Archive for December 17th, 2007

De-Stressed Weddings Are Just As Legal

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Romeo Hatfield And Juliet McCoy is a comedic re-telling of Shakespeare’s tragedy, set among the hills of West Virginia and the famously feuding Hatfield-McCoy families. Shortly after her cousin is murdered and her husband of a few minutes banished across the state line, Juliet plaintively asks the preacher who officiated at the ceremony, “Wuz yore weddin’ night like this, Padre?” To which Rev. Laurence sighs, “In some ways, they all are, darlin’.”

Weddings – especially big weddings – are inherently stressful. Heated words between the bride and groom or bride and her family are routine. Hassles with florists, venues, bands or deejays, and even members of your own bridal party, elevate your blood pressure. Most brides survive these irritations with no lasting harm done to either themselves or their relationships. But – at some point – almost every bride asks herself, “Is this ceremony and reception worth all the aggravation it is causing me?”

Let me make two things clear: (1), nobody can answer that question except the bride herself. And (2), I’m not talking about calling off the marriage, just the “big fat” wedding.

My Mom and Dad were married by a minister in his home, with his wife as the witness. Total cost, including the ring, flowers, license, and ceremony: less than $100. Their union lasted 65 years. Gina and I repeated their example. Each of us had been married before, had been through the “big” wedding, and were perfectly happy not to go through it again. We’ve just celebrated our 20th anniversary.

The money you don’t spend on a lavish ceremony can be applied directly to a down payment, can be added to your honeymoon funds, or can be put away for your retirement. I know two dads of brides who offered their girls thousands of dollars, just to elope! They weren’t trying to save money – they just wanted to see it spent on something other than a 4-hour event.

If you have always dreamed of a big traditional wedding, and are willing to cope with the stress it brings, then I am all for you. And let me suggest that a good wedding coordinator is a big-time stress-reliever, especially your stress. But if the idea of weeks and weeks of mounting pressure sound more like a “nightmare” than a “dream,” there is an alternative. You can be just as “hitched,” without all the drama of a Hatfield-McCoy union.

By the way, after our low-key ceremony, Gina and I went out to dinner at a 4-star restaurant. We both got a touch of food poisoning, and spent most of our “romantic” honeymoon night pleading for the other one to relinquish the bathroom. Stress or not, Rev. Laurence was right: in some ways – darlin’ – most all wedding nights are like Juliet’s!