Today, I was watching Extreme Cheapskates on TLC. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a mixture of fascinating, helpful, and upsetting. These people will do anything to save a quarter. Some people’s ideas are actually reasonable: saving slivers of soap to make another bar of soap, making sure to turn off lights when not in use, etc. Others are just plain absurd. So far I’ve watched a woman who does her own dental work by pulling out her own teeth with pliers and another woman who uses cat food in place of canned tuna fish. While these were certainly upsetting, I found myself most perplexed by the woman who threw her unwilling daughter an extreme cheapskate-style wedding.
I had a reaction to the numerous extreme cheapskates who forsook toilet paper or other basic conveniences, but that seemed to speak to my desire for the basic creature comforts of convenience and hygiene. The wedding strangely seemed to strike an emotional chord for me.
My first reaction was to feel pity for the poor girl whose mother asked guests to bring food, potluck style, purchased her daughter’s dress at a pawn shop, rat urine and all, and held the wedding in a school gymnasium. How could she! She’s ruined the wedding! While the daughter thought that at first, her and her new husband looked absolutely overjoyed by the end. They both admitted that the wedding was far from what they had pictured, but they looked like the happiest people in the world as they sat there together amongst their guests.
As a woman, it seems that weddings are almost always attached to things. Love is the most important thing, of course! But when I think of weddings, I see much more than just the man standing at the altar. I imagine beautiful decorations, flowers, the venue, the cake….and on and on. I always think of it as part of the package. Watching the cheapskate wedding made me really think about what makes those moments like weddings special.
When I thought about it, it seemed funny to me that I’d attached material things to such a highly emotional and personal event. Would it really be a wedding without the gown? The cake? The flowers?
I don’t know, but I do know two things. One is that love is THE most important “thing,” beyond any of the extras. Another is that for now, I’m going to continue to outsource my dentistry to a licensed professional.