October 17, 2003

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Two nights ago I came home from work to find L curled up on the couch flipping through a wedding magazine. A few more were piled on the coffee table and another was spread across her lap. I couldn't believe how many titles there were. The human genome project was probably easier than determining the difference between Bride's, Elegant Bride, Cosmopolitan Bride, Today's Bride, Bridal Guide, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Bells, World Class Weddings and Martha Stewart Weddings. Someone will have to explain to me why anyone would need a subscription to Wedding Cakes. L even bought one magazine called New York Weddings despite the fact that we're getting married in Wisconsin. Apparently Oconomowoc Brides was sold out.

Many different magazines come in to our apartment every week and most of them have a clear purpose. News changes from day to day, hence daily newspapers and weekly publications such as Time and Newsweek.

But these wedding magazines have left me puzzled. What changes in styles of white wedding dresses enough to warrant bi-montly - and in some cases, monthly - publication of these periodicals? "Absolutely nothing," said a friend. To most guys, frequent publication of a magazine about weddings makes as much sense as a weekly newsletter for toll collectors. Sure, a lot of people collect tolls on our nation's highways, but how many differnt ways are there to count change?

And what about a magazine called Modern Bride, a misnomer if ever there was one. In fifteen articles and 37,000 ads, there isn't a non-traditional bride to be found. Shouldn't Modern Bride showcase wedding dresses in shades of red or bridesmaids in matching pant suits? Where are the articles on vegan wedding buffets? And if this magazine professes to be so modern, shouldn't some of the brides be gay men?

Of course, there is no magazine devoted exclusively to grooms. That would be silly, right? After all, what changes about a black tuxedo from year to year?

Posted by The Groom at October 17, 2003 10:48 AM

I have yet to find a decent selection of wedding dresses anywhere dedicated to those who a) want to buy something they could wear again; b) have no intention of walking down the aisle swathed in an inverted acetate hive; or c) intend to remain on Planet Earth for their big day.

That's just my two cents. Here are several more of my two cents on this issue:

I am baffled by the wedding industry. I have no desire to look like everyone else on my wedding day. I do not believe that a bevvy of my dear friends need to suffer in heels for my marriage to survive.

For my wedding, I will wear a lovely dress, in a color and style flattering to me, and my friends will do the same. We will look charming and will most likely not match. This thought does not keep me up at night.

Further, at no point on this day will I be disappointed if my guests are not surrounded by white plastic dove-shaped knick-knacks, beading, seashells or other supposedly life affirming imagery.

This is because at the end of ceremony and party, I will be living my life with my husband. To show my love and commitment to him, I do not need to spend the day in a series of cookie-cutter photo-ops, lavished with ribbons or mints shaped like roses. I don't generally need these things, and I think they are a poor way to mark an important occasion.

Instead, I would like the people I love to surround me. I want them to have a good time, and tell stories about what they love about thier commitments or why they love thier children. I can do this much more comfortably in my living room. As my living room is too small to accomodate the people I love, I have chosen a local Italian restaurant with a comfortable banquet room.

Thank you for posting this. I needed to get this off my chest. I feel alone when I say, "I don't want to wear white or pick out china." I need real things in my life, and in my experience the traditional bridal outfit avec bells and whistles and tiny rosettes is not based in a real-life experience. My wedding is my day, and I want it filled with authentic expressions of love from my husband, my friends and family. To promote this, I need comfort and genuine hospitality, and not a show.

Posted by: Eve at April 3, 2004 04:47 PM