Wedding bells and bills | Inquirer Opinion
Love.Life.

Wedding bells and bills

/ 06:39 PM March 25, 2015
Illustration by Lucille Tungol

Illustration by Lucille Tungol

“Will you marry me?”

When my then boyfriend, now fiancé, asked it, I didn’t realize it was a million-dollar question.

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And I mean literally.

“Love don’t cost a thing,” as singer Jennifer Lopez had said.

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No.

Sorry, J-Lo, but I don’t buy that. Love does cost a thing. It costs an arm and a leg. Although I believe that love is the most exquisite thing one can ever have in life, we do get broke when we fall head over heels in love. This time I mean figuratively.

Months after my fiancé and I got engaged, we started preparing for the wedding. We began a year early from our chosen date to have plenty of time to plan. I have heard stories about the horrors of organizing a wedding and I definitely have no intention of becoming a bridezilla on D-Day.

With dreamy eyes, we marched to the church where we wanted to say our I dos. I remember being lost in reverie at the time as I imagined how magical it would feel like to be walking down the aisle in my long white gown, believing I’m the most beautiful girl in the world.

Ay, ma’am, bale P17,000 po lahat ang babayaran ninyo. Kasama na po doon ‘yung singers, flowers, candles at stipend para kay Father.”

And I was out of trance.

Kailangan niyo na pong mag-down ng kalahati kung gusto niyong ma-reserve na ‘yung date.”

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Is it refundable? No.

We have friends who sing well. Can we strike out the singers in the package? No.

We have a supplier for the flowers. Can we just cancel the flower fees? No.

I have extra candles at home. Can we remove the candles on the list? No.

No wonder a lot of people don’t want to get married in church, I thought.

Yeah, all we need is love. But a bit of greasy, creamy and chocolatey food in between won’t hurt. I am aware that one of the easiest ways to please our guests is to go through their stomach.

With that in mind, we were ready to splurge out a little on the reception. I told my fiancé I could wear a simple bridal gown as long as we could spare more money for the food.

I even told him if worse comes to worst, I don’t mind renting a gown for the weddingwhich he rejected right away.

“Ma’am meron po kaming Simply Elegant Wedding Package. P79,000 lang for 30 persons.”

Ano po? ‘Yun na po ang ‘simple’ sa inyo?

“Yes, ma’am. Pero elegante naman.”

Is this the final price? No. The 10 percent service charge fee and 12 percent VAT are not yet included.

Are the drinks bottomless? No. Only a glass of iced tea or soda is included in the package. If your guest drinks more than one glass, it’s P95 for each.

Can we bring our own wine for the toast? No.

Our friend is going to do our cake. Can we just remove it from the package? No.

Oh, this garden looks nice. Can we use it? Yes. But you have to pay an additional P25,000 for that.

It was a bitter pill to swallow.

I never imagined time would come when love could be so commercialized and that happiness would come with a price tag.

That’s why until now, I still negotiate with my fiancé about how we are going to settle down. I believe that life after the wedding is more important and should be more carefully planned than the wedding itself.

I tried to convince him to consider a civil ceremony which is way much cheaper, or maybe go on a boat ride with just the two of us and the solemnizing officer, or perhaps elope and get married outside the country.

But he is hell-bent on giving me the wedding that he thinks I deserve. He’s passionate about the idea of celebrating this important occasion with our family and friends. After all, he said, wedding is not just a union of him and I. It’s a union of our families.

Happiness has a price, he said, but it’s the kind of price he is willing to pay.

He believes our wedding ceremony doesn’t have to be grand—he just wants it to be true.

The truth, for him, is for once—just once—our love story deserves a fairytale.

Well, what do I say to that?

I do.

Caroline E. dela Cruz is an online ESL teacher to Korean students. She and her fiancé are still exploring options for their wedding that will fit their taste and most especially their budget. And since “lampas na sa kalendaryo ang edad ko,” she said would do everything in her power for the wedding to push through at all, well, cost.

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TAGS: bills, love, wedding expenses, weddings
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