Just Me And You, Not Your Mother And Your Cousins Too: Do You Really Need A Big Wedding In This Economy?

October 29, 2012  |  

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A few weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that my brother got married. It’s not that he wasn’t the marrying type or anything like that, it’s just that he said his “I dos” without inviting any of the family, or his friends to partake in the happy occasion.

He had been seeing a young lady for more than a year that he was head over heels for, and after news broke that homegirl was preggo, he decided to do right by her and put a ring on it. ASAP. I was getting all mentally prepared for another year of trying to put money together to pay for a bridesmaid’s gown, and gifts, and tickets to fly home, and ish for a shower (including a baby shower), and more. These were all things I wasn’t well prepared for a year before when I watched my sister say “I do” in lavish fashion. But to my surprise, my mother called me a few weeks after the baby and engagement announcement to tell me that my brother and his bride-to-be had already tied the knot. Without anybody knowing, without any  friends or family for witnesses, they took off work, flew down to Florida and made a major commitment to each other under the sun, and God, on a beach. They didn’t ask for any help, any presents, or any ballyhoo surrounding their nuptials. Compared to all the time, money and energy spent for my sister’s wedding, this one was a pleasant surprise.

Recently, my mother and father came to visit me and when they did, they brought along the DVD that my brother sent to everyone of the beach nuptials. It was just the two of ’em, along with a photographer and an officiating minister on the beach in Miami. My brother and his new wife stood inside of a heart drawn in the sand and read their vows, said their “I do’s” and kissed. After their small ceremony on the beach, the two walked up and down said beach, on the water, taking romantic photographs, kissing and rubbing the little one in my new sister-in-law’s belly. As simple as the whole thing was, I couldn’t help but find myself tearing up at how in love they seemed, and how happy they were, just the two of them, ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives. Well, make that the three of them with the baby chilling womb-side.

After watching the cute DVD (which had a homemade soundtrack made by my bro with the sounds of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and other classics) and thinking about how fast, simple and inexpensive they had done things, I couldn’t help but wonder if all the fuss and the debt over big weddings is really all that necessary. There was something incredibly romantic about my brother and his lady running off to have a ceremony somewhere quiet and focusing on the two people who would have to make the marriage work. You know. Them.  She had the dress, they had the rings, they had each other, and honestly, isn’t that what it’s all about? In fact there was something more desirable to me about tying the knot like that (not let’s run off to Vegas style) than you and your man and everyone you know to drop big bills on an expensive wedding, to lose your mind trying to find a planner, a DJ, a huge venue for a reception, trying to schedule space in a church, trying to come up with and cut down a guest list, and having to hurt some feelings in the process of picking bridesmaids. It sounds very desirable actually.

But that’s not a shot at people who have been waiting all of their lives to have the big white wedding that shows like “My Fair Wedding” have us fawning over. Do what your heart desires, and save me a piece of cake if you do go that route. But in the midst of a still slow-growing economy, I was just wondering if you would you ever consider downsizing and making your wedding just about you and the boo? And not about you, the boo, and everybody you know too? Could you have a happy wedding if it wasn’t surrounded by all your loved ones and all the trappings we’ve come to associate with a “real” ceremony? While it might not sound as fairytale fab, you still walk away with the ultimate prize: the man of your dreams.

Could you have a happy wedding if your friends and family, the big cake and ornate flowers, and all the dressings “My Fair Wedding” has us wanting weren’t there?

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