It’s a whole new world out there for those of us who have children of marrying age.
Many of our kids are holding off to marry after their education is completed or they have some work experience, and a whole new dynamic has emerged for us that may make old customs or “rules of etiquette” functionally obsolete.
I will be frank, that many of these societal niceties passed my husband and me by as we married in 1986 in our late twenties. We had education and careers under our belt and financed the whole shebang (except the rehearsal dinner, which his parents graciously covered) with our own funds.
I did not ask for guidance or help on my wedding, and the results were truly what Dan and I wanted. We chose The Abbey (a Victorian house that hosted weddings, and had a sweeping staircase to the upper level) for our wedding and we kept it small (100 guests). We took advantage of the wedding coordinator The Abbey offered, and their catering offerings. With a 7:00 pm wedding in mind, we offered appetizers, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and wedding cake. We did not do a sit-down meal or buffet and it was not missed.
We spent resources on the three-piece combo (Second Wind) that doubled as our wedding processional music provider (guitar and flute – it was lovely) and as our dancing accompaniment for the reception where I sang “our song” to my new husband. We spent a decent amount for an excellent photographer with the idea in mind that when all was said and done, the pictures would be our memories of the day.
The wedding ceremony was held upstairs in a room that was highlighted by a fireplace decorated with my favorite lilies and ivy, and it was cozy and ideal for a very personalized ceremony that fit us perfectly.
Price for everything, including my gown, hat, shoes, and the flowers? $5,000.
Of course, this was 1986, and things have changed greatly. We understand, and so we did our homework when considering what we would provide for our two lovely daughters. The tradition is that the bride’s family pays for the wedding, and so we decided to go with that, but with a twist.
We will give each of our girls around the cost of an average wedding in America (Surveys say that is about $20-25,000 these days!) and with no strings or expectations attached, that will be their wedding gift to do with as they please.
Yes, weddings can definitely be done for less than the average, but we decided to make our gift their opportunity to have choices.
The less they pay for a wedding, the more they will have left to put toward a house, furnishings, the honeymoon, or whatever the couple decides is their priority. If the cost is higher, then they must figure out how to pay it, and that too is their choice.
What does this do for us as parents?
It frees us to enjoy whatever celebration of their union they decide on. It takes our preferences and feelings out of the equation (no guilt trips, no drama), and gives them what we look back on as the wonderful gift of having their day, their way. It gives them the freedom to spend the most on what they feel is most important.
It also gives us the opportunity to contribute and participate in whatever ways are meaningful to them.
The maid of honor (big sis!), the mother of the groom, and I will meet with the future bride to help her pick out her wedding dress, and of course, Dad is already working with her to pick out that perfect “Father-Daughter” dance song!
We can’t wait to see what they decide, and the wedding is coming up next fall in Nashville.
Here comes the bride!