If you’ve overcome planning your wedding and have come out on the other side safely wed without a refinanced mortgage, good for you. If you’re deep in the tulle trenches, wrestling a budget, and battling your better judgement, then put down your afternoon glass of boxed wine and listen up: I’m here to help or at the very least, I’m open to commiserating. On second thought, screw advice; let’s bitch.
Let’s get something straight. The wedding industrial complex doesn’t care about you or your special day. In fact, it’s playing you, your mom and your best friend for pie-faced rubes with opened purses and limited attention spans.
A Cake Isn’t a Cake
The first thing the wedding industry does is offer you beautifully branded resources in the form of blogs, Pinterest boards and bridal boutiques. While these resources can help jump start creativity and kick off the first honest conversation you and your fiancé have about your newly combined financial situation, these exclusive resources are best used to help bolster self-doubt and wreak havoc on your self-esteem.
You see, by giving you around a billion white and off-white options, the wedding industry thrives on your inability to make decisions. They know that the more choices you have, the more anxious you become and the more anxious you become, the more likely you’ll throw money at an uncomfortable situation to make it go away.
Take your cake for example. A cake isn’t a cake; it’s an existential crisis.Chocolate or vanilla or strawberry aren’t choices, they are decisions that will help guide your guests as they later try to determine if your wedding was worth their Saturday afternoon and $50 Amazon gift card.
Bless your heart if you think chocolate, vanilla or strawberry are enough. These days it’s all about Lemon Rosemary, Lavender Cardamom, or Brown Butter Cake with Olive Oil frosting whether you or your guests like it or not.
As doubt settles in, you’ll find yourself prostrate before the alter of indecision, your mouth covered in buttercream icing, your fists sticky with crumbling fondant. It’s enough to make you want to call the whole thing off, but before you know it you’re handing over your credit card for a cake you don’t even like because you’re actually a pie person, but you’ve never heard anyone say “What a fabulous wedding pie!” and now you’re not even sure who you are anymore and you’re hoping to god that whoever you might be is still the marrying type and not a complete monster.
Did You Say Wedding…?
Mention the word wedding to your hairdresser, your baker, your local event space coordinator or any other quaintly named professional and each one will promptly give themselves a raise because the word wedding means “an invitation for others to avail themselves to your bank account.”
Yes, a make-up artist will happily spray paint your face with skin-toned spackle and you’ll let them do it twice, just so you can make sure you’re comfortable not looking at all like yourself on the day you’re trying to promise your partner that you’re going to do your best to be yourself and accept each other faults and all.
You want a cake? Sure, let me build you a three to five story block of inedible fondant and sugar flowers that you’ll either smash into your partner’s face or use to take up freezer space for the next decade. You’ll bring the leftovers to work and watch while your coworkers paw at pieces and you’ll wonder how many hands have been on the damned thing. You’ll never eat cake again.
(To all you smash-the-cake-in-your-partner’s-face folks: what the fuck is your problem?)
Then there’s the dress. You’ll happily agree to fork over at least a month’s rent for a single-use white, full-length gown that leaves a trail of beads and sequins everywhere for your partner to follow in the event that you become overwhelmed by everything you’re supposed to be on the day you’re most supposed to be it.
And the thing is, in every case, you’ll pay no less than twice the cost (if you’re lucky) of the item’s actual value in an effort to fulfill your end of an imaginary social contract you’ve been conditioned to day dream about your entire life.
You Don’t Have to Invite Anyone
Perhaps more than winning the lottery, nothing brings people out of the woodwork like the whisper of an open bar reception and the fear of missing out.
Most people aren’t butthurt by not being invited because they have an unquenchable desire to sit through your ten minute vows. They’re upset because they weren’t included in something they think they should be entitled to attend.
Here’s the thing no one wants to let you know: you don’t have to invite anyone.
The two people that need to be there are you and your partner. That’s it. This isn’t your kindergarten birthday party. This is the day you mark to celebrate and recognize the commitment you’re making to another person.
If you’re not invited, get over it. In most cases, it means there isn’t enough room at the venue or in the budget. It’s not that you’re not worth the price of a filet mignon and three glasses of wine. It’s that there is a fixed income involved and that mean no more than X amount of dollars visit a personal bank account every month and while those dollars are there, they have to decide whether or not they’re going to pay student loan debt, buy groceries or pay rent. Some of those dollars have to be content going nowhere because those will be the dollars that make sure you’re not an eighty-two year old woman who feeds her eighty-four year old husband cat food for dinner.
The thing is, too many people think marriage is the finish line, that the wedding day is the “at last” moment they’ve been waiting for their whole lives.
To get to the finish line, the wedding industry invites you to spare no expense to make sure the day is the best one of your life helping you completely forget that the one thing that can make that one day an entire lifetime of best days is completely free and standing in front of you simply asking you to love them for better or for worse.