June 20, 2003

The Logistics of Marriage

Allison Barnes has informed us about a particular item which her sister, Steph, has placed on her wedding registry. While we imagine that Steph and her fiance have asked for the usual items, like a toaster and a set of pretty but rarely-used serving dishes, Allison notes that Steph has also registered for a $4,000 home hot tub.

While we here at The Rant know little about hot tubs, we would note that we think this is a nice hot tub. Not only does it hold seven people, the description says the machine also comes with approximately $1,098 in allegedly FREE goods and services. These range from FREE curbside delivery -- a $200 VALUE! -- to a cover lift -- a $169 VALUE!

Now, Allison writes there is no way that Steph and her fiance will receive this hot tub as a wedding gift. To this, I would respond, "Never say never." Since weddings are intended as a once-in-a-lifetime event, they often cause many invited guests to temporarily take leave of their senses. True, this most often results in one's relations scheming in concert to purchase a newly-married couple a total of twelve food processors, but in theory it could result in lavish expenditures of a hot-tub class calibre. I would add that if anyone reading this has been invited to Steph's wedding, that such a hot tub would really be a nice gift for her and her fiance.

You know, I've never really thought about weddings before, but Allison's post put a thought in my head: "Gee, there really are economic benefits to marriage." Oh, sure, there's expansion of the tax brackets and child credits and potential two-income earning power. But think of all that FREE swag a newly-married couple gets out of a marriage: everything they might need to set up their own house, PLUS the potential for significant cash accumulation.

What? Look, I'm a man, I'm genetically disposed to look at it this way. For, as a man, I have the inherent genetic instinct that my job during a wedding consists of only three things. Those are a) to show up on time; b) to ensure the best man does not get drunk and make a spectacle of himself during the reception; and, c) do everything and anything my future wife wants during the planning process. In fact, it would just be best if I stayed out of the way altogether and made a little cue card reading "That's great, honey," that I could hold up whenever my fiancee asked me a wedding-related question.

For a wedding is not just "her day," it is a realm which the fairer sex have seized and claimed for their very own. Indeed, if you look at some of the bridal-planning books out there, there are no men in them. Sure, you can't have a wedding without the groom; but when it comes to the reception, the groom is accorded less importance than the place-settings.

This is not to say that women weren't smart to create this state of affairs over the centuries. We men are hopeless about such things, and if we had our way, we'd probably see a lot more receptions at the Stanley Cup playoffs, or perhaps the Notre Dame-Michigan game. On the other hand, women excel in this area to the point where they bring to the table not merely a civilizing influence, but a refined elegance.

Hence, as Martha Stewart might say, it's a good thing that men have relinquished whatever role we may have ever had in planning weddings. To turn serious, we must say that as we have attended a number of weddings in our day, women do a fabulous job at planning them. We must also note that women do a fabulous job of getting men to focus on the truly important things in life -- God, love, family and the home -- which, although we men may not immediately realize it, lead to true happiness.

So I do hope that Steph and Vince will accept my heartfelt congratulations on their upcoming marriage. May you both have many happy and wonderful years together, and may God bless and keep you as you embark on this greatest of all journeys.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at June 20, 2003 12:27 PM | TrackBack

A big overblown wedding is one of the most indefensible ways to blow through $30,000 in one day that I can think of. Especially if, during all the planning and picking out and hand-wringing you forget to make it so the guests can actually enjoy the reception.

I watched my brother-in-law do just what you mentioned for about a *year* while my sister and her girlfriends and mom and step-mom and a legion of wedding planners got everything "just right".

That's why I'm looking forward to my cousin's wedding in late July in Minnesota. It'll be outside. The dress is "quite casual"--I'll probably wear my good jeans and a button-down, probably tucked in. Cuz runs his own micro-brewery, and I knew when he got married he'd have a mellow, fun, informal, memorable wedding and reception set up. Of course, this is only possible because he's marrying a "guy's girl", one of the coolest females ever.

Me? I'd just as soon elope than start out our new life together by going into massive debt for a limp, stodgy, one-day party.

Posted by: Kevin White at June 20, 2003 03:01 PM

Why, Mr. Kepple, that was very nice. I certainly hope Steph and Vince's wedding guests know that's a joke because they're moving into an apartment. However, we here at the Barnes Mansion would be more than happy to hold onto that hot tub for them.

Posted by: Allison at June 20, 2003 09:15 PM

Allison: Thanks for your note. I am sure that Steph and Vince's wedding guests likely know it is a joke, unless there is a long-lost uncle or aunt out there with Buckets O' Cash who sees the item and thinks nothing of spending the $4,000.

Kevin: Personally, I think the amount of money a family spends on a wedding should be commesurate with the means of the family. Further, I think anyone who thinks the resulting reception or ceremony is somehow insufficient is a gauche, unmannered and uncultured person.

Still, whether one's family spends $3,000, $30,000 or $300,000 on a wedding, it is no joke. Therefore, I've decided that when I eventually get married and have lovely daughters as a result, I will begin saving for their wedding the same way I would save for their college education. Namely, I'll start the day after my future wife informs me that I'll be a father.

Now, I do know that only about 30 percent of marriages these days are bankrolled by the bride's family. So I can see where financial considerations would be much more of a concern if the bride and the groom are paying for the day themselves. However, were I a father, I would think it my duty to ensure that my daughter (and, we might add, my own wife) have everything the way they want it on their wedding day. Not only would that make me the hero -- you know, just because I ruled -- it would bring me happiness knowing they were happy.

In reference to your comment about eloping, I can certainly see where you are coming from. As I noted, my maleness makes me genetically disposed to have done with it as quickly as possible and move on. But I'll get over that -- I would much rather have a great wedding and honeymoon provided it really pleases my future wife and her family. One can't put a price tag on marital bliss.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at June 21, 2003 05:50 AM

I wonder if you can good eggs in a hottub?

Posted by: radale at June 27, 2003 10:18 AM