I have to confess my stomach felt a little queasy all day. I really don't like to make people mad.
Once, when I was in college, I wrote a brief letter-to-the-editor of our campus newspaper asking him not to use the word "he" to refer to all students in the generic sense because I didn't feel represented. A baseball player read the letter and basically created an I-hate-Sara-shrine in the hallway of his dorm. He said I was a "lesbian bitch whose boyfriend probably just broke up with her."
That made me feel queasy, too.
But now that I'm done working for the day and have had a chance to read over everything again, I feel less queasy. I feel good about the fact that we're having a genuine dialogue. I'm sorry I may have driven some people away. I agree with Kate's comment: "Condemning a group for bad behavior will NOT grant you the audience that you want, nor will you be able to educate them."
I particularly appreciated how Meg of A Practical Wedding complexified the dress issue. She's absolutely right to raise the idea that my $15 dress from Target is good on the budget but not so good for the world (in terms of the questionable labor practices that go into producing cheap goods).
But that's exactly the kind of thing we should be talking about! I don't feel angry or judged (maybe that's because she phrased it so nicely?). I very much appreciated that Meg raised an interesting and insightful idea that challenged choices I made.
Planning a wedding is about compromises. We have to make compromises when certain things don't fit within our self-proclaimed budget. We have to make compromises when things don't necessarily align with our values. We have to make compromises when our partners' tastes and preferences deviate from our own (or when we involve families in the process and their tastes deviate from our own).
In our case, our budget had to trump our values in several different ways: 1) my dress was not necessarily produced with sweatshop-free labor 2) we bought a lot of our food from Sam's Club, which is associated with Wal-Mart and puts high-fructose corn syrup in their food 3) we couldn't afford to rent real plates and dishes, so we had to go with disposable tableware (the best we could do was make sure they were compostable).
Those compromises were difficult for Matt and I to make. Every couple needs to set their own wedding budget and determine their own priorities. I just think we need to continue discussing our choices and our compromises in a candid way. Thank you to all of you for your comments and insight!