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A few notes about the wedding.

When we decided to get married, MDW’s parents were none too pleased (they eventually came around, I’ll write about it one day), and my parents were on the other side of the Pacific. This meant that we did everything ourselves, err that should have read MDW did everything herself. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t help, it’s just that I was living in Lake Tahoe and she was in San Jose.

We decided to keep costs to a minimum, and we managd to deliver the whole thing for almost exactly $400 (including my wedding suit). But thanks to MDW’s brilliance you can’t tell from the photographs that it was so cheap (unfortunately I don’t have the photos here to show you) . Here’s how we did it…..

The wedding ceremony was held at the Japanese Buddhist Temple in San Jose. It was a beautiful building with even more beautiful gardens, and only cost whatever donation you could afford, the catch is you have to be buddhist. After working things out with the minister he was happy to give us the temple and his services for $50. MDW had many friends willing to help (she’s that sort of person), and one in particular offered her house for the reception. Now I should tell you, her husband was the CEO of Memorex so it wasn’t a bad place.

MDW hand wrote all the invitations, and also made a deal with the florist (the most expensive single item in the whole affair, at around $180) to come in and decorate the church, and after the ceremony, grab everything and take it to the reception and decorate that as well. When she told me how much the flowers cost, we almost didn’t get married, I just went ballistic. But then when I actually how spectacular everthing looked, I was really happy about it.

The wedding cake was a three tier chocolate cake and the figures on top were bought at a craft fair in SJ. As we were going to Australia almost immediately after the wedding, the invitations asked that no presents be given as they would be impossible to take with us. However, the invitations also stated that it would be a ‘pot luck’ reception and that a plate of some sort would be greatly appreciated (you wouldn’t believe what an effect this had on people, everyone felt they were a part of it, not just an invited guest).

Everyone who came up from LA gave money because that’s what Japanese do anyway. And in a stange twist, even though we asked for no gifts (and meant it), people seemed uncomfortable not giving anything, so everybody from SJ gave money too. We ended up with nearly $3,000 which in 1980 wasn’t too shabby. Unfortunately most of it went on airfares, which were actually more expensive back then than they are now.

The alcohol was given to us a a wedding gift by my friend Claude (I can say his name because he died about three years ago), who owned this restaurant (click on it for a better look), and included a case of champagne, three cases of wine and fifteen cases of beer (everything was Australian). The rings were a separate expense but we managed to have matching gold and ruby for her and silver and sapphire for me, custom made for $380.

However on our 10th anniversary I replaced hers with a 1 carat diamond engagement ring (something she never had) and a wedding ring made up of 1/2 a carat worth of baguettes, at a cost of around $10,000. Talk about inflation!!

Just one more thing, there was something about MDW’s wedding dress, it wasn’t actually a wedding dress, but I forget the story. I’m having lunch with her today so I’ll ask.


18 Responses

  1. Absolutely stunning.

  2. Love, love, LOVE this post :)!You told Chas (and yeah, your comment was vintage Willowtree :)–it’s the kinda thing you left with me early on that kept me coming back for more) that “wimmin love it when you cry”, but I’m here to tell ya, we love a good, old-fashioned, romance-laden wedding tale, and this one is as good as it gets. MDW (YDW?) is beautiful and I can’t wait for her dress story.Humor (the reason you used Claude’s real name made me snort), sacrifice, hand-written invites, flowers on wheels, and the rock on her finger 10 years later, combine for a story worth remembering and telling. You should write about this some time…;). Now I just have an 8-letter obnoxious w.v.

  3. Great story! I too am waiting on the dress story. Enquiring minds want to know. Again, YDW is stunning. Glad I was able to get over here before you swapped this photo out.

  4. I had a big, stupid wedding and you’re making me feel extra stupid now.

  5. there were 8 people at my wedding including the minister.At a friends house by the fireplace.

  6. ps. and this was another good read. I almost forgot to say that

  7. Willowtree, you sir AGAIN with the wonderful romantic post. You really are great at this. seriously this was a wonderful peek into your beginnings and your wife is a stunning woman. But I have to tell you that I wtf’d when I got to the end where it says in true romantic story book manner; “…And finally a picture to show why it was all worthwhile” and its your wife with some OTHER DUDE.” ok so like how is THAT worth it??? *chortle* what did I miss????

  8. Nice pics 🙂

  9. PS I ‘ve BEEN to that temple. It is indeed gorgeous and the thing is that the magic of the place is awesome too. It comes from all that insense and quietness. And the huge Budhas all around making you feel small and quiet. It is a magical place so you started from a wonderful place.

  10. sigh…that was a wonderful story. And the fact that after all this time, you obviously still adore your wife, that is awesome!!

  11. I wished I had done the same thing… My future-ex-husband and I had a planned elopement to Jamaice to the tune of $6000. Throw in all the Jamaican rum and we could have had a nice downpayment on a house….which I would have taken from him in the divorce.Hindsight is 20/20

  12. Exquisite. She really is. Great story.Marnie’s right. Hindsight is 20/20. I could have put one of my children through a whole year of college with what I spent! Of course by the time they get to college, it would probably only cover a semester 😦

  13. Good lord I am jealous. We spent $15,000. Look at what we could have had if we were Buddist, lived in California and smart. Ah, regrets.ps. She is beautiful!! But I second pixielyn – a picture of her with SOMEONE ELSE????

  14. pixielyn and cpa mum: Hey that’s no Dude, that’s her father! I used this pic because all the wedding photos are at the other house, and I only have a few up here with me, and this one is a better one of her.Who would have thought that being a cheapskate could sound so romantic!Thanks again everyone for your kind words, its what makes me keep writing.btw, the flowers in her hair and in his lapel were all part of the deal, as was the thing she was holding in the other pic(a drop or a fall or something).

  15. Shit! This should have been in the story:- the wedding photos were taken by the husband of one of MDW’s friends. He was studying photography at the time and gave us some positives but importantly, all the negatives, some of which were medium format (2″ negs)

  16. But he doesnt look like the father in the “in law” picture on Fridays post. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Are you serious?All in all either you win the cheapest and most awesome weddign with the pulling of all those strings or else your wife lied to you and it cost way way way more because that was one beautiful wedding for only 400 including flowers and clothes.!!

  17. btw. I’m so dying to know how you brought up your wedding and her weddign dress without spilling it that you are exposing all the tidbits of the wedding on a blog? She must have thought you in a particularly mushy romantic reflective mood today at lunch!!!!oh and what is the time difference between there and pacific time in the states???

  18. What has happened to me? I’m getting all misty eyed over a wedding story? Great post!!!

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