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Wedding party from the middle of the 20th century.
We are not talking about your grandparents' wedding here.
The reality television bride wants to feel like a princess, or alternatively like Cinderella. After all, this is the day she's dreamed about since she was four years old. Definitely since she was a little girl, anyway. I mean, every girl has, right? So this day should be perfect and a fairy tale.

The reality television bride especially wants her wedding to be "unique," not "cookie-cutter." That may mean that it's "elegant" or "has a wow factor." But there are limits on uniqueness: It still has to "feel like a wedding." And it turns out that there's about half an inch of distance between cookie-cutter and unique, and another half an inch between unique and "not really like a wedding," as we see it on shows like Four Weddings and My Fair Wedding with David Tutera and Say Yes to the Dress.

Part of what's disturbing about wedding reality shows, of course, is the amount of money being spent. It's no secret that wedding costs have soared in the past generation or so even as wages have stagnated, and the couples (or, more often, brides) on these shows are a constant reminder of that. Such class markers as the shows make visible tell us that these are often working-class or lower middle-class couples, and if that's the case they're spending a large percentage of their annual income on their weddings. That's exactly one of the things that makes these shows such an important part of the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC): They say "see, people like you are spending this much on their weddings. They're saying it's worth it. Saying that it wouldn't have felt like a wedding without the uplighting and the aisle bows and the centerpieces and especially the big white dress." That wedding shows are about upping the ante on how much American should spend at their weddings not a surprise. What I find equally disturbing is the narrative they convey about women's lives.

In many ways you get more diversity on wedding shows than you might expect. You get women of all races and weights, ones barely out of their teens and ones with grown children. Single mothers and women insisting their dresses have to be white, not ivory, to advertise their virginity. You get a smattering of lesbians, occasionally choosing their dresses in adjacent fitting rooms. But they're all funneled through the same narrative.

All that princess and Cinderella and fairy tale stuff is, variously, a command about how women will experience their weddings and a sad commentary on how women's lives either are or are viewed by this industry. The command is that this day will be the most perfect day ever. You will be the most beautiful you have ever been, you will be the center of attention (and enjoy that), the whole thing will be some kind of magic. The commentary is that this one day is so damned important because, let's face it, your everyday life is probably pretty pathetic. The constant Cinderella invocations are probably the clearest example of this: Cinderella is abused and living in ashes until magically transformed for the prince. But more broadly, the assumption is that a woman's wedding is the one time in her life that her desires will come first, the one time she'll feel glamorous and celebrated. If pressed, I'm sure that everyone involved in these shows would claim that they don't really believe that. But it's the story they tell. Importantly, it's the story they tell women to believe as they contemplate their own weddings.

I read somewhere, quite possibly at A Practical Wedding, some version of this: The WIC makes you crazy and then tells you you're crazy. All these expectations and rules about what your wedding will be like and how you'll feel about it and how it fits into your very being as a woman—they make you crazy. And if you respond by trying to fit those expectations, suddenly you're a bridezilla, spoiled and irrational and thoughtless of those around you. There are plenty of women available to be televised living out that role, apparently, like the woman who, shown on Say Yes to the Dress buying a third wedding dress and going over budget on it to boot, said "What baby wants, baby gets." But this is happening in the context of an industry that relentlessly tells women that this is the one time in their lives it's okay to be demanding, okay to expect to be spoiled—with the constant subtext that your life is dreary most of the time and this is your one shot at glory. You're told your wedding is a reflection of you and it has to be unique, but it also has to check all of the official wedding boxes, a double bind that makes spending more money or putting endless hours into personalized DIY projects the only options for those who want to play by the rules. Meanwhile, as soon as Big Data gets wind of the fact that you're planning a wedding, you're inundated with ads for all things wedding.

There's nothing wrong with wanting what currently passes for a traditional wedding. Most of the aspects of it that cost the big money are very recent traditions, of course, but it's still fine to want them. You just have to recognize that you didn't spring from the womb dreaming of white dresses and centerpieces dripping crystals. A culture and an industry taught you to want that, and the pervasive story about how weddings fit into women's lives, and the push for more and more money to be spent on such a narrow range of acceptable options, deserves critique. Join me next Sunday for a discussion of how this all plays out on these televised festivals of ostentation and tulle.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Eh, I try to avoid weddings. (39+ / 0-)

    Boring church service followed by a reception with bad music, bad food and a bunch of people you don't want to associate with.

    Life's too short.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:03:43 AM PDT

    •  Because people don't know how to host a party. (6+ / 0-)

      It doesn't matter whether a wedding reception is done by a professional planner or DIY, it's still a party and the planning should center on the comfort and enjoyment of the guests.

      Our wedding celebration was largely DIY; we planned for it and paid for it ourselves -- my wife even made her own dress. The money we saved was largely plowed into the band and the caterer.  The caterer was a friend of mine, and the money went into simple but elegant and delicious food.   I remember looking out over the tables and seeing mountains of mussel shells.

      This was twenty-five years ago, so we had both the WW2 generation and children of the 60s and 70s.  So we hired a band that was inter-generational.  It had older guys who had the feel of the big band horn sound, and younger guys who knew how to rock. Everybody got to hear "their" music played by people who understood it. We also made clear to the band leader that there would be nothing allowed that would embarrass any of our guests. Throwing the bouquet and feeding each other cake were fine, but none of our guests was going to have to endure having a garter shoved up into her crotch by a stranger.

      The bridesmaids were resplendent, by the way, in dresses carefully selected to be wearable again to any semi-formal occasion. That wasn't so hard. The secret was matched dresses and lots of flowers. The people in the wedding party are guests too, not backdrops.

      The thing about a wedding is that you don't have to do anything to make the bride the center of attention. That happens naturally.  You don't have to do anything  to make it feel like the most wonderful wedding you'll ever attend. And nothing you can do will make it more wonderful to the guests than their own wedding.  Trying to top your guests' own weddings is not only vulgar, it's pointless.

      Little touches of individuality are expected, but trying to make your wedding completely one-of-a-kind is self-defeating. A wedding is meaningful precisely because it is a common life milestone shared by most people. If you were the only person ever to have done this, it wouldn't be a big deal. What makes your wedding day magnificent is the reflected magnificence of the memories of wedding days past, especially those of the happily married couples attending.

      When you marry, you enter into a new relationship with your spouse.  But you also enter into the fraternity of married people; couples who have committed themselves for life and have resolved to forge a new family out of two.  That is what what makes a wedding an occasion to be celebrated.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:13:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's nothing less realistic (49+ / 0-)

    ...than a "reality show." It is just another form of entertainment, cheaper to produce than most because it does not use union talent. We instead see wannabee actors playing out whatever script runs in their mind; those that are not first planted there by the director, that is. The Reality is, these shows are mostly garbage.

  •  Is this a bad time to point out the current fail (22+ / 0-)

    rate is some 50(+/-)%

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:06:56 AM PDT

  •  Well done analysis of the genre. I wonder (10+ / 0-)

    about your concluding paragraph though. If, as you so very well demonstrate, these shows contribute to economic exploitation and reinforcement of narrow gender roles, then is recognition of the conditioned nature of our desires sufficient? Ought we not participate to the extent possible in the WIC? "To the extent possible" being the key phrase. :D

    There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

    by srkp23 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:06:57 AM PDT

  •  Too much is never enough (46+ / 0-)

    There is a certain cynicism in taking what is an important moment in anyone's life and seizing on that as an exercise in marketing. High School Senior Proms come to mind as well as weddings. It's all about creating expectations and exploiting them.

    The final one being, of course, funerals.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:08:04 AM PDT

  •  daughter is planning wedding but the gold (33+ / 0-)

    standard locally is the $55K wedding one woman enjoyed after her parents mortgaged their home to pay for it.  She has college loans where the cash would have been better spent.

    My daughter, recognizing I cannot and would not try to keep pace with the "Joneses" (no jonesing over a wedding for me) and she has been working on a "scrounge" wedding, working with different coordinators where she gets first dibs on "over runs and throw-aways", namely items which were over ordered by the bride or else were ordered and then canceled or simply never paid for.  The planners have covered their costs with deposits, so for perishables such as flowers and food, they are delighted to pick up the extra change as gravy.  In other cases, she has resorted to barter.  

    •  A $55K that they will be paying off long after the (25+ / 0-)

      divorce becomes final a few years from now.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've noticed there seems to be a correlation . . . (17+ / 0-)

        the cost of the wedding and length of the marriage. The greater the cost the shorter the marriage.

        Of course, this isn't true in all cases but there seems to be some connection.

        •  I'm going to guess (8+ / 0-)

          that's not actually true, for this reason: divorce rates are lower among college graduates. Which means there's going to be some correlation between lower divorce rates and class/money, which probably relates to wedding cost. Now that's extrapolating way out from a data point, and certainly there are plenty of people who are just plain having big weddings they can't afford and it's totally possible that in some of those cases the lack of judgment on going into debt for a wedding is paired with a lack of judgment about entering into marriage. But realistically, while the weddings we may notice are the ones where people who can't afford it do something giant and garish and ill-considered, chances are that those expenditures are overmatched by highly educated upper-middle-class people quietly holding expensive weddings themselves.

          •  Is this because (6+ / 0-)

            college graduates tend to marry later in life than those who do not attend college?  

            I also think the economics of a college education in the contemporary economy will probably throw this off in the near future, since one of the leading causes of divorce is financial instability and now having two people with large student loan bills is going to redefine "financial instability" in the short run at least.

            I do not believe the correlations between class/money and wedding costs parses out so neatly with college graduation rates, however, because of the enormous costs of wedding in some immigrant communities, and the way that these wedding costs are figured into the community's rituals of "starting off the couple's lives together".

            I'm thinking in particular of two communities that I know fairly well: the Cuban community and the Greek Community.  (My Big Fat Greek Wedding is not so much a stereotyped media exaggeration as it is a pseudo-documentary in this regard  ;-) ).

            At any rate, the cost of a big wedding is seen as part of how the couple will receive large amounts of money to begin their life together.  Now, that very traditional practice does get thrown out of kilter a bit when the WIC gets hold of expectations, but those correlations predate the WIC, too.)

            As you said, that's quite a conclusion you drew from one data byte, but there's probably even more buried in it than you tried to build on.

            Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

            by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:21:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ethnic communities with major wedding traditions (7+ / 0-)

              are definitely a problem with my guesswork.  Because, yeah, there are some major major weddings in some cases. That said, from what I've seen a lot of those weddings are held in banquet halls that specialize in doing giant weddings—often for specific ethnic groups—for a lot less money per person than the historic mansions and museum spaces that (cough, cough) someone like me looks at.

              All anecdotal and I'd be very interested to see more data on it but haven't found it broken down that way in what looking I've done.

              •   I recall the large Greek weddings (4+ / 0-)

                of my childhood, and thinking back, I imagine that despite the number of people there, hey were quite modest compared to these productions on TV. Sure, the church was lovely — but it always was. The receptions were in fairly plain banquet halls. They may have been in the church, not sure (After they built the new church, I'm virtually certain the big hall was used for special events like that). Church ladies made the food.

                Jon Husted is a dick.

                by anastasia p on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:50:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  There's also the social obligation aspect. (7+ / 0-)

                I let my mom do whatever she wanted with my wedding (pretty much) because it was kind of a reciprocal social obligation. It would have shamed my parents to NOT host family and friends to a big ceremony and party. Some people would have wondered (possibly even out loud) if they were cheap or ashamed or something if it had been a small informal wedding.

                I wasn't someone who dreamt about my wedding much and as it turned out, I actually didn't enjoy a lot of the day. Being the center of attention can be less fun than one would think. And eventually becomes surreal.

                Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

                by ohiolibrarian on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:17:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Polish wedding used to be the standard... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              a gilas girl, MaikeH

              Where I grew up, the Polish wedding was the standard for excess.  The canonical wedding started with the nuptial Mass in the morning, possibly followed by a breakfast.  Then came the banquet in the evening, which ended during the next morning.  The menu always included "CBS":  roast chicken, roast beef and Polish sausage (kielbasa) with sauerkraut.  It was preceded by a tossed salad with vinegar-and-oil dressing and bread, and accompanied with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Dessert was the cake.  In later years, mostaccioli and fried fish made appearances.

              The caterers were invariably a corps of ladies from the parish, probably the same corps that ran the fish fries.  

              The usual venue was the Catholic parish, which had a hall/gym with stage for the band/orchestra.  The band was usually a polka band.  The Catholic Church being enlightened in matters of drink, an open bar was the norm.  

              This was the Era of Conformity to be sure, and it ended in Polonia somewhat later than in the rest of society.  The Great Hammer of Tradition had its drawbacks, but it did restrict the Wedding Industrial Complex to the choice of polka bands, the bridal gown and the option for mostaccioli.  

              "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

              by Yamaneko2 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:37:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Could change to wedding price/income (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, a2nite

            This measure of how many months of income are spent on the wedding would tend to identify people likely to overspend in marriage.  

            Financial problems are a decent predictor of divorce.

        •  Calamity Jean might agree with you... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dewtx

          ...based on her own experience!

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:07:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I know a story (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, FuddGate, Cassandra Waites

          of someone who's marriage lasted like 2 days.  Their parents had committed so much money to the wedding that they were afraid to call it off.

      •  And now the bride who had to have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bernie68, FuddGate

        all that WIC had to offer  finds herself with two small kids shopping for WIC approved items at the grocery store.

    •  If I'd had the choice, I'd have been miles away (12+ / 0-)

      from my sister's wedding.  I know the woman well.

      The first clue was when I said something about a wedding being for the bride and groom to publically and legally promise to love and honor each other.

      She said, "I don't care about all that crap, I just want a big party for my friends."

      By the time it was over, I'd had to talk her two bridesmaids out of leaving.....twice.  Once when they were actually in the car and the car was in gear.

      You are spot on with the wedding industry being a huge part of this. The idea that a wedding should be a cast of thousands production, with the bride as the star, has all but destroyed the simple, pleasant wedding where the important thing was the joining of two people. My sister seemed to think that everyone should do what she said, give her everything she wanted, accommodate a guest list as large as she wanted, and, in the case of me and her stepmother and her two bridesmaids, allow ourselves to be ordered around all day with never so much as a "Thank you!"

      By the way, her "gifts" to the bridesmaids?  She got a friend of hers to give them manicures and another friend to give them foot massages. They--and I--had probably forked out $300-400 each paying for our dresses, shoes, her shower, etc. and she didn't pay a dime for our gifts.

      One of her bridesmaids was her BFF....who after this joyous day never wanted to have anything to do with her again.  

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:18:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Always seemed to me that the bridesmaids' (7+ / 0-)

        outfits etc should be picked up by the wedding, and not a cost borne by young women who probably are tight enough for cash as it is. Never mind travel.

        But I'm a heretic.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:57:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some brides take this into consideration (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          When they select the gowns. It does help a lot if they do. My daughter was in a couple of weddings, i don't remember the gowns being much more than $100 or so. Of course this was about 10 yrs ago, so they've likely gone up in price, but not that much.

          •  Or the other option that works for me (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, Cassandra Waites, MaikeH

            is for the dress to be something that is wearable on other occasions. I just dislike the whole aesthetic of, "You must buy out of your own pocket this dress I picked out that you don't really like, isn't all that flattering, and will never wear again."

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:55:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I like the idea of the bride identifying a color (0+ / 0-)

              or a color range and asking the bridesmaids to find a dress they like that fits that color pattern. Everyone looks coordinated, no one has to be That One Bridesmaid who has to wear a dress completely unsuited for her body type because everyone else has a different build, adjustments can be made for personal budgets, and everyone gets a re-wearable dress out of it. Win.

              Prayers and best wishes to those in Boston, in Texas, and for this week to be over without anything else happening.

              by Cassandra Waites on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:30:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Pfft, I have a friend whose daughter had a huge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires

      wedding.  600 folks at the country club.  The bar tab alone was $65K!  But I have to admit we had a great time.

      My husband and I had a very nice wedding.  Since I was a professional, I bought my own dress.  We had our reception at a K of C hall, and masked it's dreariness by using only candlelight.  Had great food, the caterer bought the liquor wholesale, and we had an excellent orchestra.  It was one of the best days of our lives.  That was 26 years ago.  Nothing wrong with having a nice wedding.  

  •  Kill your TV, man. (21+ / 0-)

    If there was ever a reason to fully embrace the "Shut it off" mentality, Reality TV would be it.

    It is the worst of the worst, and it only gets worse as time goes on...  (And if it's not bad enough for you yet, you have spent the last few years building up an immunity to hackneyed and pathetic writing.)

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:11:51 AM PDT

    •  Good lord, yes (21+ / 0-)

      I remember enjoying shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", and I still enjoy Top Chef, Face Off, etc.
      But these "Real Housewives" show is god awful, and I can't even turn on TLC anymore because of the garbage they show.
      I have friends that are getting married, and about $8000 in debt for a twenty something couple with twin boys with a house and car payment.
      They want to have a wedding for 300 people and they have to pay for it themselves. I've been trying to talk to her about the debt they will be incurring simply to accommodate a large family on both sides. She has always been pretty smart about money, but the pressure to have the big splashy wedding is just too much.
      I have never wanted to be married, so I never dreamt of the big white wedding.
      My parents had a big wedding, and then got divorced about 8 years later.
      Mom and Dad photo Peg_and_Jack_returning_10-501_zps9c72d0f8.jpg

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:23:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Recced for Top Chef/FaceOff. :) n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimene, skohayes
        •  My favorite TLC shows (6+ / 0-)

          were "Clean Sweep" and "In A Fix".

          "Clean Sweep" -- precursor to "Hoarders" in many ways; a professional organizer and an interior decorator (with team) would descend upon a couple of family with major junk issues. The organizer would work with the family on getting rid of the junk (often getting into the psychological reasons for holding on to the stuff -- oftentimes the items were simply stuff they'd gotten from a parent or other dead relative and didn't know how to let go) while the interior designer worked on designing a better use of space in one or two of the rooms.

          "In A Fix" -- Homeowners (usually the man) would start home improvement projects but they'd get stalled in the middle, either because they got bored or because of other circumstances; the contractor team would come in and finish the work, often doing a way better and thorough job than the homeowner would have. The person who started the project was required to remain behind and help, while the other person (usually the woman) would be sent off for a day or two of pampering at a local hotel. (Sparky, the team's electrician, was also a total hottie.)

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:52:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I like the competition shows the best. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes

            They may be rigged in some way, too, and/or scripted and so on, but at least they seem less exploitative.

          •  I loved those too (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes, VA Breeze

            Hoarders is way too serious. Clean sweep might have accomplished the same thing, and with houses that in a lot of cases looked just as bad, but they took the view that it was YOUR crap, and if you let it get that out of control it was YOUR fault.

            And they did really fix up the places too. Not just clearing out junk. They also forced them to clear out EVERYTHING from the room, not just what they were willing to part with.

        •  rec'd for Queer Eye!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:02:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tulle porn... (25+ / 0-)

    That's what I call "Say Yes to the Dress", a show that has sucked me in on more than one occasion.  I am always astounded by the number of women who claim to have been dreaming of the perfect wedding "since they were little girls."  I asked my mid-20s daughter if she has had those "dreams"; she responded with a snort and a laugh...and with the assurance that if she ever gets married, she wants me to make her the "perfect" tux to wear!

    A reminder to myself when I feel discouraged: "Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little." Plutarch

    by DoReMI on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:13:15 AM PDT

  •  So this is what I miss with no cable and not (29+ / 0-)

    watching TV? No wonder I don't know these things! And I'm not sure whether or not I'm glad I know now.

    As someone who got married in a rabbi's study and had a dinner in a Chinese restaurant with four tables of ten each (and a really lovely special banquet, I must admit, in a student's restaurant where we ate for two hours, well that was something) I have never seen the need for a such a big deal. I wore a regular dress. It lasted almost forty years until he died. I'd say that was a recipe for success.

    •  I've never heard of this show myself (6+ / 0-)

      And we have cable. (It was my wife's idea; I subscribed to it once, back in the early 1990s, discovered it wasn't worth the money, & dropped it.)

      It might be because I instinctively avoid any show like these. Or because our daughter controls the tv when she's awake; I know far more about the Sprout channel & its offerings than any adult should.

    •  Sharing a happy day with friends and family (7+ / 0-)

      with a minimum of fuss and stress - the best recipe for a wedding.  

      Ours was somewhat similar, small wedding at the church, champaign and cake at the in-laws, then dinner at a nice restaurant.  After being in a number of my friend's large expensive weddings, I decided to avoid the stress and make it fun and informal. It would seem on one of the happiest days of your life, you would want to spend it enjoying time with those closest to you.  

      We saved our money to buy our first home and nearly 40 years later, its still working out.  

      Great diary, Laura!  I'm glad someone addressed this issue.  I don't watch these shows, but several recent weddings I've attended were more extravagant than the young couples and their families could reasonably afford.  As an out of town guest, the WIC seems to want to extract as much money as possible from you, too.

      I hope these young women learn to hold themselves and their relationships in greater esteem in the future.  

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:37:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rule of thumb: (15+ / 0-)

    The more extravagant the wedding, the shorter the marriage.

    "You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    by marylrgn on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:13:39 AM PDT

  •  My sister was the princess (38+ / 0-)

    or, Juliet, as she got married in a wedding dress from the Romeo and Juliet period in the late 60's.  When I married, I chose to marry in a park.  My sister, the princess, made my simple muslin dress.  We ate picnic food and my wedding cake was a carrot cake still in the pan.

    Ladies - spend the money on yourselves and your future, not on everyone else, who really won't benefit from the experience.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:14:39 AM PDT

  •  We got married in a theater we worked at (27+ / 0-)

    By a judge who was a friend of the family... Paid for the wedding ourselves...   On the cheap.   Am always amazed at what people spend on weddings.... Especially on these reality shows.   How much they pay for dresses too

    The wedding isn't what is important.... The rest of your lives together is.

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:15:48 AM PDT

  •  Another part of the Wedding Industrial Complex (28+ / 0-)

    How diamonds are essentially the only acceptable gems for a wedding ring.

    Even more fun: diamonds aren't really that rare; it's just that the cartels do an outstanding job of controlling supply.

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:17:01 AM PDT

    •  LOL (16+ / 0-)

      Our plain gold bands came to less than $100 for the two of them.  The big plus is that if someone (ahem) loses one it can be replaced.  The other someone, who has gotten too fat, promises to lose ten pounds, really she does.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:34:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, ours cost more... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, a gilas girl, dewtx, chimene

        ...but are plain gold. And thanks to that little mishap in March, 2012, Calamity Jean may have to have hers stretched (ring finger is still too big).

        Coulda been worse: she could have left it on, and we'd have had to get it cut off, then replaced.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:11:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  silver here. Himself is allergic to gold. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk

        and we can (and have) had originals made, and also there are lots of lovely reproduction medieval rings available with sayings on them, i.e. "vous et nul autre" (you and no other), "pour toujours" (for always), which are the ones we're currently wearing.

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:26:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Diamond cartel ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl, chimene, tobendaro

      There's an old (1972) book that deals very entertainingly with this subject:  11 Harrowhouse, by Gerald A. Browne.  It was made into a movie by Charles Grodin, starring Grodin, Candace Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard, and John Gielgud.

      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

      by NoMoJoe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:20:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought that was engagement rings (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, chimene, Cassandra Waites

      Most wedding rings are bands, and adding diamonds to them only goes back about 20 years.

      Personally, I've always coveted HRH Diana's sapphire, and thought the Duchess of York should have had an emerald not a ruby.

      For those who don't know emeralds, rubies and sapphires are more expensive than diamonds -- because truly good colored stones are hard to find.

    •  Two months salary (4+ / 0-)

      Anybody remember when the wedding ring industry tried to establish a standard of two months income for the amount that should be spent on a ring?  I seem to remember seeing commercials that said something like "Isn't she worth two months of your income to you?"  For a person making $48,000 a year, that would be $8,000 for a ring!  Just what a struggling couple needs when starting out, to blow 1/6 of their annual income on a ring that may not be worn very often.

      The British sent their criminals to Australia and their religious nuts to America. The Australians got the better of that deal.

      by EWembley on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 02:26:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember watching the Christie tv series (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MaikeH

        with my mother, and wondering just why one of the men was having to spend AGES sending bits of money out of town to pay for a ring - BEFORE they would send it - so he could finally get engaged. And doing all this with all sorts of hiding so she wouldn't find out this was going on. Because it would be an absolute horror for him to find out she was going to say 'no' before he'd practically sold his soul to a jeweler miles and miles away from any place he'd ever been.

        Because engagement rings are required, and must cost, and must fit certain social ideals.

        Heck, I've even heard of someone who was informed constantly by family that she Wasn't Actually Engaged up to pretty much the wedding rehearsal because 1) she didn't like the idea of diamond rings in general, 2) her intended listened to her and respected her stance on the issue, and 3) they had gone together and he had gotten her an engagement ring that met her approval. But no diamond = no engagement, so her family kept trying to convince her he was tricking her up until long after the planning was done and the deposits were paid.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Boston, in Texas, and for this week to be over without anything else happening.

        by Cassandra Waites on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 04:40:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I suppose one upside is that (21+ / 0-)

    there has been a corresponding increase in DIY . I spend a lot of time in the crafting world and for each of these "bridezillas" there are some truly creative brides and grooms out there who are doing "green" weddings, re-purposing materials, using found items, making their own.

    I admit to having had a pretty traditional wedding. In our case it was a year after two significant deaths in our families and we wanted to make it special for all the extended family whom we'd last seen at funerals. Still, nowhere near the ridiculous expenses being incurred today.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:17:15 AM PDT

  •  It's just television. (10+ / 0-)
    But they're all funneled through the same narrative.
    Yes: the narrative that they are the sort of women who agree to appear in a reality TV circus about weddings.  It says nothing whatsoever to, or about, any other women.

    I don't find wedding shows "disturbing" in any way.  They're an entertainment for people who are entertained by stupid crap.  If those people are the type of suckers to part with their hard-earned cash for one day of fantasy frills and frivolity, well, there's one born every minute, isn't there.  

    Nobody is forcing these people to waste their cash on stupid crap; if they're weak-minded enough to want X because "everyone is doing X," then it serves them right to be parted from their money.  The vapid, pointless things people are persuaded to do with their cash just isn't something that concerns me.

  •  Does this kind of thing go on in other countries? (9+ / 0-)

    Or is this just another example of the classic American tradition of ruthlessly exploiting one's emotional vulnerabilities to maximize profit margins?

    "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. -- John Stuart Mill (March, 1866)

    by Blood on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:18:18 AM PDT

  •  I perform weddings (25+ / 0-)

    I charge $50 to strangers and do it for free for everyone else. I've been a monk for a medieval wedding, traveled to the very remote City of Rocks in Idaho (medieval was Idaho also and the most fun ever), and been up in canyons more times than I can count. I've only done two traditional wedding.

    Not all of the marriages took, but some have and at least the people involved had a good time and didn't go broke or thousands in debt to do it.

    The only time that I didn't enjoy myself was when the bride and groom got two horses as wedding presents. They also got pretty wasted on the booze and despite my telling them that they had to sign w/witnesses or they really weren't married they took off on their "presents" and I had to wait two hours with a bunch of people I didn't know from Adam's off ox.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:19:20 AM PDT

  •  We got married in our backyard. (31+ / 0-)

    Had a simple ceremony, a few friends and family for the AM ceremony.

    Threw a BBQ in the afternoon--shorts and Hawaiian shirts were the dress for the day.

    Good party, good food, good friends.

    I was trying to figure out how to keep the beer, soda, and other drinks cold for the afternoon (it was in July). I figured out if a canoe will keep water out, it will keep ice and water in. Turned it right side up, filled it with ice and performed as a giant cooler, keeping everything nice and cold. Still had ice in it the next morning, too. Folks still talk about that....

    When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

    by wheeldog on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:20:12 AM PDT

  •  I find almost all 'reality tv shows' profoundly (20+ / 0-)

    disturbing, but you hit the problems with the wedding shows dead on, even if you left out the warping aspect of the show itself, where the couples exploited for the show are goaded into trying to 'outdo' each other to win some prize, such as a honeymoon trip, that might end up costing less than the extra they paid on the wedding in their quest to win it.

    The wedding mythology, if anything, perpetuates a host of patriarchical notions.

  •  35 years ago (34+ / 0-)

    we got married at the courthouse for $25. I wore my basic little black dress and he wore a clean shirt. We went fishing with a picnic lunch afterward. The fishing was good.

    Best 35 years of my life and it continues. We never did buy rings but, we bought a house and dog instead.

    I love nature, science and my dogs.

    by Polly Syllabic on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:25:46 AM PDT

  •  Our entire wedding (23+ / 0-)

    Church, gown, flowers, music and reception was about $1500. It was right around New Year's and the church was still decked out for the holiday. That was a quarter century ago, but I bet I could still throw a heckuva shindig for that amount, although the music would be pricier, but hey, they work for a lving as well.

    Frankly, I don't think sit-down dinners make for great parties.  We had hors doeuvres and cocktails and are every bit as married.

    As for my kids, I've already offered them each a new ladder.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:27:08 AM PDT

    •  My dad offered a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      gold-plated ladder. He was joking ... partly.

      Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

      by ohiolibrarian on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:32:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Take the ladder (0+ / 0-)

        and put the difference away for the down payment.  Seriously.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:01:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We bought furniture with our wedding $ (0+ / 0-)

          and seriously, I wish we had blown it on a nice honeymoon.

          The furniture was useful, but the memories would have been more precious.

          Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

          by ohiolibrarian on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:35:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We also had a simple wedding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      The entire cost, including my dress, was a little over $2000. A friend took the photos. We've been married for nearly 30 years now. I know I'm getting old, but I find the extravagance and some of what goes on at today's weddings (i.e. the choreographed dancing) just plain silly. It's all, "Look at me, I'm so special!" No, you're not, and you spent too much money proving it.

      If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - President John F. Kennedy

      by laurel g 15942 on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:55:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We were married (45 years ago in September) (15+ / 0-)

    by a justice of a peace, with a nice seafood dinner for six afterwards.  Even then, I wondered why people would spend all that money for a phony celebration that had to be planned by professionals.

    My husband, a photographer, has done a few weddings for friends and family (always beautifully), but has mostly avoided them, despite the money involved.  He just doesn't feel comfortable with that artificial environment that doesn't reflect the people involved but has its own strange aesthetic, along with the potential for great disappointment by all involved.

    Our son was married by a judge (so he could sign onto his wife's health insurance) and had a lovely, small, very modest gathering at a rural area winery about 6 months later.  The vows were pronounced by a Russian friend of theirs, and were so comical and delicious and personal that it was worth the whole thing.  This satisfied his bride's desire for a real wedding, and didn't break anyone's bank.  He works at a high-end restaurant that hosts many fancy-schmanzy weddings for bridezillas that have tantrums and act as imperious as royalty.  One insisted on flower petals being strewn by the outdoor lake on the premises.  They found out afterwards that they were artificial petals, and every last one had to be cleaned up by the waitstaff afterwards to avoid ruining the shrubbery and polluting the lake.

    I'm not a fan of the whole idea.
       

    "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:27:13 AM PDT

  •  the photo up top (10+ / 0-)

    reminds me of my parents' wedding pictures. Except much fancier. (My mother's dress was eyelet, and her headdress was a folded handkerchief. They had no money for fancy. I don't think my father's parents did fancy, either.)

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:28:34 AM PDT

    •  My parents (8+ / 0-)

      were married in their uniforms--Pop was in the Army, Mother in the Navy. Pop was in Europe when they dropped the bomb on Japan, and for some reason he was on just about the first boat home. When he got to NY, he called my mother and proposed. She said yes, and called her mother and asked her to arrange a wedding and they'd be there in a week or so. They were married on Sept. 13, 1945.

      My dad told me this story when someone told him that it takes at least a year to plan a wedding.

  •  Had a wonderful 2012 wedding in NYC for about $12k (11+ / 0-)

    We wore traditional wedding attire. My wife sometimes watches reality TV shows like those. I don't feel bad about these things, though. I felt like this article was trying to make me feel bad about it.

    We have what I would consider to be a modern marriage. We have an equal division of labor in terms of decisionmaking, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. She did most of the wedding planning, but I contributed a lot of input. Yes, she had been thinking about weddings since she was a little girl. I've been thinking about football and Batman since I was a little boy, too. Culture plays a role, of course, but I don't think we've been brainwashed into liking those things.

    I don't think you have to shun traditional mainstream culture in order to be happy and free. The key is just to approach all things with a critical but practical perspective.

  •  Our entire culture is shaped by industry (8+ / 0-)

    now. It's pathetic. From what we consider "normal" foods and  drinks to what we consider normal for personal care and our homes as well as our celebrations. It's no wonder weddings are included in this. They are a major life celebration and people will not want to seem as if they are not doing everything that you should do. Also funerals...

    Big brother is here and it's not Obamacare...

    An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

    by rini6 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:34:02 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for discussing this insanity (14+ / 0-)

    Tipped and rec'd.  You've made the point that has bothered me all my life--that the wedding day is supposedly  the only significant day in women's lives.

    Somehow I missed the gene that should have made me long for expensive jewelry--or even cheap jewelry--a fantastic graduation (from high school), and a fabulous wedding.  I just never wanted any of that.

    I think elaborate weddings, especially for people who can't afford them, are revolting.  There's even a saying that the more elaborate the wedding, the more certain a divorce.

    My husband and I married in 1967.  He was 37, I was 23.  I wore a short, simple white dress.  We were married from my mother's house, with one attendant each, in the family room downstairs.  A Unitarian minister came to perform the ceremony--slightly late, because he'd been demonstrating at the Pentagon against the Vietnam war.

    We're still married and still enjoying being so.

    My son is marrying for the first, and he hopes only, time next Saturday.  He's 42, the bride 36.  It will be the smallest wedding they can manage, allowing for the fact that many of the relatives wish to attend--five are flying over from England and Australia and staying with me! The venue holds only 60 persons.  I'm curious to see what a Jewish-atheist wedding is going to be like (my son is the atheist).  It should be interesting!  :)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:35:32 AM PDT

    •  We attended a Jewish-agnostic (0+ / 0-)

      wedding last summer. (My nephew is nominally Protestant, but the last time he set foot in a church AFAIK was his sister's wedding in 2005.) The rabbi did a wonderful job of explaining the various Jewish symbolism.

      Here's a good site that explains Jewish wedding traditions that you might encounter, depending on how observant your future daughter-in-law is.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:00:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, the humanity! (13+ / 0-)

    I had two kids marry within three months of each other.  I was lucky enough that they were self-supporting and took on the vast majority of the expenses for the events.  But the costs were insane!  I married at the home of a college professor, and my father in law provided two cases of wine.  Friends made the hors d'oeuvres.  My wife made her own gown.  It doesn't need to be the party of the century.  I can't understand the misplaced priorities of young people on this issue.  When they need to be saving for a home, and paying off education expenses, they spen six months' salary (and more) on an event.  I have memories, too.  They don't need to all be expensive memories.

  •  holy shit I have no idea what a reality wedding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, srkp23, greengemini

    show or what this diary is about

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:37:40 AM PDT

  •  My first wedding cost $1000 (12+ / 0-)

    a designer friend gave me yards of silk chiffon, organza, jersey and some gold and blush sari boarder from which I made my own dress. LOL basically a Le Sylphides costume. My fiancé and I did all of the flower arrangements the night before though I ordered and bought the bouquet. An old friend who now has a chain of restaurants in NY and Japan catered for free. My dad was the photographer. The reception was thrown by another friend in his amazing apt. I think the biggest expense was the sunroom space at the Brooklyn Ethical Culture Society and the officiator. The second one was a lunch hour appointment at the county Clerks office with my friend as witness and to watch the toddler. They were both perfect.

  •  We ran off to San Fran and eloped (9+ / 0-)

    at San Francisco city hall. Looking back, we have no regrets. We did have a big party at our home the next weekend to celebrate family and friends and that was super fun.

  •  I've watched Discovery Channel health reality tv (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusgal, The Marti, PsychoSavannah

    and the occasional "What not to wear" - (I admit it) but, in general, I hate reality tv. Maybe I'm getting old but the entire "Survivor" and "Big Brother" things passed me by. American Idol and The Voice et. al. also annoy me. None of the contestants are real stars with that sort of anarchic charisma. Can you imagine Iggy Pop or even Grimes or any artist who produces something completely original becoming famous via a reality contest? I feel like pop stars are now manufactured ala "Poochie" -"I feel we should rastafy him by ten percent or so.."

    An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

    by rini6 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:40:57 AM PDT

    •  The reality being so totally unreal bugs me. (5+ / 0-)

      "Survivor" lost me when I noticed that the women running around in bikinis, who supposedly had been "roughing it" for the last few weeks had carefully shaved underarms and legs.

      ANY TV show that purports to reflect reality is full of it. Because when a camera is there recording everything, no one is going to act with total realism. They're going to act for the camera, even if unconsciously.

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:30:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  got married in my parents' backyard 16 years ago (12+ / 0-)

    (the actual ceremony was performed at City Hall)

    We spent money on great food and lots of alcohol; the DJ was a bunch of mix tapes that I made a few days beforehand. The party eventually moved to a karaoke bar downtown, and, after we had closed that down, to a pancake house.

    Everyone still tells me that it was the best wedding ever. I concur.

  •  Let's make everyone feel guilty (4+ / 0-)

    about what they spend on their wedding? Is that the point here or what? Each according to their needs, each according to their means.

    If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

    by nomorerepukes on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:43:11 AM PDT

  •  I sometimes wonder (12+ / 0-)

    Is it the marriage that they want or just the wedding?

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:44:33 AM PDT

    •  When I was 19 I became engaged (5+ / 0-)

      I ended the engagement when I realized we (and in particular the man who had given me that ring) were thinking more about a wedding than a marriage.  That was my first clue that we were too young to be engaged. And yes, I gave the ring back.

      He sold it and bought a really expensive stereo system with the proceeds.  

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:24:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Religion gets slammed around here (4+ / 0-)

      a lot (sometimes with good reason), but one thing that churches can do well is weddings, especially those churches that require a "waiting period" of pre-marital counseling. It's a good idea to have a sit-down or several with your Significant Other and an impartial observer to make sure that the two of you are on the same page when it comes to issues like financial management, whether or not you want kids and how they'll be raised, and other important issues.

      We were the first couple that the person who officiated at our wedding had counseled; he was a transitional deacon meaning he was able to conduct weddings but was still studying for full priesthood (which meant that we also had the actual rector of the church there as well to celebrate the Eucharist). Funny part is that Mr. Scribe and I were older than the guy -- but he still got off pretty easily because we'd been dating for 4 years and knew pretty much what our goals were.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:59:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I used to work in catering (13+ / 0-)

    and all of us would groan whenever we saw a bride coming at us with a Martha Stewart wedding planner.

    One young woman we worked with made it her mission to get married. She found an unambitious local rock climbing guide and somehow managed to get him to propose, then set about planning the wedding of the century. To listen to her, you'd have thought she was Princess Di ....which is what we all took to calling her behind her back. Her family spent over $30,000 on the wedding. The reception was held outside, under tents. My most vivid memory is going back and forth to the kitchen, continually interrupting one or another of her many uncles as they peed in the bushes.

    Before the year was over, Princess Di and the unambitious climber were divorced.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” ~ John Steinbeck

    by susanthe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:45:38 AM PDT

  •  This is a great diary, thanks. (14+ / 0-)

    Years ago, we had a "wedding shower," where guests arrived with gifts purchased from the bride's "registry" at the department store. Nowadays, we have also "shower gifts" for the bride, distinct from the "wedding gifts." Aack!! Am I the only one taking offense here??!!

    Enough!!!

    You're absolutely right, the excess is symptom of the deprivation, the hollowness.  

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:48:27 AM PDT

    •  I do like the shower gifts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      that are more "personal" in nature -- things that the bride might like that wouldn't normally fall into the category of "wedding gifts". Things like lingerie showers, or giving spa type gifts that the bride can use to pamper themselves for the big day, something just for her.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:02:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe One Reason People Don't Get Married (11+ / 0-)

    If I had met a woman and somehow found out she'd been DVRing this shit, I would run like wind.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:51:20 AM PDT

  •  I swore I would never have a generic WIC wedding. (12+ / 0-)

    I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but, we married in a Castle in England, on the cheap, by happy accident. You might have seen it on the TV show Downton Abby:

     http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/

    We literally ended up with a high end wedding with a grand total of 14 people for less than $8K. Food, flowers, pianist, string quartet, a Bentley, etc....

    After trying to deal with the greedy WIC in America, I decided to do it on the cheap in the UK. I wanted small and intimate. I got small & intimate allright, but I also got a wedding beyond my wildest dreams all because of a decimal point error in the contract, which the 7th Earl of Carnarvon kindly honored before his death.

    My advice to anyone getting married: It's not about the day, it's about the marriage. Don't get caught up on the WIC BS. You might be surprised what can make your day even more special when you focus on each other and not all the expensive trappings of the day.

    Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

    by GrannyOPhilly on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:53:35 AM PDT

  •  What? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, chimene

    "There's nothing wrong with wanting what currently passes for a traditional wedding. "

    There's a lot wrong with it, as you explain. Why not be clear about that?

    Why not tell young women -- don't waste your time and, very importantly, money on this claptrap. Don't buy into this storyline as having anything to do with your life or real life.

    Want to get married? Get a map to City Hall and throw yourself a little celebration afterward. You'll save a ton of money, get on with your life and relieve everyone you know of the cost and tedium of having to attend yet another big wedding.

    •  Obviously I think there's something wrong (8+ / 0-)

      with the culture around it and the industry. But am I going to judge an individual because after decades of seeing these images, s/he wants to take part in this celebrated ritual? (Speaking of the ritual of the dress, the veil, etc, not the ritual of marriage itself.) Well, yeah, ok, I'm going to judge them if they put the ritual above the relationship, or go into life-changing debt over it. But in general? No, I don't think that's productive.

      •  I guess you are (0+ / 0-)

        a nicer person than I am then. I'm going to judge. Because it's a waste of resources and a perpetuation of an irrelevant ritual. Am I going to picket weddings? No. Am I going to judge? Yep.

        •  Hey, the Wedding Industry creates jobs, y'know! (0+ / 0-)

          It's not polluting air or water, or blowing people up, either.

          You can be against a cultural phenomenon without being mentally purse-lipped and judgmental about INDIVIDUALS who have been led astray by it.

          It's no skin off YOUR nose if their priorities are skewed. It's not a waste of YOUR resources, is it? So your judgment is the equivalent of saying you'll continue to disapprove of pot smokers, even if none of the smoke comes anywhere near you. Oh, you enjoy adding to your store of mental negativity? You like feeling "superior," maybe?

          Well, whoop-de-doo, snotty face. Go and disapprove all you like.

          Peace out.

  •  Don't know if it's still available, but when I (9+ / 0-)

    got married I rented my dress.  I knew if I ever had a daughter she would want her own dress and I knew I would never wear it again.  So I got a designer dress for a little over $100.  Of course, that was about 30 years ago.

    Friends provided music and photography as presents.  Family made all the food.

    Hmmm...I actually enjoyed the wedding a lot more that I did the marriage!

    “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”-Brandi Snyder (in memory of my Nick)

    by YellowDogInGA on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:58:19 AM PDT

  •  Calamity Jean and I did ours... (7+ / 0-)

    ...for about $500. Married by a judge, and a reception lunch at the Bismarck Hotel.

    Of course, the Bismarck changed hands not too long afterwards, and changed their name...

    (I didn't think we were too rowdy...)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:59:02 AM PDT

    •  Part of what allowed us to do it for so little (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      was that it was in 1990, and there's been more than a little inflation since then.  I'm guessing it might cost about $1,000 now.  It helped that it was my second marriage, so I wore an ordinary dress, not a fancy white gown.  Also there were only 17 people at the reception.  And it was on a Wednesday afternoon in February, exactly a week after Valentine's Day, so there wasn't much competition for the space in the hotel.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wedding foo-fa-raw is a throwback to Bad Old Days. (10+ / 0-)

    The whole tradition of the wedding being the Bride's Day, where her every whim is an edict carved in stone, stems from the time when her wedding day was the ONLY day in a woman's whole life when she got to call the shots. The day before the wedding, she was her father's property; the day after the wedding, her husband's.

    But I really like living in a time when I can make my own money and my own life decisions, all day every day. (And I'm old enough to remember different.)

    In many cases there seems to be an inversely proportional relationship between the elaborateness of the wedding and the longevity of the marriage - as if the participants are so vested in the thought of a magical, perfect day that they forget all the rest of their married lives after that. It's also a really, really bad idea to begin a new life together in avoidable debt.

    Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

    by gardnerhill on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:59:22 AM PDT

    •  This is a great paragraph: (5+ / 0-)
      In many cases there seems to be an inversely proportional relationship between the elaborateness of the wedding and the longevity of the marriage - as if the participants are so vested in the thought of a magical, perfect day that they forget all the rest of their married lives after that. It's also a really, really bad idea to begin a new life together in avoidable debt.
      I have heard of actual cases where the couple decided NOT to get married, but were too deep into the wedding preparations to call off the ceremony. The invitations had already been sent. That, or the ceremony was still held, but the divorce was filed a few months later.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:04:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  meh (0+ / 0-)

    This doesn't apply to me personally, because my ex-husband and I paid for our wedding ourselves.  I wore an old white prom dress, we didn't have a DJ or dancing, although we did have a pretty big reception in a nice restaurant.  But I think this diary only serves to alienate dKos readers who might come from cultures or subcultures where having a big wedding is traditionally a big deal.

    I think this website should be a big tent and concentrate on progressive issues, certainly for front page articles.

    •  I see it more as pointing out (0+ / 0-)

      how more emphasis is paid to the wedding rather than to the marriage.

      And in many of those cultures, putting on the big wedding involves the entire family, not just the couple and their families. You'll have Grandma, aunts, cousins, the whole works involved -- and there's a lot more emphasis on the man's role in the whole affair too. In Western weddings, too often the groom is almost an afterthought.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:53:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only reality TV show I watch, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti

    and heartily recommend, is Walking Dead.

  •  My sister-in-law works at one of places (6+ / 0-)

    that was recently in the Four Weddings show. She sent out a text that her place of work in Princeton, MA was going to be one of the venues featured in the show.  

    I had never seen the show before, but I did watch. I didn't care for the competitive nature of rating other people's weddings, like they were some wrestling match at the WWF. Weird.

    On the upside, my SIL did send out a follow-up text noting that her arse had shown up in one of the shots, so, ahm, that happened.

  •  What bothers me (7+ / 0-)

    is the emphasis on the dress by not only the bride, but her mother/family/bridesmaids. I admit I watch the shows occasionally (I like looking at fashion trends) but the entire emphasis being on the dress is disturbing. The message of the show is "If the dress isn't perfect, your wedding won't be." I know they're trying to sell the clothes, but really - that's a really sucky message for a bride to be.

    One show that intrigues me, tho is the "Something Borrowed, Something new". The bride brings a dress that she's being requested to wear by the mother/family, and she chooses between the dress as remade by a designer or a new dress. While it's a hoot to see some of the hideous wedding dress styles of yesteryear, it's very interesting to see the psychology in the show. Of the shows I've seen, at least 1/2 of the time the bride chooses the redesigned dress (which is always less than the new dress) rather than the kinda generic new dress. But not only is it the cost factor - the bride wants to wear the dress to honor her family, but just can't do the style (and on some of them you can really see why!).

    Even though it's a wedding-dress pimping show, it's a refreshing change and an interesting point for a bride-to-be. The psychology is less of the "the dress must be perfect" but more of the "can you wear a dress to honor someone else or do you need one for only you".

    Radical Right - UnAmerican and Tacky as Hell

    by efrenzy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:04:35 AM PDT

  •  I refuse to watch any "reality" shows--ANY (5+ / 0-)

    Musical talent shows
    Dancing shows
    Dating/mating shows
    Cop/court shows
    Talk shows
    Morning shows
    Survival shows
    Quiz shows
    Game shows
    Wedding shows
    Housewife shows
    Celebrity life shows
    Made-up competition shows
    Big brother shows
    Pet shows
    Auction/picking shows
    Hoarder/couponer shows
    Airline counter shows
    How to/not to dress shows

    And so on. There are more "reality" shows about "real" people than there are actual people in the US. I swear they must disguise some of the people on them so they can appear as different people on multiple shows.

    What kind of brainrotted idiot watches these shows more than occasionally? They're about NOTHING. We are all Gerry Seinfeld now!

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:05:12 AM PDT

    •  No pet shows? (7+ / 0-)

      What kind of monster are you?  :)

    •  What about Mythbusters? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:26:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ANY--with any regularity (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Calamity Jean

        Some of these shows are worth an occasional peek, I'll admit, being about somewhat more interesting and substantive topics. But in the end I'm always left with the feeling that my time could have been better spent and that I've gained and learned nothing meaningful. If I want reality, there's more than enough just outside my door--and sometimes within it.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:32:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, don't try some of that at home! n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:34:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just mean the normal sturm und drang (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW, Calamity Jean

            of real life--or the more pleasant aspects of it--of which I have more than enough thank you to not need to go seek it out elsewhere. And if I want to make sense of it all, that's what drama is for. Or liquor.

            What the hell kind of boring and bland or unbearable lives do people have that they feel the need to watch these shows, anyway?

            Are these demo numbers on their most frequent types of viewers? I bet it tracks most closely with depressed poverty level and bored suburban types.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:51:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kovie, Calamity Jean

              ..."there's nothing else on" may be the most common lament. After the writer's strike, many producers saw gold in "reality" shows, and having elebenty-hunnert cable channels amplified it.

              Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

              by JeffW on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:03:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's what DVRs, DVDs, BR & streaming media (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JeffW

                exist for--not to mention books, music, friends and the outside world! :-)

                I repeat, these are for bored, boring, lazy or burnt out people.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:49:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I'm the "brainrotted idiot" you're looking for. (0+ / 0-)

      I love the wedding shows. I love "My Cat from Hell." And everybody's favorite around here----"19 Kids and Counting." I especially love the two shows about little people...."The Little Couple" and "Little People, Big World." Since I'm not going to get married again, I really enjoy the extravagance of the weddings, and feel absolutely no need to emulate them. Re: David Tutera. I don't think that show exists anymore. But he said that he pays for the whole thing, and those weddings cost about $500,000. And he did quite a few for couples who probably couldn't have covered even a small portion of the cost. So those brides really were princesses for a day. The others I watch are part for entertainment and part for education, as the families in them travel to different places where I will never get.

      Note: My wedding, done long after I had any interest in being married to that man, was held in our living room. Our guests were my parents and sister, the lady next door, and the secretary of the local Ba'ha'i group, who signed the certificate. According to my ex, Ba'ha'i's don't believe in traditional weddings. In fact, they encourage they be original. So we sat together on a piano bench and he read a few poems to me. He then played music so my father could dance with me at my wedding. So maybe that's why I appreciate all the extravagance. But I'm also fully aware that marriage is primarily a legality, having nothing to do with "love," which is why I got married. Maybe if there had been "love" it might have lasted longer.

      •  Why doesn't anyone do a "reality" show (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HappyinNM

        on people who are addicted to them? Probably on the way...

        Myself, meh, I'd rather eat fried chalk.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:51:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I just saw "My Cat From Hell" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HappyinNM, MaikeH

        the other night -- that one is fun. (Animal Planet does have some good "reality" shows -- I really like the ones that feature the work of Animal Control like Animal Precinct, especially when they're rescuing animals who have been horribly abused and are able to rehabilitate them so they can be adopted into families that will take care of them).

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:49:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Modern "event" weddings suck. (7+ / 0-)

    Mrs.labradog and I had a courthouse parking lot wedding, with a reception at a friend's home. Food from a grocery deli, a favorite Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant, and from a nearby bar-b-q chicken shack, one friend fried a turkey, and we filled my wife's Tercel with beer, wine, and liquor en route. Store-bought cheesecake wedding cake. Music was supplied by my jamming pals and I, with another bud sitting in on bass while I had the first dance with Mrs.labradog. The whole party except for elder relatives crashed at my friend's house that night, if anybody slept.
    I hired my friend a maid service for the next day to clean up her home, meanwhile we packed up the leftovers from the 75 guests, and about two dozen of us drove 3 hours to where we were living, to kick off the honeymoon, where eight of us slept in our one-room cottage and the rest stayed in an inn next door. A weekend of partying on the Rappahannock River, beach bonfires and fish roasting, revelry and brain cell abuse.

    Wedding, huge and funky buffet and open bar reception for 75, maid service, honeymoon for 24 for two more days, total cost: $1500, or according to the inflation calculator, $2348 in today's cash!

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:06:41 AM PDT

  •  No woman in my family (12+ / 0-)

    (on either side) had worn a long dress to be married in since the beginning of the 20th century, until my generation began to marry in the late 1970s and 1980s.

    That's over 75 years of "sensible weddings" taking place in living rooms, at justices of the peace offices, even in churches with receptions held in the parent's back yard.  Women dressed nicely, but in the vernacular of the day, not standing there as an "other wordly image of femininity" but looking like grown women aligning themselves as grown women to the man of their choice. I suspect the wedding of Diana Spencer to Prince Charles had a great deal to do with this so-called "democratization" of weddings where every girl can be a princess.  An interesting move from being a grown woman to being a princess, isn't it?

    I have over 6 generations of "wedding photos" and several different "wedding ensembles" from the 19-teens and 20s when several of my female kin were married: grandmothers, 2nd and 3rd cousins, great aunts, etc.

    I find the reach of the WIC into the lower-middle and working classes very interesting when I note that particular data byte.  

    And one of my favorite wedding photos is from Lauren Bacall's autobiography: her wedding to Bogie wearing a classic "New Look" suit.

    Or watch the wedding scene from "The Best Years of Our Lives".

    PS: What a great subject for a post, Laura, congrats!

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:07:08 AM PDT

  •  Weddings, funerals and washing machines (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Angie in WA State

    are not what I want to spend my money on.  

    If somebody could figure out an alternative to the big galas and still keep the fairy tale trappings, they'd clean up.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:08:41 AM PDT

  •  Our wedding (9+ / 0-)

    We got married under the oaks on the lawn of the farm house where my wife grew up. We made the benches for the guests out of 2x10s and concrete blocks and the wedding music was a mix tape I made (although the processional was still Pachelbel's Canon, popular at the time).

    My wife's dress was a white cotton embroidered peasant dress. I wore dress slacks and a shirt, our golden retriever was the only member of the wedding party in a necktie.

    Presiding was the Criminal Court judge, Neal Nettesheim (who most recently presided over the John Doe inquiry into Scott Walker's use of public employees for campaigning). My wife's friend and auto mechanic - also a Bunny at the local Playboy Club - took the photos and made us a beautiful album.

    We had the reception at my wife's family reunion, which was at a beach/dance hall that used to be in the family. Friends and relatives did the catering - my architect brother-in-law designed the modular cake, which wasn't much to look at but tasted good.

    Our honeymoon was at my cabin in N WI, which had no plumbing or electricity. I was teaching at the time and we got married early in the semester, so I took 2 days off, which my department chair approved. However, the administration disagreed, so I ended up filing a grievance to get paid (the contract allowed for several personal days). The same week, the assistant to the head of the school got two days off with pay to breed his horse - it only seemed fair ...

    We got the usual multiple electric can-openers and other useless gifts, but when we totaled up the cash gifts and compared to expenses, we actually made a nice profit on the wedding besides. A good time was had by all.

    We'll be married 32 years in the fall.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by badger on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:10:52 AM PDT

  •  I do admit that I dream of my dress (8+ / 0-)

    But I'm also an historical costumer, so I'll be sewing the thing myself, in a style in which it can be reworn to various mid-20th century events.

    As for the rest of the wedding... eh? I'd rather have a potluck and spend the money on a house (or paying down my student loan)

  •  I don't see a place to Recommend this, (0+ / 0-)

    other than under individual comments, or I would.  Did Like it on FB, though.

  •  Our wedding cost $1200. And it was in a big house (5+ / 0-)

    (we were renting one with another couple at the time) with a potluck. All Italian. Tons of people. We supplied beer and champagne. A few flowers and payment for the guy who married us (who also happened to be my wife's therapist and long-time friend of the family.) A friend helped my wife put together a "thirties" look.

    We had a ball with my nephew doing DJ duties with lots of dancing, etc. into the wee hours. Our dining room was a great ballroom floor.

    Call it a cooperative wedding. And we faced the gathering, we weren't turned toward the "altar" (which was the fireplace where my wife and I met through a friend).

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:20:01 AM PDT

  •  When my parents got married in the early 50's (5+ / 0-)

    It was a simple affair.  They bought matching gold wedding bands.  My mom wore a dress much like the one pictured in your diary, and my dad wore his good suit.  They looked very classy and lovely.  The reception was held in a small hall and was a modest affair.  For their honeymoon, they drove up the coast (from Los Angeles) to Miramar and spent a couple of nights there.  Then it was back to reality - they returned to their first home in Burbank and my dad returned to his job on Monday morning.

    I've never been married.  Sort of odd that coming from a home where my parents were quite happily married, I somehow always was gun shy.  But even when I contemplated marriage and getting married - I never wanted this huge, extravagant, "fairy tale" wedding.  I always thought it would be better to funnel that money into a downpayment on a home, or part towards a nice honeymoon and the rest into savings.  

    There is no way I would ever spend thousands of dollars on a dress I'm going to wear once; or even on a dress I would wear hundreds of times.  

    I sometimes watch the TLC show about buying a wedding dress.  Why are most of the dresses strapless?  What is the big deal about wearing white?  It's all very odd to me.  But I know I'm the "odd" one, so I just shrug my shoulders and feel glad I was never caught up in that fever.

    •  I wore a pink shirtdress (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1

      when I got married at City Hall in Philadelphia, PA.  It had been hanging in my closet for at least 4 years when I reached up at put it on.

      I don't even think I planned ahead for what I was going to wear.  I know that I hadn't had the dress dry-cleaned or anything extra. It was just one of the few dresses that I actually owned at the time. (Still don't own many).

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:34:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most of them are strapless (3+ / 0-)

      Because neither the designers nor the purchasers have any modesty or sense.

      Most of the the dresses on "Say Yes..." would not have been allowed in any of the churches I attended when I was growing up.

      And then there are the, uhm, "big boned" ladies who overflow their desired dress. This is not attractive, it's pathetic.

      If you MUST look like a princess, for Goddess sake, try emulating Princess Grace or the Duchess of Cambridge. (As much as I liked Lady Diana Spencer's dress, it WAS a bit over the top...)

      •  It's hard to find any wedding dress (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        that's not strapless these days. Most of them are modeled after modern prom dresses, but many brides have figures that are well beyond high school figures. (I've been trying to find a decent sundress or two for this summer, and it's almost impossible.)

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:46:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know -- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          I swear they're designing clothes for ladies who must really be "tubular" and try to find something in plus sizes that isn't loud, flimsy, or cut like a tent...sigh.

          I was hoping that the last royal wedding would finally swing wedding fashions back into the "elegant" and modest style. If these shows on reality TV are any indication, it ain't happening.

  •  If I ever get married there only needs to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, Hillbilly Dem, a2nite

    two requirements:

    A decent meal for dinner and an open bar.  With a LOT of liquor.  My extended family would never forgive me if there were not the latter.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:26:01 AM PDT

    •  Only open bar weddings (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon

      I've been to were the ones for both my sister's kids. I still don't remember how we got back to our motel (both were far enough away from home that we decided to stay closer in), though Mr. Scribe is the vehicle operator so he restrained himself in both cases.

      My family always does the decent meal bit -- the later generations have been going more for the plate dinner than the buffets that were common when their parents were married. Maybe the plate dinner costs less...

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:43:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just never got the Big White Wedding thing. (4+ / 0-)

    Maybe because I am teh gay, but it just all seems silly to me.

    Sure, who doesn't want to throw (or attend) a big blowout shindig?

    But the whole costume party and faux pageantry aspect of these events eludes me.

    Plus, I've been to more than one fancy wedding event that cost well into six figures. Not one of those marriages lasted three years.

    "Some people pay for what others pay to avoid." -- Howard Devoto /// "Patience is a virtue, but I don't have the time." -- David Byrne

    by droopyd on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:27:39 AM PDT

  •  See, this is why my wedding was nothing like that. (5+ / 0-)

    I wore a pretty purple dress (which cost a LOT less than anything white). We only invited real friends and family, made our own centerpieces, had two different kinds of ice cream cake, and danced. I wrote the ceremony, and my husband and I wrote our own (kind of silly) vows. The judge we had there to solemnize everything even said that we married each other; he was just there to make it official.

    And, even though I wasn't a Pagan yet, we got married on August 1, Lughnasa, which I find an amazing blessing and bonus.

    Take that, WIC. Women can do their own thing and be quite happy with it.

  •  We did the City Hall thing. (5+ / 0-)

    Of course, we had to travel to Toronto to do it, since Ontario was at that time (August 2003) the only place in the world where we could legally marry.

    Apart from a post-ceremony dinner for 10 people (where we killed the restaurant's champagne supply), there were no other expenses beyond the license and ceremony.

    We did dress "nice," but not "up."

    "Some people pay for what others pay to avoid." -- Howard Devoto /// "Patience is a virtue, but I don't have the time." -- David Byrne

    by droopyd on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:32:11 AM PDT

  •  And don't get me started on diamonds ;) (3+ / 0-)

    "Some people pay for what others pay to avoid." -- Howard Devoto /// "Patience is a virtue, but I don't have the time." -- David Byrne

    by droopyd on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:33:34 AM PDT

  •  I was married at the court house (5+ / 0-)

    by a judge named John Madden...boom your married!

    It was supposed to be Richard Richard the 3rd. We were very sorry Dick Dick the III switched with Mr. Madden that day. It just seemed symbolic.

    That was 20 years ago. We like to say we have a relationship based on bad humor and the wedding didn't disappoint. If only I had saved my wedding jeans, sigh.

  •  I'm a parish pastor, for what it's worth. (13+ / 0-)

    And I hate, hate, hate weddings.  They are a huge time consumer for people who 90% of the time don't give a care in the world for anything about the church except for the use of the building.  

    I've encountered the most entitled, insensitive, priority-challenged wedding industry duped customers.  Unfortunately our sanctuary is a very beautiful building and that brings out in droves those who want a beauty pageant.

    The insensitivity to our congregation's place of worship is stunning.  They march in and demand this and that and get appalled when we assert some control based on our religious tradition.  

    They want their own preacher but they don't want it in their own building because their building looks like a gymnasium.  They actually try to tell us which cleric is going to preside at a worship service in our sanctuary. They want rock and roll but they don't want the Lord's Prayer.  They want to wear cowboy hats because it's a cowboy wedding and take umbrage when they find out that our tradition asks that men remove their hats when they are in our sanctuary.  They want to include some new age elements to a worship service in our Christian Sanctuary.  They don't want us to use the J word.  They think that just because their girl friend can sing along with JLo in the car that she should sing a solo in the church.  They want pop-romance schlock when we require only sacred music in a worship service.

    They get drunk in the parking lot and show up drunk for a worship service in our sanctuary.

    Ho-lee-shit!  I can only imagine someone going to a Jewish or Muslim or Wiccan or anything else sacred worship space and being that disrespectful to those traditions.  But these folks act like they are paying customers and so they can boss us around.

    Our calling is to be hospitable but not to be a door mat.  I would like to abolish all weddings.  

    And then the money these people blow on it!  I see people blow way too much money on funerals too.  It is unconscionable that the wedding and funeral industry pressures people into such irresponsible expenditure.

    The local funeral home is pissed at me because I have been advising people to go Spartan on funerals.

    "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

    by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:39:12 AM PDT

    •  There's a local church (5+ / 0-)

      that has an extremely picturesque setting -- the wall beyond the altar is glass and provides a stunning view of the valley below, or at least stunning on a low-smog day. They were so inundated with requests for weddings that they set a requirement that the only people who could marry there are those who are members of the congregation or who had close relatives (parents/grandparents) who are members.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:39:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have considered that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MaikeH, PsychoSavannah, Julia Grey

        As it is the fee is miniscule for members (basically it covers the extra pay for the janitor, and musician).  A couple hundred bucks more for non-members.  But you would not believe the number of people who try to join just for the discount.  As if membership in a congregation is the same as getting a Kohl's card.

        "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

        by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:59:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You should commiserate with our organist (3+ / 0-)

      She has told me the most outrageous bridezilla stories. Everything you've mentioned, she has experienced in the not-quite two years she's been with us.

      Our previous organist had written up guidelines for wedding parties. When he retired, our pastor relaxed them, thinking that the former organist, who was quite the male primadonna, had been too rigid.

      I'm on the Worship, Music, and Arts Committee, and I told our current organist if she requested for the old rules to be reinstated, I would totally have her back.

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:55:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We got married at Cleveland city hall. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Bernie68, kareylou, chimene

    My mom was there as was our first born (who was 7 months old at the time).  The judge who was the usual "marrying judge" was out ill so we had a fill-in judge.  It was former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes.  I thought my husband was going to fall over.

    As we were the last couple to be wed that day the group who were with the couple before us (they came in from work on their lunch hour) waited outside the courtroom doors and cheered as we left.  Truly a feel-good moment.

    Who needs a party after that?  It'll be 26 years this July.

    April is Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Month. Every month should be so.

    by Powered Grace on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:44:45 AM PDT

  •  I've played for hundreds of weddings. (5+ / 0-)

    I've seen fashions and fads come and go, from the sublime to the ridiculous.  There was a period of time when every bride seemed to want everything she'd seen or heard at every other wedding, plus something "unique."  It got to be more like a recital than a sacred rite.

    Lately, though, they seem to be going for simple and elegant, which suits me fine.  After all, the couple are supposed to be the stars.  Why have a cast of thousands to distract from what are supposed to be solemn vows?

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:47:30 AM PDT

  •  I never as a child-not once-dreamed about (6+ / 0-)

    my wedding.  Never.  Granted, I was somewhat of a tomboy, but still.  When the time came to do the deed as an adult, the thought of planning a wedding horrified me.  I also hate being the center of attention, so we did something really small instead.  I don't understand women who want the stereotypical, WIC wedding.  

  •  I try not to judge others about this stuff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, chimene

    People need what they need; we are all heavily influenced by family, TV and movies, trends and culture. Not everyone has the insight and tools to realize all that and make choices to go their own way.

    Otoelbc and I were married in my mother's back yard. We rented tables and chairs because we didn't have enough. Music from a machine. Barbeque from a local restaurant. A wonderful cousin made a cake. It was a good wedding.

    My best friend was married at her parent's house. Not surprising we are besties.

  •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

    All that princess and Cinderella and fairy tale stuff is, variously, a command about how women will experience their weddings and a sad commentary on how women's lives either are or are viewed by this industry. The command is that this day will be the most perfect day ever. You will be the most beautiful you have ever been, you will be the center of attention (and enjoy that), the whole thing will be some kind of magic. The commentary is that this one day is so damned important because, let's face it, your everyday life is probably pretty pathetic. The constant Cinderella invocations are probably the clearest example of this: Cinderella is abused and living in ashes until magically transformed for the prince. But more broadly, the assumption is that a woman's wedding is the one time in her life that her desires will come first, the one time she'll feel glamorous and celebrated. If pressed, I'm sure that everyone involved in these shows would claim that they don't really believe that. But it's the story they tell. Importantly, it's the story they tell women to believe as they contemplate their own weddings.

    Not everybody gets to be royalty or the 1%, so it's nice to act as if you are once in a while. Obviously the wedding thing is getting a bit extreme when you're having to mortgage your house to do so.

    I'm worried about the author of this piece presuming things about the women in the shows in order to make her point. I think some interviews are in order. Otherwise it's just her taking the narrative and funneling it through her view instead of someone else's.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

    by DAISHI on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:55:53 AM PDT

  •  BTW Laura, dunno where you got that picture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zinger99

    (a relative, perhaps?) but the bride looks stunning.  :)  

  •  I had a $5000 wedding (5+ / 0-)

    That's either a lot of money, or very, very little, as far as the WIC is concerned. I felt it was frugal, but we spent on what we wanted to spend on: decent food a good DJ (la familia like to dance, and need high energy tunes and all the 'group dances' Electric Slide, etc).

    We had 150 people in a  VFW hall in rural Illinois. Local vendors, borrowed centerpieces, no fussy 'wedding coordinator' (we both know what we like, and how to make phone calls and write checks).

    Oh yeah, the best part: we paid for it with Ben Stein's Money, which I had 'Won' the previous year. Maybe we'd have gone all out- WIC style- if I'da won a network game show. But we had a heck of a time on Basic Cable Gameshow winnings. People still talk about how fun that wedding was, and they are right.

    My budget-cutting plan: anyone showing up to a government worksite with Confederate images on their truck, gets paid in Confederate dollars.

    by El Sobrante on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 10:56:42 AM PDT

  •  Not As High A Failure Rate As New Restaurants (3+ / 0-)

    So there is that to be said for weddings. Oh well. If you get a nice video out of it it will be something that your children can look at before they go to therapy after the divorce.

  •  This phrase caught my attention ... (5+ / 0-)
    A culture and an industry taught you to want that
    I love that simple observation, it points to so much about the daily lives of Americans in general; the cars, the houses, the lawns, the clothes, the often unnecessary prescription drugs, the overly processed and often quite unhealthy food, and so, so, so much more.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:03:44 AM PDT

  •  You forgot one cost expense: the ring (4+ / 0-)

    Everyone knows about the de Beers monopoly & how the retail price of diamonds is 2x-3x of their wholesale cost? At least this was still the case 15 years ago when I proposed to my wife.

    Everyone has heard about the "rule" that an engagement ring "ought" to cost 2-3 months salary? (I verified it with a simple Google search; it's not my not my imagination.) At the time, based on my salary, that calculation would have meant the ring cost far more than the two weeks we spent in Hawaii for our honeymoon.

    Sheesh, you read that couples as late as the 1940s paid $25 for a wedding ring, & no one thought it unusual. I don't even know if you can buy a diamond ring for that little.

    Somewhat off-topic: One of my favorite wedding gifts we received was the book You've GOT to have a Sense of Humor to Have a Wedding by Margaret G. Bigger. My favorite anecdote from this book:

    This story came out of Louisville in the '60s. Honest. At 9 p.m., a bride called her mom from a plush hotel's bridal suite. "We can't think of anything to do. Know of any good movies?"
    •  Our first bands were simple (0+ / 0-)

      bands from Best Products (one of those catalog places). For our 10th anniversary we got new bands from a local jeweler. For our 25th anniversary in 3 years, we're thinking of getting something really unique; I have rings that my parents-in-law exchanged over the years (found them when I was clearing out the house after my father-in-law died; mom-in-law is still wearing the one he gave her for their 40th anniversary), and I'm thinking we'll melt those down along with our current rings and have two rings custom crafted which will last us the rest of our lives. I've never been much of a ring wearer so my wedding band is the only one I've really worn, though my mother-in-law has a diamond ring that she wants me to have after she's gone so I might at least wear that for special occasions.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:23:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We rented a small country chapel for $200 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Cassandra Waites

    I bought my dress at an antique store, a family friend (pastor) performed the ceremony, another friend played the organ, another sang, and we hired a guitar/banjo duet for the music afterwards.  The only real expenses were the drinks, the flowers and the catering package, which included a ride up the canal and back on a mule-drawn barge and a picnic in the woods by the river.  A beautiful day, everyone had a great time, and no enormous bill to pay later!

  •  just to note: (4+ / 0-)

    not every girl dreams of weddings.   Young girls and women are just as likely as their male peers to dream of adventures and achievements.  Just sayin'.

  •  My youngest daughter & fiancé are planning a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, a2nite, chimene

    late summer wedding next year.

    They are avid Disc Golfers, playing weekend tournaments regularly.

    They intend to have their ceremony at Hornings Hideout a Disc Golf course and outdoor park, about an hour from where we all live.

    It offers a lovely outdoor setting, overnight camping and all the amenities of any wedding service company. The in-laws and I will be preparing the food (low key, BBQ & summer fare), eschewing catering. She wants to make her own cake (she spent five years decorating cakes for a national chain icecream retailer). She'll be using my mother's ancient (but ivory satin and lace) dress and re-working it into something modern (that should be interesting!).

    They listened to me when I told them "Don't spend a fortune on the wedding. It's not about impressing anyone - it's about celebrating this new life you are setting out to share. That doesn't have to be expensive, just memorable."

    They are on track to spend less than $4,000 when all is said and done. Which is apparently a small percentage of what the average bride/groom spend on a wedding for a lower-middle-class service.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:08:56 AM PDT

  •  We spent less than 300 bucks for our wedding... (7+ / 0-)

    granted, that was nearly 35 years ago but we still got a bit of flack from family who were afraid we'd embarrass them in front of their friends, and who wanted us to have a big do. My mother insisted that we invite the whole Freundschaft--her opportunity to host an East Coast party for the families my parents had left behind decades earlier. So, we ended up with about 130 people instead of the 50 we'd planned to have.

    In spite of that, we were able to hold the line on our intentions for simplicity and community involvement; we had a vegetarian buffet largely provided by good friends at the height of their Shenandoah Valley summer gardens, with wildflowers and a spectacular view of the Allegheny Mts on one side and the Blue Ridge on the other...can't beat that for decor. I designed and made my very simple dress.

    We have wonderful, wonderful memories, a few pictures, and would not change anything. It may have been slightly more 'hippie' than we are today but the basic sentiment and values are solidly the same.

    One of our profs (Biology, of course) gave us a beefsteak begonia. 35 years later, it is still a beautiful houseplant, and the mother of countless offspring. I often pot up rooted slips to give as wedding gifts along with a sheet of instructions on how to take care of it, a bottle of fertilizer, and I usually plant it in a hand-made ceramic pot. It's been a nice way to stay in touch with some of those early values and hand them on like a blessing.

    There is no worse enemy of God and Man than zeal armed with power and guided by a feeble intellect... --William James

    by oslyn7 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:10:21 AM PDT

  •  I am a wedding planner as a hobby, (3+ / 0-)

    mostly because I enjoy the ritual and the beauty of it all.  One of the last things I say to a couple at the first meeting is this, and I don't ask for an answer:  if someone told you that you had to go to the courthouse right now and get married in the clothes on your back with no ceremony, no reception, no honeymoon, none of that;  would you do it?  A marriage is about a life together, not about just one day.  My job is to make that day as perfect as I can possibly make it, but in the long run it is meaningless with regards to the strength and endurance of the marriage itself...

  •  I like the cake shows (0+ / 0-)

    but not enough to pay to watch.

  •  I never wanted to get married (4+ / 0-)

    Then I met the husband...
    We had a nice wedding (his choice, mine was courthouse). He paid for the invitations, I borrowed his sisters dress, his stepmother made the flowers, my mother made the cake. So $1000 bucks all told, wedding at the main post chapel on Fort Knox, reception at the knights of Columbus hall, we served chicken. Here we are 29 years and two kids later still married and going strong.
     My 25 year old niece had her second wedding (in 5 years) yesterday. $3000 dress (again), fancy church, fancy hall, DJ's and cash bar. $1000 in flowers, $800 cake and $200 in cupcakes. They served hot dogs and tuna salad. The kids (under 10) were running the dance floor the adults were busy complaining about work (not enough people doing too much work for too many hours). One who works in ICU was saying they fired all the secretaries and the nurses were expected to do all the paperwork, and make phone calls, and treat patients. Somehow this is Obama's fault, I just tuned them out...I was not there longer than I had to be. The fundie niece, who looked like a hooker, got her boyfriends teen aged daughters (dressed the same) out on the dance floor dancing like strippers (after saying liberals had no morals no less, I told her she looked nice in blue and walked away). All of the 'ladies' were over tanned  in tanning beds, overweight, and shrill. I, almost albino wearing a modest dress and speaking softly, was considered the devil. I left sober, they are on Facebook complaining about hangovers.

    You’re just a bully who found it easier and easier and decided that everybody else wasn’t really a person, not like you, and when you know that, there’s no crime too big, is there? No crime you won’t do.’

    by Shippo1776 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:16:33 AM PDT

  •  I wish I had a big wedding (0+ / 0-)

    But not if there had to be a budget - I would want to pay for everything including bridesmaids dresses and shoes, any travel involved for guests, only the best food and venue - one hell of a party.  A big splurge I could write a check for - not one hint of a budget, no corners to cut and of course a planner so I can just show up.
    But alas, that couldn't happen so it was a small closest family and friends, around 15 guests, tiny chapel at Mission Inn, followed by brunch in the restaurant, then off to a week in Hawaii - perfect, all paid for right from the checkbook 34 years ago.
    But I would have a big wedding if money was not an issue.

  •  OMG, I thought you got into my family album to use (5+ / 0-)

    my wedding photograph!  We celebrated our 50th anniversary two years ago and posed for the same scene.  The only people missing were the pastor and the flower girl.  But, of course, our bridesmaids and grromsmen were married to different people that they had been 50 years ago.  

  •  On the decline (2+ / 0-)

    " A culture and an industry taught you to want that, and the pervasive story about how weddings fit into women's lives, and the push for more and more money to be spent on such a narrow range of acceptable options, deserves critique. "

    This statement seems to imply to me that the "standard" is growing and increase in its domination.

    Just my opinion and understanding but as far as I know the  stereotypical wedding has been on a massive decline the last few decades.

    In my life ive been to several (more than 10 less than 100) weddings. I can only think of 1 or 2 which happened in the 80's (the earliest I can remember) which even came close to a church etc standard.

    That stereotype itself is outdated.. much like that black and white photo.

    •  Some places, maybe, (0+ / 0-)

      in some populations.

      In our family, you better have the church wedding with the large reception and open bar and band (or a very good DJ) that's too loud and drives half the guests outside.

      For this reason, when it becomes legal in PA, if ever, my husband and I are going to the JP carrying a handful of home-grown flowers and sending notes after the fact.

      (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 05:28:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  See Thorstein Veblen, (5+ / 0-)

    The Theory of the Leisure Class. It is the source of the phrase Conspicuous Consumption, and a massive indictment of the rich and powerful that shows how that kind of thinking affects even the poorest among us. It is impossible to understand politics, economics, and society without a grasp of these ideas and a knowledge of at least some of the data.

    Also in places the laugh-out-loud funniest work of non-fiction ever.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:37:13 AM PDT

  •  My Boston-Irish co-worker moved South with her (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, Lonely Liberal in PA

    Philadelphia-Italian husband and shortly thereafter they were invited to a wedding.  She bought a new dress.

    The wedding ceremony took place in a Southern Baptist church just after the Sunday morning service and the reception was in the adjoining recreation hall. Cake and non-alcoholic punch was served. That was it and it was traditional for the principals.

    My co-worker said later, "You call this a wedding? And I bought a dress!"

    You can have big family, big friends, big food, and big fun on a budget. It doesn't have to be austere.  

    OTOH, my niece married with another kind of Southern traditional wedding--church with flowers, etc. and a country club reception with groom's drunken frat brothers decorating the get-away car.  "What is that written on the car?"asked my elderly aunt.  I squinted and lied, "I cant make it out from here, Auntie."

    Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

    by Mayfly on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:48:06 AM PDT

  •  Meh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    I think some kids do spring from the womb wanting yards of white fabric and tulle. With two girls and 7 nieces, I've seen kids that seem to spring from the womb that way and kids (like me) who don't.

    Maybe we need to give girls (and boys who like the princess thing) more opportunity to dress way up and fulfill that inner princess desire without attaching it to a high-cost event that celebrates a more important thing...that you've found this person you want to marry in the presence of family and friends.

    If princessing it up makes you happy, go for it. Some girls are like that and let them have their fun without making them feel like they are letting down their side or something for wanting it. And if they are willing to spend money for it, well it's up to them if they are old enough or their parents if they are still pretty young to balance the desires with the budget.

    The thing that really bugs me about weddings is that the girls are still, in 2013, expected to pay for the wedding. If my kids get married I'm going to talk to the in-laws and say: hey, we are contributing this much to the kids' wedding, how 'bout you do the same."

    •  try introducing your princess-wannabe's to the (0+ / 0-)

      Society for Creative Anachronism. Lots and lots of the "fashions" of the Medieval Period are, well, princess-y, 8-) and you get to make them and wear them on the weekend, for as many weekends as you want!

      Until you get a new one made, or find another interest... Even with dragging the rest of the family along, this may eventually end up costing a LOT less than a WIC extravaganza.

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 12:41:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For some real fun (0+ / 0-)

        Get them hooked on Tudor period England, and introduce them to the stays/corsets that were popular then...

        Some of those could qualify as items of torture.

        thus sayeth Lady Fogge of Owlshaunt, who chose 13th Century garb

  •  We bought gold rings for $35 each (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene

    I bought a peach dress at a consignment store and had it altered to fit, total dress cost $70

    We flew to Las Vegas and stayed at the "Westward Ho" for a week (wedding and honeymoon), cost $620.  The chapel across the street from Circus Circus has a ceremony that included pictures, and a limo ride to city hall to sign the marriage certificate, cost $235.

    Afterward my family (there were eight family members in attendance) took us out to dinner at Mandalay Bay.

    It was a lovely wedding and I am glad I didn't spend a fortune because the marriage only lasted two years...but that is a story for another day.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 11:55:58 AM PDT

  •  My minister's wedding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lonely Liberal in PA, MaikeH

    I attend the First Unitarian/Universalist Church in Houston.
    The wedding was back in the 1990's. His name was Bob and his partner's name was Steven.
    Afterward we had a very nice reception and potluck. I do not know who was best man or bridesmaid.
    Bob had been married and divorced. I once asked him whether Steven had been married before. Bob answered that Steven had always had the good sense to know how he was really inclined.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:04:06 PM PDT

  •  It was different in the '70's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene

    I got married in my husband's parents living room (Ethical Culture ceremony, although it was more like a conversation than a ceremony), in a dress I made myself (I still have it, ugh gold print polyester!), and went out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant afterwards.  The next day, we had a party in their backyard, potluck picnic, complete with frisbee throwing and homemade sangria (which I had intended to make in plastic garbage cans, like we did in college, until my very sweet German Jewish MIL - holocaust survivor, that's another whole story - nearly passed out at the suggestion and then quietly got my mother to pipe up and volunteer to pay for the punch bowl! lol).  We didn't get wedding rings - we used the wedding money to pay for camping equipment for our honeymoon camping in Nova Scotia.  The entire affair could not have cost more than a few hundred dollars - and of course, the marriage didn't last (although we are still friends, he, his wife and I).  But I still have good memories of the whole affair.  

    I don't remember wanting a white dress and all of that - but it was a different era, our friends thought we were really weird for getting married at all.

  •  not much a wedding person (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, chimene

    I got married 15 years ago next month.  I did not want a fairy tale wedding.  It was relatively small, unremarkable.  The fact of loving the man and making it official was important to me.  The rest of it was window dressing.  It still cost an exorbitant amount of money.

    I promote fear of me because I am a coward; I promote equality because I know there's nothing to fear.

    by bristlecone77 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:09:09 PM PDT

  •  My mother was my wedding planner (4+ / 0-)

    I was the last of four (she also did my brother's wedding because his future wife's family was quite dysfunctional), so she knew how to put on a wedding on a budget.

    My wedding dress? A simple white prom dress for about $100, inexpensive even by 1991 standards. Suited me well because I didn't want a whole lot of frilly stuff.

    The wedding was held at the church Mr. Scribe's family attended; the reception at the local community center (which my mom was able to book early since she worked there). Two large rooms that opened out into a large courtyard area that was walled off from the street (so it was safe for all the little kids to run around); we had the dance floor set up outside on a raised area that served as a stage for many events. My oldest sister sewed the bridesmaid dresses; my family made the wedding favors and centerpieces.

    The wedding party was all in the family: my sister-in-law was my matron of honor, my oldest nieces were bridesmaids, Niece #3 was junior bridesmaid, and youngest niece was flower girl. Even on Mr. Scribe's side, his brother and mine were ushers and my two nephews were ring bearers/junior ushers. Only "outsider" was his best friend Ken who flew in from NYC for the event.

    We had a catered buffet, but done by a local deli; I don't really remember much of the food but remember clearly the spaghetti I had at a friend's house that night where a bunch of us gathered to watch slides.

    Saturday marks 22 years; overall I think we've done pretty well.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:13:24 PM PDT

    •  Did your mom keep all her weddings simple? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene

      I went to a wedding last week. First daughter's wedding was 4 years ago and ostentatious.

      Last week's, was her second daughter's, and similar to yours.

      Both planned by same "wedding planner" but don't know why the difference. Maybe it's a sign of the times for the 99% or the wedding planner had seen the light.

      The town owned community center allowed liquor so the only extravaganza was an open bar for an hour. The food was served family style. No band. Maybe 200 people. Wedding vows and reception were both at the center.

      We had a lot more fun at this wedding.

  •  Sweet Sixteen Shows (5+ / 0-)

    I don't know the name of this show but it shows these selfish people planning their sweet sixteen parties.  I don't understand the emphasis about 16 but some of them look like weddings.

    Don't even get me started on those Teen Mom shows.  

    Why is this garbage even on tv?

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:20:54 PM PDT

    •  In many eras (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Cassandra Waites, chimene

      16 was actually the traditional time for marriage -- while girls (and boys) could marry as young as 14, many waited till 16 because the body was more likely to be developed enough for childbearing. Less of a factor these days when women have more options than the boudoir or the convent, but in many cultures there's still a lot of emphasis on that period of life. In the Hispanic community it's 15, or the quinceañera, that's the big event for girls; the celebrations can often rival a wedding in both elaborateness and cost.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:29:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Weddings have been with us for 5K years... (0+ / 0-)

      "Sweet sixteen" parties for 10K years.

      In Kiribati when a girl has her first period the village has a fiesta.

      Kiribati wiki:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Until recently, the people of Kiribati mostly lived in villages with populations between 50 and 3,000 on the outer islands. Most houses are made of materials obtained from coconut and pandanus trees.
  •  do ppl still watch tv (0+ / 0-)

    and ppl still get married?

    i have no plans to get married nor do I watch TV (unless i catch CNN or some game while i'm out).

    but i'm in my 20's, maybe old people are still clinging to the old-school delusions of monogamy and the nuclear family.

    Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

    by aguadito on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:28:58 PM PDT

    •  There are some very good reasons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      to get married, as we've seen from the fight for marriage equality. (Watching my gay brothers and sisters fighting for the same rights I got just for signing a piece of paper in 1991 got me to reflect on my own marriage and to stop taking it and Mr. Scribe so much for granted.) People may be waiting longer to get married (Mr. Scribe and I were in our 30s; my mother had given up hope that I'd ever find Mr. Right as opposed to Mr. Right Now), which is actually a good trend.

      You may find your attitude on marriage changing as you get older; probably not your attitude on TV -- I mostly watch sports and local news, maybe the occasional movie or TV show if I'm relaxing with my crochet.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:33:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've photographed hundreds of weddings (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, a2nite, barbwires, PsychoSavannah

    and 99% of my clients have not been anything like the couples that I've seen on wedding reality shows. It seems natural that couples with strong narcissistic tendencies are going to be drawn to turning their own wedding into a tv show, so that's what we get. (and hey! free stuff a la david tutera reinforces their narcissistic belief that the world must owe them a lavish wedding), Plus the drama makes better tv for the producers.

    There was a time when banks required barely a pulse to refinance your house so that you could pull out your 'equity' to pay for your kids wedding, or your own. Those days are gone. People are spending less on weddings than before, and getting married less frequently. The people I know that work weddings are more on the service industry spectrum of the pay scale than the corporate exec. pay the term WIC implies.

    Whatever it is I'm being paid, it's always less than the cost of an open bar. I would argue that the beverage/spirits industry makes more money on weddings than any other.

  •  Our wedding was pretty low-budget (0+ / 0-)

    by wedding-industrial standards- spent a little over $6000.  We had it at a historical county park, we got food catered from our favorite local restaurant  (which we had a personal relationship with the owner, so we got an amazing deal), had a close friend marry us, and I hand made pretty much everything: invitations, flowers, table runners, center pieces- everything except my dress (which for a time I was considering making as well).  My craft room was a perpetual mess for 8 months.  It was a really nice wedding (one of my favorite moments was meeting my little 3-year old cousin for the first time, and seeing the huge doe-eyed, open jaw look on her face), but if I were to do things over, I would have opted for Vegas, but I don't think our families would have been happy about that decision.

  •  As a once-wedding photographer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    I can assure you, that none of us in the photo business are getting rich off of weddings.

    It used to be that a wedding was at minimum a $2000 gig... with film, equipment, insurance, printing costs... etc... even then you were barely breaking even.

    Nowadays everyone has a digital camera running around and brides don't want to pay more than $500 for shoot-and-burn wedding photography.

    Now I only shoot for close friends and the occasional request from other people.  I do it for the art, not the financial reward these days.

  •  Got my intro to the WIC via this old song... (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't it a good feeling when you see the paper in the morning, it says 'Axe Slayer Kills 19' and you say, "They can't pin that one on me!" - Jean Shepherd

    by razajac on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 02:42:14 PM PDT

  •  I never once in my childhood or adulthood dreamed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly

    of my wedding. It never occurred to me. At all. Ever. I did not plan either one. The event itself was never important to me at all. I do not understand how other women can obsess about it so much.

    I enjoyed my daughters' weddings. They looked beautiful because they were. Weddings are more for families than they are for the bride and groom, IMO.

  •  Those shows aren't real. (0+ / 0-)

    I know a lot of brides who chose to have modest weddings and not spend so much money.  I had one, it was nice, but ultimately it's only one day of your life.

    If you pin all your planning and hopes on that one day, what happens when it's over?  Nothing to look forward to?

  •  TLC has turned itself into another garbage network (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    too bad, they used to be good.

  •  We had two weddings (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barbwires, chimene, Cassandra Waites

    Both were cheap. The "real" wedding was at a huge yearly gathering of fellow medievalists in Pennsylvania. We got a Quaker license so that we could marry without a pastor. Friends cooked a wedding feast for everyone who cared to show up. I wore a 14th century cotehardie in a bright mustard yellow, with a red silk capelet-hood thingie. We ate. We drank (copiously). My husband created a recipe for a honey & saffron cake. A good time was had by all.

    The "family" wedding was held 3 months later, at Fort Hunt Park, just south of Alexandria, VA. I wore a pale gold dress in the style of an 1894 dinner dress, with a red silk sash. I had wanted to be married in red, just because I loathe and despise the whole "virginal purity" symbolism of white dresses (damn you, Queen Victoria! Talk about the unintended consequences of one young woman's fashion choice!)  But really, I look a lot better in golds and mustard yellows than I do in most reds, so it was for the best.

    We had a friend cater the reception lunch at the picnic tables under the group shelter. A ton of kids ran around with disposable cameras. The only thing we splurged on was a dj, mostly for background music. We went through the whole "getting married" rigmarole because Mr. Venturi's mother wanted to see it. Our "officiants" were a couple we were (and still are) friends with, a couple of atheists. We practiced the ceremony once, agreed that it would work, and it did. We partied again, then cleaned up after everybody left and went home.

    There was no $5,000 white dress. Both cakes were homemade and decorated by friends. Our friends were our photographers. Our friends were our caterers. I made both of the dresses, and have worn each many times since. Take that, Wedding-Industrial Complex!

    The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

    by Alice Venturi on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 08:34:17 PM PDT

  •  weddings are not expensive, receptions are (0+ / 0-)

    Can I suggest that anyone who wants a wedding can ask politely and almost any (as far as I know) federal judge will be willing to officiate at a ceremony in his or her office.

    The problem, in my humble opinion, is that people have grown up with the idea that a "real wedding" requires an expensive fancy party.  I even remember from some years ago when my now wife told a colleague about our upcoming wedding, the colleague described in great detail how her wedding and reception were going to be.  When I asked who she was marrying, her response was that she had not yet met anyone.  I would suggest to anyone thinking about getting married should think more about what their married life will be life for hopefully many years, and less about the first day.

  •  I had a nice wedding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, bartcopfan

    because it was inspired by music (and love).  Flute and harp led inevitably to candlelight and formal, but the bridal party was small.  (This particular flutist and harpist had played for Charles and Diana at the white house; but the flutist had been my teacher for several years and cut us some serious slack off the usual fee).  We also auditioned a singer to perform a wonderful piece with a poem by Herbert Howells that was meaningful to both of us (Love bade me welcome, music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams).  The 'Meditation from Thais' took the place of a sermon.  We did have communion-open to all who chose to partake.  

    My husband was in a small a capella group at the time and sang at his own wedding (at least at the reception).  A friend of mine also led a dance band, so we had live music  for dancing-which did go late!  Many guests said the music was the best they had ever heard at a wedding (and that was what we focused a lot of attention and resources on).

    I wrote out the service programs and bound them with ribbons, and spent the morning before the wedding decorating our cake with silk flowers.  My in-laws got to feed the guests (which was fine, since they invited many of them).  Yes, we could have skipped a lovely wedding and had a nicer honey moon, but it did give us something lovely to remember (and still do, 26 years later).

    I don't know if the WIC got to us or not-maybe the caterers did.  I had never wasted much time dreaming of a fancy wedding but I ended up happy with the outcome.  It marked a stage in our lives, and after living as partners for 4 years it was a chance for a bit of formality (and forgiveness also, as those who know the Howells poem may have guessed). That said, we didn't end up headover heels in debt, either.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 09:56:48 PM PDT

  •  Though rarely asked, my advice to youngsters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julia Grey

    (yeah, I guess I'm now of the age I can/must use that term) getting married is to make sure they've spent at least as much time planning their marriage as planning their wedding.

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:37:34 AM PDT

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