February 13, 2007

Frugal love: How sweet it is

Just now, I happened to catch a snippet of Danny Deutsch on CNBC.

Tonight, the night before Valentine's Day -- an occasion worthy of an expected $17 billion in spending this year -- Deutsch had a segment on "Platinum Weddings." The WE network show features couples who spend the really big bucks -- $500,000 -- on the Big Day.

Who needs that? I mean, seriously? The segment said these weddings feature an attention to detail, immense planning and great entertainment for guests.

OK, let's address that last bit first: The wedding's for you, not the guests. Sure, you hope the guests have a nice time. But if they don't, so what? This day belongs to you.

Next: Immense planning. Isn't a wedding tough enough?

And finally, attention to detail? Should I have the opportunity to be married, don't get me wrong: There are definitely some things I'd like to have just a certain way. But I believe a wedding day, much like any other day, should have room for all the fun bits of unexpectedness that make life what it is.

Of course, I've always said love need not be expensive. But this Valentine's Day has proved it.

First, a little back story: A few weeks ago, I told my dearest boyfriend about my disappointing college Valentine's experience.

It was junior year, and I was dating quite the romantic: The kind who would bring a single rose to our dates from time to time for the first few months we dated. (After that, of course, only when he needed to make up for something.)

On Valentine's Day, almost a year into dating, this boy did all the right things. He brought me a dozen red roses, took me for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant and gifted me with chocolates and a movie.

As the night wore on, however, I noticed this guy wasn't smiling much. Being naive, I asked why -- and he, being honest to a fault, told me he'd felt compelled to do all those perfect things.

Gee, thanks, Honey.

I think I frightened my poor new boyfriend with that miserable story. But he, ever clever, wasn't phased.

Instead of sending roses, he drew me a rose -- one that, though it has no nice scent, will last much longer than a bunch of long stems.

It cost no more than a sheet of paper, an envelope, some sketching time and a stamp, but it made me much happier than a dozen roses, fancy dinner and bag of chocolates given under compulsion.

So rich gals may have platinum weddings if they like. I, however, have an old-fashioned, inexpensive love note.

And that's worth more than platinum to me.