Weddings Are a Waste of Money & So Is Starbucks

Janelle Harris

Wedding industry
Does wanting to be a bride make me a brat?
Whether we admit it to our friends or whisper it in our personal prayers, most of us would like to be wrapped up in love someday, if we haven’t found it already. I fantasize about a romance that’s a mash-up of the relationship between my pastors, who are one of the cutest couples I know; my grandparents, who were happy for 50 years before my grandfather passed; and the fun-loving Cliff and Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show. I think I’ve found that snazzy combination in my boyfriend, so y’all can understand why, eventually, I’d like to hustle him and a pair of rings in front of an officiant to become Mrs. Janelle Harris-Williams (or whatever).

We talk about a future together, complete with the same ideas on raising children and a shared vision for the perfect home. But there’s a snag when we hash out how that’s all going to happen: he thinks weddings are a big waste of money

For one, he’s a guy and that’s what guys usually swear whenever The Big Day is discussed, and for two, he’s an accountant, which means all of his logical number crunching is a poo poo on my creative party planning.

Knowing what a sentimental bunch women like me are, the wedding industryan $86 billion business machine — capitalizes on the emotion attached to that (for some of us, long-awaited) day. True, there are plenty of couples who can throw on a suit and a cute dress and get ‘er done in a quaint little ceremony down at the local courthouse, minus all the frills and excesses that can make weddings so stressful and expensive. And if that’s what works for hubby and wife, then two thumbs up for them.

But when I make it official with the man of my dreams, I’m organizing a bona fide throwdown and calling up everybody from my second grade teacher to the bus driver who listened to my early morning lamentations to announce that I’m fine-o-lee gettin’ married. I’m exaggerating of course (when you think of guests in a per-plate perspective, it really makes you reevaluate the importance of every relationship), but there’s no truth-stretching about this: I want a doggone wedding, waste of money or not.

A wedding is a day of joy, a celebration of love, a party to usher in the transition from “me” to “us.” Thinking about it purely in terms of dollars and cents robs it of all its symbolic meaning and intrinsic value. After besting three heartbreaks, and surviving single motherhood and some really difficult times in general, I don’t want to white flag my dream to have a wedding. I want to celebrate the new, exciting season I’m stepping into with my loverman by my side.

That being said, I don’t condone dumb shows of overspending just for the sake of doing it, unless you just got it like that (and even then it still seems pretty silly). Breaking your aluminum foil budget to throw a platinum wedding is not just irresponsible, it’ll put an unnecessary strain on your new married relationship from the giddy up. The average cost of a wedding in 2010 rang in at just under $27,000. Pause. That right there is somebody’s annual salary, a faint-worthy price tag to attach to one day.

Say Yes to the Dress
might make it seem completely un-crazy to spend $10,000 on a Pnina Tornai gown and Bridezillas might be able to con their fiancés into maxing out their credit cards, but this is real life. And in real life, people with all of their marbles don’t spend Bill Gates’ ransom on the first day in what will hopefully be a lifetime together. 

Still, I don’t apologize for wanting to float down the aisle in a gorgeous white-ish gown, flanked on all sides by people who love me and my man individually and as a couple. And I don’t think there’s any reason to write budgeted weddings off as a waste of money. We throw dollars in the wind all the time and don’t think twice about it. We blow dough at the casino. We blow dough noshing at trendy, overpriced restaurants and lunching with co-workers every day. We blow dough playing Powerball, buying fancy, fruity drinks at nightclubs, and outfitting Fifi and Fido in silly little doggie getups.

With these and a trillion other ways to squander expendable cash, why would investing in a day to celebrate the love of two people seem like such a ridiculous way to spend a few bills?

Image via *Saffy*/Flickr

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