When I was a kid, my mother always told me she feared I'd elope without telling anyone once I grew up. Hearing that usually offended me, because I assumed she was calling me selfish.
I'm now 23 years old and in a long-term relationship headed toward marriage. Suddenly, I understand her assessment. You see, weddings are expensive. Engagement rings are expensive. Honeymoons are expensive.
To be honest -- and I can write this here because my boyfriend won't read it and run away like an impossibly fast cartoon character -- I don't care so much about the fanfare as I do about actually being married and starting a life with someone. I mean, I do dream about the dress and the flowers and all the Tupperware people would buy us.
But then I think about the bills we have to pay now. I think about how we'll need a new car in the next four years, and I wonder where that money will come from.
When thinking about the whole situation realistically, I realize how ridiculous it is to spend upwards of $10,000 for a one-day event. The romantic dreamer inside me does occasionally fantasize about a big, elaborate celebration, but this dream has begun to fade as I've gotten older.
One of my college friends had a huge wedding after she graduated; everyone in her sorority and her boyfriend's fraternity were in the wedding party, and she spent almost $3,000 on her dress alone. To make matters worse, the wedding's theme was "The Great Gatsby," further proving that F. Scott Fitzgerald definitely meant that money and status is awesome when he wrote about emotional compromised rich people dying and betraying one other.
I'm not just concerned about money. Though I understand why a person may want to have a big wedding, I think there's something immodest about dropping lots of dough and inviting everyone you've known since grade school to a celebration of love and togetherness.
It should be purer than that. It shouldn't be a show of your financial means or a way to score fancy kitchen appliances. I love material things and I love my boyfriend, but I'd like to distinguish between love and status. Besides, there's no way I could accurately show anyone how loved and safe my boyfriend makes me feel and having a large audience watching me attempt this would do nothing to help my chances.
My mom gets this paper at her home in Texas, so I feel it necessary to say that, to my knowledge, I am not getting married any time soon. If I were, I'd still have a wedding as big or small as my family wants. Since I'm an only child and an only grandchild, it would be cruel to deprive my immediate family of an experience several members of our extended family have already had multiple times.
And, hey, maybe being around lots of people I don't care to see will make the solitude of a honeymoon that much sweeter.
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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com