In Which We Make Merry (and Judgmental)

vintage-wedding-dressesWeddings. Has any word, other than that ending in “-gasm,” produced such sighs of exaltation? Though our customs vary, there’s not a corner of this world that doesn’t celebrate the joyful union of two people. People love a good wedding.

Similarly, people hate a bad one. One dry cake or lackluster floral arrangement is all it takes for the whispers to start: “Did you see the dress? She looks like a bedazzled bratwurst! And the flowers. Good heavens, did she corner the market on tangerine carnations?” In the internet age, this seems to have gotten worse. Now, not only are your guests dissecting the wedding, but all your high school classmates think that veil made your eyebrows look fat, while your photographer’s other clients frown at your funky venue. When it comes to weddings, everyone has an opinion.

Even worse, they will give it to you. Your great aunt wants you to know how tacky buffets are, but your childhood friend would hate for your wedding to be cookie cutter. When I started thinking about our wedding, I had a vision: something romantic and casual, with a strong vintage vibe and really great food. Above all, I wanted not to spend the average American wedding budget, because holy macarons, that’s a new Volvo. Yet, every time I make a decision, I consider what people will think. I flashback to all the weddings I’ve been to, where I smugly sat in the pew, judging. Y’all, that is what a girl of marriageable age does at weddings. We hold them up to our own Pinterest-fueled standards and judge, judge, judge.

vintage-wedding-page1Kittens, that’s pretty fucked up. When we attend other parties, be they Halloween masquerades or Super Bowl couch gatherings, we don’t pass judgment. We eat whatever food is provided, laugh with our friends, and enjoy ourselves. We don’t care that Ginny’s cake wasn’t chocolate or that her hair was half-up. We thank her for hosting and go about the business of merriment! Sure, if something goes horribly wrong – the TV explodes at halftime or Colin Bridgerton the Cat eats the turkey – we’ll talk about it. However, only in extenuating feline-disaster circumstances do we openly pass judgment! What’s different about weddings?

Initially, I blamed the presents. When gifts are standard, perhaps people wish to be compensated with a perfect event? It’s an interesting theory, but it doesn’t hold. If we were so uppity about enjoyment reciprocity, wee Tommy wouldn’t have a Chuck E. Cheese birthday fête. If we happily bring presents, when we’re to be tortured with animatronic mice, we shouldn’t be that fussed about a cake-and-punch reception. So, I’ve drawn another conclusion. I think we’re so judgmental about weddings, because we’re stuck in the 1950’s.

Despite wave after wave of feminism, society still thinks of weddings as the bride’s glittery rainbow day. This is the one day she’s been waiting for her whole life. It’s the day she gets to be Princess Shinylocks Man-Nabber, Belle of the Ball. This isn’t just a party, it’s the only party in her life that’s ever going to matter. It’s the pinnacle of her achievements as a woman, a time to show off her trim figure and exquisite taste, before she rockets down the hill of stretch marks and minivans. It is her day.

Y’all, this is ridiculous. I know I’m about to be shunned by the entire wedding industry, but I don’t even think this should be an industry. People should get married, have a party with their nearest and dearest, then continue to joyfully boogie down every day of their lives thereafter. It’s not my fancy duchess day. It’s the day I’m going to marry the love of my life and celebrate! How I choose to do so is not indicative of my value as a woman. If I want to have hamburgers and a short dress, then so be it, because it’s just – gasp! –  a party.

vintage_bride_and_groom_happy_newlyweds_postcard-p239955201995983054envli_400Darling wedding guests who will never read this blog, let’s make an agreement. I’ll provide a good time and great cake, if you don’t give my centerpieces the side-eye. If you or yours get married, I promise to be just as joyful a guest.

– Grace

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17 thoughts on “In Which We Make Merry (and Judgmental)

  1. A-#%*&ing-men!

    I don’t understand why everyone pisses away a plethora amount of money for a wedding just to get judged by everyone and stress that every little thing goes right! I plan on a something low key with close family and friends and a kickass barbecue afterwards and cake. That may be slightly redneck, but I drive a truck and grew up on a farm, so I’m okay with it. 😛

    I wish every woman had your way of thinking when it comes to weddings because it would destroy the evil wedding industry (and save the love birds tons of money and stress)!

  2. To me, weddings are magical. Not because of the glitz and glamour, but because of the look of love the bride and bridegroom exchange when they take the vows. You seem on track for your wedding to be one of the great ones.

  3. Ooooooo, sounds fun! I want to come! And I would promise to be full of nothing but praise even if I had to drink straight from the bottle because all the red solo cups were gone!

  4. I love this! I’m getting married soon, on a budget, yet sometimes when I’m making a decision I find myself thinking what other people will say… I shouldn’t I know but it’s hard not too. I’m also having a short dress thst I got off the rail, in a high street store. *gasp*

  5. I think the reason for all the judgment is pure and simple capitalism. The ‘industry’ with its cunning marketing strategists has us pining for the perfect ring, dress, cake, venue, what-have-you. This is why ‘perfect’ weddings nowadays need such useless things as giveaways for all the guests, presents from the couple to the best man and maid of honour, matching dresses/attires for all the bridesmaids/ushers and and and. It is also the reason why my now-husband and I eoped and got married in a civil ceremony on the beach, no shoes, no guests and the owner of the hotel (which cost us 50€ a night) and his brother as witnesses.

    I wish you all the best for your dream low-key wedding, and if your guests are anything like you they might just appreciate how refreshingly different and special wedding hamburgers are.

  6. We as human beings have evolved in such a way that we care far too much about what other people think. We need to devolve! People love nitpicking at weddings because they always think that their’s will be/was the best in the world. And I think that’s a perfectly brilliant thing to think. As long as those nitpickings are kept to themselves!

    Yours sounds like an awesome time. It’s all about partying with your nearest and dearest and celebrating the day rather than feeling like you have to show off to all that you have the most princess perfect wedding day.

  7. I love this! Do you have ‘don’t tell the bride’ over there? It’s amusing but really bugs me that they keep saying how its the brides day and the biggest day of HER life! Everyone has forgotten about the marriage!
    How can we justify spending so much at this point in our lives? I’d take the car or holiday or house deposit and have a little party in a high street dress!!

  8. Grace, I will tell you this much – I went to two weddings last year – both brides being very close friends of mine. The first was a real affair with more glasses and cutlery on the table, than place for the actual food, the other was a down-to-earth party, which is the one I preferred. It’s sad that things have turned into I-need-to-impress-my-guests – after all, it’s about sharing in the love the bride and groom have for one another, not anything else.

  9. I totally agree! The day should be more about you and your new husband than about center pieces and place settings. It’s all about the two of you! It is incredibly hard planning a wedding, because all of a sudden everyone wants to share their own opinion about everything! I got married in 2010, and was overwhelmed by the comments and judgements. My grandmother told me, since we were planning on an afternoon wedding, she expected all the groomsmen to be in white dinner jackets (wtf?!). My friends told me what songs I haaaaad to have the dj play (even though we really wanted a band). And my mother’s friend, who is like a second mother to me, told me that you have to invite all of the bridal parties’ parents, even if you don’t know them. At first I started to appease these people and their judgements, but as soon as I started getting uncomfortable about the whole thing…. I threw up my hands and shouted It’s our wedding! not yours! (of course this was only to my fiance, but still)

    But it’s true, it’s about the two of you. Everyone might want to live vicariously through your wedding, but you have to take control, because, if you’re not happy, well then whats the point!? It’s about you marrying the one you love, and having your family and friends witness and celebrate that love. If you don’t want matching outfits, or a white dress, or table settings… don’t do it! The wedding industry is way out of control. I think the off beat and quirkiest weddings are the most fun anyway 🙂 My best friend got married in a church with a short punch and cake reception following, and then bussed everyone to a Dave Mathew’s Concert to party the night away. And it was amazing!

  10. I got married almost 14 years ago and EVERY damn person had an opinion. Everyone commented that it was “so neat” or “quaint” that Mr. Muse and I got married on the cheap. We made our own invites. I made all the bouquets and boutonnieres, The rings and my dress were clearance rack/case specials. The meal = buffet. The music – boom box. The venue – a local park. I splurged on a 3-tiered cake made with real butter *gasp* for our 100+ guests.

    My mom did much hand-wringing that Mr. Muse and I weren’t getting married in the church. My grandma thought it abhorrent that we didn’t save the top of the cake (who wants to eat freezer-burned, 1 year old cake anyway?). My mother in law kept insisting I wasn’t sending her best friend an invite; I sent four total when it was all said and done and her friend didn’t come anyway.

    I never had visions of a grand event for a wedding, in fact I have no memories at all of dreaming of my future wedding day. When it came down to it, I did a lot of things for the wedding because they were “proper” – like HAVE a wedding ceremony for family and wear a stuffy wedding dress (with Keds – I was getting married in a park).

    Weddings should be a day that you will look back at and say “YEAH! That was OUR day!” and be happy with it, be damned all the judgers and criticizers.

    If I could do it all over again? I’d elope.

  11. when I got married I had a very simple ceremony and a simple long lilac dress… that almost killed my father in-law.. he was soooooo disappointed that there was no long white wedding dress and huge 300 people banquette, I still have to listen him nagging 5 years after

  12. Holy Macarons, indeed! My friend just recently asked me to be her maid of honor… I’m appaled on her behalf at the ridiculous prices! I can’t imagine spending the kind of money she’s planning on spending for JUST THE HALL AND CATERING on a single evening of entertainment EVER. I think I’ll elope… or just live with the guy long enough to be considered common-law and then throw a kegger.
    I wish you the best of luck in not being too bothered by any judgementalness from your wedding guests 🙂

  13. My wedding was the cheapest I’d been to… check out my blog and judge my sky blue (stretchy) dress. Yep, I didn’t even have to get a new one when I put on weight before the wedding! Looking at the photos… maybe I should have. Lol. And my makeup lady – sheesh! She ought have warned me that I would resemble a drag queen. But you know what, we all had a great time, cleavage and all! lol. Here is the link if you fancy looking. And yep, my cake was wonky (read: home made) but we had a BLAST! http://strawberryquicksand.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/will-you-be-my-awful-wedded-wife/

  14. I love weddings for the party and the cake, but I’m not sure why you have to get married to put together a gift registry. Shouldn’t us single girls get some presents for going it alone? Seriously, we need the extra goods on one income anyway!

  15. “People should get married, have a party with their nearest and dearest, then continue to joyfully boogie down every day of their lives thereafter. It’s not my fancy duchess day. It’s the day I’m going to marry the love of my life and celebrate!”

    I love this!

    I recently started planning my wedding and was floored by the size and ridiculousness of the wedding industry. I have nothing against great parties (and I plan to throw one) but the obsession with the dress (still don’t get it) and the this-day-is-all-about-me phenomenon are beyond me.

    I’m trying to chronicle it all here: http://www.weddingindustrialcomplex.net – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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