Wedding a la Carte
By Harry Kirsbaum
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, wed-
ding planners, invitation makers, cake
makers, dressmakers, photographers, vid-
eographers — 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
About the only thing that's doesn't cost
money is the room itself.
We eschewed the use of the main sanc-
tuary 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 vol-
unteers 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
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
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 neigh-
borhood, 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 oth-
ers, 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 Au-
gusten Burroughs' new book, This Is How,
he writes, ml just want to be happy' is a
hole cut out of the floor and covered with
a rug. Because once you say it, the impli-
cation is that you're not. The'l 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, exchang-
ing vows with my companion, my friend
and my true love.
That's one big bowl of happy.
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