Big Wedding, Small Budget

A Terrible Way to Spend a lot of Money

“Indie” weddings seem to have become pretty popular lately, at least in the blog-o-sphere. But, what started out as people doing their own thing, deciding what they want for themselves in their weddings has quickly become a “style.” The “BIC” (blog-industrial complex) can, at times, be as pressure-inducing as the WIC. Anyone who, like me, spends too much time reading wedding blogs can easily fall prey to feeling like their wedding must be rustic, quirky, and beautiful, with antique typewriters, mason jars, old keys, and lots of bunting. And if you’re not crafty? If you don’t have a keen eye for fabulous finds in antique shops? Well, of course, there are companies happy to create the look for you! And with that, I bring you the $180.00 balloon. Seriously.

Geronimo balloon set from BHLDN

Ok, I lied. The 180 dollars actually buys you two balloons.

Granted, these balloons are quite large. And they do have pretty tails. But 180 dollars???? This just goes beyond any rational thought, at least in my world. The thing is, I don’t have a problem with spending money to have pretty things at your wedding, if that’s what you want. I don’t have a problem with choosing a theme (even if it rustic chic) and decorating with that in mind. But I do have a problem with companies that co-opt a homegrown, handmade aesthetic while charging WAY too much.

Also, I understand that my wedding will probably cost more than any other party I throw. But that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to pay more for specific things just because they’re for my wedding. Even though that’s the philosophy that the WIC operates by. A wedding is once in a lifetime event, right? So spend once in a lifetime money on everything? The WIC says yes. I say no.

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Wedding Blog Ridiculousness – Hunger Games Edition

There has been a new kind of wedding circulating around the blogosphere. A Hunger Games themed wedding. WTF?!?!

I refuse to link it, because it is too ridiculous. So, let me tell you what is involved. And let me warn you, my true nerd self will be coming out in this post.

Hunger Games weddings apparently include “a gloomy, yet pretty edge.” The bride must have braided hair, and touches of arrows here and there help. Rustic chic is the order of the day. And it never hurts if you can include the mockingjay symbol in your wedding décor.

I have so many problems with this. Cue head exploding! Let’s see if we can unpack this.

First, for those who have not read the books, The Hunger Games is not fun young adult fiction with a rough edge, like the later Harry Potters. It is a vision of a dark, dystopian future in which America has turned into an oppressive dictatorship. Large parts of the country are starving to death, literally. Children (yes, children) are forced by the government to battle each other TO THE DEATH in a yearly reality show. Let me repeat. Children are forced to kill each other while the populace watches and celebrates.

I mean, if that doesn’t bring to mind the perfect wedding, what does? Right? RIGHT?

The first Hunger Games themed wedding shoot I came across was a hypothetical Katniss and Peeta wedding. I won’t spoil the later books, but for those of you who have read all three, you know what the problems are with this.

I hope we can all agree that a Hunger Games themed wedding is ridiculous. But really, there are some deeper problems to unpack.

One thing that struck me was how superficial this is. These blogs encourage choosing a Hunger Games theme for your wedding simply because it is trendy, not because the books spoke to you or have become part of your relationship. The truth is, if that was the case, you would probably not want this kind of wedding for the reasons stated above. The Hunger Games wedding had lots of cutesy details with no meaning, disregarding the fact that the book is about oppressed people and just trying to squeeze pretty details out of it. Let’s ignore the social commentary and people starving to death, and figure out how to make it pretty.

Does that remind you of anyone???? The Capitol, perhaps?

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The fun, festive world of bridal magazines.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with women’s magazines. Makeup? Fun. Trashy celebrity stories? Sign me up. The eternal focus on pleasing men? Ummmm…what? The never-ending efforts to make you feel like you must fit into the same, bland box as everyone else? No thanks. So maybe more hate than love, then. I’ll stick with my Mother Jones and Rolling Stone.

Bridal magazines are sort of a different story, though. They’ve always appealed to that “bride” side of me. The part that loved thinking about weddings, even when I was single. I loved looking through those magazines with my engaged friends, but I would never let myself buy them. Not until I was actually engaged.

So, it felt like a victory of sorts when I could actually buy them! I am finally engaged! Someone actually wants to me marry me! And now, I get to telegraph it to the world by going up to the cash register with actual BRIDAL magazines. Maybe they’ll even ask me if I’m getting married! Yes!

Side story: the victory was short lived when, at the cash register with my fianci-daughter Emily* buying them for the first time, the cashier assumed that we were picking them up so Emily could plan her future wedding. What?? She’s only nine. Kill me now.

Anyway, the truth is that when it comes to Modern Bride, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides Florida (the list goes on and on), I have much more love than hate. For some reason, it’s a lot easier to laugh at the ridiculous expectations and gender stereotypes of the WIC than of society in general (a fine line, I know, but stay with me here). Maybe it’s because I’m more confident in offbeat choices for my wedding than offbeat choices for my life. Maybe it’s because, at least online, there is a lot more support for planning a wedding outside the lines than planning a similar life (but thank you, Reclaiming Wife, Offbeat Home, and Offbeat Mama!).

With all that said, there is still plenty to hate in the world of bridal magazines. I present to you some examples**. Feel free to laugh, shake your head, get all ragey, read a feminist blog, or have whatever reaction you deem appropriate.

From The Knot:

“For the past few seasons, it’s been all about bright nails, from classic reds to purples and even greens, which we’ve loved—just not for weddings. (Green doesn’t exactly scream “bridal,” if you know what we mean.)” –Because there is definitely just one way to look “bridal” and that is with pale pink or nude nail polish. I love pink nail polish as much as anyone, but on my wedding day, I can tell you I will probably be matching my nails to whatever colorful necklace I’m wearing. Or maybe I’ll just be too lazy to do them at all (the horror!).

“The knot destination wedding guide” Phuket Thailand. “Wed at Amanpuri on the beach or in one of the luxe villas (they can pull of a Buddhist ceremony if you want that local flair.)” –Cultural appropriation for the win! Don’t have a Buddhist ceremony because you are a Buddhist. Why have a ceremony that reflects your beliefs at all when you can just make it part of your wedding theme?

From Brides:

“Rate your MOH: rock star or reject?” –Let’s all judge our best friends against each other! And, if we want to complain about the most special people in our lives, let’s do it in a national print magazine! Fun!

“5 awesome engagement moments: 1) Telling your family. 2) Hearing him introduce you as his fiancée. 3) Trying on your first gown. 4) Asking your BFF to be your MOH. 5) Realizing that right now, is really is all about you.” –Let me state for the record: Numbers 1 and 2 were pretty effing awesome, I have to say. And I expect number 3 to be, hopefully, fun. As for number 4–I don’t plan on having a maid of honor but I did enjoy getting asked to be one, so I can get behind that. But then I got to number 5. Oh, Brides, you were so close. But is it really all about me? For the next 14 months? Wow. I mean, it’s not like there is another person participating in this wedding or anything. And oh yeah—it’s not like I actually have a life to live outside of planning my nuptials. Right. Sorry, I forgot. I’m not a person, just a bride.

So, commenters! Friends and family! I am the bride, a magical, mystical creature and the center of the universe! Share your adoration of me!

On second thought, please don’t. That would be really, really awkward.

*In case it’s not clear, Emily is my future stepdaughter. We both though it was just a lot more fun to use this phrase.

**Don’t worry—there are always more! Look for them in a future post when I’m feeling snarky.