Friday, July 4, 2008

The Business of Weddings

I've finally started on Fr. Benny's assignment and I'm proud to say I've been making considerable progress!

Nongnong (as we fondly call Father) has requested me to help produce a primer for the many couples interested to wed at the St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Church in Magallanes Village (where we also got hitched!) and since I've got nothing better to do these days except catch up on my reading, watch TV and surf the net, I figured I might as well start being productive and get my writing and creative juices flowing again.

Anyway, working on the primer brought me back to the months leading up to our wedding and I am reminded of how much work it took to put everything together. Even with me, my mother-in-law and RJ all working at it, we still had to hire an on-the-day wedding coordinator (much to our chagrin - we were confident we could do it by ourselves!) just to string together and tie up loose ends in the preparations (which were still A LOT by at least one week before the day itself). Granted we only had less than three months to plan it all, but still, our wedding was relatively simple and low profile compared to most magazine-type nuptials being eyed by many. 

I can only imagine the kind of money and effort that goes into the more complex wedding extravaganzas. Garsh.  

Now, I know a lot of people will scoff at the idea of elaborate plans being launched and executed, all in the name of one day or night of festivities that will in no way ensure the success of your marriage. Especially since most of us are left to worry about more important things like putting food on the table or the skyrocketing fuel prices that affect virtually all facets of our everyday lives. 

And I am in complete agreement when some say that the wedding industry (with the media) by turning itself into one gargantuan empire, has not helped the ridiculousness of the situation by manufacturing increasing wants masterfully disguised as needs. It's like, today, every bride must have her own personalized menu cards printed on special stationery for her guests to glance at, or if she's really lucky, to browse during the reception. And let's not even get to the flowers.

But not all can afford or choose to go this I daresay, less-conscientious path. Some brides and grooms content themselves with the simpler alternatives, either by virtue of a limited budget or a wiser outlook. But regardless of whatever motives are behind a more purposeful attitude towards spending, especially for something as fleeting as wedding days, I think that these couples deserve some credit. After all, possessing some degree of sensitivity is always welcome in a Third World country like ours.   

But I'm not riding the moral high horse here. I don't deny that I too wished for the many finer things associated with expensive, high-end weddings when we were preparing for ours. And I also looked forward to choosing charming gowns for our entourage and decorating the Church and Reception venues so they would look nice in the pictures. But more than all those, it was about keeping everything in perspective for me. 

While it did matter that we had an attractive wedding celebration and that our guests had a good time, it mattered more that it looked beautiful and memorable to US. It was not always easy but we forced reality checks on each other so we'd be more into making memories to last us a lifetime -- memories that would hopefully remind us of why were together in the first place if and when our marriage hits rough waters -- than getting the hottest supplier of the season. 

So in the end, it didn't really matter as much that we only spent so much on flowers (that wouldn't stay with us till the end), or that we got a basic menu for the reception (it was tastier anyway). It wasn't like we were being miserably deprived of a great wedding after all. Instead, not surprisingly, what mattered were the things we barely spent any money on but instead invested time and ideas into: like that wacky Thriller Dance or the look on our parents' faces when we said our Thank You's.

So what is my point here? I have no personal vendetta against costly and elaborate wedding preparations if your pockets can hack it, but really, if you stop for a while and look at the value for money that you're getting for all the many, wonderful things that you absolutely have to have on your wedding day, are you really getting much? Or does it really just seem reasonable because the latest issue of Metro Weddings says so? Or because it's a little cheaper than what your friend who last got hitched had? 

Again, like any bride out there, I'm all for making beautiful memories. It's just frivolity I'm against.



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