If there’s any aspect of a wedding that proves it’s all about the women, it’s flowers.
I mean, I like flowers as much as the next person, but my feelings about them are the same as my feelings about the red-tailed hawks that live near our house: they’re beautiful to look at, but I’d prefer not to have one pinned to my lapel.
I’m a nature-lover, you see, and I’m against plucking petunias in the primes of their petal-packing lives just to decorate a dinner. Also, I’m allergic to many flowers. Also, they cost a fortune.
If men were in charge of wedding planning, it would be more like a prom: “Here’s your corsage, let’s go.”
Fortunately for the florist industry, men are not in charge of wedding planning.
That’s why the bride has a bouquet. And the bridesmaids have bouquets. And there are flower girls. And the men in the wedding party have boutonnieres, and there are elaborate centerpieces on the tables so that, in order to talk to the person opposite you, you have to part the bushes like Arte Johnson in Laugh-in.*
Then there are wristlets for the grandmothers, and flowers for the bathrooms, and petals all over the place. Oh, and there’s evidently a separate bouquet just for the bride to toss, because she wouldn’t want to toss the real bouquet because…well, I don’t know why the hell not, but I feel sorry for the poor woman who catches the fake one and thinks she’s going to get married soon.**
And, in addition to all the flowers regular people have, Jews need a huppah.
The huppah, or chuppah (depending on how much phlegm you can bring up), is a canopy under which Jewish couples get married. It symbolizes the home in which the couple will share their lives together and also comes in handy for outdoor weddings during rain storms.
Traditionally, a huppah is a cloth held up by four poles, or four people, or four Polish people. But, like most things associated with Jewish rituals in America (see: Bar Mitzvah; roaming magician), the huppah has gotten much more elaborate, and is frequently adorned with intricate floral arrangements. In fact, in Hawaii, it is held up by four scantily-clad dancers and is called a … wait for it…
Where was I?
Right–planning my daughter Casey’s October wedding. The flowers were the last major thing on our list. Casey and my wife Barbara went to two different florists for their ideas and estimates. Flowers were the one thing for which we didn’t have a budget in mind, because who the heck knows what flowers cost? When we got the estimate from the first place, it prompted this exchange between Barb and me:
- Barb: They want $295 for each centerpiece!
- Me: Is that a lot?
- Barb: I…have no idea.
- Me: Well, what’s the total cost for everything?
- Barb: Well, it’s starts at $8,500 and it goes to…
- Me: Really, you can stop there.
It’s hard to be educated consumers when you’re dealing with florists. For instance, here’s the description of the $250 bridal bouquet which I cut and pasted directly from the proposal:
BRIDAL BOUQUET-HAND TIED STYLING TO INCLUDE WHITE, IVORY AND NATURAL GREEN TONED FLOWERS; POSSIBLY A TOUCH OF BURNT ORANGE HYPERICUM BERRIES, INCLUDING CYMBIDIUM ORCHIDS, CURLY WILLOW TWIGS, EUCALYPTUS SEEDS, DUSTY MILLER FOLIAGE TEXTURE AND FREE-FORM FLOW. THE STEMS WILL BE FINISHED IN AN IVORY SATIN RIBBON WRAP.
That seems like a lot of stuff, so maybe it is worth $250. You look at something like that, and all you have are questions, like:
- Will the bride need help carrying all that?
- What the hell is a hypericum berry?
- Can we save some money by using straight willow twigs instead of curly ones?
- Can we save money by not having the orchids imported from the planet Cymbid?
- Who is Dusty Miller?
- Is it cheaper if we don’t have all capital letters?
In reference to #3 above, why do we need any sort of willow twigs? Here’s a picture of curly willow twigs, and they look like…twigs. I can pick up some random branches in my backyard; can we use those? Or maybe we should just have everyone carry logs around.
The proposal also included pin spots ($75 each) to “highlight the centerpieces.” I figure for $295, the centerpieces shouldn’t need any highlighting. They should be screaming, “HEY! LOOK AT US!” all on their own.
And have you heard of a “well wish” box? Apparently, you’re supposed to leave note cards and a pen at each table so that guests can write their wishes and deposit them in the well wish box to eventually make their way into the wedding scrapbook. How about our guests just write their wishes on Facebook, huh? At this rate, if there’s going to be any sort of a box, it’s going to be for donations.
Fortunately, the estimate from the second florist–the one that Barb and Casey liked better anyway–was much cheaper than the first one. However, it went into much less detail. It was just, like “Centerpieces: $150 each.”
And you know what? I was fine with that.
See you soon.
*And he’d be dressed as a German soldier, and he’s say “Very interesting, but stupid,” and, OMG, how friggin’ old am I?
**Casey reminds me that she caught the substitute bouquet at her friend’s wedding last year and will, in fact, be the first of that group to get married. Of course, there’s no way of knowing who she’d be marrying if she had caught the real bouquet.