In Say Yes to the Dress you follow three or four brides in an episode as they try on dresses and pick their perfect dress for their perfect day. In Four Weddings you have four brides who didn't know each other to start and they all attend each other's weddings and judge them for food, venue, dress and over all experience and who ever wins gets a honeymoon. The first time I watched the SYTTD I was stunned at the prices! They would ask the bride her budget and at times the answer would be $10,000 or more! For a dress! That you are going to wear once! I couldn't believe it. But then I caught myself last week during an episode where a woman wanted to spend $1,000 thinking, "oh you won't get much of a dress for that" Eek!
The first episode of FW that I watched I came in in the middle. I couldn't figure out why these friends were dissing each other's weddings on camera. "I just didn't like her dress, it made her look like a wedding cake." was one comment. I thought her dress was lovely. And now thanks to SYTTD I can tell you it probably cost around $7K. After the marathon was over, (or at least for me, I switched off part way through, not because I was tired of looking at weddings but because I was craving wedding cake too badly to continue) I understood the concept of the show a little more and could understand why they were critiquing the weddings.
I am seriously fascinated by these shows. Poor Brent has heard more about weddings in the past few weeks than he did when we were planning our own wedding. The biggest thing for me is how much people are spending. It's not unusual on an episode of FW for the wedding to cost $70K or more. The "budget" weddings are usually around $7K. Sometimes you can tell where the money went, open bar and food for a large group. Sometimes you watch and think, oh you got ripped off! But it never fails to fascinate me. And almost every bride talks about how her day is all about her (not a lot of mention of the groom) and how she deserves to be a Princess that day.
If you were to add up all of the expenses from my wedding, dress, venue, food, invitation, photography, rentals, all of it, we probably came in under $1,000. My dress was the first one I tried on, off of the clearance rack at JcPenney. It actually cost less than my prom dress did the spring before. The shoes I wore for my wedding I bought for prom knowing they would match my wedding dress as well so I wouldn't feel guilty spending the $25 for a pair of shoes I would only wear once.
Don't get me wrong, my wedding was a big, fat, hairy, deal to me. My mother was the wedding director for our church while I was growing up. I had been to hundreds of weddings before my own came around. I had my wedding planned from the time I was 12. My family joked to Brent that I married him because he fit the tux I had hanging in the back of my closet. It was a church wedding and we were 18 so there was no open bar or dancing but it was catered. But the catering was done by a friend of the family who wanted to break in to the business so she did it just for the cost of the food as a gift to me. My Aunt made the cake, she makes the best cakes. My mother and Aunt did the flower arranging. We got married in my home church and had the reception in the fellowship hall. The tuxes were rentals, the bridesmaids dresses were plain, the invitations were on discount. My engagement ring came from Sam's Club and our wedding bands were my mother's for me and his father's for him.
And still, doing it all that inexpensively if I could go back in time and convince the 17 year old me that a big deal wedding was not really what she wanted I would. We needed that money the first year of our marriage. If we could have kept the money in the bank it would have made it so much easier to find a nicer apartment to live in, better food to eat, maybe some furniture before we hit our first anniversary. It would have been a battle to explain to the me I was at 17 that she would look back on her wedding day and not have really enjoyed much of it, that the wedding isn't the fun part, the marriage is.
In planning for the wedding my mother and I started clashing early and often. I didn't want programs for the wedding, my feeling was if you are attending you know who everyone is and if you don't then you can ask somebody for an introduction. My mother insisted that they were necessary. I said no. We had programs. My parents had given me a set of cut glass goblets for graduation to use for our first toast, about a month before the wedding my mother asked if I knew where they were, I told her I was pretty sure they were under my bed where I had put them. She decided that the Bride and Groom champagne flutes would be better. I said no. When Brent and I took our first toast we had the Bride and Groom flutes. Are you seeing how this went?
I was sick the day we got married. Sick enough we had a glass of water up on the alter in case I started coughing during the ceremony, because I was coughing so hard I would throw up. I had been sick for months. The flu strain going around that year would not let go of me. I worked in food service at the time and shudder to think of how many people I must have infected by medicating and going to work....sorry, Albuquerque! I was so sick that the final fitting for my dress was two weeks before my wedding and they took the dress in more because I had lost weight from the fitting a month before. Then when I put my dress on on my wedding day it was too big again. Every bride wants to be their slimmest on their wedding day, right? The dark bags under my eyes were so black that the woman who did my makeup put on highlighter so thick in pictures my skin looks white under my eyes.
In a town that never gets snow we had a big snowstorm the day before the wedding so fully half of our guests didn't come. Friends of ours from high school showed up dressed to go out to Rocky Horror that night, at the time it pissed me off completely, now looking back I think it's pretty funny. My sister Ann was pregnant with my niece and due any day, I kept telling her to wait, just wait a few days, Ashley listened and held out until January but looking at the pictures I know Ann must have been miserable standing at the guest book. My sister Susan was just pregnant with David and actually had to duck out of the service and sit down because we had her wedged into her dress so tightly she about passed out. My oldest nephew was the ring bearer and broke out in to hysterics during the service. Our candles wouldn't light before the service and our unity candle didn't want to light during the service. My brother-in-law's father committed suicide the morning of the wedding and my brother-in-law decided the best way to get through the service was by coking up.
Even with all of the food at the reception Brent and I got a bite of wedding cake and a sip of punch and then were shuffled around for pictures and greeting people and opening gifts. After the formal reception at the church we headed over to a friend's house who was throwing us a party. We were given a bottle of champagne and put it by my bag to take with us back to the hotel. When we went to leave someone had helped themselves to our champagne and left the empty bottle for us. At the hotel Brent's folks had arranged a delivery of roses, chocolates and champagne to the room. We got the roses the next day, that was it.
And honestly, that's what I remember about the wedding. My best memory of the day is getting to the hotel that night with Brent and doing what all newly married couples do....order room service. Seriously, we were starving! We ate pizza that to this day I think was the most delicious ever made while Brent took my hair down from the complicated updo (and not what I asked the beautician to do) I think I have ever had.
As I was telling Brent about the shows and my complete fascination with them he said, "I think our wedding was where you came to the conclusion that you are not a girly girl." And I guess he is right. I can look at their weddings and see how they would be fun to attend and look at the dresses in SYTTD and think how gorgeous they are (mostly, some are just UGLY!) but as soon as that price tag hits I think, no way! I don't ever feel like I need a day to be a Princess. Though again, Brent would tell you that stepping down to Princess when you are used to being the Queen doesn't sound like much fun. Now if you'll excuse me I have Beverly Hills Weddings to watch...it's like Say Yes to the Dress but with NO budgets!! Ooooh!
The day before the wedding. Don't I look thrilled?
The day of. Yep, I look the picture of health.
But it wasn't all bad.
And seriously...look how thin I was!