Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Marriage, Weddings and Eloping.

I am to be a bridesmaid.
My oldest friend has set a date, her wedding is to be in June. Not next June-she informed me- but June 2009.
God help me. God help us all.
I mean that, this will be like a military operation. There are to be three bridesmaids ( all of us the same height-she said) a maid of honour, a flower girl. She has booked the hotel for the reception and is already planning what the chairs will be covered in. There will be fittings and tears and tantrums. I know this because I know my friend. When I told the Paramour that she had set a date, he raised an eyebrow. 'And what sort of tranquillizer will she be on between now and then?'
What is it with weddings in this country? A few weeks ago the Paramour and I were traveling into town for dinner. Our cab driver was chatty and during the course of our journey he informed us that it was his anniversary the following day and that he was two years married. Then he told us he was still paying off his wedding.
'Really?' We asked.
''Aw yeah,' said he, ' 30, 000 grand it cost.'
'FOR ONE DAY!!' WE squeaked.
'Aw yeah, she said if she had to do it all again she'd keep it smaller, but sure we've loads of cousins and all...'
He trailed off.
Are people barking mad?

I mention all this because according to Brenda Power- sorry Sneezy- some footballer called Tomas O'Shea has married his girlfriend in a registry office. He did this on the quiet and only contacted his family and friend by text a few hours before hand and asked them to come. Then Brenda said something like, 'do you think this is a good thing or is a wedding not for family and friends too?'
Er, I would say weddings are for whoever is getting married. But I'm funny that way.
Surely there should be a middle ground. 30,000 grand is ridiculous. How stressful must that be? Who puts them selves in such crippling debt for one day? Why does getting married have to be so ridiculously expensive anyway? Who is it all for?
30,000 grand, 30,000 grand!
Another gal I know got married abroad for a fraction of what it cost here and everyone who went took some days or a week and got tanned and beautiful and rested in the days before the actual wedding. I myself went to a Scots/Catalan wedding in Barcelona, beautiful reception, wild good fun, terrible folk singing and again a FRACTION of the cost here.
Maybe that's what people should be doing, maybe it shouldn't be about the money and should be about the couple and their commitment to each other rather than if you've asked every second and third cousin.
I won't however be saying any such thing to my friend. She might kill me. It's only 17 months away, I know this because she informed me, while managing to convey that this is barely enough time to organise a dinner let alone a wedding.
I know it will be a beautiful day. It had better be or she'll kill it.
Hummm, pass me the Valium.



Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

I find it interesting that the churches usually trot out the statement before Christmas that it is not about the commercialisation of Christmas, etc. However, you don't hear them say anything negative about the commercialisation of weddings. Weddings, you see are a reminder of the church and they make a splash and it is all good advertising. They are a good promotional gimmick in June.

So, not a word about how much they cost - that would be churlish, wouldn't it?

10:26 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Same with christenings I think, and communions. Big money days.

10:30 a.m.  
Blogger The Bad Ambassador said...

My sister got hitched 2 years ago. 19 people in total - including the priest. Everybody sat at a U-shaped head table. A brilliant day was had by all.

Should the close personal friend and I go down that path, we intend it to be smaller still. My folks, her folks and maybe our respective VBFs then on to a restaurant and a pub. No booking hotel function rooms. No fuss.

Alternatively, I have considered the idea of telling people "We'll be getting married in Florence (say) on this date, if your passing and want to drop in we'd love to have you - but it won't be anything fancy".

30k debt indeed. That's a new car, a new bike, a top holiday or a chunk off the mortgage.

10:32 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Bloody right it is, a considerably chunk off a mortgage. I wouldn't be able to live with myself ever again if I spent that much on one day.
I like your idea a lot, intimate. Very nice.

10:34 a.m.  
Blogger Holly Golighty said...

Phew-it's all about being over the top nowadays. Should I ever enter the holy state of M it will certainly only be in the presence of closest family.

10:50 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Madness. I have a notion someone once said you can't buy happiness...

10:54 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

But FMC, what if the bridesmaids aren't all the same height? Will one of you be forced to grow, or worse still, will the hacksaw come out?

2 young(ish) friends of mine are getting married this summer. I don't envy them the turmoil of choosing who to invite to the wedding/reception given the large group of friends and family. No doubt there will be some grudges held just because the bride and groom can't afford to invite everyone. If ever someone is stupid enough to marry me, it'll be in the carribbean with my family and 10 best mates.

11:13 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"But FMC, what if the bridesmaids aren't all the same height? Will one of you be forced to grow, or worse still, will the hacksaw come out?"
I don't know, I was afraid to ask, she said it so...firmly.

Conan Holly, yep agree to both comments. I think a lot of weddings these days are way over the top. I was a a winter wedding in December, Unitarian service, no priests, beautiful reception but only immediately family and close friends and I thought it was truly lovely.

11:35 a.m.  
Blogger Caro said...

A friend of mine got married last Easter in Germany. They made a weekend out of it, booking up an entire holiday village in the Black Forest, which cost us all 30 euros a head a night to stay in. We had a barbeque the night before the wedding, local bubbly and bretzel on a boat for a trip down the river after the registry office ceremony, then back to the holiday village for a buffet dinner followed by entertainment organised by the German friends and dancing till 4 in the morning to sounds DJd by one of the Irish lads on his laptop. The next day we all went to Heidelberg for a ramble round and home on the Monday.

It was the most laid back wedding I've ever been to. They took great care to make sure it wouldn't cost the guests a fortune and everyone had a brilliant time.

11:36 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Scuse the off topic, Missus - when is that Ambassador gig TLGK is interested in?

11:40 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Caro, that sounds like great crack and better still, it didn't cost the moon and the sun. A bit of creative thinking really goes a long way.


11:44 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me ex got hitched again recently, the ring alone cost about $16k, the wedding was in 6 figures, but he won't pay for stuff for his kids, go figure!

1:05 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Then he is a douche. Plain and simple.

1:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Cate said...

What a complete cock!

2:09 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

I was a bridesmaid during the summer (which was gayer than gay), my friends dress cost 9K sterling, yes that is right sterling my hideous dress that I spilt a pint of Guinness on cost a mere 2.5k. The wedding was absolutely fabulous though. I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money but the propensity for moi to get a little carried away would be enormous. In saying that I’d only marry if I had to, more specifically if I was pregnant. One thing about weddings these day, what is the crack with people well over 30 toddling up the isle in a white dresses. It is a bit ironic particularly when their almost grown children are in tow. Think there should be an age limit on the white dress thing.

2:28 p.m.  
Anonymous AM in Belgium said...

Irish wedding costs are indeed in the realms of lunacy.

I was having some beers with a friend of mine over the new year when I was back, and he told me that he is doing it on the cheap, and it will be costing him around 15,000 euros. He then went on to tell me about other weddings costing 50 grans upwards.

I got married 2 years ago. In Romania. There were about 60 or 70 of us, the party lasted all night with food and drink being served continuously (I think we cut the cake around 3am). Total cost: 1,700 euros.

I know there is no comparison between the costs of living in Ireland and Romania. But sweet Jesus: In Ireland they really really know how to screw you.

2:29 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

15 grand was on the cheap? Jesus. Well done you for having fun with your wedding. It should be a celebration but without bankrupting you or your family.
Nonny, 9 grand sterling on a fucking dress that you only get to wear once? I'm astounded.

Even if I was the richest person I wouldn't do that.

2:36 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

30,000 Euro? Talk about conspicuous consumption.
Our whole wedding, reception and honeymoon of 10 days on an island was $7,000.
That also included my dress and his suit.
I understand the desire for ceremony and ritual shared with the people you care about, but get a grip on the expense.

4:29 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Ours was 3000 - the one in Scotland. We'd actually got married legally, just by ourselves in Minneapolis - me in black.

I knew our families were disappointed and truth be told I wanted the party. Not the folderols surrounding it - mainly just the party with my friends. I wanted my friends and some of my family to witness it and share some of the joy I felt at marrying himself.

Anyway we did the wedding thing on the mainland which limited guests nicely. At home there would have been no way to avoid asking about several hundred people - relatives mostly - without stepping on toes - it would mainly be my family back home who had to deal with that 'cos I'm over here.

3000 though, that was it. For about 90 odd people. Not including the cost of getting us and my in-laws over to Scotland.

I liked my frock, we had lovely food and a great knees up in a wee country hotel in Auchterarder. It was perfect. And cheap. My dad did the flowers mind, and I've still no idea who was responsible for the car that took us from the church to the hotel - we'd planned on walking.

That was 8 and a half years ago. But when I hear about these weddings running to tens of thousands I can't help but think people have it all screwed up. Worse, women are encouraged to think they're entitled to this fairy-tale most perfect day of their lives, but you cannot fully enjoy yourself at such a minutely managed, staged occasion - especially if you're the manager, as most brides are.

My wedding day wasn't the happiest day of my life and nor did I want to put that much pressure to please me on one day. It was up there amongst the best though just by virtue of the good will and love and all the fun with my family and friends. You can't pay for some things.

4:56 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Ahh t’was absolutely fabulous though, never seen anything like it, words simple do not do it justice.

This has sparked a conversation in the office, we are discussing the most expensive item you own aside from your house. An eye opener to be sure.

5:01 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Ahh t’was absolutely fabulous though, never seen anything like it, words simple do not do it justice.

This has sparked a conversation in the office, we are discussing the most expensive item you own aside from your house. An eye opener to be sure.

5:01 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

A word in favor of a bigish wedding:
One of the upsides of a good wedding is that it can strengthen to bonds across and inter the generations. Our wedding was average size I guess, 148 people, twice what we had planned for. However, my wife is Indian, (grew up in the States), where big weddings are de rigueur and she is also an only daughter. Her Indian family is huge, and to our surprise many of those invited came to the US, as did my Irish folks. We kept costs as low as possible, my wife couldn’t be further from an agonizing bridezilla, so, no bridesmaids, (our bro's and my sister stood with us), no flowers that weren’t already planted, no feckin’ first dance etc). We had it in her folks back garden, which has a pool; I left at 6 am as my brothers started a naked diving competition. It was that kinda' night .The Indian and Irish folks got on like a house on fire. Fun. At the end of the day, we became closer to our parents friends, relations and in-laws - the community that sustain us in life. That’s really what it is all about. I was at a cousins wedding in Ireland last year, an accident due to a well timed business trip. All my cousins on my mothers side are way younger than me, (I am the first grandchild). I had a ball, and got to know them a lot better, and renewed relationships with my Uncles and Aunts, whom I hadn't seen much of since I moved west.

Of course if you your family drive you crazy... A few years age we attended one of my wifes best friends wedding. Herself was a bridesmaid. At a guess the wedding cost about 100K, the bride a lovely talented women normally was a raging pain in the arse, I had a ball, (damaged neck at the time, so the martinis and vicodan were co mingling nicely. My wife was miserable. The bride and groom looked even more unhappy.

5:22 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

100k? * faints.*

recovers just enough to say good evening to Sam agree with the bridzilla fairy-tale nonsense, continues to think no dress should cost 9 grand, no matter how nice it was. (9 grand is a car, or a month in the bahamas. It's not some frock you wear for a few hours)

Faints again.

5:55 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

9k for a dress is ridiculous. My wife got a sari from India, which looked incredible, truly took my breath away when I first saw her in it. Cost a pittance in dollars. My sister scoured stores in Ireland for a vintage dress, got it for a few hundred, and it is one of the nicest wedding dresses I have seen. You can have as good a wedding for cheap, however I think a lot of it is about showing off how much you spent.

6:01 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Agreed. I'll bet your wife was stunning. And yay for vintage. I LOVE vintage clothing.

6:12 p.m.  
Blogger Cate said...

Nonny - Was the 9K dress wearing woman in her 30's or did she skip down the aisle in her communion dress?

8:15 p.m.  
Anonymous stipes said...

Lookit, if you can't spare 30 fuckin' k don't bother, righ!!

10:34 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Ooh controversy, Cate she was 25 and she said she still has her communion dress but she was a fat child and it would not fit her now, it would be too big. I don’t know what is worse the fact that she didn’t laugh when she said or that it is most probably the truth. I was at a wedding a couple of weeks ago and there was a bit too hairy Mary toodleing down the isle with sulky, arm folder meanagers dragging their feet behind her, wearing a white dress that suppose to be a symbol of pureness, ‘virgin my arse’ thought I. Maybe I am being to harsh it’s just you would not wear a mini nearing 40, I’m 25 and I wouldn’t wear one now, I think the white dress has a similar life span. Maybe I am odd. I’m so tempted to post a picture of fanny and her 9k dress.

12:15 a.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh said...

Deary me, I can't express how much the whole "big day" bit annoys me: manic focus on "the day" ... bridezilla behaviour ... virginal dresses ... waste of money better spent ... I'm sure I could go on (and on ... and on). I work with a lovely girl, who is getting married in 2009, and it's all menus and dresses and lists and her "wedding book" of organisation. And they are scrimping for 3 years to do this!! Crazy person stuff. I love the idea of a very small Unitarian service and a lovely restaurant, and a big knees-up after. Although I do know people whose folks got really majorly hot under the collar about x person not being invited "because we were invited to their son's/daughter's wedding". And people who have a lovely idea of an intimate wedding, with the money going towards a nicer day/delish food ... and then parents on both sides apply enough emotional blackmail until it has morphed into The Big Oirish Wedding. I've been at weddings where the bride and groom barely got around to speaking to everyone - what's the point in inviting those people so?! The sentiment of wanting to celebrate the union of two people with friends and family is lovely - but it seems to turn into something very, very different here: all about the style of the day, over the substance of the day - and all the other days after that!

12:57 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Stipes! I can spare about...wait, wait, checks pockets...€11.25. What would that get me?

Nonny, don't! She'll find out, hunt you done and kill you.

Sheesh, I once attended a wedding years ago where the bride and groom didn't actually KNOW a lot of the guests. A lot of folk they were only introduced to at the reception. It was 'oh sure you'd have to ask them, we were at their daughter/son/uncle/cats wedding twenty years ago.' Monster big thing, with millions of children all crying and getting tired and cranky.
Man I got so drunk at that thing. So did the groom, then he vomited everywhere from being tossed up into the air for bumpsies.

8:07 a.m.  

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