The Bridal-Industrial Complex

Regardless of your opinion on whether marriage as a legal/civil contract should exist, who should be allowed to enter into it, and how it relates to the religious ceremony of matrimony, you can hardly argue that there isn't a huge industry that has evolved around the wedding, or that there aren't societal expectations for women to desire the product of this massive industry.

Zuzu at Feministe links to a NYT article in which a reporter tags along with the author of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding to the Great Bridal Expo. The book comes out Monday.

The Wedding Day is sold to women as a day for the bride to be the center of attention, where she is the star, and where all her fantasies of being a princess are to be lived out. A modern wedding can cost as much as a new Mercedes-Benz, putting the newlyweds (and/or their parents) into debt at the outset. Harried brides-to-be spend months finding the perfect dress, shoes, flowers, cake, photographer, videographer....

Women (mostly, but men also) are sold the idea that Getting Married Changes You and Is Special. That the transition should include some sort of emotional trauma to prove that you're somehow different.

With a huge industrial complex built up around what should be a simple statement that these people are committing to each other, one begins to question why to do it at all.

And don't even get me started on the diamond companies, with their campaign that "he just doesn't love you unless he spends TWO MONTHS' SALARY on your ring." Not to mention the environmental impact or the gross human rights violations they perpetuate.

[This would have been a great WoW, but I didn't see zuzu's post until this morning.]

Comments

This is a great post any day!

My wedding was for my mother.

I wanted much smaller and much more intimate, instead it was an "event".

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks!

Mine was for me, and it wasn't without ... friction from my mom. I'm vegetarian, and she said, "if people don't have meat, they'll be unsatisfied." Uh, what? I'm strong-willed and stubborn, so I won that and all the other fights.

I wore green. We wrote our own vows, which were non-religious. Our music was 2 mix CDs that we burned. The concessions to the "right way" we made were the cake (best cake ever, and my grandma paid for it) and having a first dance. Other than that, it was a big party for us.

That sounds wonderful

Absolutely wonderful.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Don't get me started on this.

. . . but you already have . . . great post. I'll "grrrrrr" for awhile then come back when I can be more reasonable. My son is just recently engaged and the whole thing is already traumatic for me.

We've gone back over it time and again...

wishing we'd taken the money and taken everyone close to us off for a nice vacation.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I'm sure there have been bad "location" weddings

but every friend I've ever had who went that route was happy with it. It's the excuse to keep it small and those who aren't able to make the trip can have a big party for the newlyweds once they get back home.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

My son tells me in Japan

It's the couple's responsibility to create and pay for the wedding and all the trimmings. He and Akiko have been engaged for almost three years now, saving for the wedding, the reception, the dresses, and the house to live in afterward. Then, they plan on coming to the US and have an American church wedding, they plan on paying for that too. Our daughter has been married twice and she and her husbands paid for most of them, but they did ask for a little help. Guess we've been very lucky.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

I'll admit to a bit of envy

with the party, the rice, the first cheek-to-cheek dance, friends around to cheer... and most of all, that legal piece of paper that says you've officially jumped de broom. Husbear and I have been together a dozen years and hope for a couple dozen more (G'd willing). As much as I want to be thrilled at someone else's wedding, I'd love to be thrilled at my own... oh, yeah, the whole push, right down to the pushy planner :-)

But first, there's a whole industry that needs to be created. Girls can't have ALL the fun, y'know! I want some of that drama too, buddy, bachelor party and all! But there are no rules to tell us guys what to wear, who marches (if anyone), what music, who stands on what side, should we say the vows standing or kneeling? And what do you call the happy couple? Groom and groom doesn't seem right at all and I'm not sure we'd want the labels (and the suppositions that go with them).

I'll admit I don't know squat about wedding, but the details seem totally daunting.

Two months' salary worth of diamonds? Neither one of us wears jewelry. Well, not any we'd show in public :-) Still, a simple band would thrill me. (A simple band of platinum would be even better. Dream big if ya gonna dream at all :-) )

But for a pair of guys, there is absolutely no protocol and every step seems fraught with danger. Everyone who isn't the couple is bound to get some "wrong idea" about status or hierarchy (there's a reason we call each other "partner" -- it means "equal") Someone needs to step in and create some convention and language -- then sell hell out of it. Lord knows, I'd buy.

We're a couple jeans and t-shirts guys; but still, just once, just the once, I'd love to get all suited up and dooded up, make my baby an honest man and have a hella party. (You know the food would be good, heh)

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

It makes me sad

that people who want to get the piece of paper can't do so because they're the same gender. Yet I feel like a hypocrite if I say that the paper doesn't matter, because I have one. (primarily because I wanted to have health insurance, and it was a time when my lack of employment (student) was a nice tax advantage. So romantic, I know.)

The paper doesn't make a difference in how you feel about your partner, despite what people would like you to believe. But it makes all the difference in the world if one of you becomes ill.

Some places in the country....

you can find those things.

I went to a beautiful Valentine's Day wedding in Provincetown (RI) a few years back. The grooms had the whole deal - church ceremony, reception, professional photographer, big cake w/ grooms on top - all planned by a professional. It was one of the best weddings I've ever been to!

Of course, there was no legal document to sign....but that didn't matter to the happy couple or anyone else there.

Still can't understand Rev

how a couple of guys that love each other, or a couple of girls for that matter, could threaten my marriage of 34 years. I think of Nazi Germany whenever I see the Pugs pushing laws to "Save Marriage". People that love and cherish each other should not be made to hide in fear. Everytime two people, regardless of sex, make a life-time committment to each other, it should be a celebration. Still shaking my head in disbelief.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

the single biggest threat

to marriage in this country is financial.

Want to save marriage? Instead of a gay marriage amendment, lets pass an amendment outlawing poverty.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

Ironic ain't it?

the single biggest threat to marriage in this country is financial

when weddings are the very first debt pitfall.

And what does the Christian Right have to teach anyone about marriage when more of their marriages end in divorce than any other religous or non-religous group?

Buddah BOOM!

and action has made me a JRE fan. Other candidates barely even talk about poverty at all -- it's not sexy and so many Americans have been shoved into it to pay for tax breaks for the ultra-rich and bullets for Cheneyburton. Edwards has actually gotten positive things done -- I love to imagine what good he could do from the driver's seat.

After he disinfects the chimp ass off of it, that is...

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

I just started

the book he edited on the subject. If the people who wrote essays for the book are the type of people that he is going to get to help end Poverty then we are going to see some real significant change.

How often do you see someone willing to not say, "its personal and societal. Lets solve both" ? How often do you see someone talking about systematic change instead of silver bullet changes?

My big worry is that he (or anyone else) is going to have so much to clean up that they wont have time to start proactively fixing things.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Liddy 44 Brad 33

"Keep the Faith"

the biggest threat is marriage itself.

the only thing we have to fear is, fear itself and all that.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

That's the difference between

a bit of envy and covetousness. A bit of envy can inspire me to work toward having one of my own. If I were covetous, OTOH, that would mean that I want yours, and only then would your marriage be in danger.

As if! Got my hands quite full right here. Yeah, I want the piece of paper that confers, what, 2700 rights and privileges I don't now have, but I want that bigole party too!

I think C Diane is onto something. There's a whole market to be designed. I gotta bigole list of I-wants and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one :-)

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

You always say the right thing Blue

My hope for the future of mankind is that one day we become more humane.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

I had the big shiny wedding the first time.

It was a beautiful day, but it was fantasy, as was the marriage.

Fast forward 19 years later, to my now-husband and I standing under some cedar trees together, by ourselves, at sunrise on the Winter Solstice. "I promise to be your partner, lover, and best friend for ever. I declare myself married to you." Later that afternoon, my son and some friends (one of whom is ordained clergy) came to witness our declaration of our marriage and our love to each other in front of our fireplace in the living room. Then we had meatball sandwiches, beer and wine.

And this one is the one that will last.

As for "gay marriage" threat: If someone's marriage is threatened by two men or two women (or multiple adults for that matter) being married - the problem lies not in the same gender or polygamous relationship, but in the threatened one. Seek therapy - Now!
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The Den
My darling girl, when will you understand that 'normal' isn't necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage." - Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

Second wedding sounds wonderful :)

I guess if someone really wants the fantasy wedding they should have it. I just want my girls to understand that is isn't the wedding that makes the marriage and a wedding doesn't have to be an "event" to be a wonderful wedding.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Most people plan for their wedding

instead of their marriage.

If couples spent as much time deciding how they will share financial responsibilities/deal with family issues/raise children/make important decisions....as they spend deciding what hors d'oevres to serve during the cocktail hour and where to seat cranky Uncle Ned at the reception, we would probably see fewer divorces!

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman