Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wedding Trends, Blech!

I hope everyone made it through the madness that was "Matrimony Monday" last week. The fact that the Wedding Industrial Complex has coined that phrase to describe when a significant number of newly-engaged-during-the-holidays-brides-to-be start planning their weddings makes me laugh (and, to be honest, throw-up a little).

I'm just so saddened by the fact that planning a wedding has become such a commercialized and commodified event. I received countless spam e-mails last week about the "Wedding Trends of 2011!" Perhaps I will be the first to inform you that "sophistication is back" and "scripted calligraphy" and "custom monograms" embody this trend. And did you know that "grey is the new black"? What about the fact that "brights and metallics will be popular choices for wedding color palettes in 2011"?

I don't mean to be overly critical of the folks who compile those lists and shoot off those e-mails. I mean, they're just trying to make a living. And I don't actually believe that the Wedding Industrial Complex is a true conspiracy hatched in some secret boardroom to manipulate and brainwash unsuspecting wedding planning couples.

I do think, however, that the Wedding Industrial Complex is a dangerous cultural entity that has the power to distract us from the significance and importance of planning a major life event. In my mind, it's a zero-sum game: The more time we spend thinking about the calligraphy and the custom monogram and the metallic color palette, the less time we have to think about how to strengthen our partnerships, to reflect on the enormity of the commitment we are about to make, and to maintain all the aspects of our lives that are totally unrelated to our weddings.

I love this comment from Accordians and Lace that was in response to a post on A Los Angeles Love:

Honestly, when I look back at our wedding (now 1.5 years ago), it like, blows my mind that I cared so much about little DIY details and all that crap. They were cute and everything, but I don't know why I CARED so much, or invested so much of my time in it. In the sober light of day, it feels crazy that I spent so much mental energy on the small stuff. Planning a wedding can be fun (and it can be fun to focus on return address labels when you have a dissertation to finish, for example) but it can also be so consuming that I am honest-to-goodness EMBARRASSED now when I think about some of the stuff that seemed So Important to me.

I feel the same way about aspects of our wedding. For example, I can't believe I spent so much time stressing about the stamps for our invitations (I really wanted customized photo stamps, but they just didn't fit in the budget). After the fact, the stamps seem so inconsequential. It's so much more important to me that Matt and I wrote vows to each other that we still pull out and recommit to once in a while, that we got to spend a significant amount of time relaxing and reconnecting with our friends during our wedding weekend, and that we had the courage to define what an authentic wedding meant to us (because that courage was the foundation upon which the rest of our life together is built).

Unfortunately, we may rationally understand all of this and yet fall victim to our own emotional responses throughout the wedding planning process. I'm serious when I say that those customized photo stamps--in the moment--felt like they had the power to transform our wedding from mundane to cute and clever. It's embarrassing to admit, but it's oh-so-true! We have to remind ourselves--over and over--to stay focused on what really matters to each of us. How about that for a 2011 wedding trend?

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1 comment:

Nadine said...

Ahh, thank you for this post. I am one of the (apparently many!) people who got newly engaged over the holiday season. Shows how tapped into the WIC we are: we had no idea it was a popular time to get engaged. I had already freaked out over prices of venues and started on a path of "oh god, we'll never afford this," but blogs like yours have given me hope. I think the little details will be fun to work on (at least right now, from this comfortable "oh yeah, I can totally make all those things over the next 11 months" place), but ultimately they're not the important thing.

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