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My knowledge of what goes on in the world of weddings is fairly limited, as I have never been married. Nor have I longed for a wedding the way some girls (at least on TV) do. At the tender ages of six, ten, fourteen and twenty, and every where in between, I have not sat up nights, planning My Big Day. I do not have a scrap-book of ideas for my wedding. This is because I do not want to have a wedding.

But, regardless. My oldest, dearest friend got married several years ago and I’d known since we met that one day, I would be one of her bridesmaids.

What I didn’t know was what went into a wedding as far as planning and ways in which to be relieved of one’s money goes.

I didn’t realise how important things like chair covers were, for instance, or that it’s not just a wedding that needs planned, it’s a whole other seemingly never-ending list of parties, dinners, teas, nights out and so on and so forth. I really don’t understand why people do these things to themselves.

When my friend was planning her wedding, she knew I wouldn’t be terribly interested in all the gory details. But, like most things in life, when I learned that it was a ridiculously complicated, byzantine thing, complete with guides, pamphlets, brochures and the like, well, I couldn’t help but be intrigued.

Did you know there are trade shows for weddings? You probably did, but to me it was a shock.

When I’m at home with The Mom, especially during summer, and she takes to her nest of an evening, now and then she’ll shout at me from the top of the stairs.

“Come quick! You’ve got to see this!”

So I shuffle upstairs, expecting to see one of the pets doing something cute, or perhaps a nature show on TV or perhaps some unexpected part of the world is blowing up.

Sometimes that happens, but other times she’ll sit on the edge of her bed, pointing and gawking at the TV.

“Look! Look at these people!”

And I’ll look. Once, there was a man and a woman trying to decide if the chocolate fountain was big enough for their wedding. Another time, there was a bubble machine. The bride-to-be was screeching at her fiancée, declaring that these things must be had. Never mind that they probably cost something ridiculous, something in the thousands of dollars. They were essential.

Now, I’d have thought, and forgive me for being so old-fashioned about it, but I’d have thought the essentials at a wedding were: two people who wanted to get married, a person legally sanctioned to do such a thing and a marriage license. Perhaps, though, those are what’s referred to as the bare essentials.

Because, as I’ve learned, a wedding is not about being married to the person one loves most, it’s about throwing The Best Party Ever. Except that people forget what the two most essential elements to a good party are: booze and good music. After that, you can pretty much relax and everything takes care of itself.

I’m sure there are people who will say, “Oh, but it’s your special day! Don’t you want it to be outstanding?”

Well, on some of those shows The Mom gawks at, they tell you how much these people have spent, in total, on their weddings. And you know what? For that money I could put a big deposit on a nice flat.

A nice flat wherein I could lie down on my nice couch and think about what a fun party I had with my booze and music. If people want bubbles, I’ll get them a straw. Or they can have a bottle of beer and shake that up a bit.

Like so many things in life, this obsession with weddings and having to out-do one another is ridiculous. And getting worse as every day passes. It makes me think I’m the only one reading the papers any more. Who can have such a lavish wedding, who can reasonably spend upwards of $50K on one day when there’s an imminent food crisis, water shortage, Syria is in a bad way, and people in the UK can barely pay their heating bills?

I think, if ever I had to get married (always keep a visa option open, I say), that instead of the cash machine The Mom was talking about, what I might do is send out some nice notes, inviting my friends to the local pub. Put some money behind the bar, and make a really good playlist on the iPod.

I had friends over here who did something similar. And the only gifts they asked for were for the local homeless shelter where they volunteer.