Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Of Engagements, Weddings, and Baby Showers

This is is probably going to seem like one of those posts where I might as well be saying "when *I* was a kid...." Sorry about that. It is what it is.

I guess I took it for granted. When I was younger, when you got engaged, married, or were expecting a baby, it was a moment of celebration with all of your family and friends. I guess it's just how my family always was; when you had a big moment in your life, you invited all of your family and friends to celebrate with you. It wasn't about the biggest party, or the biggest gift, or the best status among the social community.

I remember being invited to weddings in a church where everyone was invited, and it was about having your friends around you to celebrate with you, even if the couple couldn't afford more than cake and fizzy apple juice to share with their friends. It wasn't about how fancy you could make it, it was about sharing this moment with the people who cared about you.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that this post is in direct relation to the fact that I wasn't invited to my friend's wedding. I wasn't invited to the shower or the bachelorette party, either. Yet, this is a person who (up until this happened) I would have called in case of emergency, in case I needed a shoulder to cry on, or in case I had a night off and wanted to share a bottle of wine with a friend.

I understand weddings are expensive. I understand that brides and grooms have to narrow the field of the people that they invite for financial reasons. I know that the reason I wasn't invited is twofold: 1) They had to cut out the people that they weren't 'super-close' to cut down on costs and 2) I can't afford to give them a fancy gift from their registry. I get that the bride had to make her decision and not invite all of her friends to maximize the benefit to her and her new husband-to-be.

But shouldn't the fact that she pranced to me, excitedly, sharing her new ring the day after she was proposed to mean something? Shouldn't the fact that her fiance contacted me BEFORE he proposed, because he wanted help in proposing beautifully mean something?

Call me crazy. I'm not engaged. I'm not married. I've never been proposed to...really (long story, don't ask).

But personally, I'd much rather have a huge fricking party, a barbecue on the beachfront, with all of my friends and family there, rather than some big, status-filled event. I'd want everyone who wanted to celebrate with me to be there, regardless of their ability to pay for gifts. If that meant I didn't rent a big fancy ballroom for our reception, and instead had a smaller, more conservative event, I'd do it. I'd much rather be surrounded by the people who have shaped my life; to be able to hug and kiss-on-the-cheek all of the people that are happy for me and want to share in my day.

I don't underSTAND why weddings have become this huge deal. Why a bride would rather have a super expensive, glamorous wedding with only 20 of her friends, excluding the people that are just "average".

I DO, however, understand why shows like 'Bridezillas' are so popular. Because there are so many people like me that don't understand why friends and family are pushed aside and hurt (for a LIFETIME), so that brides can have their moment in the sun.

You can feel free to remind me of this blog when I finally get married.

But I'm sure that I'm already going to be at my giant, cheaper reception, surrounded by everyone who loves and cares about me. Because I'd rather have the people that make my world magical beside me. Even if it means that I don't get to wear diamonds and have a sparkling ballgown.


  1. This is one of my biggest regrets about my first marriage. Barely anyone could come. Most guests were my exhusbands and treated me like shit the whole time. That's a different story though. If I ever get married again, it will be in Bellingham where my family lives and I will ensure everyone I love and loves me will be there. Even if we get married on the sidewalk in front of a bus stop in blue jeans and flip flops. :)

  2. The best part of my wedding for me was seeing how much money I could SAVE. We picked a community hall rented out by the American Legion and danced on a floor that had seen hundreds of community danced. It was "catered" or rather cooked by the Auxiliary wedding and the recipe they used was one from Mom's cookbook. We spent the most on my dress and photography. We even made some of the flowers ourself to cut down on cost. We scrimped and scrimped and still had an awesome party. I didn't see anyone without a smile and I danced until I was sure my feet would bleed. (Not really, I was barefoot almost the whole day.) THAT's how my family does it and how I wanted it. People who expected something fancier/looked down on me because of my party with 150 of my "closest" friends and family didn't have to come. The entire day was about Will and I, our love, and our bright future. It was about the merging of our families and our lives. And about how much money we saved. (I'm 100% positive) We spent under $5000 on the whole shindig and didn't leave out anyone. Yes, I live in Iowa and had my wedding in a small town, but you CAN have both: A beautiful wedding day and everyone important at your side. You just have to plan better, work harder, and be willing to compromise. <3

  3. We spent less than $5000 as well. We made our own invitations (he was working in graphic design at the time and I have experience in document design), we had one attendant each, my grandmother did the flowers, we had mostly candles, my mom and I made centerpieces, we got to use backdrops and props from the sign shop/graphic design place he was working, my aunt made the cake and did the finger foods (we had a simple reception in the church afterward) was definitely a DIY event but that's what made it so special to us. Everyone we invited got to come. We even put in the paper that only out of town invitations would be sent (which, in my small town means "anyone who wants to show up at the church is welcome") and we had people sitting in the balcony. It was lovely. I don't understand status and all that. I come from a humble family and am too practical for my own good, but I have a real problem with people who blow $20,000 on a wedding. I try not to judge, but think about what all you could get or the people you could help with that money!

  4. Hooray for only being able to afford cake & fizzy apple juice!!! For asking our families to pitch in with sandwich & fruit & veggie trays instead of a catered lunch. And to prom dresses doubling as a maid of honor's dress & planning the color scheme around it! To naked military uniforms instead of tuxes, a step-brother-in-law for a photographer, grandpa officiating the ceremony & bouquets made around the kitchen table at home! Hooray for weird-looking cousins & new babies coming together under the same roof of God's house. And thank the Lord for good friends & family who came from far flung corners of the country to celebrate with us. You have no idea how grateful I still am that you got to share that day with us! :)

  5. I know this is months too late, but I just stumbled upon your blog. Is it strange that I know, when I get married, you, Gina, Claire and Cora are getting invites? Even if you can't make it?

  6. Phsht, Cleo, when you get married, I WILL be there, cause you're still my sis-in-law in my heart, lol. <3


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