Save Your Money, Kids!
Goodnight, young lovers, wherever you are. Another school year has gone. A new beginning looms on the horizon. When those school doors open in September, you’ll embark on a journey of learning, growing, and, yes – oh yes – maybe you’ll even fall in love. Love is really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
…Well, I guess you’re too young to know, so I’ll tell you. Yes, love IS what it’s all about. It’s all that matters.
Grades don’t matter. Your extra-curriculars don’t matter (Unless you’re really really good at football. This is America, so being good at football will always matter. Even one touchdown in a friendly scrimmage will be something to tell your children’s children). Your part-time job doesn’t matter (Just kidding! I know adults are taking all your part-time jobs). Your volunteer work reading to the elderly DEFINITELY doesn’t matter (Entertaining the elderly has been perfected by the nineteen hours per day of judge shows running on basic cable. You’re actually hurting them as you sit there with your copy of Great Expectations. Upon reading Great Expectations, you may suspect pain was Dickens’s intention in the first place. I’m not a literary scholar or a psychologist, but that my always my theory, too).
And, finally, your prom doesn’t matter. I know! I know! It must look like I’m contradicting myself. I just told you that love was the whole purpose of life, and, now, here I am, telling you that prom – the essential expression of young love – doesn’t matter. It’s true. Sweeties, I’ve seen you on Facebook, Instagram, and the Today show with your expensive dresses, your Hummer-limos, your hairstylists fashioning the perfect up-do, your make-up artists and manicurists, and – oh – your prom-posals. Your ever-more elaborate – and annoying – prom-posals. This is madness! It is expensive and silly and just has to stop!
Prom is just a party, and it’s a school party, at that. Do you honestly think prom is going to be the most magical night of your life? Trust me: just as life gets better, parties get better. Any party where sex and drinking are discouraged will be referred to as a “funeral” from here on out. Especially taking into account your lack of part-time employment, this is a colossal and stupid waste of money. Where are you even getting the money to hire Drake to rap, “Go To Prom With Me, Ashley”? Is that your bar mitzvah money? That was supposed to be for college!
Yeah, college. College is expensive. I’m sure everyone tells you that. I’m not worried about that today, though. You’ll get bar mitzvah money, confirmation money, savings bonds, and scholarships (You play football and read to the elderly, after all). I’m here to talk to you about parties. Actually, I’m here to talk to you about the most important party of your life – your wedding!
Sure, you have stuff to do first. You want to go to college, experience some of the world, pick a career and excel in it. You don’t want to rush into marriage! That’s great! There’s no need to rush – but there is a need to save. Weddings are expensive and important expressions of adult love and life choices. Two adults choose each other for joint bank accounts, insurance policies, child-rearing, and eventual silent “date nights.” You’ve seen the photos on Facebook and Instgram and the countless wedding planning shows on television. These are the truly magical nights. Your wedding is required to be, not only the greatest party of your life, but also the greatest party that any of your guests ever attend.
My adult wedding season started just when your prom season ended. Do you know that, in the last month, I have been to weddings in which no private plane was chartered to whisk me to a tropical island? The bride and groom just went to a church and then something called a “hall” right in their own home town. I have been to weddings where the centerpieces did not contain rare exotic fish or Swarovski crystals. I’ve seen weddings where you couldn’t even find a generic crystal – not anyplace! Some people get married without platinum rims on the wheels of their horse-drawn carriages, without custom-made dresses, and without even one consultation with a wedding coordinator. Ask yourself why that is. Do you think there’s anyone who doesn’t want Beyonce to sing “Crazy in Love”to their family and friends? Trust me, they do. We all do. It’s just that, for most people, life gets in the way. Income becomes much less disposable. Couples get practical. They buy houses, contribute to 401Ks, and once they see how much even the basics of weddings cost, the same people who hired Danica Patrick to drive their prom limo make conservative adult choices.
Getting married is a big deal, and wanting to make a big deal out of it is natural, so go to college, get a good job, and save your money. Someday, when you’re negotiating Judge Joe Brown’s officiating fee, you’ll thank me.