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On the Possibility of a Sane Wedding

I still remember the day when I was sitting in church in Lexington, MA and Pastor Chuck Lowe gave a sermon in which he commented on the out-of-control cost of weddings. When did it become acceptable in our society to spend $10,000 on a big, lavish, one-day party? Has it ever occurred to anyone that there are better uses of that money? Like, say, a down payment for a house? Or to be even more radical about it, a better way for that money to be used to serve others?

Turns out Pastor Lowe’s $10,000 quote was a bit premature. The average wedding in the United States costs about $25,000 these days. This level of a price tag is no longer treated as a luxury; it’s simply expected.

 In the midst of all this, my brother and sister-in-law decided to go a different way for their wedding this past weekend. They decided that they’d try to do their wedding in a way that was sane, cost-effective, and utilized the considerable talents of their incredible group of friends. They minimized costs in every single way possible, but always thoughtfully, never carelessly. Jessie, for instance, hand-made all the gorgeous bouquets for herself and her bridesmaids. They asked a few favors from their friends, each of whom graciously pitched in to make the wedding an amazing production. The result was not only a wedding that cost well under $6,000, but one that felt like it was a collaboration, as opposed to a show. The feeling of, well, love that permeated the entire day was palpable and truly memorable.

I’ve been to many weddings. I’ve photographed them, performed/sung at them, given speeches at them. And you know what? I couldn’t tell the difference between any of those weddings and the wonderful ceremony and celebration I witnessed this weekend.

 I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t pull out all the stops for your own wedding. By all means, do whatever your heart tells you. But most people who are getting married feel like they HAVE to do things a certain way, that society is pressuring them, their families are pressuring them, their inner selves are pressuring them them. All I’m saying is, it is possible to take control. I could not be more proud of my brother and his new wife. Because this past weekend, they showed that you can still have an amazing, beautiful, and (most importantly) sane wedding on your own terms.

In doing this, they inadvertently demonstrated that truism that the Beatles crooned to us so many years ago: All you need is love.