Let’s talk about the real vampire squid in American life: the wedding industry.
The latest news comes courtesy of Racked, where Juno DeMelo gives us the badly needed takedown of the quaint, do-it-yourself trends that bill themselves as anti-Wedding Industrial Complex. Weddings in the Quaint Economy — wrapped in the “authentic” style of Etsy and Pinterest — have now become just as expensive as the megaweddings they set out to avoid.
DeMelo writes that, “besides driving you bonkers, I’m pretty sure a homemade, rustic-chic wedding costs more than a generic ‘fancy’ one, because you end up renting vintage velvet settees and suitcases from prop companies and buying 100 overpriced heritage Mason jars on the Internet.”
Here are the details from her wedding:
The Mexican-barbecue food truck we hired ran us about $US70 a person. For tacos. Those cupcakes cost nearly $US500. I balked at the cost of bridal gowns, then spent almost $US1,000 on a dress from Nicole Miller, plus another $US350 changing the neckline and getting a fancy bustle sewn in — alterations that are usually included at a chain bridal store. While catering halls have roofs, our venue had a charming garden we paid nearly $US2,000 to tent in case it rained. We had to buy hand soap for the bathrooms, lights to string from the rafters, and bar equipment for the guys who made our agave and fresh lime juice margaritas, all because our cool venue wasn’t really set up for something as uncool as a wedding.
Marriage as an institution is thousands of years old. It has changed in its purpose somewhat, but if you go far enough back, it was essentially a way to confer legitimacy on procreation. That is, it was about making sure that a father’s son was really his. That’s for a lot of reasons, but a big one is for the transfer of property from father to son, bypassing the women in the family entirely, in most cultures.
These days, it’s about commitment and love and having a great party. It’s also about transferring your money to two dozen different vendors who have doubled their normal prices just because you said the word “wedding.” Remember the $US450 wedding shorts?
Weddings in the last couple of years also seem to be about driving yourself crazy DIYing a thousand details that the guests are barely going to notice. I have to wonder how many brides do it because it’s really the party they want to plan (in which case, yes! You do you!)? How many do it because The Knot is written to make you feel like you’re inadequate if you haven’t picked your thematic stationary yet, and Pinterest is a very popular website almost entirely dedicated to getting you to buy things you don’t need (pro tip: instead, use it for choosing outfits)?
I’m here to tell you, don’t give in. The best wedding I’ve ever been to was in a bar, and there were not very many flowers, and after we went for pizza.
You should not take this as me crapping on weddings. I love weddings. Please invite me to yours. But I just want you to know that I’ll come and I will love it whether you rent out an entire Vanderbilt country estate for the weekend or have a barbecue with an iPod playing in your parents’ backyard.
I will not remember your centerpieces, I promise. So only spend hours making them if you will remember them (fondly).
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