The wedding industry — so exposed it’s practically naked

Here’s an excerpt from a little something by Yahoo! Finance’s Laura Rowley, entitled “The Wedding-Industrial Complex Exposed” (DUN DUN DUNNNNN!), compliments of Lazysun.

The marketing of the wedding as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be close to heaven — or at least close to celebrity — is explored in “One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding,” by New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead.

“If a bride has been told, repeatedly, that it costs nearly $28,000 to have a wedding, then she starts to think that spending $28,000 on a wedding is just one of those things a person has to do, like writing a rent check every month,” Mead writes.

Mead looks behind the wedding-industrial complex, including the Chinese seamstress who earns 40 cents for sewing the skirt on a $1,000 gown; the Cinderella coach and other trappings of Disney’s “Fairy Tale Wedding Department”; and the videographer who encourages peers at an industry conference to double their prices, because “parents want the best for their children.”

“People talk about the trials of planning a wedding — it’s exhausting and emotionally consuming,” she says. “In the book I write about how it’s an invented trauma. The life of the newlywed used to be quite traumatic — leaving home, suddenly living in an intimate relationship with someone.

“These days, the day after isn’t so different from the day before. People hope that if they make a statement with their wedding, it will have a talismanic effect on the rest of their marriage.”

So tell us something we didn’t know. The wedding-industrial complex (which sounds like a group of buildings you’d find alongside highways where nothing but businesses can thrive) has been exposed many, many times, and that hasn’t stopped people from dropping phat wads of cash on their nuptials. If you want to drop dough, drop dough. If you’d prefer to be a budget ninja bride, do that. All the bickering that comes up when these two strategies collide does no one any good.

The best part of the whole article, IMO, is the comment section.

I also don’t think it is fair for you to say the wedding industry are brain washing brides & grooms into become “bridezillas” or which wedding expense is the biggest wast of money. Just by you writing books like this or The Perfect Day- The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead is just sour grapes on the wedding industry and brides and grooms themselves and makes you no better than the industry your are “exposing” since you are not selling your books for free and are making a monetary gain by your tell all revelations on how people are being “sucked in” by made up traditions.

Feel the need to throw a costly bash that will leave your $20K in the hole? Be my guest. I just won’t be inclined to be yours…

Your future husbands are the true victims for having to put up with that mess, and they should be warned – no, helped! – to flee from you as fast as possible. It’s not attractive to see a grown woman behave like a 2-year old! It’s ridiculous and should not be encouraged. Shame on WE network for promoting that kind of awful behavior!

However, YOU, the bride must go all out for yourself! This is the ONE and ONLY time of your life you should feel absolutely free to spend money and pamper yourself. This day is about YOU.

28k on a wedding? these are the people that own iPhones and wait in line to get the new Harry Potter book. they are such suckers for media and hype. Don’t be a fool. You really didn’t need to read this article to know the truth. Like you don’t need a magazine to tell you what your perfect weddign should be like. Seriously, give me a break.

I think the wedding industry is evil. This industry rips people off by feeding of naive peoples emotions.

Wake up lady – there are ways to save but if a girl wants a diamond ring do you think she cares that the diamond indusrty created the tradition? I don’t think so.

I run a wedding business so I appreciate the $$$, but almost everyone wastes money, half don’t spend where it is needed most and one quarter end up with someone fighting or getting their feelings hurt before the night is over. You provide me my living but just know that I am looking at half of you going what a great life you are starting and looking at the other half going ‘pathetic’, as long as your check is good you’ll never know, I’ll just keep my sh*t-eating grin on my face.

Most brides think they are princesses that need to be in a fairytale wedding — only to plunge into a normal hum-drum life of washing dishes, making dinner, and popping out kids.

11 Responses to “The wedding industry — so exposed it’s practically naked”

  1. Twistie says:

    Weddings and funerals have one thing in common: most people have no clue how it’s done when they need to plan one, and they are so emotionally vulnerable that it’s easy for an unscrupulous professional to manipulate them.

    If you’ve got an unlimited budget and feel like spending it, hey! that’s your choice. I’m just glad I paid close attention to every wedding I went to and did independant research on how it all works well before I started planning. It allowed me to have a memorable (in a good way!) wedding on a shoestring budget.

  2. Dianasaur says:

    Our total budget was $7000. By deciding which things were most important (photos, location) and budgeting higher for them, and doing a lot of things ourselves (food, flowers, decorations, dress) I actually had the dream fairy tale wedding. It was gorgeous! I’ll put pictures on my blog soon. Anyway, I’m so thankful I budgeted more for pictures and had several friends and family members videotape, because the day was such a blur of excitement I didn’t even get to see all the details that went into it at the time!

  3. Blake says:

    I agree totally with the editorializing here. The people who write books about how brides are getting sucked in and brainwashed by having big, lavish weddings are getting lost in their own cynicism and ‘cleverness.’ Brides are doing this, when they choose, because they find value in doing it. End of story. Is there pressure to have a certain kind of wedding? Yes. Is that why some brides choose to have luxurious weddings? No.

  4. Laura says:

    This quote amused me: “28k on a wedding? these are the people that own iPhones and wait in line to get the new Harry Potter book.”

    Funny — I have an iPhone and waited in line to get the new Harry Potter book, yet somehow my wedding cost only $2800. (No, that’s not a typo.)

    Maybe my husband and I just have the ability to tell when hype is justified.

  5. belasala says:

    Yeah, things like this always kind of baffle me. Our wedding will end up costing more than $28k, and there’s not really a single detail that we included because of “hype.”

    Our biggest expenses came from food/beverage (full dinner) and the band. Our food costs are high because my fiance has a huge family with many friends, all of whom will attend. The band was the one totally frivolous thing I pulled for – anyone who thinks my fiance should be “saved” from the horror of marrying me because my favorite indie group happened to be available to play my wedding can go hang.

    But my cell phone is 4 years old and I bought my Harry Potter at Target for 1/2 price without waiting in line. Funny world 🙂

  6. Stacy says:

    Y’know, our wedding cost 12-13K. And people thought I’d done a good job with the budget. Could it have cost less? Sure. But it could have cost much more. What we did was important to us, and seriously, have these people priced photographers and a full lunch buffet? Not cheap!

    But I do agree: the best part of many articles for me are the comments section. They crack me up!

  7. tiggy says:

    I think the race to the bottom is just as annoying as the race to the top meaning that the “Our wedding cost $0.50 because we had it on a landfill!” people are just as irritating as the “Anything under $1 million is for hillbillies” people.

  8. jabes says:

    The comment about a wedding day being the only day you should feel free to spend money on yourself, that this is the only day that’s “yours” is really sad. What, a woman isn’t allowed to have more than one day in life that’s hers? Plus, shouldn’t the day be about you as part of a couple? Not “your” day, singular, but “your” day, plural!

  9. belasala says:

    Good call, tiggy. Maybe the upshot here is that if you find yourself getting smug about your wedding being cheaper/bigger/smaller/greener/spendier than someone else’s, your priorities are out of whack and you need to find something to do other than plan your wedding.

  10. Carol says:

    I think it’s a shame that so many brides seem to value the material aspects of their wedding more than the people. “Oh, I can’t invite all my friends and family because I have to have my reception at the most fashionable place in town and it only holds 150 people.”

    Make the guest list first, then budget from there. If you end up having cake and punch at the local VFW hall, so be it. Isn’t getting a hug from Great Aunt Sally more important than a $20 a plate sit-down dinner (that everyone will have forgotten in a day or two anyway)?

  11. Ninjarina says:

    People need to understand that the motivation behind throwing a large wedding is not just about the woman/couple, for many people, it is a statement from the family to others in the community. Ideally, we get married once and that’s why we spare no expense. It’s a social event and for pete’s sake, the family just grew a bit larger – of course it is grounds for celebration! It’s no longer the idea that a man’s family has gained another worker/brood mare but that both sides have gained more family members (for better or worse). Yes, it’s an antiquated idea but for many people, bigger wedding = more love and I’m prepared to accept that when I see how in love two people are and how much their families love them. In the end, most people just want the best their money can buy b/c they want it to be perfect not just for the bride but for everyone involved. It just gets ghetto when the couple starts asking guests for money.

    Also, it’s one thing to not know how to bargain and another to spend needlessly. One couple may end up spending a lot b/c they didn’t do the research and another couple may spend just as much but have a more upscale wedding just b/c they know how to get the most out of their money. I don’t think these people should be lumped into the same category b/c the motivation is completely different.