I love weddings. They are beautiful affairs in celebration of love and romance, and happen ideally only once in a person’s lifetime. I cry every time I attend my friends’ weddings, especially when they exchange vows. Personalized wedding vows, in particular, reduce me to silly tears. Incidentally, I also work in the wedding industry designing bespoke invitations and other collateral for couples, so I obviously have no reason to dislike weddings.
However, I refuse to spend hundreds of thousands on a one day function. Heck, not even tens of thousands. I used to kid about how I’m only going to spend a maximum of 10,000 pesos on my wedding, but that has ceased to be a joke.
I recently went to a wedding with my fiancé. Both the bride and the groom were my good friends and I’ve known the guy since high school—for about half of my life, in other words. The wedding ceremony was solemn and the venue was rustic and charming, with baby’s breath posies lining the aisle, vines and countless abaniko hanging from the ceiling to go with the Filipiniana theme. The groom looked jubilant; the bride glowing with exaltation.
In the car after the reception, my fiancé and I talked about how it was, for each of us, one of the best ones we’ve attended. He then asked, “Do you want a wedding like that?” I thought long and hard. Do I?
In a way, yeah, maybe I do. I want the people closest to my heart to be present on my wedding day, but do I want the expense and the extravaganza? Nah. I think I’ll pass.
A year or two ago, I read an article online on what a million pesos can afford in a wedding, which is not much, apparently. That is, if you want a lavish affair complete with planning and coordination, a dreamy venue styled according to your chosen theme, stunning invitations and collateral, photography and videography, a sumptuous meal for about a hundred and fifty guests, and, of course, the perfect dress and shoes. Some people would argue that weddings are once in a lifetime, therefore splurging on them is completely justifiable. If you have the money to do so, then, by all means, spend it on your big day. I don’t, though, so I’m sticking to my 10k budget, no matter how ridiculous that sounds.
Money isn’t my only concern, however. Attending a wedding ceremony and reception, to me, is like watching a play: the couple and their entourage are thespians and the guests are their audience. In this regard, weddings are like spectacles I would rather be a witness to than be the main actress. Even before the big day itself, this whole fantasy fulfillment element of a wedding already begins by means of engagement and prenup photo shoots. Why and since when are these necessary?
See, this is an issue I have not only with weddings, but with many other things, including relationships (men should pursue women, not the other way around), beauty standards (fair skin, straight hair, slender body), and gender roles (men should provide, women should take care of the kids). We are constantly fed copious amounts of information on what and how things should be, now even faster than ever, and we take it all in without thoughtful consideration.
Just how much of our beliefs, values, and attitudes is stealthily planted and reinforced in our consciousness? How much of what you want for your wedding is based on what you’ve seen on TV, in magazines, or on social media (hello, Pinterest)? Not to say that wanting any of that is wrong, but how much of it is absolutely non-negotiable because it’s something you want and not because you were made to believe you need it?
My fiancé and I discussed weddings way before we even decided to get married. Neither of us wanted a religious ceremony and we agreed that many things in traditional white weddings at present are excessive and even gratuitous. He’d rather spend on more important things, he says, like saving for a house or an educational fund for our future kids. Smart.
A couple of years ago, my brother married his girlfriend of ten years in a collective civil wedding at the municipal hall of our hometown. Afterwards, we had lunch at a buffet restaurant with our family and my sister-in-law’s. Sure, it wasn’t the stuff of dreams, but it wasn’t any less memorable than a grand celebration.
Admittedly, I did consider inviting a few close friends to my wedding. But upon realizing I can’t keep the number smaller than thirty (and I thought I didn’t have a lot of friends), I opted not to. How do you even pick whom to invite? And how do you respond if or when someone asks you why they weren’t invited? Awkwaaaard.
Recently, a friend from college read one of my wedding-related tweets and replied, saying, albeit in jest: Congratulations! I hope you don’t forget to invite me.
I answered, just as jokingly: Don’t worry; I’m not inviting anyone!
I will, however, have wedding invitations of my own creation, just for the heck of it.