Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Industry

For the past several days, I've been scouring the Internets for wedding related stuff. It seems appropriate enough that I do so, given that I scoured the Internets for the groom. I found the groom, miracle of miracles, but good ideas for a second wedding in my middle years seem somewhat less likely to pop up via online mediated methods for coming up with ideas.

The wedding industry these days is huge. Enormous. Obscene. I haven't fact-checked these stats, so until I do, take them with a certain amount of healthy skepticism, but one source I've found claims that the average price of a wedding these days is $20,000. One of my students last term did her paper on weddings and the processes people go through to decide what they are going to do. One couple she interviewed was given $12,000 by the bride's parents, then took out a loan themselves for another $15,000. The most elaborate wedding I've ever attended cost about $12,000. I cannot imagine what $27,000 might bring to the whole affair to make it worth going into the same amount of debt as a Honda Fit. The whole package would buy a Mini Cooper S convertible. Can I have the really cute car, please? I mean, if I'm going to be all materialistic and all that....

But this is what I find the really big, confusing mystery; the average honeymoon only costs $3,800. What's wrong with these people? I could put on a really rockin' party for $3,800, and use that $27,000 for one heck of a great trip. I mean one HECK of a great trip, lasting several months and covering several countries. Who on earth in their right minds would do it the other way around?

In an unthinking, impetuous moment, I subscribed to a site called "WeddingChannel.com" and am now inundated with daily emails about reception sites in my area, great deals on wedding favors and the latest news on the latest bridal trends. Short veils and bird's nests are apparently all the rage.

Bird's nests?

In an effort to get outside the proverbial bridal box, I googled "alternative wedding gowns." No. No goths, no saucy wench dresses, thank you. How about "nontraditional weddings?" No. Washing of feet will not be done. "Offbeat weddings?" No. No clown themes, pirate themes, circus themes, biker themes, marriage ceremonies performed in hot air balloons or vows recited while bungee jumping off bridges in New Zealand. No, no, no, no, no and no. No.

This afternoon I went up to Portland to tell one of my bestest friends the news. After the requisite gasps and hugs, she took me by the shoulders and said, "You HAVE to go dress shopping, and I HAVE to go with you." Ms K and I go back a ways with the whole fascination over clothing thing, so it's not as funny as some of you might think. Besides, that was the advice that one of her friends gave to her upon the announcement of her engagement, and she acknowledged that it was a remarkable experience. I am not going to buy the traditional wedding dress, and certainly won't be spending $10,000 on a Vera Wang, but at what other point in my life will I ever have a legitimate excuse to go into high end bridal shops and be waited on hand and foot as I try on clothes priced in the multi-thousands of dollars? I don't have a daughter, and never will, so I can't hope to one day live vicariously through her while she fantasy shops for a wedding dress she would never in a million years buy, so why the heck not do it myself when I have the opportunity to walk into those shops and say with a straight face that I'm getting married and need to see about a dress?

I told David about this Grand Idea this evening. He sounded slightly anxious, like perhaps I might actually decide to plunk down that $10,000, or worse, that I might want him to tag along on my shopping trips. No, darling... it was kind and sweet of you to offer to go see the 'Sex and the City' movie with me, but that's as far as I would ever expect you to go to indulge whatever gurlie tendencies I might have, and even that was above and beyond the call of duty. (He did not actually go to see 'Sex and the City' with me; I went with Ms K and her mom, and he went to 'Hellboy2' with my son and nephew.)

Bird's nests?


Dee said...

Hey Mary,
Congratulations! I'm so happy for you! Love that - shoving a ring on your finger while you have a cracker in your mouth! What a wonderful story! Tell Mr. Arm Candy (that is what you called him at the Anthro Shindig in June, right?) congrats, also!

And, I would definitely spend just $3,800 on the party and $27,000 on the honeymoon. Small, intimate wedding with close friends and family, a big party for everyone else, and then lots of fun for yourself later. WOW!

Dee said...

Hi again,
Hey, if "fiance" is not falling off your tongue very well, give it a new phrase. You could have a new contest called "Mary's New Fiance Synonym". Here's a couple to start:

keeper (so, it's would be "my keeper")

ringer (both a play on the ring and also a "ringer" that's like an "ace in the hole")

cracker (plays on the cracker in your mouth)

finger candy

Yep, it's silly. But fun!

Love the layout on the blog, by the way! Cool!

MissAnthropology said...

Hey... good idea. !