For richer or poorer


PLANNING a June wedding for Heather? Well, get ready for the Big Bang to your savings account. Get a hold of yourself and your checkbook, you're in for a real shockeroo.

Your daughter's wedding may cost you the price of a Cadillac convertible, maybe two.

Call me the Wedding Spoiler, but I think expensive weddings are absurd, even though they seem to be still "in" during a recession.

In the recent comedy "Father of the Bride," comedian Steve Martin as the father says in his opening line, "I used to think weddings were a simple affair . . ." and from that remark on he gets blitzed by wedding frills and a roller coaster of unreasonable costs that make him bonkers but will make you laugh. That is, if you aren't planning Heather's wedding for this June.

In "Father," the parents of the bride-to-be hire a wedding coordinator who has more extras than a car salesman. The cake, the flowers, the music, the clothes, the food, the swans for the back yard and the parking attendants come to around $250 a head for 500 people for this show of shows.

In case you didn't know it, February is wedding planning time, according to department stores and wedding coordinators.

Beware of the phrase, "We want a small wedding, Mom." It has no meaning.

When you hear wedding bells in your daughter's future, you must know that it's goodbye to that trip around the world you thought you'd make someday. Instead, you may be paying for a production to match "Ben Hur" for the rest of your life.

I am invited to a March wedding. I have a printout form from a department store's bridal registry. It's a businesslike list of items the bride and groom want and have already received -- all this so as not to duplicate gifts. A good idea really.

Among the suggestions listed for the wedding I will be attending are the most expensive Lenox, the most expensive stemware -- Waterford -- antique lace and sterling silver.

Would you believe this couple has a guest room and a guest bathroom that they must furnish.

Listen to this. The printout says they have only two pot holders.

These poor kids. Just starting out their life together with designer china and silverware, they would need, I think, at least 20 more pot holders. Whatdya think? Maybe that's what I will get them.

How many pot holders does it take to make a good marriage?

All this for yupplings who probably will not be eating in anyway.

Now, wait, don't go away, there are tips for these shower gifts.

Their kitchen colors are black, white and pink. And their bedroom colors are light purple, pumpkin and forest green. And oh yes, I left out the color of the magnets they want for their fridge -- black.

Geez, I could not sleep or even fool around in a bedroom with those colors even if I were newly married.

Who said the '80s gimme-gimme era was over? No so. The days of wine and roses, glitz and greed are not kaput.

The bride- and groom-to-be have already got more for their wedding than we have obtained over a 48-year marriage. Our starter stuff was orange-crate furniture and some hand-me-downs from my mother.

However, I will pray at the church service that the father and mother can afford this wingding. And I will pray hard that the groom's family shares the cost -- Ann Landers says that's OK now. Hey, how many pot holders DOES it take to make a good marriage? And what color?

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