A couple of months back, while in Tokyo, I proposed to Mercedes. I mean, she is the love of my life and that’s what you do, right? Putting that engagement ring on that woman’s finger unleashed a mode that I don’t know if I’m exactly comfortable with: wedding planning. Last weekend, we made the trek up to the Atlanta area to scout venues for our ceremony and reception. We visited one particular venue in Gwinnett County—my first time venturing into that area since my relationship fallout from early last year. The place we visited was actually pretty good. They had a traditional chapel setup for the ceremony and one of the things I noticed that neither Mercedes or the coordinator spotted was the way the sun shined through the windows. If we were to have an early evening wedding in the summer months, the sun would be shining directly on the aisle while the seats on both sides would be mostly in the shadows. Moving along because I spent more font on that than I wanted to, the area where a potential reception would be hosted was kinda elaborate. Apparently, we’d come from upstairs to downstairs and there would be a little bit of an elevated floor for the first dance. Then, we started looking at seating alignments and food packages and music packages and activities and stuff. Like I wrote, it was really elaborate. But not only that, it was mad expensive. It reminded me of a wedding I attended earlier this year. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Celestin Wedding.
How I first came across this moment? Back in March, I accompanied Mercedes, as her plus-one, to the wedding of her best friend, Rudie, in Coral Gables. It was my South Florida debut. I sat in attendance at the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables for a fine event…the ceremony and the reception were truly remarkable.
What it meant to me then? It was the first wedding I had attended since dropping in on Tampa for the wedding ceremony that united my co-best friend, Deondrea, and her husband back in 2011. Because Mercedes was a bridesmaid and participant in the ceremony, I sat alone and took it all in. The area of the hotel where they had the ceremony was really swanky. I would imagine just using the staircase to come down was a good $5000 alone…never mind the seating, the floral, the audio, and all of the other ancillary stuff that make wedding ceremonies such pizazz-infused events. Then came the reception, where we were all upstairs for a cocktail hour, complete with high boy tables and this incredibly dimmed blush lighting. The ambiance was crazy. The food was solid, the cake was good. The music was pretty decent. It was an all-around good time. I sat at one of the “important” tables with Mercedes, her mother, a couple of the other bridesmaids, and a couple of kids. Yeah, you guess it…I was the only man at the table. It was still a great time. I had plenty of fun. I even gave a legit effort in trying to catch the bride’s garter in my attempt to complete Item 44 on my bucket list. But man, being there felt mad expensive.
What it means to me now? That was a little over a ½ year ago. Although it’s arguably the best wedding I’ve ever attended, all I can think about when it comes to my memory is the cost. I’m willing to bet that it cost no less than $40,000…at least, it looked like it cost that much. I don’t know if I’m ready—or even willing—to invest that much into an event that covers 5 hours, at best. It’s really a low return on investment. Given how Mercedes and Rudie are kind of on the same wavelength, Lord help me.