Monday, July 23, 2007

Money matters

I have always tried my best to have the open-minded outlook that other people's money and how they choose to spend it is none of my business. But now that I am in a position where people may be judging my financial choices related to my wedding, it makes me realize that not everyone shares this view, and it can be a pretty sore subject that keeps rearing its ugly head.

Exhibit A: My brother got married in NYC a month ago, in the incredibly spectacular Angel Orensanz Foundation. It was a beautiful wedding and it was perfectly suited to him and his new bride -- they are two classy, artistic people who really put their personal touch on every detail and threw an amazing party for their friends and family in celebration of their marriage.

This past weekend, we were visiting Mr. Blushing's relatives, and they were asking about the details of my brother's wedding. Without making any mention of how much things *may* have cost (because I don't know, nor do I think it is any of my business), I guess people still assumed it was an extravagant affair. The comment was made by someone that "a lot of hungry people could have been fed with the money from that wedding," and I was extremely caught off-guard (and pretty offended).

My main issues with this comment are as follows:

• The commenter is putting a dollar amount on something she really knows nothing about, not to mention that she has never met my brother or his wife but is making a judgment based solely on the fact that they had an NYC wedding. Well, NYC is where they live, so why wouldn't they have their wedding there?

• The commenter is assuming that one who spends a lot of money on something like a wedding is using said money only for one's own benefit and not using it to also feed the hungry, help the homeless, etc...... but can't one do both? Why are people with the means to live comfortably judged on that fact alone? Isn't it possible that they make large donations to help others, without making it public knowledge, in addition to spending money on themselves?

• The commenter has two daughters, neither of whom had large or lavish weddings. That is perfectly fine and wonderful if that is what they wanted. To each his own! I just have to wonder if, in lieu of having a large, expensive wedding, they actually DID use the money they may have spent on a wedding to instead feed the hungry, help the homeless, etc. If not, then what is really the difference between them spending next to nothing on a wedding or someone else spending several thousand dollars?

• If the commenter disagrees with how much money is spent on weddings, then why does she continue to attend those that she sees as being frivolous?

Later on, to Mr. Blushing, I expressed my anger at the remark that was made regarding my brother's wedding. I would have been offended by that comment at any point in time, but especially now when we are planning our own wedding and money is obviously an issue, well, I have become a bit more sensitive to the subject. Although we could never do this, Mr. Blushing brought up a funny proposition: when sending this family member a wedding invitation, why not let her know that if she would prefer, she can decline our invitation and we will donate the money that would have been spent on her meal to charity. Although it would put her in her place, I guess it's not really the adult thing to do! But you have to wonder if it would help her to put things in perspective a little bit. Probably not, but one can hope.

I guess that maybe I just need thicker skin, and I need to not worry about what other people think. But when it comes to money and what I choose to spend it on, I still stay firm in my opinion that is not something for anyone else to worry about or make assumptions about! Why is it that money is such a constant source of conflict, and why do we let ourselves be concerned with how others choose to spend what they have?

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