Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Wedding Planners

I was not aware that the average cost of a wedding has now escalated to many tens of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even hundreds of thousands. At a family barbecue last summer I inquired of my brother Carl and his wife Lynne's friend, a high-profile wedding planner, how much her typical wedding event costs. She replied that to compensate for her time, she can only take on weddings with a minimum price tag of $150,000. I held my mouth closed and took a deep breath. For someone with one son and three daughters, that is a truly depressing concept.

On the other hand, we visited with our former babysitter, Jennifer, few months ago. She had recently married and happily started a family. She was proud to report that she had no financial help paying for her $3,000 wedding, and she had gorgeous photos to prove it was a splendid affair. Somewhere between those two conversations there must be a happy medium; but I'm still threatening my kids that we're not ready for anyone to be sounding the bells!

A wedding reception this weekend left me with a sense of hope that the important thing is still human relationships and celebration of the couple, not so much the elaborate gala that we often see these days. Those are enjoyable to attend, and memorable, but so are the receptions like Robert and Val's, which was planned with a group of ladies sitting around a dining room table: "the wedding planners."

Robert and Val met a year ago, and married during the holidays with no plans for a reception. The church ladies couldn't let that go, so a post-wedding celebration was coordinated in their honor. Beautiful handmade invitations, delectable food, scrumptious cake, classical music recordings, and close-up photography were each coordinated and donated by one or several caring members of the church community. Exotic flowers were purchased at Costco and seemingly arranged by a professional--Robert's elderly mother.

A sweet occasion such as a wedding can take years of planning and one's entire bank account. It can also be put together by caring friends and acquaintances on a Sunday afternoon. Either way, it's the quality of the relationship that matters. With the community support that was shown for this couple, it's hard to imagine what difference more money for the event would have made. Each person involved was able to share his or her talents as a special gift to the newlyweds. We're not sure who received the most service yesterday, the bride and groom or the wedding planners!

No comments: