Ah. Here we go. Meg, the Wedding Undergraduate… and a young wedding undergraduate at that. We’d been engaged for two and a half months when I wrote this. What can I say to give you perspective? We were engaged for 18 months, and at the very beginning I was enamored with all the pretty things, and after a short flirtation with the pretty, I got really angry (at that point there were about two sane wedding resources on the web). I think this was about when I read about the “budget bride” who only had a “gospel choir and a string quartet” to stay thrifty (sadly, a true story) and totally snapped. Then, things were calm, until the economy totally fell apart, which was hugely stressful on it’s own, but didn’t help the strain of paying for a wedding. And then in the months before the wedding things got hard again. There was alcohol to buy and friends to organize and RSVP’s to deal with. And then, then there was wedding zen and it was bliss, and the wedding, which was better than bliss. But before all that there was rage.
I’ve been feeling some rage recently with the Wedding Industry. Actual rage. Like, step away from the computer, step away from the wedding magazines, this isn’t healthy, rage. You know why? I think we are all being set up. I think the whole game is rigged. If you play by the wedding industry rules, it is a no win situation.
Here is the thing. How many times do you see pictures or read a article about a really beautiful wedding, and get sucked in? “Gosh,” you say to yourself, “This really is a beautiful wedding. I want a wedding like this! How did they do it?” And then you start breaking down the details: The venue $20K, food $50K, bar tab $20K, dress $10K, second dress $8K, photographer $12K, invites $3K, flowers $6K, cake $3K, event planner – best in the business. And then you say to yourself. “Well, cr*p, no wonder they had a nice effing wedding.” And you slam the wedding magazine or your computer shut.
Now, none of this is totally fair. Everyone deserves to have a nice wedding, and people that have more money to spend on their event deserve a nice wedding as much as anyone. Plus, money doesn’t mean taste. You can spend half a million on a wedding and have it be a tasteless train wreck. So, we should totally applaud the tasteful high end wedding, and draw inspiration from it. Right?
Right. To a extent. The problem comes in the fact that no one ever tells brides what these weddings they are admiring cost. You look at the beautiful dress a bride is wearing, and you think to yourself, “Oh goodness, why isn’t my dress that nice? Maybe I should get a nicer dress.” And in that way, we are all set up for failure, or mountains of debt. And either way, we lose.
You know who we should be admiring? Classy budget brides. Couples who eloped, had a lovely and meaningful wedding, and didn’t spend a penny. We can all keep admiring those high end weddings, but every time we should mentally put a price tag on it. Nice wedding. $150K. Is one day worth that to me?