I’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.
Everybody who hates this extravaganza do jazz hands!