Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bridezilla's Goin' Down

Well, here's one silver lining behind the current economic meltdown -- the imminent death of Bridezilla.

I was reading a newspaper article -- can't remember the newspaper -- about how the recession is beginning to curb the wretched excess of contemporary weddings, which the article noted now cost an average of $29,000 in some localities. (I had to look twice to make sure that the comma was in the correct place.)

We saw this phenomenon in our own extended family, when our niece was asked to be part of a wedding party larger than Chuck and Di's, and the wedding costing nearly as much as theirs -- particularly ironic because neither the bride nor groom are gainfully employed, and already have kids together.

Some Bridezillas are not going down without a fight. One interviewed bride-to-be -- despite being, along with her fiance, already saddled by significant college debt -- fretted to a reporter what the neighbors would think about a downscaled wedding, noting that weddings are all about being "lavish" and "extravagant."

Silly me. I thought they were all about making a public commitment to mutual love and faithfulness.

Fellow Traveler and I filed this news item under "Crazy Straight People."


Tom in Ontario said...

My dad's a retired builder and one of the last homes he built before retiring was for a very wealthy "Christian" family with 4 daughters.

A couple of years ago the first daughter got married. Now I'm thinking this is precedent setting for the rest of their girls. They got a quote for the flowers to decorate the church and the reception of $80,000. (the comma and the number of zeroes is correct). They decided this was outrageous so I guess they scaled back the flowers until it only cost them $40,000. JUST FOR THE FLOWERS!

My mom asked me, "What can we possibly give them as a gift?" I suggested a charitable donation. My mom has been sponsoring children through one of these developing world sponsorship programs (like the one you've written about) so she decided she'd sponsor a child for a year in honour of this couple's marriage and that was her gift to them.

In the midst of something totally obscene I thought that was a ray of sanity and light.

southernbooklover said...

Painfully long story, short: a co-worker (late 40's) lived w/ an unemployed fellow for a couple of years. Then invited everyone to a lavish wedding. Bride and groom were drunk. Groom made a fool out of himself, as usual. Few weeks later, she kicked him out and told us that they NEVER signed a marriage certificate, so weren't legally married (and still aren't).

Of course, they reunited shortly thereafter. We all wanted our gifts returned.

Purechristianithink said...

Except that out here in CA the wedding industry (gag me) is really excited and hopeful about the money it is beginning to make from lavish gay weddings. There have been articles in the L.A. Times about it and everything. Apparently the craziness is species wide.

Though that being said, the wedding of two of my female friends last month was simple and lovely.

Choralgirl said...

Amen, Sister!

LutheranChik said...

The nicest wedding I have ever attended was that of a former coworker of mine -- divorced/longtime bachelor who finally found his ladylove when he hit 50. They both wore nice street clothes for the festivities...the church was decorated with small sprays of -- gasp -- garden flowers...the reception was catered by a local restaurant, but was held in the couple's back yard. The service itself was so meaningful and lovely...not a dry eye afterward. If only couples could see a wedding well done, and know that it's not about the bling.

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

We have a wedding on the horizon for June, 2009. The bride at one time wanted to be a wedding planner, so I'm worried. Fortunately, they now both have found jobs again, but given the costs of some weddings, the cost could be nearly a year's salary, since neither have great jobs. I'm really worried.

I've been telling them that the MARRIAGE is more important than the wedding, so I hope they don't go into debt to pull it off.

They've put money down on an outdoor place to get hitched on a specific date. They don't have a pastor who will officiate. The pastors that they are connected with won't do outdoor weddings. The place won't allow chairs. I have moderately severe arthritis and nobody is getting any younger, like the 92 year old grandmother. I'm really really worried.

My oldest's wedding was costly enough, IMHO, although they did have their priorities right, so by today's standards it wasn't too bad. They had to cut the guest list in half to have the reception that they could afford.

chartreuseova said...

I've noticed that when the passion/interest/time expended is all on the wedding, there isn't much left for the marriage.

Growing up, the joke in our family was that the bigger the wedding; the shorter the marriage...and in almost all cases in our family at least it's been true.

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

chartreuseova's comment reminded me of what a friend said. Before becoming a pastor, she spent over 25 years playing organ/piano at weddings all over the area, any denomination of church. She said that she could tell from the way the couple interacted at the rehearsal if the wedding was bound to last. And she was almost always right. This makes me wonder what her premarital counseling is like.

Ringelstruempfe said...

OK, I know I am just a "legal alien" (as my passport so nicely points out. Always makes me feel like being green and sporting antennas on my forehead...anyway...)so please just help me out. How can one spend so much money on a wedding? What do people do on those days?
The country where I grew up, a wedding is held for three or four days and so was ours and we only spend about $4000 for the whole thing.
I am really puzzled!

gypsytoo said...

this article made me remember my wedding and my sister's. growing up on a farm - dad sold a cow. Girls - this is what you have for a wedding. Any more than this - you are on your own.

we both managed to put on a very nice One Cow Wedding.

the wedding isn't what counts - it is the marriage that counts.

Trish said...

Wow. That's crazy. I am getting married in May, and I told my beloved the other day while we were out and about, "Don't worry. I'm totally not going to be a bridezilla!"

Simple is the plan here. Thankfully, I've met a man who matches me in a desire for frugality and good stewardship. It also helps that we are getting married in my small home community where things surrounding a wedding usually don't cost an arm and a leg.

Seriously though, $40,000 for frickin' flowers!?!?!?!?

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

Stuff that costs a lot: invitations, dress, flowers, renting a hall, catering, the cake, decorations at the hall, decorations at the church, table favors for each guest, music at the church, music during dinner, music for the dance. Sometimes the bride and groom pay for accommodations for some of the guests. The bridesmaid dresses and the tuxes might be paid for by the wedding party, but maybe that is included in the total cost of the wedding.

The wedding in the church with a small lunch in the church hall just isn't good enough for many brides any longer.

BTW, I paid $50 for an off the rack dress and about $50 for the food for my family only wedding in 1973. My marriage has lasted and that is what counts.

Crimson Rambler said...

the thing that fusses me is the insistence of the unchurchly who get married in parks, museums, etc. that it's the CHURCH that makes a "BIG CHURCH WEDDING" so expensive.

We ask for a donation of $450 from parishioner families, $600 from non-parishioners, and out of that the church, the flowers at the altar, the pew bows (which we own) and the priest and the musician are "covered."

I say constantly to couples coming here to be married, "If you have the choice about Item X, DON'T BUY IT; a year from now no-one will remember and YOU will be so glad to have the cash instead." Sometimes they hear me.

EmJayDee said...

Looking at old family photos of depression era weddings - street clothes, maybe a nice bunch of flowers for the bride - it does seem strange that two generations later people "can't afford" to get married.