Saturday, May 28, 2011

Getting Maui-d

Did I tell you my brother, Fat Dog, popped the question to his long-time girlfriend? Yup. On top of the Hoover Dam. He's an engineer, so I'm sure to him, this was a very romantic spot. He lucked out, because she said yes. We all adore her and so we are all very happy and excited.

For months, the happy couple has been trying to get the basics of their wedding plans established. Get married in Virginia Beach, where they both live? Get married in my hometown, which is super cheap? Get married this year or next year? They have been very indecisive. I'm sure The Czarina, starving for grandchildren, didn't help matters. She must have really ramped up the pressure when we all found out that the fiance is not 2 years older than him, like we had all thought, but TEN. (We never asked how old she was -- she looks fantastic for her age!)

Yesterday, Fat Dog called me to announce they have decided to have a destination wedding in 4 months. In Maui.

Most people would shout, "Hooray! Maui, here we come!" But there are some difficulties with this plan. In no particular order:

1. The Czarina does not fly. Period.
2. The Czarina, who is chipping in some money towards the wedding, is also paying for Smurf's college tuition right now. So she doesn't exactly have buckets of money laying around.
3. Based on my calculations, it will cost me something like $2,000 to attend this wedding. That will wipe out my savings, eat up the bonus I am going to get....I can go, but it will hurt. A lot.
4. My other two brothers live paycheck to paycheck, so they won't be able to go.
5. Smurf will be in the middle of Fall semester of her sophomore year, so she may not be able to go. Also, The Czarina would have to pay for her to go, too.
6. Banana, my older sister, is currently vacationing in Morocco, so she probably won't have any money left when she gets back.

"So, out of all the people you have called so far, how many said they can go?" I asked him.

"Um, none, actually," he replied.

"Are you prepared to have no guests at your wedding?" I asked.

Silence on his end. I wonder if he realizes that this may mean he gets few wedding gifts, but decide to keep that thought to myself.

"Look," he said, "this is what we are doing. We hope you guys can make it, cuz we would really like you to be there."


This particular sibling of mine is unique in our family in so many ways: he's good at math, he got Grandma's weird feet, he is stubborn to the point of absurdity and he has champagne tastes -- only the best for Fat Dog!

I can just about guess what happened. Fat Dog got sick of all the indecision, ran out of patience and decided that this is what they are doing, no matter the cost, logistics or inconvenience. I know how he operates. I'm sure his fiance is trying to get him to slow down and think about this some, and he is having none of it. (I wish I could say he is the only one in the family who is impatient, but unfortunately, yours truly has the patience of a toddler.)

The part that irritates me the most? His argument that this is cheaper than getting married in our hometown! "You can't get married for less than $10,000. You just can't," he said. Um, I am pretty sure you can. I actually just attended a wedding a few weeks ago that was very small, very fun and very inexpensive. But you see, Fat Dog has a tendency to require only the BEST in everything. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have standards, but a touch of reality is good, too. See, he knows he can get married for less than $10k. He just doesn't want to, because it won't be all fancy and impressive. If he can't have a Top Shelf wedding, he will just basically not have one at all -- which is pretty much what this is. It's just a glorified elopement. But since it's an elopement in Maui, it will still impress.

"So let me get this straight. You guys live at one beach, but you're going to fly aaaaall the way across the country to get married at another beach?" I asked.

"It's Maui," he replied. Touche.

"And how is this cheaper than getting married in our hometown?" I asked.

He was getting frustrated with me now. "Gah! Look, the only weekend we could get married in Farmville is at the end of May, and that's when the Heart of Virginia Festival is happening."

(Trying to get married in our hometown during Heart of Virginia would be daunting, I will agree. It's pretty much the busiest weekend of the year for our 3 little hotels in Farmville.)

"The Heart of Virginia Festival is in May. You just said this would be in September," I pointed out.

"We don't even live there!" he replied.

"Nor do you live in Maui," I observed.

Silence. Touche, brother dear! This was kinda fun! I was enjoying poking holes in all his arguments. I am such a mean older sister, aren't I? But this is what he gets for having such a selfish wedding plan, after we were all looking forward to this wedding.

"So why do you think it will save you money to do it this way?" I continued.

"Because if we get married in Virginia Beach or in Farmville, we will have to invite all these people. You know how it goes -- if you invite this person, then you have to invite that person, too. Soon, your guest list is out of control. We are just inviting family. No one else," he explained.

"Yeah, I know that can happen easily with guest lists," I admitted. That's why you cap it off, make some tough decisions and deal with it, I thought. I imagined the unruly guest list like an untamed Mustang, bucking my brother off its back. How absurd. Who is in charge here, you or your guest list? I thought.

I almost pointed out to him that if you don't have any guests at your wedding, you also don't have any wedding gifts. Wonder if Mr. Top Shelf has realized this.

"Can't you just get married in Farmville or Virginia Beach and then have your honeymoon in Maui?" I pleaded.

"No, cuz that will cost even more money!" he said.

He also argued that they are saving up for a big house, since they are planning to have kids. Is it just me, or should you have the kids first before doing that?? He owns a 2 bedroom condo already. I love that taking a trip to Maui is part of the plan to save money for this house. Is he serious? I can hear Dave Ramsey screaming now.

I got off the phone with him and called The Czarina.

"Are you upset about all of this?" I asked her.

My mother, in true emotionally-repressed, German-American fashion, replied, "I'm not upset. I'm just not going."

Oh boy. She was super pissed. I wondered if she hung up on him, but decided it would be best not to ask.

Upon discovering that she and I both thought he was crazy, and for the same reasons, she told me I shouldn't have said all the stuff I said. (I was supposed to repress it all, like she did!) She made me call him back and apologize. So I did. She was right -- it's his wedding. We should be supportive. We need to be happy that we love his fiance so much.

I'm trying to have a better attitude about this, but I am still kinda pissed. I think he's being really selfish and shallow. Just because he can't have a big Hollywood wedding (like he surely feels he deserves) he will just not have one at all. He's making the wedding all about him, when I think it should involve our families, too. (Maybe I am just crazy, but I thought I was welcoming a new member into our family!) After all, out of the last 4 times my entire family has gotten together, 3 of those times were for funerals. I was kind of looking forward to getting together with my family for a happy occasion for once.

The Czarina thinks they will still change their minds and I shouldn't get too upset. She will probably try and talk some sense into him after she calms down a little. (She would never admit it, but I'm pretty sure she is furious.)

I almost just wish they had run off to Vegas or City Hall and just not told anyone. Then we wouldn't all have to decide if we want to spend all this money -- it would already be a done deal.

I love my brother, but he sure can be a pain in the neck.


Stuck said...

"I think he's being really selfish and shallow."

Aren't you SUPPOSED to be selfish at your wedding? You don't get married to please your families. You get married to start your own. You start your own traditions, your own holiday schedules, your own lives.

Yeah, I can see how it sucks that they're basically excluding everyone from attending, but it's THEIR wedding. If no one shows up, they'll either have to be cool with that, or they'll learn that maybe they should plan better.

Personally, I am very fond of the idea of a courthouse wedding, and no guests. :)

LK said...

"On top of the Hoover Dam. He's an engineer, so I'm sure to him, this was a very romantic spot."

Well, in all fairness, it was named one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century. *sigh* *swoon* *wipes tear from eye*

Capricorn Cringe said...

I agree with Stuck. It's their wedding and they should do what makes them happy.

don said...

They can't really expect too many people to go to Maui to be at their wedding, so they must just want to be left alone.. I was a little put out when I was expected to pay for a tux at my best friend's wedding, no way would I have gone to Maui..

I think they should get married at home and then go to Maui, or they should go to Maui, get married and stay there.

Alison said...

My brother and his wife got married in Hawaii---no guest, just the two of them---and then they hosted a reception for family and very close friends at a nice restaurant when they got back. So, nobody was put out by a $2000 trip to Hawaii (except them), and they still got to celebrate with family (and got gifts too!). Maybe you could suggest something similar, but it sounds like he won't want to pay for the reception in addition to the wedding in Hawaii. Hmmmm....tough one.

Smug said...

You can get married anywhere on the cheap, if you do it right, price shop and be smart. My husband and I spent $12,000 total on our wedding and $3,500 of that was the photographer!! I live in VA, so I know it can be done. I got a lot of stuff on eBay, booked the wedding at our own church and the reception at another catholic church so that was a huge cost savings! I didn’t have flowers at the ceremony because the church was ornate enough already and had balloons at the reception. The food was buffet style done by a friend of the family for a discounted rate and he did the cake too. We bought a keg and two cases of wine and when it ran out, it was out! I had a great DJ and found all the little odds and ends on eBay including silk rose petals, tablecloths, the under garments I needed for my dress, favors, save the date cards, you name it!! All of this probably doesn’t appeal to Fat Dog, because it would mean extra work and some compromise, but my wedding was really beautiful and no one could tell it wasn’t an expensive affair because I cut costs where I could and that allowed for more cash to be spent elsewhere!

I went to the wedding of a friend who got married like 2 weeks before I did and so we had been talking and planning together for months. She spent $10,000 total on her wedding. They had the reception in a dumpy hotel with no A/C. They hooked up an iPod instead of a DJ and her church friends did the food and it ran out before everyone had gotten to go through the line. She spent her money on the dress and the cake and skimped on everything else. My wedding was already 100% planned at the time, but I knew that my guests were going to have an amazing time!!

My cousin spent $35,000 on his wedding and the whole family has talked about how mine was nicer (no one has actually said this to my face, but I have heard it from my sister and mom as people have said that to them)! So even if you spend a lot of money your guests can walk away unhappy. Let’s face it; you are providing your guests with a good time and good food in exchange for those lovely wedding gifts! While a wedding is truly about the bride and groom, I can’t imagine a bride and groom that wouldn’t want to celebrate with their families and their friends!

teahouse said...

I'm sorry things are in such turmoil, VB. I don't really have anything to add to whatever's already been said by the other commenters, except that your bro and his fiancee seem to know that their choice of getting married in Maui will likely exclude the whole family. And that's their choice, and they'll have to live with it.

If you do go, you can send them this e-card:

Fluffycat said...

My brother got married in Hawaii too, but didn't invite anyone. I guess you can wait until he decides before you buy your tickets, but I totally recommend it.

Also you should suggest Vegas because it's closer to you all and there are all kinds of cheap wedding packages there. Ooh and male strippers!

wfboland77 said...

Who cares let him get married where he wants. If no one goes that's his problem. Your mom is probably right about him changing his mind eventually.