The bride wanted a fairytale wedding: the groom was a cheapskate

Tracey Folly

What happens when the groom is very rich but also very cheap?

When my aunt met my uncle, she thought she had found a goldmine. He was a hard worker, a hearty saver, and he was very wealthy.

Unfortunately for my aunt, he was also very cheap.

He reused tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels. He refused to turn up the heat in the winter. He certainly didn't approve of air conditioning in the summer. There wasn't even an air conditioning unit to be found in the entire house.

Too hot? That's what windows are for. Fans? Those were reserved for only the very hottest days of the year, and at that, only at night when the heat made sleeping impossible.

Since my aunt traveled from another country to marry him, she didn't know about any of his not-so-endearing money-saving habits. The only thing she knew about him was that he was rich.

My aunt expected a fairytale wedding. She envisioned wearing an expensive white ballgown adorned with ruffles, lace, and bows. She wanted to walk down the aisle of a castle upon a red carpet that stretched as far as the eye could see.

After the wedding, she pictured a large venue with an open bar and platter after platter of baked chicken, medium-rare steak tips, lobsters, and shrimp with a towering white wedding cake to be cut and shared at the end.

She didn't get any of those things.

Instead, she got a cheap wedding in the basement of the three-family home that he owned. It was an unfinished basement with cracked concrete floors and an exposed foundation. There were tiny high-set dirty windows that didn't let in the light from outside.

The moldy basement was lit by bare lightbulbs that hung from wires overhead.

Her guests were surprised, but not overly so. My uncle's miserly reputation had preceded him.

The only refreshments were a single folding table against one wall that held cups of warm punch and a single-layer wedding cake that looked like it would be more at home at a child's birthday party than the happiest day of a couple's life.

She loved him and all, but there were some things she couldn't get used to. Like how he wouldn't pay for anything once they got married, which meant that she had no choice but to work hard and start saving her own pennies. She also hated having to cook everything herself—he would never eat or drink anything other than home cooking. Going out to dinner or picking up takeout was deemed too expensive.

But my aunt did love him, and she tried to make the best of it. She didn't have much of a choice.

Their first few years together were rough. But then came their second wedding anniversary.

It was a big surprise. They hadn't planned on celebrating until next year. Then, when they realized they'd missed it, they decided to throw a little something together.

"We'll just do it here," my aunt said. "No need to go out."

"That sounds great!" my uncle exclaimed. "Let's get started right away! We can finish up the dishes later."

They set about preparing for the celebration. Like the wedding, the anniversary party took place in the couple's still unfinished basement.

There was no cake, no punch, and definitely no wedding gifts. No gift baskets filled with food either. There were no bottles of wine and no cases of beer.

The celebration consisted of my aunt's homemade cookies and cakes placed on the same folding table that had once held the cake on their wedding day.

Unlike their wedding day, no one showed up to help celebrate. The guests from the wedding weren't about to fall for that again, even if my aunt had grudgingly gotten used to it.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Boston, MA
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