When I was watching my most favorite movie "Jerry Maguire" (Tom Cruise and Rene Zellwegger) and that famous saying..."we live in a cynical world" really hits home with me.
We do live in a cynical world filled with cynical people were once upon a time the world cared for each other, we cared for our neighbors, we cared for the strangers that passed us in the streets, yet when the evil of others standing on the sidelines ready to take advantage of us and hurt our hearts, it then brought up the walls and before you knew it what we trusted at one time is now no longer alive. It actually made us fear the many people around us wondering just who to trust ever again.
When I lived in California, there were many if not millions of people capable of paying for lavish weddings. After all, that is all I did, lavish and expensive weddings where dropping $250,000 for a wedding was considered an AVERAGE wedding. Sadly I met families that often dipped into their daughter's college fund to pay for her wedding because whatever she wanted, well, she got!
I then met families that would mortgage their homes and take the collateral and use it towards their daughter's wedding or they took out a person loan from their local bank. I recall very vividly my last wedding I ever did in California. I was contacted by a bride and she was relentlessly bragging about her budget for her wedding.
She had 4 flower girls ranging in age of 4 years old to two years old and their dresses alone cost $500 dollars EACH!. She had six bride's maids and their dresses cost $800 each. The bride along with her bridal party, the photographer, family, and whoever was to attend, got ready at the Four Season's in Newport Beach, CA. Total cost for room rental of four rooms, $465 per room total $1,860 for a total of three hours.
Her night before the honeymoon a night at the Ritz in Newport Beach along the shores of the waters adjacent to Balboa Island a hotspot for tourist and families that lived on the island. The bride wore a simple wedding dress, a dress I would not call fashion forward in the bridal attire. It was plain, there was no rhinestones, there was no lace or appliques, nothing. However it was filled with much crinoline under her dress which cost $10,000
She was Middle Eastern and the groom Jewish so they wanted to incorporate both lifestyles into their wedding. The groom's family provided the Kipa or for a better understanding, Yarmulke. It was all leather and with 24kt gold on each cap along with the bride and groom name and the date of their wedding.
The guest total was 430 in which only 150 did not respond. The bride and groom provided gifts for each 430 guest prior to responding costing a total of $5,340 dollars a small crystal frame adorned in gold embossing as well.
Their food total, $22,121 which was of course steak, lobster and followed with Caviar and crackers flown in straight from Jerusalem, The flower girls of course had their own live-in nanny and all the nanny's came and cared for the little girls that were being completely disobedient and I was the one chosen to discipline the girls.
The father of the bride came to me and handed me his checkbook with his signature and told me, "whatever is not covered with her $500,000 dollar budget, just write a check for it and make sure it happens! Yep, that was right, $500,000 dollar budget!
The honeymoon...consisted a trip around the world hitting all the hotspots such as Europe, Japan, Rome, Italy, and so on and so on. Total cost for honeymoon, $27,891
Yep, there were many weddings very similar in budget and size that I conducted from beginning to end and yes, I made a pretty penny.
Now, on the flip side of weddings in a small rural town, it is a completely different story. I was done with weddings and told myself I would never do another wedding ever again. I was through with the drama of the bride's I was done with the nagging mother's, I was done with the mother's trying to force the bride to do what SHE WANTED and me playing referee.
I had become friends to my new neighbors when I moved here in 2008 rather quickly one being Jan a woman who was living with her boyfriend yet refused to marry him. She Jan, invited me to attend a high tea afternoon at her church insisting that I attend. The day we went I was greeted by a lady who shared she heard through Jan that I had conducted weddings back in California and she asked if I would consider doing her daughter's wedding.
Reluctantly, I agreed. I was used to the high end weddings, the budget, the lifestyle, the everything when it came to doing weddings. But if one were to tour through Vancouver Washington, you will find beaten down trucks and cars, countless rednecks, poverty stricken families living on welfare and food stamps, and let's not forget the many homeless people standing on the freeway exits/entrances begging for money.
There were and still are many men and women and their children living under freeway underpasses or living within the tall grasses or their cars due to losing their homes. Being an alcoholic or drug addict is very normal within this city. The drug of choice is Meth and meth labs are in abundance often exploding from cooking the meth causing tragic events to take place.
More than 49% of the people where I live are on food stamps or WIC or some form of state help. These are not rich people. These are people that will never see the world, they work two or three jobs just to make a house payment or their rent. These are people that do not have the luxury to go out and purchase a dress from Macy's or JCPenny's or Sears.
As I began planning this girls wedding I asked the mother and father of the bride what their budget was. I was told it was $12,000 . I guess the look on my face must of been shocked because the mother of the bride asked me, "is that to much oh please don't tell me we need more. We just do not have the funds for her dream wedding."
All I kept thinking was how to pull of a wedding for $12,000 dollars? The grooms family actually paid for the venue. My fee alone well, let's just say I lost a bucket full of money on this wedding. I normally charged 25% of the budget and upon doing the math, this family had no means to add $3,000 to the top of their already suffocating budget. How was I supposed to get paid?
I asked the mother if the bride already had her food of choice, her dress, the invitations handled, music, and all other bells and whistles that follow in a wedding. The food was to be done by the venue for almost nothing because the bride worked there, her dress, was something from a thrift store and the invitations were printed from the home printer of the mother of the bride. They were a complete mess. Nothing was lined up, they were misspelled, crooked, and the snowball began.
Wedding Dress Wishes
Since I started this venture of getting donations the cynical world has shown it true colors. People are selfish and unkind and they give that look, you all know what look that is..."what's in it for me" look. When I ask many now married women to please donate her wedding dress to my organization she looks at me as if I am asking her to have sex with Satan and then give birth to Devil Junior!
I hear over and over, "no I would rather sell it" okay you do that but take a good look at yourself when you say that. Go on Craigslist and list your dress, it will sit and sit and sit because there are countless wedding dresses already on that list that have already "relisted" over and over because why? IT'S NOT GOING TO SELL!
Go on eBay and try to sell your dress better yet, look up wedding dresses and you will find page after page after page of wedding dresses and you think you have the dress to end all dresses, well YA DON'T!
What about the dress that is just hanging around and taking up space in your closet? Are you really ever going to wear it again? Do you think 30-40 years down the road your daughter is going to want to wear your dress..NO!
Let's go shopping. Remember those jeans you just "had to have" or that shirt, how about those shoes, and let's not forget that purse. What about the pictures on your walls, or the couch that cost well over $1,000 dollars. If one were to add up the dollars they spent out of the whole year on clothing for themselves alone what do you think that would total?
And, when you get bored with those clothes and you want to "clean out" your closet and you toss in that 30 gallon trash bag those "jeans you had to have" and that purse and the tops, and where do they go? To a thrift store!
So one can spend thousands of dollars on clothes, toss them into a bag and drop them off at a thrift store to help others (which many seek tax relief because they think they are doing a good deed) did all those clothes you purchased throughout the year, was that more than your wedding dress? You know the dress that is hanging in your closet taking up space?
Yet, you won't donate it to help someone in need?