A friend (let’s call her Bride) sent me a picture of her prospective wedding dress, engagement ring, wedding band… and all the bits that seem to be a must for getting married in today’s society. The subject of her email read, “Aren’t They Absolutely and Perfectly Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Everything is ‘Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ indeed,” I replied.
“Do you like it?” she wanted to know.
“They are ‘Gorgeous’” I repeated.
“Give me your honest opinion, Magaly.”
“About how ‘Gorgeous’ the ring, the dress, and the venue are, Bride? You have excellent taste, and the things you’ve chosen cost almost $30,000; they are ‘Gorgeous’ and then some. I’m just worried about the ‘and then’.”
She stayed quiet for a moment, and then said, “We both [her Husband to Be and her] have jobs, we’ll manage the payments.”
“Bride, I love you, you know that right? We’ve been friends for what? Twelve years? Well, all those years, and all the crap we’ve gone through together are telling me that I would rather have you mad at me for a month or five, than sit here keeping my peace while you do something really dumb. I know you want a fairy tale wedding, but you need to make sure that your prince charming and you won’t have to sell your souls in order to pay for cake and flowers.”
Bride told me that she couldn’t talk anymore. That she would call me later.
I knew I had pissed her off, and I didn’t think I would hear from her in days. But she called an hour later.
“People are expecting a lot, Magaly,” she said as soon as I picked up the phone.
“Are ‘People’ going to pick up the bill?” I said.
She sighed. “A wedding, and the symbols in it, represent the way two people feel about each other,” she said.
“Lovely,” I said a bit too loud. “Now I know that you hate your Husband to Be and yourself so much, that you want to drown in debt, just to show people—who we both know you don’t give a damn about—that you two are great at being miserable together.” I waited for her to say something, but she didn’t so I went on. “Sorry, I know this is not time for sarcasm, but I’m so angry at you right now. It’s all I can do to stay rational. Bride, you guys live in the boonies and you have only one car, you rent a tiny apartment, you owe money in credit cards… How much do you have in savings account?”
“Well, how much?” I was losing my cool.
“$416.00,” she said.
“You are an idiot and he’s a dumb ass. What is wrong with you!” In case you didn’t notice, I get quite, um… specific when I’m upset. “Are you freaking insane?”
“No,” she said in a tiny voice. “I called you because I knew you were going to say all that. Would you talk to us together about it? I think if I hear it put like that again a couple of times, I will be fine. But I need help telling him.”
We spent twenty more minutes on the phone, me saying that the topic was something they should be able to discuss as a couple, and Bride telling me that she wouldn’t know where to start. So she called her Husband to Be, and we had a three way conversation. I repeated the whole thing (even the ‘idiot’ and ‘dumb ass’ bits), he stayed quiet the whole time. And at the end said that all he wanted was to marry Bride. Even if they did it dressed in plastic bags and exchanged candy rings from the dollar store.
All was well. Until the Husband to Be called me a few minutes later. By himself.
“You know that if I don’t get the ring Bride wants, eventually she is going to tell me that I don’t love her. Remember Japan? When she said that if you didn’t care about Valentine’s Day, then she didn’t either? So I didn’t get her anything. Then she told me that if I truly loved her, I would have known to get her something anyway, even if she had already said that she didn’t want anything?”
“I don’t know what to tell you, man,” I said. “I know my friend, and I want to help you both, but—”
He cut me off. “She sent me links to ten different engagement rings. The cheapest is $9,000.”
“Stop,” I said. “I’ll speak to Bride again, but after that, you two need to look at the finances of your wedding. And as stupid as this might sound, you need to discuss communication, too.”
Bride and I spoke for about an hour. I told her about the conversation with her Husband to Be, and she told me that “Japan was a different thing entirely.” So, I asked her if she would be okay with me discussing the topic at Pagan Culture. I wrote the words you are reading and sent it to her for approval—it’s her life after all. She was the one to choose the pseudonyms “Bride” and “Husband to Be.”
Here is the heart of this super-long post: My friend wants to spend way more than what she can afford to have the perfect wedding. I’m not the best person to advise her, or give her objective guidance, due to the fact that I’m a Witch who would certainly reconsider the merit of marrying a guy who even entertained the idea of buying me something that would leave us owing our future to a bank or credit card company.
More details: Bride is my age. They are both divorced. She wants to have children in the future. No one is helping with the wedding expenses, if they marry in the United States. His family lives in the Caribbean, and they are offering their house (an amazing place), the food, drink, entertainment, if they go there to get married—Bride wants the wedding here because most of her friends won’t be able to afford an out of country trip.
So… now the floor is open to you my, Wicked Darlings. These are the questions my friend wrote:
1. “Is it ridiculous to want the perfect wedding?”
2. “What if I don’t have the wedding I’ve always wanted, and that ends up ruining my marriage and relationship?”
Please be gentle and honest, my Luvs. I know I called her an idiot, but that was just because she knows me so well that she has turned getting on my nerves into an art. Try explaining your answer, if you can. I suspect she’ll listen. Sometimes opinions from strangers are easier to understand (even accept) than the ones coming from people we know.
Also, Bride is convinced that I have a problem with a huge wedding because I’m “a Hippie Tree Hugging Witch who has no idea that fashion and comfort don’t live on the same planet.” Which is mostly true, and happens to hold all kinds of value in my witchy book of life ;-)
I don’t know if this couple is getting married, but if they are, I hope they do it on the train.
image by Sergey Ivanov, via