I thought I was safe.
Certainly, I knew I had my vulnerabilities; I had heard its shuffling feet in my brief contemplation of guest favors, and felt its cold fingers when contemplating if it was possible to combine the old/blue somethings into one item. But it wasn't until we completed the budget spreadsheet that the terrible truth became unavoidable:
The Wedding Zombie had gotten my brain.
Wedding Zombie is slow-moving but inexorable. It has no concept of money, knowing only of its relentless desire to feed. And its food is expensive. For example, the food, because the Wedding Zombie knows that even if you have never thrown a party more elaborate than "Super Bowl Potluck," you cannot be allowed to let your guests get away without at least three courses. It is a mindless thing, its consciousness formed by a tightly wound bundle of magazine articles, Barbie outfits, smug criticisms of other weddings you attend, vanities, and "it's just what you have to do." Nothing is examined, because the Wedding Zombie has no brain of its own. All it knows is that it wants yours.
You may think you can build zombie-proof armor out of good sense and strict budgeting, but Wedding Zombie knows your weaknesses. Because that kevlar vest has a hole right where your latent desire to own one fabulous designer dress is, and there's a fine crack in your goalie helmet that runs along your love of cheese, right up to the point where you fantasize about starting the reception with a personally curated cheese table that everyone will admire. And by the time you even realize the crack is there, it's too late, and the Wedding Zombie is already digging in to your hippocampus.
So what can you do? You can try to make a run to the bunker of elopement, but be aware that you may already be infected with latent spores, which will activate when you least expect them and you will find yourself suddenly compelled, well into your retirement, to stage an elaborate faux-wedding charade, depleting your 401k and confusing your grandchildren because you "didn't get to have a real wedding." Or you can fight back with blasts to the head with the shotgun of reality and enlist someone you trust to know you are too far gone and do the humane thing: Take you out back and cut up your credit cards.