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Not too long ago one of my favorite bloggers, a rather witty devout Catholic who blogged about the single life, met a certain Scottish gentleman, stopped being quite so single, and started blogging about planning a wedding instead. The path to the altar has been strewn with various obstacles, including the trials of international romance, and the perils of trying to have a small, sensible wedding in a world that cannot conceive of a wedding that doesn’t include twenty million knicknacks masquerading as table decorations and/or favors, confetti stamped with the bride and groom’s initials, and lots of other ridiculousness designed to beggar engaged couples while fattening the coffers of those who really care about the difference between bone-white and ecru.

All of this has struck a chord with me, not because I myself am even remotely thinking about planning a wedding (yeah, no), but because of watching various friends going through this same trial and for the most part succumbing to wedding hysteria. One dear friend was so stressed out and frazzled by the ordeal that she was weeping – and not tears of joy – as she came down the aisle. For all the hoopla about this supposedly being the Happiest Day of Your Life (and, seriously, if this is the happiest day of your life, then what are you going to say on the day you give birth to your first child? Or the day that child gets married? If this is as good as it gets, then I don’t want that life, thankyouverymuch!), I didn’t see many actually happy brides. For a while I was in serious doubt about whether it was possible for a bride to actually enjoy her own wedding. For heavens sakes, if it’s going to make you that miserable, why not elope to Vegas (or, you know, Rome), and be happy?

Moreover, the thought of all the money being sucked down into the gaping maw of The Wedding Industry is just sickening. See, I’ve done weddings. I know how much this stuff actually costs. I know how much of a scam this really is. There was putting on K-San’s wedding reception, and before that we made this movie, which included not one, but three gorgeous vintage wedding dresses, none of which cost more than $50 (one of which a prospective bride tried to buy off of us at the premiere), replicating a wedding in the church where half my family was baptized, and throwing a huge reception for a couple of hundred people, complete with DJ, dancing, and a whole table full of cake. Making the movie, the movie premiere, and K-San’s wedding combined cost less than some people spend on their wedding dress.

Now, granted, I come from a large family with a wide range of talents particularly suited to putting on weddings, including decorating on a dime, cake baking, flower arranging, and mad organizational capabilities. We’re good at these sorts of things too – personally, I’d rather have a bouquet arranged by Indy from whatever flowers she finds at the farmer’s market that morning than something put together by the most exclusive florist. But I don’t think that’s the important part. I think what’s key is refusing to buy into the hype, and instead choosing something simpler, homemade with love rather than the fancy, expensive doodad put together by some poor slave in China. It’s possible to have a beautiful wedding without spending a fortune and driving everyone around you crazy. Next month MDoS and the Beautiful T are getting married. Indy is doing their flowers. I am baking a cake, which will be grouped with two other cakes also made with a lot of love by other friends. It’s going to be beautiful.

I also have to admit that it’s easy for me to write this stuff, since I don’t feel in particular danger of having to put any of these nice ideals into practice. Some time ago I was daydreaming a little (like girls do) about the possibility of getting married to a particular guy. It was a lovely daydream until I realized that I would have to move in order to live with him. My sheer, visceral horror at the thought of having to move again (do you have any idea how many books I own?) jolted me out of that particular daydream, and I haven’t been hugely tempted to indulge in such daydreams since. Plus, if some man were ever able to tempt me to merge libraries, there’s not a chance that I could have a small wedding. See, I come from a large Catholic family of eleven kids, deeply beloved by our community, all of whom are still single. Some of the little old ladies at our home parish have been waiting so long for one of us to get married I think they might expire of excitement if one of us were to just get engaged. Once, when The Duchess was seriously dating a nice young man, our parish organist (a good family friend) told me that he already had her wedding music all picked out. If one of us got married and didn’t invite everyone, I think we would never live it down. Still, I’d rather be able to invite everyone I love to my wedding, even if it meant that the reception was a cookout in the park, than have the most luxurious wedding and have to leave some people out.

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