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michelleturnberg@gmail.com, Published June 09 2012

Turnberg: Remember what’s important at your wedding

I recently listened to a talk-radio host share his profound insights on weddings. He made it clear that he was annoyed when the hosts were cheap and did not sufficiently meet the needs of their guests.

He spent a fair amount of time stating how he especially detested Friday weddings, and how they are just a way for couples to save money. He noted that scheduling on Fridays is unfair to guests, as it forces many to take time off from work to attend the event. Not to mention the cost of travel, hotel, meals and gifts.

Wow! To say I found his argument irritating would be an understatement. Not everyone has an unlimited well of money from which to draw. But I also found it bothersome how so much of his rant failed to focus on the significance of the event. Instead, he was fixated on the appropriateness of the accommodations, and he spent a considerable amount of time discussing how elaborate the event ought to be.

I just read on the costofwedding.com website that couples who get married in Fargo spend an average of between $16,436 and $27,394 on their weddings.

That’s more than I made in my first year in the news business! Probably my second and third years as well…

Like many of you, I experienced “wedding planning” prior to the big event, and I remember trying to find ways to save money.

I found a dress I loved, but after doing some homework found a store that sold it for $200 dollars less. When I told the sales woman at the first store that I had found a better deal, she had a bit of a fit. She sternly asked me what, exactly, I was looking for? Did I want a cheaper dress or a full wedding experience?!

Please.

When did weddings become such an elaborate affair? Why must we mortgage our futures for one day of fun?

I say if a Friday wedding fits in your budget, go for it. If you have guests that complain about attending you might not want them there anyway. And if you can find a less expensive dress elsewhere, buy it, because the “full wedding experience” is not worth being in debt for the next twenty years.

Here are some words of advice from someone who had a lovely wedding, and a fun reception and dance after: Save your money. Spend the day with people you especially cherish, and who can help you focus on what the wedding means instead of all the excess.

Should I ever get married again I vow that it will be bare bones, attended by a few special people – and maybe even on a Friday.

Michelle Turnberg writes a weekly column for SheSays.