I called Mom from the apartment to let her know that we were engaged. It was not the way I always imagined how she and I would react to the news that I was engaged (IFI ever were to marry). I was so nervous about telling her that I was going to marry the man who caused my Mom’s and my relationship to crumble. I think I was also nervous because I did not believe it myself (not in the typical way a girl doesn’t believe she is going to marry the man she loves; instead, I was very questionable about the nodding of my head to say “yes”).
He was so happy and when we went to his grandparents for our usual Sunday dinner (lunch to southern folk)…his grandparents and mother were so ecstatic…of course they wanted to see the ring (even if they had already seen it). It was kinda roomy because I have big knuckles (but you can’t tell).
We had the ring sized down again a few days later because it spun around on my finger a little more than it should. I wore it to work at the grocery store and received compliments from co-workers and customers on how pretty it was. I began planning the wedding before we even set a date, not because I was excited really…but because I wanted to do things when we had the “extra” money. I bought our cake toppers, I was planning on sending some engagement announcement cards that I had created online and that were printed and mailed to me. I was very cost conscience without being tacky. That is something I learned how to do from my mother.
Yankee boy and I were living VERY modestly. It was mentioned to me that I could probably get help from the government and receive food stamps’ that way I could save more of the money I earned while working 4 hours a day (20 hours a week) and compile that with the rest of the money I was saving from my disability checks each month to help pay for the wedding.
In the south, it is common to have a wedding in someone’s back yard or someplace similar. In the northeast, it is common to pay at least $30, 000 for a wedding. I wanted to have the wedding in Alabama if I was going to be expected to live in the northeast. He did not suspect that his family would be able to afford to fly to Bama. I said the same about my family/friends flying to New York. I even tried to get him to have a wedding in southern Florida, where he grew up. He said he would consider it at one time, but later on told me the same thing about his family not being able to afford it. I was crushed; I had resigned myself into having my life with him (and I wanted it to be with him) and he was going to make all of our decisions.
After many serious discussions and me crying and saying that the bride-to-be normally makes the plans (even though I was plain about wanting him to be involved in the planning), he finally gave in. His mother and sister (and even his grandmother) were saying things and making him feel as if he wanted an extravagant wedding, even if he told me otherwise.
He spoke to a recently married co-worker and she told him about a wedding hall in the northeast…he looked at the website and showed the site to me. I wasn’t impressed, but was willing to go look at it in person. We arrived at the place first, and his mother and grandmother met us at the wedding hall.
My very first gut reaction was “Ohmygod…this looks like it should be in a strip mall!” I did not share my feelings with Yankee boy, but allowed him to know that I did not like it from the outside. The parking was tedious and the wedding hall is right off of a busy, main highway. That helped me to feel that it was reminiscent of a strip mall.
When he and I walked in…I was disgusted. The colors and the decor were horrible…he said, “Oh, babe…this is nice, huh?” I scanned the place and I was feeling dread creep in. I looked to my right and I noticed these TACKY lights hanging from the ceiling (in what I later found out to be the banquet room or some other BS).
His mother and grandmother walked in not long after we did and as they looked around, they said things like, “Oh, this is niiiice” and were pointing out the things I hated most as the things that impressed them. I had a look of disgust on my face, but I hid it well. Only my mother would have picked up on it. Plus, I always dreamed of having my mother give me her opinions IFI were to be put in that situation. I needed my Mommy. We were then shown around the place and it is supremely ugly in my opinion.
I once told him that I always imagined myself walking down a flight of stairs to go to the altar IFI were ever to marry…and there is a flight of stairs when you walk in the building, so that is the only plus I saw. We later found out that those stairs did not enter directly into the chapel but were told that I could probably walk down them. It was hideous.
But, he was so impressed with the place, I decided to not knock it down…after all, I thought that once my Mom were able to get her hands in with the decor, it could be beautiful and not so tacky. Plus, I was preparing myself for getting accustomed to not always getting my way because in a relationship…it is never 50/50. In fact, it is sometimes 80/20 or even 99/1. So, I agreed to sit down with the man who was showing us the rooms and talk about a price.
As we were sitting in the office, I was FLOORED to find out that a wedding hall, complete with flowers and a cake and all of the other extra’s…even a limo was going to be at least $11-12,000! HOLY CRAP. The Yankee and I were using food stamps and my disability check money to help pay bills and we were still talking about having a wedding in the double digits!
My eyes got HUGE when the wedding planner shared the price. My fiancée, his mother and grandmother were all impressed with the price (turns out his younger sister was planning a wedding that was in the $30,000 range–I was in that wedding and it was NOT AT ALL worth that money, especially because the bridal party [save for the maid of honor and the best man] were not even standing up with the bride and groom…we were SEATED). Yankee boy could sense how uncomfortable I was with the price and asked if they would mind waiting so he could speak to me alone in a different room. Of course they were okay with it and when we got to the other room so he could try to talk me into it…I FREAKED OUT.
I told him that in the south, if he wanted a wedding like this, we could have one for a couple thousand dollars and even that was probably a helluva lot more than it would cost. He convinced me that it was a good deal considering everything we were getting with the package. I said something about how we would never be able to pay for it…he then told me that we would get cash as gifts.
I told him that there was no way we would get $10,000 to pay the wedding off especially when the same folks who attended our wedding would have just given his sister cash gifts because her wedding was probably going to be a few months before ours. I brought up getting married in the south…he said that his family would not be able to afford plane tickets and if they were able to, that they would not be able to give us gifts. I told him I completely understood because MY FAMILY could not afford it either.
He pleaded with me and said I deserved to have a wedding like that (I was thinking “no…this is NOT the sort of wedding I envisioned myself having”). After many times of trying to talk me into it, I gave in because, as I said before, I was preparing myself for marriage and the fact that life was no longer “all about me.”
His mother came into the room and asked if she could help with anything. He said that he had it handled…and she told me that the place was beautiful (bleh) and it was a good price. My fiancée and I stayed in the private room while she walked to the office…I told him that we could have our wedding there but that I was not making the decision. He would have to say “okay” and sign papers.
We walked into the office where his mother and grandmother were sitting with the man who was “selling” the package…my fiancée told the man we would take the deal and he signed for it. I wrote a check to his mother for $850 (I think) and she made the payment with her credit card.
I remember feeling trapped. They were all so happy…I only pretended to be. I hated the place. I hated the location. I hated that my southern ways were being ignored (ridiculed, kinda). The wedding was scheduled for a little over a year away. I told him so many times that I was not having his child unless we were married FIRST. He wanted to marry me quickly and have a baby. Even his mother, grandmother and sister (I think) tried to get me to change my mind several times about having a child together before we were even engaged. My feelings were not even considered as being important.
ANOTHER BLOG AFTER THIS ONE…
“Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.” – Mae West
And that is true. Love does help with coping with the things that normally make you feel as if everything is going to be A-OK…if it is in a happy state. If things are not completely well, love can make you feel as if everything sucks and the world is out to get you. I am in the middle of those feelings at the present…leaning more toward my 2nd explanation of the feelings love can give you.