix is very handy. I hasten to add that this is not 'wedding specific' this particular wedding will be very well stocked in the wine department thanks to the fine taste of the Groom's father.

The gear. Now my wedding dress and bridesmaids outfits cost less than the shoes. Thanks to Thommo who made the lot. All I did was a few hems. Baby sis spent about $3000 on her dress, worn once. Of course for the men it's not about the get-up, they do as they're told and hire the appropriate suits. The biggest expense a new pair of shoes, tie or buttonhole. Sometimes men make sense. Take it easy . . not often . . .sometimes!

The Reception. I had mine at home on a property that we'd only moved into six months prior. We prettied up where the garage would eventually be with a marquee and had very simple catering. My enduring memory was me with 'The Dress' tucked in my knickers whilst doing the time warp and Uncle Jack whining because we were partying too late.

Two of my siblings also had weddings at home in varying degrees of salubrity but they were all pretty cool and moderately inexpensive. So I don't get the expensive 'reception' thing with beautiful tables and an 11pm curfew. The last wedding I went to, must have cost close to $10,000 that's two first-class round the world tickets AND accommodation in my book. And I pinched the table centre because it was so pretty and couldn't bear to see it go into the bin.

Photographs - these days the ceremony takes place around 4 or 5. The Reception venue is rarely available until 6 or 7 so all the guests go and get pissed at the club while the happy couple have an hour of photos . . hang on . . that's an awesome idea . .cuts down on the open bar. Clearly invented by the groom's family. Then you have a wonderful CD with mushy music and a lovely black and white mood print hanging over your bedhead to remind you through the years how slim and young you looked as your whole body goes south and your sexual positions change to incorporate the missionary position because lying on your back makes you look younger (God did I say that?). I spent far too much on my wedding photos which are unceremoniously stuck in the top of my wardrobe and never regarded.

All in all, I think weddings are a scam. This particular groom booked a '50th birthday' and received a discounted reception. Had he booked a wedding reception, they'd have hoicked up the price. Savvy kid our 'Frank.'*

Right, your turn . . . did you pay for your wedding? Did you have one? Was it formal? Casual? Would you do/ have done it differently if you had control? I'd love to hear your stories. Spill . . .go on . . .

* Not his real name.

Some of you will have seen this before but it still makes me smile:

Bless you Frank and Binnie. We're really looking forward to being part of your special day and drinking your dad's booze! Oh and we accept the invitation . . the Bainos are bombarding!


Alan Burnett said...

Great post and the video is one of my favourites. I still have the bill for our wedding reception (although my father in law paid). It came to £139. Much of the rest was home made (the dress, my brother doing the photos). So far that £139 has resulted in 37 years of marriage which, even for a Yorkshireman - is quite a good deal.

Quickroute said...

I had a ritzy wedding in Buenos Aires shortly after the peso crashed so at a bargain price. I think it would have been a registry office event only otherwise. You are right - There is much better things to do with the money given the current refocus on economics

Babysis said...

Well firstly, my dress didnt cost $3,000 it cost $500. The Bridesmaids dresses were maid by The Plumbers Granny. The groomsmen hired their suits. The guestlist was restricted to 60(which was MORE than enough) - the food as I recall was great (21 years ago - memory a bit foggy). The barman was Babybro. The photographer was Hippybro. We had a DJ and Adam in his jimmy jams danced bridal waltz with us. We had a marquee and it (eventually) turned into a beautiful sunny day. I wouldnt change a thing - ah except the
80's perm.

nick said...

As you know, Jenny and I had the simplest ceremony possible - in a register office with two friends as witnesses, then a slap up meal for the four of us. Cost us next to nothing.

I don't understand why people spend thousands on a wedding when the point is not a swish reception but simply the commitment to each other. Personally I would feel really bad about expecting someone else to stump up for a lavish do when something more basic is enough to tie the knot.

Baino said...

Alan isn't it gorgeous. One of my bloggy friends did the same thing recently for a vow renewal it was just lovely only the music "Love Takes Over" fantastic.

My parents paid for my wedding but there was a budget. My in-laws did the booze. And congratulations on 37 years with the good woman! That indeed is a wonderful thing.

Quicky you just love getting married, you did it three times to the same woman! Next time, atop base camp, Nepal perhaps? Nice hiking there.

Sorry, Lou but I guess $500 how ever many years ago was like $3000 . . I spent $90 on material and got Thomm to do the slave work. It's not really about cost but what you 'want'. I think a lot of people are dictated to by parents/inlaws/convention . I know my wedding would have been very different if Ray hadn't had such a big family.

It was indeed a lovely wedding and a beautiful dress. The flower girls were dressed by Target! Remember Clare ended up in her pyjamas because the tulle lining was 'itchy'. We still have the dress in the dressing up box. I just remember dad in his Steve Irwin Khaki's mowing an aisle on the lawn with the Flymo and Mum yelling at him to get inside and get showered and changed.

Well Nick. You two are a little different in many ways but I know I have one who wants the big bang and another who will be barefoot on a beach. Either way, they'll have to hold off for a while before I can make a reasonable financial contribution.

Grannymar said...

You have seen my wedding outfit it cost all of £75 and almost 33 years later I can still get into the top.

A church wedding officiated by my uncle, we had immediate family, well almost all of them, and they were all my side plus some friends of Jack. 24 in total.

Then it was home to the garden for a lovely casual party with a help yourself bar of Guinness on tap for the guys and wine & spirits galore for whoever wanted it!

Photos were courtesy of my brother and cousin. My mother wore the same colour I did (ecru), my sister wore white and my three SILs plus two guests wore pink!

Sarah Lulu said...

I love that your babysis corrected you ahaha ....

I'm in the throws of divorce about hmmm 35 years later but it was a small church wedding with the reception at Avalon Surf Club where ex was Vice Captain at the time.

I LOVE the video wedding dance ...I've seen it lots but it still makes me smile.

Pam said...

Baino I replied with a comment to this but it read like a book, so briefly- first wedding to a Catholic boy, all strange to a Protestant family, had a big foofy outfit and billowing veil when all I wanted was barefeet, calico dress, and a garland of flowers encircling my confused brow. Second marriage, registary office- simple, sweet, but new husband (we'll be married 29 years this month), took off somewhere in the grounds of the reception area to drink (inbibe?) with his mates.Couldn't be found for quite some time. Charming. To this day I still like a truly romantic wedding where the groom sticks close to the bride, arm at the small of her back.You know the deal. Call me old fashioned, but some Aussie blokes...

otin said...

I don't even know why anyone would get married unless they are religious? It just seems like people just do things because they are bred to do them. The whole wedding thing is really just an excuse to have a big party and go on vacation! LOL!

You need to do some more vlogs!! :))

Renee said...

I get so much of this and laugh. But I do love weddings.

I love the hope and happiness of the couple.

Love Renee xoxo

Brian Miller said...

ah i think weddings are magical, but the cost of them is a scam. ours was in a small church near Ts home. what i remember most about the day had little to do with all the frills.

Mim said...

This video always brings tears to my eyes - it's such a unique moment of spontanity and joy - rarely seen or experienced.
We got married, 30 years ago, in the UN chapel in NYC. My dress cost about $100.00 and I had one bridesmaid who had a dress that cost about $50.00. She wore hers for years, to parties and cruises. We partied on a 1923 built yacht in NYC harbor, people still talk about what a fun unique wedding it was. (the yacht was built for a wealthy family, was a wonderful boat with lovely wood and brass)Our folks did pay for most of the wedding, we wanted to but my folks wanted a bigger wedding than we could afford. We had a maximum of 65 people allowed on the boat, so everytime someone declined the invitation, mom invited someone else. I remember walking down the aisle and wondering "how did she get here?" when I saw our downstairs neighbor sitting in a pew.
I took my wedding picture out of my office when someone commented "you were cute" with the emphasis on "were".
I would do it again, and if I could change anything it would be to enjoy it more, not worry about the details - and have more dancing!

Carolina said...

hahahaha about the video! Never seen it before, love it! Will send it to friends who may get married in future. May give them an idea to actually make it a fun party even I'd like to go to ;-)

Hubs and I are not married and will not get married either. We live together in sin, hehe. And it works for us.

California Girl said...

There is so much money in weddings...the profit margin is amazing. I am currently working on a marketing vehicle for our tv station called "All Things Bridal" which will serve as a guide to services & venues, etc in the White Mtns. We have wonderful places for weddings w/ lots of services and I'm hoping to sell it out to advertisers who want to showcase their products. As I understand it, the avg wedding now costs $25,000, more than my first home. Well, if they want to spend it, I want a piece of it!!!! LOL.

i beati said...

so many choices so few men-- ahem anyhow I watch that show Rich Bride Poor Bride and learn all the time sk

Roy said...

Heh, heh! I come from a generation and a group of people who had different ideas about weddings. Most of my friends got married in forests or on the beach, with flowers in their hair and all that, and the following reception was a picnic. No expenses. The fathers of the brides were extremely thankful, despite the unconventionality.

hokgardner said...

i have absolutely the best memories of our wedding. it was a perfect spring day, and all our northern relatives who had flown down from freezing climates were thrilled to see the sun. we had it at an old home-turned restaurant here in austin. music was provded by a jazz quintet - the clarinet player was a friend of b's, so they cut us a deal. it was a fairly small gathering with the people we loved best around us. all in all, it was a happy, beautiful start to our life together. and it didn't cost a fortune.

Don't Bug Me! said...

My Mum paid for my wedding, but it was pretty small, with only 40 guests. It was in a church, even though I am an atheist - this was my village church back in England and I wanted to be married there for traditional, not religious reasons, since all of my family have been married there. I was married in Spring, surrounded by daffodils, wearing a green dress made from upholstery material (not so traditional) and we had a barn dance at my reception, in a converted barn on a farm. It did not cost a fortune, but was worth every penny my Mum paid.

laughingwolf said...

why bother with all the hoopla? elope!

Cuppa Jo said...

Well, when I was a kid, I wanted the big cathedral wedding with the quilted satiny flouncy dress and some absolutely gorgeous prince or duke or lord somebody waiting for me up by the alter. I was gonna have a big house in the country, but not too far from the city, with ten or twelve children. And I would be happy forever and ever.

Twenty years later I just can not fathom spending so much money on one day. Seriously. My oldest niece who is 24-25 now asked me a few years ago if I would be the maid of honor at her wedding, and I was honored, and after thanking her, I diplomatically, yet tinged with wiser old auntie speak, that why, after living with her boyfriend since graduating from high school a few years before, moving away from her family to be near his, having his child and then not being able to afford a landline phone, a car, cable, etc., would she want to waste so much money and time on one day of her entire life, in a church of course, though she doesn't ever go. Better to save the money, get dsl or dial-up and take some online courses. Mind you, I did say it more gently than that.

She's still not married.

No, I've decided that should I ever go instantly insane and get married, I would have to elope, or possibly get married on accident in Las Vegas.

I wouldn't mind a loud reception with some swing dancing. Maybe a potluck where guests might bring not only a tasty dish to eat, but also a dish to eat it on, complete with silverware of course, that would in essence be the bridal gifts (because I like mismatched plates, bowls, etc.). I think also, should I ever have an actual planned wedding, I think ten guests on either side is more than enough and the only family I would invite would be my parents.

And I kind of agree with Otin. I'm of the opinion that marriage is really an internal or mutual agreement between to people. A wedding, however large or small, is just a proclamation. Of course, peeps can just say they're married...

Hope 'Frank' and 'Binnie' have many more happy years together.

tut-tut said...

This WEDDING BUSINESS, because that's what it is, is outrageous. Getting kids to think they need to pay what amounts to the down on a house for a 6 hour party is beyond me. D and I paid for our own wedding (and my mother told the caterer to put out another beef tenderloin on my dime! and the caterer did it!). The reception was held in the church hall (free), and noone seemed to mind. I had a great time, and the cake was magnificent. I found the pastry chef from the Ritz-Carlton in Boston who had just started up on her own, so she was eager for some biz/advertising.

Long comment!


VE said...

Those two lost husbands? I think I saw one of them wandering around the Bed Bath & Beyond the other day...he certainly looked lost.

Susan at Stony River said...

My wedding cost $900 for 80 guests -- we did everything ourselves, and my family each donated some part of it as their present to us. So my cousin made my dress, my niece who is a florist did the flowers, a friend made the cake, etc. It was all low-stress and fun; we preferred to enjoy the party rather than take on second jobs to pay the bill!

Megan said...

I love weddings because of the party. I've never been to one that wasn't a great party. But the total insanity that seems to overtake anyone who plans one or pays for one or has one or wants one is truly mindboggling.

I remember I went to one that was so lavish, the price of the flowers in the reception hall ALONE was over the $10K mark.

Who has that kind of money? And um, dad, if you do have it, can I have my share now, please?

(P.S. Never getting married.)

ashleigh said...

Ah yes indeed. We got married in a garden where the fee was to send them a photo after. I think the most expensive cost was the celebrant. Reception in the local soldiers memorial hall (they have those out in the country, still) with the catering done by the mums, and a bunch of relatives, and the local CWA ladies.

I think I bought a new short for it, and The Lady Of The House made her own dress. (As you do).

All in all, it should have come in under about $1K - though this is 23 years ago!!

The smallest we've been to was last weekend - there were 8 of us in total. Me, my good lady wife, my 2 kids, the bride & groom & their baby daughter, and the celebrant. All in a park, an hour before sunset. My kids went and played cricket. Ceremony over and done with in 10 minutes. Then we all had a picnic until the sun went down. A very pleasant evening.

ashleigh said...

ERK - that should say "new SHIRT".

Anonymous said...

I feel kinda bad that I couldn't give my guests more of a party... things just dwindled after the meal, but our house could only hold a few dwindlers :( Oxfam dresses rule.

Ronda Laveen said...

I helped my parents pay for my wedding which was held in their back yard. I made my dress, the bridesmaids and flower girl's dresses, my husband's and the best groomsmen's shirts. We catered our own meal and danced on the patio all night long to music from the 8-track player. We'll, actually we partied until a fight broke out between two of my friend's brothers about who was going to take the empty keg back to the liquor store and steal the $$$.

Oh, what a night. Still married almost 34 years later. I'd do it again.

Ribbon said...

As I leave my youth further behind the stranger weddings appear... especially extremely expensive ones.

Second time round and I'm not married and very happy for that :)

x ribbon

Rowe said...

I had a very simple wedding in the mid 1980's, cannot recall exactly what year, but it cost less than $500. We divorced eight years later and that was definitely a better deal than the marriage. Ah, the past, right where it belongs for me!

kj said...

honey hells, first of all, the word verf is 'flubsi'. what is THAT message? :)

i got married and my parents paid for a reception for 200 people and it was good except i was even happier about the divorce 12 years later.

now, the truth about me and weddings. my beloved jessica married 4 years ago. we offered her a sizey sum of $$$ if she preferred a down payment on a house to a hullabaloo wedding.

she wanted a wedding. the ceremony was at king's chapel in boston, an historic landmark that only allows one wedding a month. the reception was at a very old and very classy boston hotel, all very elegant and historic and executed down to the waitstaff and napkins. the food was spectacular.

i won't tell you how much it cost, but it was mucho mucho. it was over in 5 hours and everyone had a great time.

my overall assessment, which shocks me to this day: it was worth it. the memories were worth it. even now i can touch and feel each moment, and i will savor all of it for all of my life. and so will jess.

oh and p.s. jess got a $ 4,000 wedding dress on sale at tjmax for $ 300 and $ 10 shoes on ebay. she also signed up the entire wedding party and parents for a 3 pm tour of fenway park where the red sox play baseball. we were there, two hours before she would walk down the aisle, all dolled up in gowns and tuxes, walking in the rain with other tourists touring a ball park.

it was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Good video.
Our wedding: Register office (converted watermill good, bridge to watermill down bad - we had to clamber across scaffolding. I hadn't mentioned before the day hoping the bridge would be repaired in time). We paid for it (as you say old enough to live together, work, etc). Dress: Home made - and excellent. It was a good party.
What I would have preferred was done differently: Some of the music - I booked a good band, but didn't realise that their Irish repetoire was of the mawkish sentimental ballad type - i.e. Do You Want Your Aul'Lobby Washed Down, Con Shine. Aah. Terrible. Move one, move on.

Baino said...

I made a very considered response to each of the last few comments and quite obviously blogger has chosen to send them off into the ether! Sorry but thank you all for your contribution, it's really interesting to see how you all tied the knot or decided not to.I guess having been married, it's rather smug of me to be judgemental of others. I'd do it differently today although my wedding was wonderful on a shoestring or not. And welcome over Blackwaterown, any friend of the good Rev Poulton is a friend of mine! At least mawkish ballads are preferable to the diddly dee - to be sure to be sure!

I'm very pissed off that my response didn't stick but it's late.

Time for bed Zebidee! Goodnight all.

Anonymous said...

Hi ya, I'm new to your sight. I think I wandered here from VE's place. anyhoo....
My husband and I had the most amazingly fun wedding. We rented a crew house on the lake, brought all of our own food, we both rented our clothes, we created our own invitations and hired a DJ. Of course we were 40 at the time, his second marriage, my first. My husband is also a wedding photographer so one of his buddies took our photos for a song. AND because I'm in the food industry a friend of mine made our wedding cake, oh and one more thing, we bought our flowers at the Pike Place Market. We basically had a really great party where two people just happened to get married.
Sorry for the long rambling comment.

Mmm said...

I quite agree about the fact if parents are paying they get a big say for the guest list, and pretty much everything. Want to do it yourself then fine.

I don't want to talk about mine, as lovely and inexpensive it was, as it's a hard time for me right now there but will say I love this video. How terribly fun. I have never seen this before.

I have ben to a wedding where the bride adn grooms' parents adn wedding party did all this with a diff but similar song though. Everyone was hooting it up. I loved it.

Baino said...

Welcome over Carls. The more the merrier. Sounds like my kind of gig!

Sorry to hear it Mr Toast. I hope things work themselves out for you. I also have a friend who did something similar to "When Love Takes Over" for her commitment ceremony. It was gorgeous. Weddings should be considered but also fun I think.

jay said...

Excellent observations on the wedding traditions!

Love the video! I was so nervous on my walk down that aisle that afterwards several people told me it looked as if I was about to burst into tears! Perhaps a dance down there would have been better!

Candie Bracci said...

It reminds me that I'm going to a wedding in june in Porto!A 100% portughese wedding in Portugal!That'll be fun!I bet that one will be traditional!:)

kj said...

damn. i was looking forward to my response--hee hee.


lettuce said...

what is a smashed alabaster telephone? just wondering...

yes I find it scary how much people spend on weddings. Ours was very much DIY - home made dresses, borrowed this and that, my mum did all the catering. It was great.

My SIL has spent a fortune on 3 weddings, so far.... We're hoping she'll stick with this one

Kate said...

I am always amazed that I got married at all - a practicing Catholic (then) trying to marry a divorced man - oh dear!!

I got ex-communicated (crazy old fashioned bishop with attitude) and then had to find someone that would marry us in church.

I did - and had a lovely wedding - on a shoestring with a hired dress and small reception but, do you know, I would go back and do it all again and I wouldn't change a thing!

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch The Royal Family, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/The_Royal_Family-tickets looking forward to it.