Leaf through any wedding magazine, and you’ll think you deserve only the best for your big event. It’s a once in a lifetime thing, after all, so you shouldn’t waste this opportunity to treat yourself, right? Sure.
A humongous ring, a gazillion roses, pure silk, fine china, cut crystal, surf and turf, spa treatments, and of course, a honeymoon that’s simply to die for. Paris, Bora Bora, the Bahamas, Tuscany — that’s what you deserve! You don’t want your entire marriage to get off to a mediocre start, so you must demand only the best!
Reality check, please?
My engagement ring, a modest-sized gold solitaire, seems to have gotten smaller over the years, which might be due to the fact that it’s always gunked up with schmutz. My plain quarter inch wedding band has been dulled by constant wear.
For two decades, both rings have been permanent fixtures on my left hand (especially since I jammed my fingers catching a football at the beach a few years ago), which is now dappled with the beginnings of liver spots and crisscrossed with tiny wrinkles.
Here’s some knowledge I’ve picked up during these two decades:
- Take the glossy wedding magazines with a colossal grain of salt. Few can afford to splurge on every single aspect of their wedding and honeymoon.
- Anyone who does spend that much on their wedding and honeymoon will wish they a year later that they hadn’t.
I speak from experience.
Back in the spring of 1993, my then-fiancée was in his second tour of duty in the Navy, so he bought the best ring his non-existent budget and low limit credit card could buy. With the ring in his pocket, he knelt down between two tables at our favorite Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh one night, and asked me to be his wife.
I tried to cut wedding costs wherever I could – making my own veil and centerpieces, decorating the church, baking cookies for the reception, hiring an amateur DJ instead of a band. Everything went off without a hitch.
Afterward, we spent a night at the Pittsburgh Airport Best Western, complete with “honeymoon package” – a metal ice bucket with sparkling cider and two plastic glasses –before flying to Bermuda for our honeymoon. We had rented a tiny pink cottage named “Halfway to Heaven” with outdated furnishings and a few resident Palmetto Bugs hiding in the kitchenette. It was not as warm and sunny as we had hoped, but we got the cottage cheap because it was the middle of hurricane season.
Twenty years later, do I wish my husband had spent a little extra to get me a bigger diamond? Do I wish we had splurged on roses and limos for our wedding? Do I wish we had just shelled out a few more bucks to honeymoon somewhere that wasn’t in the midst of hurricane season?
Here’s the thing:
Back when we were scrounging for the money (or available credit) to spend on our wedding and honeymoon, we were so goofy, cheesy, silly, corny, stupid in love, that we were clueless. Mention that time in our relationship to any of our relatives, and they will roll their eyes and huff, “Oh Brother, you guys were so annoying.”
We were in that ridiculous stage when you can’t keep our hands off each other. When you look into each other’s eyes a lot and giggle. When you talk incessantly about how much you love each other’s freckles, hair, eyes, lips and toenails. When you think that everything that happens is serendipity.
To us, our honeymoon could not have been more romantic – everything from the stormy skies to the Palmetto Bugs had some kind of romantic meaning. Blinded by love, “Halfway to Heaven” seemed like Pure Heaven to us.
So now, when I look down at my plain gunked-up solitaire ring, I don’t want a bigger one. My ring symbolizes that lump in the throat feeling of being utterly in love, regardless of financial or practical limitations.
My ring reminds me that, as long as we splurge on love, size really doesn’t matter.
- Tired? Boring? Predictable? True marital romance is a gas (www.themeatandpotatoesoflife.com)
- War of the Roses (www.themeatandpotatoesoflife.com)