Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Do you promise to spend your life savings on a wedding...? I don't.


It strikes me that if a person is rude enough to ask someone why they’re not married to their long term partner then they should expect an honest, albeit uncomfortable, answer. But the many women who are routinely assailed by this conversational grenade are polite creatures so they shelter away from the blast, instead hurling it right back by honestly answering “Because I think it’s a dreadful waste of money. I’d rather spend my cash on the deposit for a house/a trip around the world/starting my own small business.” Delete as appropriate.

If it was simply a case of nipping down the town hall wearing something clean, preferably in a moderate state of repair, saying a few vows and then going for a cup of tea afterwards, I bet a lot more non-marriage fans would come around. Personally, I think the most prohibitive factor in your average modern couple tying the knot is the huge expense it seems to entail.

You’re right Shelly: blowing your savings on a big poofey dress that on the day you’ll be too tired and then too pissed to appreciate is nothing short of lunacy. The hours you worked for that, the tax you paid and the things you missed out on to save it all up all gone so fast. Ahhh, but this is the ‘most special day of your life’, you’re about to tell me. Is it? According to statistics a lot of those special days will end in the divorce courts at some point down the line, so you’d better be sure.

Of course we’ve all fallen madly, head-over-heels for someone only to discover at a later date that the object of our affections is actually best mates with Satan himself. And at that point, rightly so, you want to be a million away miles from them. Let’s just hope you didn’t spend the best part of £20k on the act of legally uniting with the person who didn’t turn out to be your soul mate after all.

It’s the parents who get my sympathy. Chances are they dipped into their savings, wanting to give their little girl her big white wedding. On the whole they’re nice like that. Things will probably be completely different by the time I’m in that position but right now I’m tempted to draw up a legally binding claw-back agreement. Divorce within a year, you’re paying me every penny back; within two, 50%, and so on. In this day and age you can happily live in sin, have babies out of wedlock and many other things our Victorian great-great-grandmothers would be thoroughly shocked about. There’s no actual necessity to marry, so you’d think people would take their time and make sure before entering into the big wedding circus.

Do you want my honest opinion as to why they do? Because culturally we’ve developed this notion that the bride-to-be is some sort of deity. It must be pretty nice to have eighteen months of people talking about your big day and how it’s important to get exactly what you want. Pushing the boat out, spending that bit more than you can really afford as it will be your wedding - who would not enjoy that? The rest of us have to make do with one day per annum of being the centre of attention, and that still comes with the downside of being a year older.

However, the prospect of upcoming nuptials allows you to behave exactly as you like: throw tantrums, make unreasonable demands and bore your friends to within an inch of their lives talking about it. Going back to being a lowly normal person after a prolonged period in the elevated status of ‘bride’ must be a bit of a downer. Not the best way to start married life. But I suppose it’s your life and your money. If you’ve earned it, it is up to you to do want with - even big meringue dresses or the release of 50 white doves to symbolise your love.

As soon you as receive your first invite you know the summer wedding season is officially underway. I got mine a few weeks ago and it’s an unbearably intricate affair. The invitation itself is hidden behind a labyrinth of three inner envelopes plus bits of issue paper (I’m taking that level of ridiculous excess to be a litmus test for the entire event). And even though it isn’t until September, I’m sure the blushing bride is already on an extreme diet, making appointments to have her teeth bleached and has filled every Saturday between now and then with dress fittings, cake tastings and floral consultations.

Then will come the big day when 150 of her closest personal friends all cram into a church looking like a Coast concession has thrown up on them while she and her betrothed stress about forgotten rings, whether everyone’s having a good time and that rain cloud threatening to ruin the pictures. I’m sure that feeling really is priceless. Read more by Rosie.

Congratulations to Rosie who recently had a modest but lovely wedding in Mauritius.

Image: Sharron Goodyear /