This Extravaganza Needs More Exorcisms

IMG_5551I’ve seen Hell. It’s swathed in buttercream, wearing a tiara of evil. Call it not Beelzebub, dear ones, but its proper name: The Austin Bridal Extravaganza.

You think I’m exaggerating. It’s that word “extravaganza,” isn’t it? Nothing truly perilous ends in -aganza. Why, the sound alone suggests silk and tiny caviar hotdogs and all that is fancy! That’s what I thought, too. The setup was thus: a hundred of Austin’s most popular wedding vendors would be under one roof, handing out discounts and free samples. Free cake and less time spent Googling “Austin wedding gnomes?” Sign me up! Girl on the Contrary and I planned to eat delicious things, do some vendor reconnaissance, and cackle our way through the day. How harrowing could it be?

Two words: bridal dildo. You see, it’s not just florists and photographers who take stalls at bridal expositions. Any vendor ever-so-tangentially related to weddings has a booth. Festooned with blinking lights and polyester satin, they line the convention center. As you walk by, pamphlets and samples are thrust into your hands. Questions fire from vendors armed with wide, manic smiles.

Do you have a photographer!? Do you need super soft sheets for your marriage bed!? Do you want an angelic chorus of angelic angels singing you down the aisle angelically?

Would you like to touch my plague rat!?

Okay. That last one was wishful thinking. Instead it was: Would you like us to come into your home and sell dildos? For real. There was not one, but three companies there to hawk lube and not-for-that-digit rings. A “pleasure expert” would arrange to come into your home—ostensibly for a bachelorette party, but perhaps just because you want to know what color rabbit your sister-in-law owns—and sell sex toys. It’s like a Tupperware party, but with more vital cleaning instructions! Woohoo! Or, you know, not.

Attendees went wild for these booths. As they did the seven booths promising to make you beautiful for your big day, with just a little chemical peel. And the four booths promoting their bridal boot-camp exercise programs, because people can only love skinny brides. No one looked askance. Women with hot pink V.I.P. Bride stickers (in this case, Very Important denoting their ability to buy tickets online) cooed over tiny sausage skewers and his-and-hers personalized napkin rings.

That’s when it hit me. Brides will buy into anything. Whole posses of women, all wearing matching Candy/Brandy/Sandy’s Wedding EXTRAVAGANZAGASM t-shirts, roamed around assuring their very important friends that this was all normal. Of course, you need a lighting company to hang chandeliers from trees, darling! It’s not a bachelorette party, if you’re not saying “Pass me those anal beads, Nana.” Slap the word bridal on it and someone will think it adorable and necessary.

If I ever need another career, I’m choosing the wedding industry. Only, instead of a photographer or a pleasure purveyor, I have an altogether different plan. Just call me Grace O’Kelly, Bridal Exorcist. Because the only reason I can think of that a woman would feel the need to chemically peel off her top layer of skin, exchange vibrator tips with her future grandmother-in-law, and custom order a puce silk suit for her beloved is because she’s possessed. The wedding industry is spiking young women’s coffee with chevrom-and-mason-jar obsessed wedding spirits. It’s the only explanation!

Or, perhaps, it’s our materialistic modern sensibilities at work again. Either way, I’m thinking Ghostbusters III: With This (Cock) Ring, I Thee Wed would be a big hit.

As for GotC and I, we gorged ourselves on cake samples and left in a hurry. We may not have brought home any new ideas, but we did get some pretty sweet photo booth jazz hands. I’m totally cool being that bride who just doesn’t get the rest of it.

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Everybody who hates this extravaganza do jazz hands!

– Grace

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10 thoughts on “This Extravaganza Needs More Exorcisms

  1. Wow, I totally remember the horror and pain that was the Seattle Bridal Show…pretty sure I came out with about 50lbs of stuff and a massive headache. All this stuff that a bride NEEDS! Agh! It drove me nuts. I was happy to get back to my own little planning world of goodwill vases and Excel spreadsheets. Congrats on making it out alive!

  2. I worked in the wedding industry for years and often was one of those booths at the shows. Though I blocked off wedding room blocks at hotels….and sadly they didn’t come with wedding dildos…perhaps an idea for a future giveaway if brides sign up for our drawing? hmmm… 😉

  3. This is probably one of the funniest posts I’ve read so far, I was literally laughing out loud. Thank you! I went to ONE bridal show in January, brides were encouraged to show up wearing veils in order to receive free entry (I opted to pay the 12$ cover charge) and the first booth we saw upon entering was the Dildo Tupperware People. I avoided eye contact with them so they wouldn’t notice me and then skipped the table selling personalized crystal ware. I did book an amazing make up artist, and sampled some dry mini cupcakes. There was a second bridal show but “sadly” there was a blizzard the same day, so I stayed home. The next day, on the cover of our local news paper, was a picture of brides throwing themselves at discounted wedding gowns. If you decide to drive through a snow storm just so you can fight off other crazy brides and save 20% off on a stained sample dress, you should seriously consider getting a lobotomy. Bridal shows and Bachelorette parties should be abolished, am i right?!

  4. Sweet baby Jesus, there’s so much horrifying shit/unintentional comedy in this, I don’t even know where to begin! I mean, I wrote an entire blog about the bullshit of the Marriage Industrial Complex, but I never had the chutzpah to go to a bridal expo. They scared the everliving hell out of me, so I tip my proverbial hat to you in admiration of your courage in going. It never ceases to amaze me how the wedding industry openly encourages this bat-shit crazy behavior; I mean, I know they stand to gain a lot from feeding the frenzy, but holy balls, I can’t fathom condoning this sort of insanity. Good for you for going, living to tell the tale, and offering your services as a wedding exorcist! 🙂

  5. Oh gosh. I have a confession. I used to have an evening job here in the UK of going round people’s houses to do those tupperware style dildo and lingerie parties! There I’ve said it. I never manned a stall for it though. I also spent a few years living in Las Vegas, and helped organise my friend’s wedding there, and I can tell you there were so many moments of “Really? Some brides want THAT?!”

  6. A friend and I were set to go to one of the New York bridal shows and pretend to be affianced, but I am trying to remember why we didn’t make it. We wanted to go for the cake, naturally.

    I get particular pleasure from being horrified, and this post has me hankering for a tulle-covered field trip.

  7. Ha, shudder! My dream of wedding planning growing up was hitting Filene’s Basement in Boston for their annual Bridal Slug-fest! Filene’s Basement is gone, along with the many floors of stuff above it. But, it was an awesome store! When I worked at Tufts nearby I would go to the basement during lunch and leave lugging a huge bag full of clothes and maybe only spend $25! The clothes were a random assortment of junk and couture. I was just cheap. Every year they opened the doors early and hundreds of women clawed their way in to buy incredible designer wedding gowns cheap… real cheap. TV news always had great footage of women of all sizes, colors and shapes fighting over dresses. While other little girls dreamed of their weddings I dreamed of slug-fest…

    Ah a quick Google shows they still do it: http://www.filenesbasement.com/running-of-the-brides/faq but not at the original, grungy underground cave of wonders!

  8. Oh, Boy! Now I know there was justified reasoning for my inability to attend the recent bridal show with my already married friend. The entire wedding “excitement” just doesn’t do it for me.

    ‘I need THIS because it’s pink and has the word BRIDE on it.’ being said out-loud, just doesn’t appeal to me.

    I loved this post! Hilarious, it is! And it is especially nice knowing that there are others out there who still want their special day, just without the frilly B.S. 🙂

  9. What on earth possessed you to go to a bridal show of all things?! Is free cake really worth being mistaken for one of these silly geese who are convinced that without a perfect wedding their life will be meaningless and empty? I guess I would kinda enjoy giggling at the stupid ideas people are trying to make money with but I guess the audience (you know, those without the humourous approach) would probably pretty quickly get my goat, thus spoiling the fun. Glad you made it out of there unscathed!

  10. This had me laughing! I work in the wedding industry, and I’ve seen the dildo booths! HAHAHAHA I think bridal shows are a waste of time and money for the vendors), so I stopped doing them last year. I also agree with you that they fuel the anxiety-driven buying and planning for a lot of brides. People need to get over the whole idea of “this is what a wedding should be like” and instead focus on what they want for THEIR wedding. It’s not a competition, ladies.

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