Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How Dare you Break Up After a $3.5 Million Wedding?

Forbes compiled a list of the most expensive celebrity weddings, which was of interest to me as I hadn’t been invited to any of them. I didn’t feel hurt. We don’t actually know anyone on the list, which is headed by:

• Liza Minelli and David Gest: $3.5 million
• Paul McCartney and Heather MIlls: $3 million
• Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar: $2.5 million
• Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: $2 million
• Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky: $2 million

People are entitled to fly guests to a private island they rent, import thousands of exotic flowers and have an ice sculpture made of Rodin’s The Kiss, which was Keely Shaye Smith’s wedding gift to her husband, Pierce Brosnan. (A silver frame could, I suppose, seem tacky at a $1.5 million event). They had 120 guests, roughly the same number we did, and we brought it in for $4000 – kosher, yet, which adds to the cost! They should have used Papilsky Caterers.

We also did better than Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston, who laid out $1 million for a party that included 50,000 flowers to create a “Zen garden look”. Jen could have consulted me. I insisted the florist take the flowers from the shul after the ceremony and use them in the reception area. Not to boast, but our mariage outlasted the flowers.

I don’t know what the total of all the Trump weddings is, but the one to Melania Knauss, alone, ran about $1 million. I guess Donald didn't have the foresight to negotiate a bulk rate from the wedding planner. The bride's gown was made from 300 feet of satin beaded with 1,500 crystals, punctuated by a 13-foot train. That’s not something you get to wear again, which is why I spent $400 for the dress.

At $3.5, Liza Minnelli & David Gest topped the list and though they gave each of the guests personalized favors encased in satin candy boxes embossed "Liza and David 4 Ever," they divorced the next year - sans party favors. Our only extravagance: 21 miniature bouquets I threw to each of the unmarried women, calculated to preclude overly ripened, single alpha females getting into a brawl over a single bouquet.

Interestingly, 40% of the couples on the Forbes list are now divorced, including Brad and Jennifer, who are also on the most expensive celebrity divorce list, characterizing their union as a huge financial blunder. Specific to them is the Angelie Jolie factor, but the number of divorces on the list supports my theory that a lavish party can obscure the significance of making a commitment. That’s why it’s critical a couple reflect on whether the priority is the relationship or the excitement of wearing a Vera Wang and unlimited pigs in blankets.

I have a formula for what’s appropriate to spend on an event. If it’s enough to send a village of Cambodian children to school for a year, cut back on the band and lose the Viennese table. For every dollar above what a reasonable party costs, send the equivalent amount to charity. Squandering money doesn’t demonstrate generosity of spirit. It's self-indulgent and not an admirable way to launch your married life. Do you really want to be on a list with Liza Minnelli and Donald Trump?

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