Why do weddings cost so much?

I have reached that age where everyone I know seems to be getting married, engaged and having babies. My three Uni friends all managed to tie the knot within 12 months of each other and a few months after I broke up with the ex another one of my friends announced her engagement. And while I am over the moon that for each and everyone of these amazing ladies, honored that I have made it onto the guest list for the special day (slightly gutted I have apparently always ‘just missed’ being the bridesmaid but that’s another days rant) and so happy to see them start their ‘happily, ever after’.

But with every wedding invite card I receive and hen do I enthusiastically gush about when we meet up for a drink, there is a part of me that dreads the whole process. The problem is I don’t know if I can afford to be a part of their special day as it all costs so bloody much.

For starters we have the ‘hen-do’. This one is going to be an action packed weekend in a lovely large country house. When the initial invite came round it was going to be a quiet weekend in the middle of the country (so no one would have to travel particularly far) and would just be very low key.

However….

The place we are staying looks amazing, but now we are having activities. The current price tag for this weekend stands at £200 (with a nasty rumor going round it’s going up) and although it was supposed to be local to everyone, it isn’t. I did a quick search for train tickets and I am looking at £120 to get there. I can’t afford that and so I will be driving. However to drive there will take 5 hours (if traffic is light) and so to arrive on time I am having to take the day off work. I keep telling myself to think of it as a mini break (just with people I wouldn’t chose to spend time with) but there is a small part of me that resents the people planning it. Clearly there has been no thought from them about people who live farther away and if I get one more email telling me how train tickets for everyone should be £20 I may scream!

The bride is my oldest friend, not going isn’t an option but I when I know she is having a small, low key, cheap wedding I can’t help but wish that this weekend was fitting in with that theme.

Of course the whole point of the hen-do is to get ready for the wedding. As we grew up together I always held out hope that for her wedding day my friend would return to her routes and get married here. She isn’t and has decided to get married where she now lives – London – which I understand. But that means another long train journey for me, the cost of a hotel for 2 nights, taxis from the hotel to the venue, food and drink on the none wedding days (unless I take a MASSIVE picnic) drinks on the wedding day… then there’s the gift where they have signed up for a wedding list at a top boutique.

Luckily I have found some very cheap, advanced tickets and so I have only had to pay £40 return. But to get that price I am traveling at very strange times. Had I taken ‘sensible’ timed trains I would have been looking at £131 one way.

I can’t help but feel the cost for this wedding is only going to increase and I’m worried if it does I am going to be priced out of enjoying my friends special day. The one we have planned, discussed and dreamed about since we were 11 years old!

What is a marriage?

Todays post is dedicated to the very lovely Donna – thank you for inspiring me (and sorry it’s a day late!)!

I know my friends and family worried I was going to give up too much to be with him. I can understand how they may feel like this but due to a conversation I had with my very wise Uncle a few years ago –I never felt like I was losing out on anything!

I must have been about 14 when I turned to my Uncle and stated that I couldn’t wait to get married. I can remember he asked ‘why’ and so I told him. Well I get to have a big dress, and have my dad walk me down the aisle, to ask people to be my bridesmaid and have a big family get together. My Uncle turned to me and said “but that’s a wedding, not a marriage!” And he was right.

Weirdly, since before I met him whenever I thought of my wedding day I had an image in my head. However it isn’t of the traditional church wedding. I would love to get married somewhere hot, next to the sea. I imagine me walking down the aisle in bare feet and a very simple white dress and guest which consist of immediate family and a few carefully selected friends. Weirdly, dating him gave me the freedom to finally admit to this dream.

The words of my Uncle have always stuck with me. I want a marriage, not a wedding. That is how when I thought I had found the right guy I could so easily walk away from the ‘big white wedding’ that I don’t know if I want. The one thing I do know is that I want to find someone to share my life with. I want the commitment, an agreement to figure our lives out together, the promise of “better or worse, sickness and in health, til death do us part.”

Many people say marriage is just a piece of paper, and my thought is it is…. and it isn’t. The legal side of marriage is in my opinion, very much a piece of paper. Ok it makes things legal, gives you something in the eyes of the law if things don’t work out as planned but at the end of the day it is just a legal agreement and that piece of paper can not a marriage make.

A marriage is about so much more. It is about making a commitment and meaning it. Figuring out a way to get through life together, taking on the world to keep each other safe and at the end of the day if someone is willing to make that commitment and promise to me does it matter where the promise is made? What I’m wearing? What I will eat after? What matters is that that guy is standing up and saying I want you to be my everything forever and meaning it with everything he is!