The Wedding Industrial Complex

Two of my top two 2014 New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Get married
  • Do a bicycle tour in Europe

Also some of my New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Do not become obsessed with wedding planning
  • Do not blog incessantly about wedding planning

And I promise that I will do my best to stick to those last two. But first, I have to get this off my chest:

One of my oldest, dearest, closest, and most talented friends braved the blizzard last week to come from New York, just to attend the Great Bridal Expo with me. Although most of our wedding planning is (mostly) done, and I didn’t need to find vendors, we thought it would be fun to just go indulge in bride-y-ness.

Here we go!

Here we go!

It was much, much smaller than we expected, with maybe 2 dozen vendors, so that was a bit disappointing. I got talked into doing my wedding dress fitting in the middle of February, earlier than I would prefer, and then agreed to a wedding registry appointment at Bed, Bath & Beyond (I have no idea what happens during these, and we weren’t planning on registering for much, so we’ll see how this goes). Other than that, not much of interest. We hit the hotel bar while we waited for the fashion show to start. Alas, my mimosa was not strong enough. The fashion show was longer than we expected, with dresses of every style gracing the runway. Since we are both dressers (Broadway and Fashion Week), and I dressed more than one bridal show when I lived in NYC, we mostly critiqued the show – ripped petticoat, vest unbuckled, massive wrinkles, dress unhooked, several dresses pinned onto the models…. That’s okay, it was still fun.

Ah the fashion show...

Ah the fashion show…

However… I was kind of disgusted with the whole bridal industrial complex underlying this event. For starters, the registration card pissed me off – it wanted some demographics, which is fine.  But when the first question is about your anticipated wedding expenses, and the lowest category starts at $30,00o, I am immediately pissed off.

Yes, our budget is $5,000.

Yes, our wedding budget is $5,000.

How dare they start the budget at such a high price?! That means that any bride whose budget is less than that (and I’d like to hope there are many) automatically thinks she’s doing something wrong, or isn’t good enough, because she can’t afford at least a $30,000 wedding. Or she thinks it’s okay to go that deeply into debt to do so. That’s just horrifying to me. I realize that the average cost of a wedding these days is about $25,000, but I still think that is an unreasonable about of money to spend on one day.

The other thing that made me mad was the small box in our swag bags – Calorease. Yes, diet pills. So now we’ve all been told we aren’t good enough unless we are spending an annual salary to pay for our one-day event, and that we are fat and need diet pills. Wouldn’t samples of stress-reduction tea been a better idea?!

"weight management" my not-so-fat a$$!

“weight management” my not-so-fat a$$!


On the other hand, I was excited to see something completely unexpected in one of the wedding dress company catalogs – Citibikes! Yes, Camille La Vie-Group USA posed models in evening gowns draped on bright blue Citibikes in New York City!

I would color-coordinate my evening gown with the local bikeshare bikes, wouldn't you?

I would color-coordinate my evening gown with the local bikeshare bikes, wouldn’t you? (And note the full page of just bikes, no models!)

Not that they can easily ride a Citibike in these dresses....

Not that they can easily ride a Citibike in these dresses…. Not impossible, just not easy.

Seeing Citibikes in an evening dress catalog made me feel a bit better, and almost made up for the irritation of the first two issues.  See, bikes are really ARE everywhere!

I’m glad we went, because if we hadn’t seen all this, I wouldn’t be quite as happy ecstatic relieved happy about the fact that we are having a small, inexpensive wedding. For me, it’s more about having our closest friends and family in one place, for just one day. And that, as they say in the Mastercard commercial, is priceless.

Swag bag! Soon headed for the recycling.

Swag bag! Soon headed for the recycling.

But this might come in handy later!

But this might come in handy later!





6 thoughts on “The Wedding Industrial Complex

  1. I for one, do not mind hearing about wedding planning 🙂 I can’t fathom spending more than a couple grand on a wedding, my husband and I certainly did not and we are no worse for the wear. I suppose if that is really someones dream then go for it! But 30K is too rich for my blood.

  2. Goodness yes–the Wedding Industrial Complex is really frustrating. When we got married almost 5 years back (!!) my sister tried to get me on The Knot website. It was sooo focused on the commercial aspect of the wedding that it made me anxious and ill every time I tried to use it.

    We ended up spending about $3000 on our wedding, in part because we had it on my parents farm and “rented” chairs and tables from the local church. The majority of our budget was for food and fireworks–farm wedding on an Indian reservation. 🙂

    There are so many ways to have a fun wedding without going into debt over it!

    I can’t wait to see the results of the dress fitting!

    Congratulations, again!

    • We did a wedding website through The Knot, which means we’ll save money on printing all that unnecessary extra paper stuff (save the dates, RSVP cards, maps, etc.), so I am fine with that. Fireworks on a farm sound amazing! Ours is unintentionally Bavarian themed, and I love it! 🙂

  3. Have I congratulated you on your engagement? If not congratulations! How wonderful! And if so, well congrats again. 🙂 I share in your views about the wedding industrial complex. I’m involved in the early stages of wedding planning – something I know nothing about, even though this is a 2nd marriage for me. It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out!

    • Thank you! And congrats to you as well! I’m so glad we are doing a small wedding, and even then I’ve thought a few times about eloping. But I still want to celebrate with friends and family, so it’s all about the reception. (And my dress!)

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