::PUTTING THE "OW" IN "VOW" ::
This weekend, my dad offered me a down payment on a home in lieu of a wedding.
All along, I've been gawking at the amounts of money that have/will have been spent, and I'm very glad to accept the option of a gift that will tangibly last years in our life as opposed to one that will fleetingly last about 8 hours. Last weekend on the plane to/from Hendersonville, I read Rebecca Mead's One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding
. Anyone who has been, is, or will be engaged should read it. The book examines the cultural -- and especially the economic -- implications of weddings in America. Since they're no longer rites of passage from childhood into adulthood (I've lived away from home for 12 years, I'm financially independent, I'm decidedly not a virgin), they've been forced into this uniquely American experience wherein ridiculous amounts of money are spent on hugely elaborate weddings and receptions -- events which, steeped in tradition, are nevertheless forced to be expressions of individuality.
The thing is... I totally buy into it
. I love poring over magazines, looking at wedding photos, and planning to party at a multi-thousand-dollar venue... But, what better way to have an expression of individuality than by jettisoning us from the Wedding Machine?
Then, when we got back, and I watched eight episodes of "Bridezillas," it helped me decide further. Such. Amazingly. Expensive. Days. Not houses. Days.
When my dad offered this, I didn't have a second thought (well, I did, it just kept being superseded by the first -- and better -- one). It boils down to this: I can definitely see myself regretting opting for a $25K wedding instead of the down payment. But I don't think I'd ever regret opting for the down payment. I will always remember my wedding day, regardless of the size of the party, the color of the light sticks (of course, there'll still be light sticks!), or the brand of champagne. I don't need it to cost a lot to mean a lot.
I would rather have something to hold than to simply have.