Wedding Advisor – Ask Emily Freakin’ Post

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I was reading a column in the Globe about a grad student who was feeling a little awkward because they felt they would be embarrassed if their gift didn’t meet the bride’s expectations. While still a student, most of his/her friends had been in the workforce for several years, and were making considerably more money. Apparently the bride informed them that the dinner cost $150- $200 a PLATE (Good grief, what the heck were they eating?) and that it was “customary” for a wedding gift to cover that cost, and then some.

Enough, bridezillas! You people watch too much freakin’ TV. I remember several years ago a much younger colleague was appalled because a couple she knew invited her to their wedding, which was to be potlock, BYOB, and to take place at their home. Her response? “If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t get married.”

But they INVITED her. Which means they love her.

That kind of makes me feel sick. Since when has the union of two loving people become such a dog and pony show? Young people are going into enormous debt to have a “better-than-yours” wedding.

Now, I haven’t been to a huge number of weddings in my life. Most of my friends just aren’t the marrying kind, and I come from quite a small family. The most memorable took place outdoors, on a farm. Good homemade food, music, family, friends and dancing. It was humble; it was lovely.

Wedding registries also mystify me. It seems to me extremely gauche to instruct people what to purchase for you. Seems to me that if you know someone well enough to invite them to your wedding, you should trust that they know your taste well enough to present you with a thoughtful gift that suits both your tastes and their budget.

If you want to get married, get married. If you want to spend a pile of money on a huge extravaganza, go for it. But if you don’t have that money, should you then not marry? I don’t think so. I think that you can have whatever kind of wedding suits you and your partner, and that if people really love you, they’ll bring cabbage rolls and drink keg beer and wish you all happiness, and bless your union with their presence.

If you’re inviting your guests based on the heft of their wallets rather than on the depth of your love for them, then you have some serious issues indeed.

I was married, once, back in the day. I made my own dress. It cost $90. I got beautiful flowers from the Korean greengrocer on the corner in Parkdale. We were married by a minister who knew me, and my family, in High Park. We had a beautiful dinner, which my parents kindly footed the bill for, and a cash bar. It was a wonderful day, and I can’t see that spending more money would have made it any more wonderful.

Yeah, I know, I got divorced years ago. But would a $50,000 wedding have prevented that?

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2 responses »

  1. I was hanging out with Brad the day of your wedding; I remember just before he left to attend, he told me it was going to be in High Park. I thought, how wonderful! I’d never even heard of anybody getting married outdoors.

    There and then I wanted to get married outdoors too, not in a church, not in a hall, but outside.

    Of course, it was eleventy seven years before the plan was enacted, on the patio at my beloved Holiday House (aka Inn at the Falls). We had a wedding lunch, and no dance, because we couldn’t afford a dinner dance (lunch is way cheaper, but same food). Buffet, so you didn’t have to eat greens if you didn’t want to. No cake, but a Desert Buffet (ooooh!).

    It’s was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. Inspired by yours.

  2. We didn’t register either. And we loved, LOVED, every single gift we got (most of them are compounding in a TFSA currently). And we had our friends take photos. Thinking about it still makes me happy.

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