Friday, July 27, 2007

The Seamier Side of Weddings

In November of 2005, the wonderful then-boyfriend Dave proposed to me. We were in Manhattan, New York, bringing an entirely perfect day to a close over martinis at 3AM. In the dim light of The Spice Market, he reached into his inside pocket and produced the little velveteen box that made my heart leap. He asked me to marry him, I sobbed "yes". It was magical.

Since then, I've been heavily involved in the much-less-magical task of wedding planning.

  • Phase one is where everyone bombards you with questions -- what's thedatewheresthewedding howmanyguestsdoyouhave adressletsseethering!... AUGH. That was November - December of 2005.

  • Phase two is when you start deciding things, largely to get people off your back. That would be January 2006.

  • Phase three is when you reel back in horror at how insanely expensive everything becomes the moment vendors smell a wedding. That lasted from January - May 2006.

  • Phase four is when you just learn to accept it, making meagre savings where you can. (I love you, Ebay...) This period was from June to about October 2006.

  • Phase five is when you rise above all that, and decide to just make it happen as best as can be done, with as minimal stress as possible. November 2006 until about now.

The moral of this story? That this process has lasted a long damned time. It's been educational, it's been a crash course in project management, and at times it's even been fun. (At the risk of inciting stereotypes, I reluctantly admit that dress-shopping with my parents has been the most fun part thus far.)

So, for your amusement, let me share with you the nuttiest parts of the wedding planning process.

Bridal sub-culture can be absolutely bizzarre. This is not news, given the fairly recent introduction of the term "Bridezilla", but what may be news is how insidious and prevalent this subculture actually is.

For instance, did you know that wedding-related issues can irreparably damage relationships between otherwise-sane people? On the bridal bulletin boards I frequent -- for advice and tips, honest! -- there's no end of women crying like children about how someone had the NERVE to wear some outfit (black, white, cleavage-y, whatever) to their wedding. "Don't they KNOW it's MY DAY?!?!" Or others who stopped being friends with their maid of honour due to the latter not perfectly performing imposed duties. Or others causing permanent rifts with moms or mother-in-laws for having different expectations for involvement. Or guests never forgiving some honest oversight in the guest list. This stuff really happens! Insane, eh?

So, when planning a wedding one must carefully navigate this emotional minefield. Having to keep this in the back of one's mind all the time is taxing, to say the least*. It's nuts.

Another crazy thing is the conspicuous absence of grooms in any bridal/wedding imagery. The only time a bride and groom are pictured together is in tux ads. Otherwise, it's bride-bride-bride. Magazines solely show brides on the cover; even Bride & Groom magazine features a title where BRIDE is written in 10cm-high-font, and the afterthought "& Groom" is hidden away in 2cm font. YES, I understand the marketing is geared towards women, but here's two compelling reasons why men should be included:

  1. If you are a bride, there's probably a groom. Marriage is the act of uniting two people. Without two, there is no marriage. Marriage is all about two... so when did this become THE BRIDE-ONLY SHOW?**

  2. When appealing to a single-gender audience, involvement of gorgeous members of the opposite sex is a good thing. Gillette and Budwieser understand this principle... why don't bridal vendors get it? Let's get some beefcake in those ads!
And, saving the best for last, the craziest part of the wedding experience are the models in the advertisements. Considering that weddings are still marketed to women as being the best/happiest/most important day of your life, one would think the visuals would correspond. They do not. Instead, the visuals present sullen, underfed girls moping in their veils, glowering in their lavish dresses, and generally giving off the impression of being utterly miserable.

Because, of course, that's exactly the kind of attitude that makes me wanna buy something! [snort] Yeah, right. Seriously, who makes up this stuff? These examples I found through a simple Google Image search... enjoy their silliness!

I can just see it now, if I turned up in that last getup... "Hey, Karla, I don't wanna alarm you, but a bird died on your head." LOL

*Luckily, due to the awesomeness of my family, friends, guests, etc, none of this unnecessary drama has happened... thank you! ^_^

**Note, I could also point out a related, but somewhat vulgar two-vs.-one parallel; the bride-only fixation on the singular is "causing it to go blind" (to the meaning of marriage). ;-)


Anonymous said...

I loved the blog.
After I stopped laughing,
I remembered the day you got your dress.
You looked beautiful in everything.
Love from Mum

Anonymous said...

you're right!!
Just as an observation when your Afi (granddad) and I went to Moores to get measured for the wedding day attire that we get to rent - alas no big capital expediture - they did not have a physical example of the product (in any design)?
Maybe I'll open a groom store - Maybe NOT!