Our friends had a truly beautiful wedding. It was the most personal ceremony I've had the pleasure of attending. Jeff and Erica each spoke to the officiant beforehand and he wrote the introduction based on that, and then their vows were love letters they wrote to each other. Jeff's love letter started out with a story of how drunk Erica was the first time they met and closed with a promise of love that would be unflagging even when she gets fat and he goes bald. I have never laughed so much during a ceremony, even though I was tempted to throw something at him a few times. They each walked down the aisle with a parent on each arm - none of the 'giving away' baloney that I'm oh so fond of.
Basically it was lovely.
However. Have you noticed that wedding guests, myself included, are starting to expect more and more from a reception? There has been a lot of attention paid lately to the growing industry of weddings. Four years ago, the average cost of a wedding in the US was $28,000. I'm willing to accept that it probably hasn't gone up a lot since then - you know, recession and all - but it probably hasn't gone down dramatically either. It's easy to say 'how ridiculous'. It's simple to point out that you could each pay off your car loans with that. It's a piece of cake to argue in favor of a barbeque at home for an average of $10 a guest as opposed to the $200 price tag that can come with a country club reception.
Easy, if you're not the one getting married. If you're not the one whose friends and family will be comparing your favors to the ones they had last year at that east coast shindig, you can say that such things aren't important. But, especially when you have a lot of guests who travel, there is a lot of pressure to make it feel like AN EVENT. You're only doing it the once, (probably), everyone is there for you, in most cases they laid out some not insignificant dough on clothes and presents and airline tickets.... and? They expect a party. They expect good food and dancing and free flowing booze. They expect to be entertained and to go home drunk with a full belly and a full heart. That expectation can turn into disappointment if things aren't exactly as your guests hoped.
Ridiculous? Absolutely. Are the hopes of your parent's best friend's worth going into debt for? Of course not.
Hard to say no to, though? I'm sure.
It's a wonder more people don't elope.
Erica and Jeff's reception was lovely, by the way. The music was perfect and the food was delicious. (Crockett and I had ordered a chicken and a vegetarian dish, planning on sharing, but when the vegetarian came it turned out to be eggplant parmesan. Since breathing is high on my list of things to do and eggplant tends to interfere with that, I got to eat all the tasty chicken myself - it's a hard life.) The couple was in love and the people were happy.
Oh, and? The bar was open.