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My Big Fat Courthouse Wedding

Photo by Janon Khaja

When I was younger and way before my “big girl life” took over, I used to spend countless hours looking at pictures of wedding gowns and planning my dream wedding. I had it all picked out: an October wedding, I would wear a lace dress, carry sunflowers down the aisle, have a guitar playing as I floated down the aisle locking arms with both of my parents.


However, I didn’t have an October wedding, I didn’t wear lace, I didn’t have a guitar player, and there were no sunflowers. I wore a dress I bought the day before with my mom at JCPenny, and the only flowers were on my gold flower sandals.

My parents were there, his parents were there, as well as my Gram, our children, my sisters, and one of my best friends.

We had been living together, and already had a child. We shared bills, which showed us that we didn’t have a lot of money to spend, but still wanted to get married. And, we got married on a Tuesday morning. We spent about $100 on everything, including our trip to McDonalds for large drinks after the ceremony.

We went to the courthouse and handed over a reasonable amount of cash, about 18 dollars, and we picked a pretty spot to exchange our vows and make it official. I put a $30 Walmart ring on his finger, and he put my engagement ring on mine. He then gave my daughter her own ring, too. I got to hold our son, have my daughter by my side, and was surrounded by most of the people I love. I cried when I said my vows and smiled for pictures taken with cell phones.

So, I didn’t spend days, weeks, and months planning a wedding. We talked about having a small ceremony after we had saved enough money, but life happened and there were too many bills to pay.

I am not any less married than I would be if I did all of those things. Weddings have become less about making a commitment and more about the show. According to www.costofwedding.com, the average couple in the United States spends $25,000 on their wedding, while we spent $100. This does not include the honeymoon, either, which costs on average of $4,466, according to www.about.com .

Perhaps I am cheap or simply in denial. Is a wedding day that important when you look back on the day? My favorite memories were spontaneous moments, or those when I knew things would never be the same: when I graduated college, when I found out that I would become a single mom, when I met my future husband, when I got the call offering my first job, when I found out that I would be having a son, and seeing those children for the first time.

All of those moments, and so many more, were free.

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