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.