My girl in Miami just published a funny/sad post about how much the privelege of being her best friend’s maid of honor cost her a little over a year ago. Her conservative estimate was an eye-popping $4,600 for travel, gifts, parties, and wildly patterned dress.

This got me to thinking about my own (ill-fated) nuptials, the total cost of which, including dress, catering, photos, etc., came in around $5,000 for a very elegant, private, family-only affair. I had no bridesmaids, did not register anywhere, none of that rigamarole. I will say that we had a surprising number of parties thrown in our honor: two engagement parties, a shower, and a “ladies’ luncheon” (in lieu of bridesmaids’ lunch), but each of those was spontaneously proposed and organized by our close friends. Likewise, since we had amassed all the necessary household stuff over our 5-year courtship/cohabitation, it was not necessary to register anywhere, so any gifts we received were a result of our friends’ unprompted generosity and all the more precious for it. Even when I was planning my own wedding, I was appalled at the crazy expense of these dog-and-pony shows and the stress and hostility that often accompany them. Now that I’m out of that game, I have even less patience for it. In the unlikely event that I ever take the plunge again, the “aisle” I walk down will be the corridor at City Hall and my reception will be dinner for two at a nice restaurant. And maybe my friends will still like me.

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