Wedding season, open them wallets

Mr. Gingermermaid and I did not have a conventional wedding with the “save the date” magnets, and the flowers, and the bridal parties, and the chicken or fish, and the showers, and the church. We got married, somewhat in secret, in my childhood home with just our immediate family and one very close friend.

We didn't things totally traditionally, but gorilla warfare of birdseed did happen.

We didn’t do things totally traditionally, but gorilla warfare of birdseed did happen.

Our circumstances weren’t necessarily unique by today’s standards, but at 6 months pregnant, after finding out extremely late in the game, we chose to have a ceremony before, rather than after the birth of our son and decided that the money towards the wedding would go to something more practical, like a down payment on a house or our child’s future. So boring, I know.

We don’t regret it for one second. If we did it all over again, there would still be no chicken or fish.

With wedding season in full swing now, and at the verge of 30, many of our friends are sealing their relationship with that certificate of ownership. Faced with attending wedding after wedding, we are finding that the tradition and culture we reject, and our peers embrace, is incredibly irritating and costly.

Issue 1, Babysitters

My husband and I are the first among our friends to have a child, and as cliche as it may be, it’s the truest statement ever stated: you don’t get it until you have kids (hate me now, I would too).

When we get invited to weddings where there are no kids allowed, or where we have to travel far, it can be a logistical nightmare. It’s not like we can leave the kid at home with a stack of TV dinners and the Netflix password. We have to arrange for his coming or not coming.

  1. Travelling in a plane or car for any period of time with little people, not easy. Who wants to sit next to the baby on the plane? Not me, in fact, I would put my kid in the front and sit in the back if I could. Dear flight attendant and passenger in seat F3, your problem now.
  2. Packing for a child to go on a trip is almost like moving from a house to a studio apartment, too much stuff and not enough space.
  3. Not every family has grandparents or siblings on the ready who can take a child in for an evening let alone a weekend or more. And contrary to popular belief, mainly just my friends’ belief, babysitters don’t fall out of the sky and they certainly don’t do so cheaply.

Issue 2, Party Time

When a wedding is announced, about a half dozen other events are also announced: engagement party, wedding shower, bridal shower, bachelorette party, bachelor party, wedding. Because I have the pleasure of being friends with this person, I’m expected to work all these events into my schedule, taking my few but precious vacation days, and bring along a gift per event. If I don’t, betrothal drama!

My husband has been invited to countless bachelor parties in his days, but the most recent affair was a bit too much. It was a 5 to 6 hour drive away and 4 days long. The initial cost for the affair was $700 per person to cover the escapade.

$700 and 4 days! My husband and I would prefer to go on vacation together, put in a new water heater, cover day care costs, or pay the mortgage on our new house rather than spend it on a party. There is absolutely nothing a bachelor party offers that can’t be done locally or in one evening for a fraction of the cost. Bachelor/ette parties are excuses to get be college drunk and see strippers. The guise of “I’m getting married, one last hurrah!” does not need to exist for this to happen.

Mr. Gingermermaid made the trip to this particular bachelor shindig for one night. We had other plans that weekend to work around and leaving a parent alone for an extended period of time with a baby is not easy (props to you single parents). My hubby took a lot of flack for this.

Issue 3, Gifts!

While visiting friends, an early wedding gift arrived for them while we happened to be in their company. The gift was not what at the monetary level they expected from these particular guests. They mocked the gift and the cheapasaureses who purchased it (from the wedding registry).

Gifts at weddings were established as a way to give a married couple a start. There used to be a time when engaged couples all lived at home with their respective mom and dad. No cohabitation until the exchange of vows. Post-wedding, the newlyweds moved into a new home with nothing. Nothing. So gifts like plates, toasters, and towels were a way to give couples a base to establish their home and life together.

Nowadays, almost every couple lives together and has more than enough clutter. Gifts of money are becoming the norm. I recently wrote a check for $50 to newly wedded couple that are millionaires. I felt like I was throwing a cup of water into the ocean.

Gifts are not mandatory, contrary to popular culture, especially when the cost to attend the wedding is a financial burden in itself. Some invitations even state that presence is enough and presents are not necessary. I’m not sure if many newlyweds believe that.

The cost of attending/being a part of the wedding add up:

  • engagement party gifts
  • wedding shower gifts
  • bridal shower gifts
  • bachelor/ette party costs/gifts
  • wedding gifts
  • bridal/groom party rentals, purchases (I believe brides/grooms should cover most of these costs)
  • hotel costs
  • travel costs
  • time costs

There’s also this concept of tit for tat. Many of the weddings we’ve attended and consecrated gifts for, we have never received a reciprocal consideration. No  “congratulations” card let alone a check or gift ,and we didn’t even make them spend a dime on attending*.

*People criticized us for not having a wedding because we wouldn’t receive gifts/money. Husband and I thought the cost of having a wedding versus the possible “profit” of throwing a soiree were ridiculous. We never expected anything, and still don’t, but we don’t like having expectations thrown on us with an exceptional flair for the dramatic when the same consideration is not extended.

Issue 4, It’s all the same

Weddings are generic. There is this equation that hotels, wedding planners, and tradition mixed together. Weddings that attempt to be unique still follow the basic formula.

  1. Photographer takes staged photos of prep.
  2. Ceremony.
  3. More staged photography.
  4. Reception begins with snacks and drinks.
  5. Mr. and Mrs. (or Mr. and Mr. or Mrs. and Mrs.) enter.
  6. Awkward speeches.
  7. Father/daughter, Mother/son dances
  8. Awkward speeches.
  9. Dinner with linen covered seats and garish bows and tables with ugly flower displays.
  10. Cake smash!
  11. Dancing.
  12. Hangover.

For a grand total of $25k.

The real definer if the wedding is fun and worth all the hubbub? Open bar.

Issue 5, Divorce

It happens. We all go through the wedding hoopla and then a few years, or even months, down the way, the couple splits. It sucks for the couple and it sucks for the guests. Essentially the money and gifts given become collateral in the divorce proceedings.

Look, I venture to guess that most people who are getting married do not anticipate a divorce. Otherwise, why marry?

But in the cases that the relationships are rocky prior to any aisle trotting, it’s important to consider the whole picture. I knew of a couple that wasn’t sure if they should go through with the wedding or not. After all the planning and people RSVPing and making their plane/hotel reservations and blah blah blah, they figured they could work on their issues after the ceremony, right? So they married. Four months later? Seperated and well on the way to signing divorce papers.

Do the guests a favor, save their time and money and call it off. A teetering couple is going to lose out bigger if they go through with the wedding.

Issue 6, What we all want

Cake smash! Nom nom nom!

Cake smash! Nom nom nom!

The Gingermermaids are very happy with the way our wedding went down. We embraced a few cutsie traditions for our parents (and me too) but ultimately we didn’t want much more than that. We support that our friends do want the whole deal and we’ll participate in all the hoopla and spend the dollars to rent a tux and get our hair done like everyone else. It’s their day, after all, and they are our friends and we want to support them in their commitment to one another.

Some people take our perception of weddings as resentment that we didn’t get to do things the traditional way because of little Gingerguppy. When people tell me that I really want to have a wedding, a bachelorette party, a honeymoon, I want to tell them that what I really want to do is punch them in the face for not respecting my viewpoint. Not everyone wants what everyone else wants, like I’m sure that person doesn’t want me to punch them in the face even though I really, really want that, far more than a wedding.

One final note, weddings shouldn’t be the best day of anyone’s life, the future together should hold far better days. We don’t want to start our life at the climax of our time together, we want it to only get better.

 

Blogger’s Note: I embraced the following kitschy things: a dress that fit over Gingerguppy, sunflower bouquet, birdseed (which I hated and am still pulling little seeds from my hair), photographer, flower girls (because my nieces really wanted it), and cake smash! If you read my post about my own wedding, you may find some hypocritical statements to what I’ve made here. I’m not perfect 😉

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My hubby has a gap in his teeth

As most loyal Gingermermaid fans know (too strong a word? just readers?), I was recently made an honest woman by the man who knocked me up. We had a shotgun wedding, but in a gun control sorta way—sans firearms.

People have asked me how my first week of married life is, and I respond that it’s a lot like single life. Mr. Gingermermaid isn’t moving into my apartment till October, when his lease is up at his place about an hour away from me but 55 minutes closer to his work. So for right now it’s just me and the cat. Normally I would see him more, if not daily, but the day after our ceremony, he had to go to Georgia for his job and there he remains for the interim.

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Bling-bling!

So, yes, married life is a lot like single life for this chick except I got some bling-bling on my left hand.

*Note, by single life I don’t mean bachelorette life. I mean “living solo.”

As a newlywed, I actually want to be around my husband. We haven’t been married long enough yet to get sick of each other. His stupid work trip thing really sucks especially when I’m all pregnant and needy and gooey-eyed.

It’s given me time to reflect on this whirlwind trip that has been our relationship and some of the little things I miss about him now, and will likely be super irked by in the near future.

My favorite feature of my man’s appearance is the little gap between his two front teeth. Not quite Madonna-sized, but still there. He’s a little self-conscious about it, but I find it adorably unique, demonstrating that he’s not quite perfect like his wife. He also has a little dimple in his chin, although he has a beard now so it’s camouflaged. I like to find it and press it with my finger as if it’s a button (a button to do my bidding!).

When he and I began dating, one of the characteristics that both repelled and attracted me to my other half was his lack of suaveness. If it’s awkward and inappropriate, this guy says/does it. Especially if he gets nervous. After our first few dates, on more than one occasion, when recapping the adventure to his friends, they replied, “yep, you’re never going to hear from her again.” Although mortified by some of the word vomit that spewed forth, I stuck around; some of his dumber quips/shenanigans are my favorite memories to conjure up.

We have our own secret language we communicate with one another, and, at this point in my life, where I find I’m having a hard time adjusting to my new identity and trying to maintain my former self, he is the only one who truly understands me and what I’m going through. He’s in the same boat—he just gets to remain slimmer. With him gone this first week after our wedding, it’s been difficult. He’s become the rock I rest my woes on and the light I wake up to.

I don’t want to divulge too much mushy stuff about my hubby bubby and what he means to me, that would make any reader reaching for some Pepto and also, that stuff is way intimate and he reads this blog…

As I am now in my third trimester, anticipating this baby’s uncomfortable entrance into the world, I also wait for my husband to arrive and sweeping me up in a labored catch with a space between his smile. I do hope that our little boy, when he grows up, or while he’s growing up, is just like his daddy, with a little gap between his teeth and all.

jimemtree2

See the wee gap?

I got married! I grewed up!

So, my big news is that now there isn’t just Gingermermaid and little Gingerguppy, now there is a Mr. Gingermermaid! After the roller coaster of life that my significant other and I have been on since finding out less than two months ago about the little child implanted in my belly, we did a lot of thinking, soul-searching, and manic planning.

After attending a wedding of friends just days after finding out that I was pregnant, Mr. Gingermermaid (then just boyfriend) drunkenly said to me, “we should get married before the baby is born.”

I was flabbergasted. Aren’t boys supposed to be the ones who freak out about marriage and commitment? Instead, it was me. Maybe not so much for the commitment part, we were on this path anyway, but because I wanted a wedding and I wanted to be a size 2 bride (this is very difficult to do when 27 weeks pregnant).

I was opposed to the idea, and then I wasn’t. We talked about a courthouse wedding, which was the least appealing idea in the world to me. I may not have time to plan a party, and it may not be the time, but I am still wearing a foofy dress even if I have to buy it a store that’s called, “It’s Not Too Late!” I wanted family there, if nothing else, and I wanted a warm, comfortable setting (no offense District of Columbia courthouse, but you’ve been on the news far too many times in a negative manner for my liking).

The mister and I decided on, or rather, I created an idea that he jumped on board with because his choice in the matter was really that of a spectator and eventual participant, was to get married in my childhood home with only immediate family present. I even put the brakes on having my baby nephews in attendance (babies are so annoying).

My brother, sister, two nieces, mother, father, 2 Grandmas, 1 PopPop, and one short friend were represented for my side of the family. The boy’s mother, father, brother, grandfather represented the other side.

Keeping it a secret was quite difficult since none of us have filters in my family. We didn’t want any “surprise” drop-ins because we needed and wanted to keep it small. It’s more important for us to have a wee wedding and save the money for our future–child, home, shopping sprees–than on a day which would be wonderful, but only a day.

The day went perfectly. A few hiccups at the start, which made us realize that this is why people rehearse before a wedding no matter the size, but nevertheless, the missing flower girls turned up after taking a wrong turn and the rest went on surpassing our expectations.

We laughed, we cried, we smashed cake into each other’s faces. All in all, the best day ever only to be followed by a great many more fabulous days in a fabulous life with my hubby and little guppie.

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Mr. and Mrs. Gingermermaid

But I always win the arguments…

So now that my boyfriend and I went from serious to SERIOUS, I’ve had to come to terms with something: I can’t always be right (even if I am).

This was made evident to me last night when my loving beau called me on the phone to discuss something as trivial as plates as an investment. Not just any plates, special occasion plates.

My first reaction, who is this man and what has he done with my boyfriend? Second, and I mean no offense, is my boyfriend closeted? In my life, I have never heard of a man caring about nice chinaware and certainly not fighting for it as an emotional investment.

downloadThe boyfriend wasn’t just thinking about a nice set of plates from Target or even Bed, Bath, and Beyond. He actually brought up the name Lenox. Not only did he want pretty plates and teacups, he wanted expensive plates and tea cups with a reputation. Who the hell was this guy? Half the time he stands up to eat his dinner!

When he told me how much a set was, I was like, “So how many is in a set?” He said ONE of everything. I realize I’m not opposed to owning frivolous items, but one plate, one teacup, one saucer (who even uses these outside of the UK?), and maybe another mid-sized plate for $140 to $200? Plus, they’re breakable and it’s me! They will break.

I countered that I’d rather have a nice camera to take pictures of our new baby and to maybe jumpstart a hobby for the price of the stupid china. I’d prefer saving that money for something more practical, like a contribution for a down payment on a house. Why we would want plates that are that expensive and we will use maybe, maybe, once a year?

He further explained that he wanted me to choose a set, that he wanted to choose a set, and that he wanted our baby boy (as yet unborn and clearly unable to hold a teacup for at least a few months before he tosses it to the ground in amusement) to have a set. Now we have nice, expensive china that doesn’t even match and of which there isn’t enough to entertain at our special dinners when President Obama visits with Michelle. Plus, he wants our infant BOY son to have his own set when all he will do for the first few years of life is eat, poop, puke, and cry?

The boyfriend and I don’t argue so much, or at least I should say, he doesn’t usually argue back.

It took some talking, but finally, I realized that this was important to him, he actually wanted this. No matter what my thoughts were on the matter, this was something that did hold meaning to him and I know if it was me pushing for something superfluous, he probably wouldn’t even offer resistance because he already understands me and my heart, or at least understands he doesn’t understand.

So I accepted defeat.

He plans on beginning a tradition of bringing out our mismatched, very elegant dining wear for special events, like an anniversary, a birthday, a holiday, and he wants to give our to-be-born son his set one day, when he will appreciate it. I guess if we ever have more children (one at a time, people) we’ll continue the tradition of a set of chinaware for every member of our wacky little family.

After I came around to the idea and understood that it’s really not even that much of a sacrifice, I realized that it’s not just my needs that need satisfied, it’s that guy I’m involved with and the other one still cooking inside. I’m so used to being in charge of my life, making my own decisions, and manipulating things to go my way (and I sure liked it!). Now, I have to compromise and prioritize. It’s like I’ve become an adult or something. Gross.

Even though I anticipate winning most arguments when they arise because I have active tear ducts, I’m learning to let my pride fall and my selfishness give way.

I raise my teacup, “Here’s to expensive plates and a softer side of my other half!”

I just saw Star Wars for the first time…ever

As of three weeks ago I had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy.

Dearest readers, I will give you just a moment to process this.

Most people, upon hearing I had never seen these films were like, “Whaaaa…” Then they passed out in a nerd heap in front of me.

I shrugged my shoulders and proceeded on with life.

It wasn’t until I began dating my lovely, epically nerdy boyfriend that it nearly became blasphemous.

At a friend’s party, I met this guy (later to become all mine) who tried this pick-up line, “My dad is George Lucas.”

I remained silent, the moment was awkward, and crickets could be heard echoing through the void of reaction. It didn’t work on many levels: I hadn’t seen the movies and I wasn’t a geek. His dad’s name does happen to be George Lucas, but obviously not the George Lucas. We didn’t hit it off right then…

Growing up, I remember the Star Wars films were always on TV, so I would catch a snippet here and there. I understood the general premise, knew the main characters,  and with enough spoofs out there of notable scenes, I got the gist.

Still, I had yet to sit down, popcorn and cola in hand, to view the movies from the beginning to the end.

Chewie is my favorite...

Chewie is my favorite…

Well, a few more bad pick-up lines later, I’m dating that guy whose father is George Lucas and I’m dating that guy who has seen the saga close to almost too many times and knows the names of all spacecrafts and creatures in the films (during our viewing, he was sure to point out to me which was what, I was like, “EWOKS ARE SO CUTE!!!”).

After we watched the first film together, my boyfriend asked, “Are you thinking how sad it was that you waited 28 years to see these movies and that you’ve been missing out all this time?”

I replied, “No.”

He looked dismayed, so I replied, “…because it’s so nice I got to see them with you. Awwwww!”

I half meant it.

We finished the three original films and I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed them. A little campy at times? For sure. Did I totally understand the movie? Of course not, but I’m also still trying to figure out Toy Story 2.

I may be the only person in the world who cried when Darth Vader died. I mean, they were just about to start a father-son relationship! (I realize he blew up his daughter’s planet, but still!)

I shall continue my Star Wars education and watch Episodes I, II, and III. I get that they aren’t supposed to be as good as the originals (according to nerds everywhere), but I’d like to see how it all began and I have no doubt they will be entertaining. I’m jumping on this bandwagon just in time for Disney to attempt to bring out newer ones still.

Now I must decide if I’m going to be Princess Leia for Halloween this year, or Wolverine (because the X-Men rock!)—or a combination of the two. These are the tough decisions I am happy I only have to make once a year.

NB: I’ll probably just end up being a ballerina…again.

Dooo, dooo, dooo, dooo, dooo, doooooooo, dooo, daaah, daaah, daah, daaah, daaah, dum, dum, dum, duuuuum (that was the theme music)

Dooo, dooo, dooo, dooo, dooo, doooooooo, dooo, daaah, daaah, daah, daaah, daaah, dum, dum, dum, duuuuum (that was the theme music)