Thursday, January 27, 2011


I received an email from my friend Shelia today and felt that her question and my answer was blog worthy.

Shelia is an old classmate from my Catholic schoolgirl days and, according to our shared religious tradition, she has already confused the order of marriage, sex, and children.  Now that her two-year old son's father has finally asked for her hand in marriage she is like any bride-to-be (childless or otherwise) who has boarded the Crazy-Train-To-The-Alter and doesn't know where to get off.

The following is an excerpt from Shelia's email:

"Oh my gosh Carrie, the wedding planning is the craziest thing in the freaking world! I must be totally delusional when it comes to the costs b/c every time someone gives me a number, I pee a little. Whether that is from childbirth or fear, I am still unsure - but still, I am going thru alot of underwear for what?! I am planning a typical big family, Catholic wedding & all I want to do now is for us to meet father in the rectory and have him marry us there. That way we might actually pay attention to the vows that we are taking and committing to instead of the rad party afterwards. I mean - we might as well be 40, we have a 2 year old and have lived together for quite sometime. Am I past the point of a nice, fun wedding?  I need your wisdom here Carrie - being that you are my finance mentor - where do I draw the line for crying out loud? If you were marrying Ken tomorrow how would you do it?"

My response went something like this:

Wisdom granted.

First of all do not discount yourself as a mother of a two year old who is living with her fiance who also happens to be her baby's daddy, and forego having the wedding of  your girlhood dreams combined with the good sense of your womanhood. NOBODY PUTS SHEILA SHRIVER IN A CORNER!

I, for one, never actually had any girlhood dreams of a fancy wedding. My mother taught me from a very young age that the more you spend on a wedding - the more likely the marriage is to fail. This might actually be one of the few things I agree with my mother on - big wedding budgets ARE ABSOLUTELY commensurate with big marriage failures. Examples include: Melissa Rivers, Donald Trump, and my cousin Liz.

My advice would be to pick your top three most important material components of your wedding and reception and put 90% of whatever money you have there. Whatever you do - DO NOT GO INTO DEBT FOR A PARTY! Your wedding day is inevitably filled with so much pressure and chaos and it will all be over before you get a chance to recover from your in-laws making you cry the night before at your rehearsal dinner in time to really enjoy yourself.

Furthermore, we will be turning forty in just a few short years, so I say save the real party budget for a time when you get to invite the people you really want to party with and not the people you are just inviting so your second cousin Ursula, twice removed, from Topeka doesn't feel left out. You also won't have to write a thank-you note for the giant, pea-green, family bible Ursula brings for a gift.

My original vision for my own wedding had something to do with me and Some Guy, Las Vegas, an ivory mini-dress, and patent leather Go-Go boots. The heartbroken look on my parent's face when they heard it wasn't going to be in the Catholic Church with my father walking me down the aisle made me back down and give in to their dream for me.

My reasons for the Catholic wedding and party reception were simple: making my parent's happy while simultaneously getting to check one more of the seven sacraments off my list, and rewarding my side of the invite list who had to scrounge up air fair and a book a hotel room to meet Brian and cease their gossiping about me and my 'daddy issues.'

Being consistent with my mother's early influence, I went very high class/low cost on most my decisions. My memory of my 2003 costs were as follows: dress/shoes/veil $450, flower budget $325, DJ $500, cake $325, photographer $1700, reception $6000 and honeymoon $8000. You can clearly see where my priorities were. 

If I were doing it again today - I would spend even less by getting a bunch of sheet cakes from Costco to serve - only because people expect it and you can still get away with some good 'cuttin of the cake' pics to fulfill that page in your album.  My friend Veronica did this at her reception and it was FABULOUS and way classier than it sounds.

Whatever you do, DO NOT watch 'Say Yes to The Dress' on TLC. Unless you have at least a $5000 budget for your dress (which even if you did have is totally ridiculous to spend on a dress), wear something you feel pretty in and spend as little as possible. The entire wedding industry is a total racket and I say give those mother-fuckers the finger and show up in a red lace number at the church rectory with close family and vow your everlasting love to Robbie while he is wearing Leopold on his back in the Ergo Baby Carrier Backpack. Then meet all your friends later for beer and wine and appetizers, and party with fun music and a huge receiving table for gifts.

Oh, and definitely stay far away from having three pretty maids all in a row - just more bullshit to deal with. Your best girlfriend's love you and will be there for you throughout your special day - no matter what.  Don't make them wear satin which everyone, everyone, looks REALLY FAT IN!

For now, that's all I got.  But PLEASE!!!...find some time, pour yourself a glass of wine, and call me tonight or this weekend and I can give you more unadulterated advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment