Wedding a la Carte



I was daydreaming the other day about the Scottish wedding scene in the early part of Braveheart and how simple it all was for the couple. They fell in love, they had a small outside ceremony in their small Scottish village with their neighbors and friends, and everyone seemed happy.

Sure, Scotland was under British rule, and under the law of Primae Noctis, the English lord had the right to sleep with the bride on her wedding night, which sucked for the groom — but at least he didn’t have to put a down payment on the wedding cake. I’m not even sure they had cake back then — they just served bowls of sugar for dessert. But I digress.

I fell in love with my perfect match about a year-and-a-half ago and got engaged on New Year’s Eve.

We planned a simple, small wedding with a white color scheme and whiter white accents, but any thoughts of doing this without major green were dispelled by the third day of conversations with the people I call the “wedheads.”

The caterers, florists, clergy, DJs, wedding planners, invitation makers, cake makers, dressmakers, photographers, videographers — the dozen or so wedding-industry insiders you must go through to make it to your big day.

They may help plan your wedding, but their real purpose is to Primae Noctis your bank account.

About the only thing that’s doesn’t cost money is the room itself.

We eschewed the use of the main sanctuary and the aisle I’ve dubbed “Runway Four-Niner” for the chapel. Although we both work out almost every day and have run marathons and half-marathons, there is no need to walk down an aisle long enough to have an aid station with volunteers passing out cups of Gatorade and cheering, “Only a mile left to the chuppah! You can DO IT!”

Tables are also free, but tablecloths cost money. And chairs may cost as much as the cake.

If we don’t want to buy the cake the exclusive caterer charges for $6 a piece, we can order a cake from somewhere else, but we will be charged a $1 a piece cutting fee,” we are told.

If I order a cake for $6 per piece, I want a nickel bag of crack cocaine hanging from each slice. And I want a free shot of tequila taped to every chair, too. And an Oreo cookie.

I’ve just recently quit asking, “How much?” in an exasperated tone every time I got involved in a wedhead conversation.

I began finding solace in long walks at night with our pug Oliver in the neighborhood, stealing copper wire from the streetlights when no one is looking and selling them for scrap.

And this is for a small wedding.

Because I’m in the middle of it, I can’t avoid noticing what others are doing, and what the wedheads say they are charging other clients … $5,000 for photography, $8,000 for a wedding dress — which is close to our wedding budget, and would translate to a photographer taking photos of 100 guests standing next to some empty wooden tables in an empty room with no food or drinks. But my fabulous bride would look fabulouser.

I can compare this wedding with others, complain about the prices, and fret about the details and the wedheads, but it doesn’t matter. I’m happy.

In a chapter on happiness from Augusten Burroughs’ new book, This Is How, he writes, “‘I just want to be happy’ is a hole cut out of the floor and covered with a rug.

Because once you say it, the implication is that you’re not. The ‘I just want to be happy’ bear trap is that until you define precisely, just exactly what ‘happy’ is, you will never feel it.”

I can already feel it now — under the chuppah, surrounded by family and friends, all people that I adore, exchanging vows with my companion, my friend and my true love.

That’s one big bowl of happy.

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