Bridal fairs are fairly outrageous

The book that fiancee Hanna and I have been using in our premarital counseling sessions has been explaining why Adam and Eve?s pre-apple relationship is the ultimate spiritual example of a perfect marriage.

But there?s one point the authors failed to include: Adam and Eve didn?t have to plan a modern wedding.

There?s probably a good reason they didn?t mention this (heresy, possibly), but it?s still something to think about.

For example, Adam and Eve didn?t even have to worry about finding the perfect wedding gown or tuxedo. The extent of their shopping trip included a quick bite at the Tree of Knowledge Drive Thru before a brief stop at the Fig Leaf Boutique.

Nowadays, brides aren?t allowed to purchase a dress until they?ve tried on at least 325 different gowns at no less than 32 bridal specialty stores, having thrown an average of 14.67 hissy fits.

At least that?s what I?ve gathered from watching television shows such as TLC?s ?Say Yes to the Dress,? in which women go to a high-end bridal store and spend more money on one dress than Hanna and I plan to spend on food for the first 10 years of our marriage.

We aren?t buying into this craziness. In fact, Hanna has only dragged me to one bridal fair.

Actually, I went willingly. I?m a firm believer that if someone else can do it, I can do it cheaper. Our main purpose in attending was to get ideas to copy in a price range a little closer to our wedding budget.

The bridal fair reminded me of Black Friday, only pinker: young women with insanity raging in their eyes were dragging their fiances through the dozens of wedding-related booths, all of which guaranteed that a wedding could not be successful without (insert product or service here).

A bridal fair, for obvious reasons, is the Mecca for brides-to-be.

Let me put it another way. For a bride, the wedding-planning process is like a stretch of highway: getting engaged is merging onto the highway, the initial planning process is moving?yet irritating?construction traffic, the bridal fair is the orange ?End Road Work? sign and the wedding and all proceeding events is arriving in western Kansas?that is, a feeling accomplishment but not much enthusiasm.

Maybe that metaphor was a little much. My original plan was to compare the wedding planning process to sentence structure, but I got stuck on the independent clause (which, come to think of it, is the part of the wedding contract one hopes to never use).

Apparently, planning a modern wedding is much more than two people getting married. It is a social and economic necessity that requires all young couples to spend every single penny they have, including remortgaging their house that they don?t even know exists yet.

From what I can tell?and this is a preliminary list?to pull off a successful wedding you must purchase all of the following at offensive prices: bridal gown, bridal veil, matching bridesmaids dresses, dozens of shoes, even more jewelry, rented tuxedos, rented tuxedo vests, rented tuxedo neckties, rented groomsmen, an entire floral shop including the florist, fake rose petals, save-the-date cards, invitations, thank-you notes, pastel-colored envelopes, personalized postage stamps, a wax seal, a calligraphist, a guestbook, 8,000 feet of ribbon, 20,000 feet of tulle (whatever that is), a unity candle set, $300 worth of classical organ sheet music, a professional photographer, personalized napkins, a punch fountain, a wedding cake the size of a small SUV, a cake topper, excessively creative table centerpieces that in all honesty nobody is even going to give a second thought to, those little cream cheese mints, DJ services, catering services, psychological services, toasting glasses, a rental limousine and, in our case, several thousand tiny bottles of bubble soap.

And all of these things must exactly, perfectly match the official wedding colors that have been selected, the specific shades of which don?t actually exist outside of the bride and groom?s imaginations.

OK, I realize I?ve poked a lot of fun at the wedding industry, but in reality the planning process is a once-in-a-lifetime event that Hanna and I are really enjoying together, and that?s what counts.

When it comes to putting a wedding together, I?ve discovered that it?s not about how much you spend or how big your wedding gets. What matters is the excitement and anticipation that builds as a couple plans the beginning of their lives together.

And I truly believe that if the couple calms down and just enjoys this short portion of their lives, the wedding will go off without a hitch.


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