Part Of The Price Is The Experience

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This post brought to you by oversearching Sherlock memes and still not finding the one I wanted.

Weddings cost a lot. That goes without saying. The average UK wedding last year was £33,884 (Independent, Sept 2017), but I believe even that has gone up in the last year or so. More and more, with inflation [of economy and self-importance], brides-and-grooms-to-be are choosing and spending on more items for their weddings. And, those, are arguably superfluous, such as ‘bathroom baskets’ for guests or sandals for ladies’ feet. It’s all in good will, of course, but in the end, most guests who struggle with these kinds of things will have prepped in advance.

The guests aren’t expecting us to cater for their every need and whim on the dance floor. Thus, such monetary whims are or should be purely for those who’ve budgeted, not for those who want to splash out.

But that issue is not one I’m here, or have liberty, to chat about. I can see myself glowing with infuriation if I were to acknowledge the wastage that can come from overspending on things which are not needed – and most often not appreciated, either. But there’s something else that weddings do. I think there’s more cost to a wedding than its monetary value, and I think this is something that is still lost amongst the statistics, in spite of how well they try to interpret the qualitative data. After all, to properly plan a wedding, brides and grooms have to devote a portion of their free time for many months. They have to make sure they’re on top of deadlines and contacts – because the only people who lose out from their disorganisation are themselves.

(Which is how I know The Husband falls under the category of disorganised when he turned up an hour late to our day-before rehearsal [And, yet, of course, I still got the blame for it.])

Part of what weddings give to the world is a new experience, a new day of celebrations for everyone involved.

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How do you start with that? After all, it’s easy to say a wedding day is just a singular moment in time; it’s just one occasion out of many in a person’s or a couple’s life, particularly when it’s becoming on trend and economic now to live with someone for many years before even getting engaged. A wedding day is just that: a day. For many weddings nowadays, it’s not even that. The ceremony is mid-to-late afternoon and then it’s party party party through til the venue closes at midnight. Slippers off, Cinderella, now nurse that painful head and make the most of the free continental breakfast whilst your new husband lies in.

So… In that case, what makes a wedding special? What is it that people love so much about weddings?

‘Cause it’s not about the [amount of] money spent or flashed around or the amount of doilies and the entertainment you put on. It’s about the family and the happiness in the celebration itself. And, by logical path of thought, the time and effort.

I’ve mentioned time already, but let’s talk about what the effort of planning a wedding means. Sure, many working brides these days hire wedding planners to go through those virtual checklists and get every piece of the wedding in place, but those of us who don’t (for starters, I am an organising freak who knows where everything is supposed to go in my mind and I can’t let others mess up the order by putting things in the wrong place) have to navigate through the [un?]surprisingly numerous tasks that go and grow into throwing a proper wedding.

And I don’t just mean those times where we have to spend literal hours printing, folding, sticking, cutting, drawing… Any verb, you name it and I did it as part of wedding prep. Actually rather therapeutic – to know that what I was working on and physically crafting was being put towards a greater goal. It was all going to be out there.

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Kind of like that. But not.

I’m also talking about the effort of people.

People are difficult. Many writers can attest to this. We’re introverts, we like our silence, we want to stay in our heads where it’s warm but not necessarily safe (I’ve written murder mysteries, for goodness’ sake). Yet, you throw a wedding in the mix and meeting with people is unavoidable. I’m not talking about the relatives gathering and the extra events one might have to attend or put on for wedding stuff.

Suppliers and vendors, people. They are the scary. They are the unknown. And to get a wedding done, you’d be hard pressed to get away with never speaking to your suppliers. That is to say: you have to experience it. Whether it’s obvious or not, my anxiety is related to speaking to people I don’t know, especially when I can’t see their faces to read their expressions. Social interaction is pretty terrifying to the point where I used to be able to not answer the phone. So, how was I even supposed to ring up people to tell them I wanted to hire them for my wedding?

It was my price to pay. To swallow the panic and gradually build myself up to ask for what I wanted.

One of the best things I did.

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Worth it, and not just because putting my effort into getting over the rabid stranger anxiety got me some lovely things to share with my friends at my wedding. I’d definitely become more confident since I became engaged; the experience of having to email and ring strangers from whom I otherwise would have backed away completely.

I guess when one has a firm goal towards which to travel, it’s motivation to bite the bullet and email out of the blue or even speak on the phone. When the rewarding is even greater – getting married – you have to get over those issues and ride the waves of progress.

So part of what you learn with a wedding isn’t even wedding-related. And yet, it could easily help you in the future.

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