A wedding and a funeral.

My brother is getting married in April. It’s exciting. I’m a bridesmaid. It’s costing me a lot of money. Do you know what I’ve had to pay for so far? A Shower gift, my dress, alterations on said dress, shoes and a tiara for the bride, because I’m an awesome sister-in-law-to-be. When all is said and done, I’ve probably spent five hundred dollars. Oh, and I’ll have to pay for my hair and make-up the day of the wedding.

So say I will end up spending six hundred dollars. On a one day event. And I’m a bridesmaid. I don’t even want to know how much they are spending on the entire wedding/decorations/favors because I may throw up. I mean, I’ve been in a long-term relationship with a dashing fellow for six years, so the next logical step would be to talk about marriage. But I can’t really think logically right now because I’m just baffled at the price of weddings.

Let me tell you a little something about myself. Before I worked in a funeral home I worked in a bridal salon. Seriously, I sold wedding dresses. I was really good at selling wedding dresses. Do you know how much an average bride paid for her dress? Around one thousand dollars. Seriously. And I watch Say Yes to the Dress, so I know there are crazy women who pay much more. Now, I call them “crazy”, however you may think differently. You may be saying, “Well, Lauren, it is a special day that will happen (hopefully, but most likely not in our society) once in a lifetime.” A wedding is  huge life event.  The total average wedding spending for 2011 was $25,631, according to www.theweddingreport.com. In 2009 the average cost of a funeral was $6,560 (www.nfda.org).

Seriously. People will spend twenty-five thousand dollars for a wedding, yet complain and moan if a funeral runs them over five grand. This baffles my mind. I seriously become speechless. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a funeral just as much a “once in a lifetime event” as a wedding? Sure, instead of being the happiest day of your life, it may be the saddest, but both are still rights of passage, are they not? Why is it then, that people can justify one and not the other? I’ve heard my fair share of excuses, please don’t get me wrong. My mother doesn’t want any fancy service because she’d rather I spend the money on myself. And that’s justifiable. It is. But my mother gives me nothing but the best. When the time comes it will greatly help me along my grief journey to know that I was able to give her the best that I could within my means. It’s the last thing I’ll be able to do for her, after all.

This however, is completely my own opinion. I may be biased because I work in a funeral home, though. Maybe not. All I know is when I have a family come into the funeral home and complain about the price of a funeral service for their mother, but on this women’s left finger is a rock that probably costs more than I make in a year I get a little mad. I’m sorry, I do. I never once had a bride complain about the price of a wedding dress. The reaction I’d normally get was “Fifteen hundred, is that all!” Seriously. I’m not lying. People will look for any excuse to justify spending a large amount of money on anything they want. However, when pop inconveniently dies and hasn’t made pre-arrangements (see what I did there?) and leaves his three kids to foot the bill no one steps up. Everyone actually takes three steps back. Maybe my priorities are different from everyone else. Maybe you’re mad at me for writing this because there is obviously such a large difference between a wedding and a funeral and how dare I compare the two costs. Or maybe I just got those wheels in your head turning a little bit. Or option number three, you’re drunk because it’s St. Patrick’s Day and you couldn’t make sense of anything I’ve written. Who knows.