Category Archives: wedding industry

like fish in a barrel

For old times’ sake. Because this is seriously taking me back to the good old days of snark. Back when I was all fresh-faced and sprightly and thought the wedding industry existed solely for the purpose of mocking it.

I’ve been busy going through and tossing out our boxes of papers, samples, and other paraphernalia that had stacked up during ye olde wedding planning days, and at the bottom of one stack I found a magazine called Seasons Brides. It’s this free quarterly publication I’d spotted on the front desk of the Las Vegas Bella Bridesmaid store at which I’d first tried on my wedding dress. I’d snatched it up and taken it home with me because, Lordy, was it ever god-awful. This thing looks like it was laid out in Microsoft Word by someone drunk on wine spritzers and Trajan Pro,1 and it reads like it was hastily written by someone who learned English by studying old copies of Cosmopolitan. In other words, it’s perfect fodder for mocking.

So please enjoy this special excerpt, punctuated with my bracketed commentary:

20 FAIL-SAFE WAYS TO ENSURE
YOUR GROOM’S CLOSE AND PERSONAL

In every relationship, the first priority should be to get close and stay close with your partner. Don’t keep your distance. On the contrary, enter his zone and stay in touch. Communication isn’t always speaking aloud, but speaking with your body. [For instance, farting.] Follow your basic instinct and staying close wouldn’t be as hard as it sounds. [Really? Because you are making it sound like nuclear fission.] Remember always make sure you’re smelling your best and your breath is fresher than a baby’s bottom. [This can be achieved by sucking on baby wipes. Also: WHUT.]

Here are some of many examples to bring out the personal and physical in your groom.2

  • Whisper or blow in his ear.
  • Tease him by brushing your bottom against his body, this can be done at all times of the day or night. [And preferably during family reunions.]
  • Walk around in your undergarments.
  • Give him Eskimo kisses.
  • Glide your fingers through his hair. [Ask him why he’s prematurely balding.]
  • Use everyday items as a playful prop to stimulate his body. [Like steak knives! Or an inkjet printer!] He might in turn use his own prop on you. [I see what you did right there.]
  • Keep smiling until he smiles. [He will eventually become nervous and begin to slowly back away. Be sure to track him closely, or he may escape. Just like the last one did. And you are not going to let that HAPPEN this time, are you. ARE YOU???]
  • Play tag around the house, “the Tarzan and Jane way.” [Permit him to tag you, so that he can club you and drag you by the hair to his cave.]
  • Hold him while watching the sunset together. [When your arms tire, tie him to a chair.]
  • Kiss the back of his neck. [Slowly reach in his back pocket and slip out his wallet.]
  • Give him a massage. [In his pants.]
  • Hold his hand. [In his pants.]
  • Lightly trace “I love you” on his chest. [See if you can feel him trace “prenuptial agreement” on yours!]
  • Take a bath together. Use the sponge to wash his body. [Preheat oven. Lightly season him with salt before placing in the broiler for 8-10 minutes.]
  • Lay on his lap while lounging on the couch.
  • Feed him with your hands. [“Here comes the airplane! The airplane’s coming! Rrrrrreeeeeeeeerrrrrrrr bbbreeeeeoooooooowwwwp BOOP!”]
  • Go skinny dipping together in the ocean. [If you do not live near an ocean, approximate the effect by standing naked in your front yard and holding the garden hose over your head.]
  • Hug him from behind and don’t let go right away. [Or at least until you spot the box of doughnuts sitting on the boardroom table at his office status meeting. Sprinkles! How did they know you love sprinkles!!!]
  • Tickle him with your hair.
  • Play footsies under the dinner table. [Remember, it wouldn’t be as hard as it sounds if you follow your basic instinct.]

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1 I’m sorry. This is an indulgent design-related joke. Please carry on about your business.

2 Of course, there are myriad other tips out there, too.

roshamBEAU: gender roles, wedding expectations, and my blissful ignorance

A couple of weeks ago, when I got home from work one day, the beau looked straight in the eye and said, “I wrote a blog post.” My response was to gaze back at him slack-jawed, for he might as well have said he was moving to Manitoba to become a pig farmer. Blogs? Beau? Huh?

Well, you guys, he wasn’t kidding. He actually wrote a post about, like, stuff. From his own point of view. And then we got super extra incredibly busy, and two weeks later, here I am finally posting it. At 1:30 in the morning. Because: OH MY GOD, WEDDING.

So, here he is. Live and in person! For a one-night-only appearance! It’s… the beau.

*******************

Beau here, taking over the airwaves. This is my first and only wedding blog post. Why one and only? A few reasons… I’ve never been a good writer or speller (I love you spellcheck!), nor am I grammatically savvy. I also have a weird relationship with technology. I often get volunteered for tech projects at my work* and I was building computers at a young age, yet I irrationally fought getting a cell phone, and fought creating a Myspace (now deleted) and Facebook account. I still refuse to IM, and I’ve never gotten into reading blogs (except for Lyn’s, of course). Not really sure where the reluctance comes from.

Sorry for the sidetrack, back to how wedding planning has changed my perceptions of the average person. A little personal background: I’m a white male who grew up in the suburbs just outside of Portland, OR, in a middle class family. My parents were two aging hippies who joined corporate America but were still able to hold on to some of their ideals. A little boring but I was lucky to have been raised by open-minded parents. This started the foundation for my happy bubble.

I’m also a “glass is half full” type of person and generally give people the benefit of doubt. I’ve come to realize that I often don’t believe that things are as bad as they really are. I assume and argue that people can’t be that racist, sexist, ignorant, etc.**

I feel good in my ignorance. I like people! Most of them are interesting and nice. Something bad happens? Cross paths with an asshole? Just an anomaly! That asshole is definitely in the minority. I chalk up a lot of things to media’s over-dramatization or our human nature to focus more on the bad things and ignore the good things. If I don’t know someone, I only assume that they are as tolerant to humankind’s differences as I am.*** I’ve come to realize that my ignorance of society’s expectations of what is “normal” has affected me in a number of ways: 1) I can be naïve and overly trusting, 2) I’m not very good at discussing society’s unfavorable expectations and pressure, and 3) I can’t come up with a good comeback when my jaw is on the floor due to shock.

Getting engaged and planning for a wedding has changed my opinion of the average person. I was surprised at how dumbfounded people get when they hear I’m straying away from the cookie cutter box of wedding rules. It amazes me how many people are set in their ways and how judgmental they can be when you don’t meet their expectations and the old norms they cling to. It’s weird that people feel compelled to convince me otherwise when they wouldn’t dare to discuss many other topics.

Wait…did that person I barely even know, who I’m not even inviting to our wedding, get legitimately upset that we are not walking down an aisle? This lady is looking at me like I stole from an orphanage.

It is depressing how influential society’s expectations and idea of normal can completely throw a blinder over people’s ability to be rational and open to others’ desires. Why has the wedding industry been so successful in convincing everyone that they have to spend and spend and get so little? More importantly, why do so many people back traditional ideals when I want to do my own thing? If you ever suspect someone is crazy, start talking to them about weddings and the answer will usually surface. That and politics.

I was also surprised at how many of my groom friends seem to meet the expectation of doing close to nothing. Seems like way too much work for one person to take on and too big of a party to just sit in the background. Did they not have a choice or did they not care? After putting in so much work, I get annoyed when people assume I have been lounging on the sidelines, watching Lyn slave away. This whole wedding is a lot of work and I’m busting ass too! Yet I have to admit there have been times when I took advantage of the stereotype. If it is something I am unsure of or apathetic to, I can easily defer to Lyn. Vendors don’t expect me to make a decision anyway. Hell, they barely even talk to me.****

So did wedding planning push me into becoming a cynical old bastard who hates the average man? Luckily, no. Still, my perception of the average person and how much society’s norms/stereotypes affect them has changed for the worse. But wait! There is some good news! I have been happily surprised, amazed actually, at the size and quality of this wedding subculture. I am astounded of the friendships that Lyn has found since she started blogging. The kindness that some people have and the amount they want to share, unprovoked, is heart warming. You rock!

Wow, this post ended up being way more serious than I intended. But after all of the disappointments, stress, expenses and failed to-do-lists, I am still glad to have gone through the wedding experience. All this thought and effort we went through will show up at the wedding. I think it is going to be a great party and I am ecstatic and lucky to be marrying such a great girl.

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* And enjoy them.

** Glenn Beck rallies aside.

*** I’m no saint … far from it.

**** We did find some pretty awesome vendors who started looking in my direction after getting to know us, but with a lot of the other vendors it was like I wasn’t even there.

***** Yeah this doesn’t relate to anything in the body of the text. I just like Lyn’s free use of asterisks so I thought I would give it a shot.

deviance, pt. 15

… And now for something completely different.

Note: This lovely “WHAT THE BLOODY HELL!?” moment comes to us courtesy the keen eye of Robin, who spotted this ad* in a bridal magazine. Oh, those wild and crazy bridal magazines! Anyway. Robin runs a little blog named HitchDied. You should go read it. Really, she is much funnier than I am.

I am deviating from the normal format with this one, folks. This one begged for a short story accompaniment. Scroll down and read on.

*************

*************

Burke slid his sunglasses down his nose and surveyed the tarmac.

When the Admiral had pulled him aside and sternly asked him to watch over his precious daughter – “She can be a real handful, son,” he’d warned — he most definitely didn’t have this in mind.

It was a great day for flying. It was a nice day for a… white wedding.

His mood turned contemplative. How would the helmet fit over that ferret thing curled up on the top of her head? How would the minister fit inside the cockpit? Would they lose him on the first barrel roll?

No matter. He was ready. Locked and loaded.

He was Ghost Rider, and he was buzzing the Tower, requesting a flyby of dat ass.

Let’s see how many G’s this baby can pull.

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* I always Photoshop out all the branding elements and text before I repost these ads, but I feel the need to point out that this one originally had a hilarz tag line that could not be ignored: “WHAT WOMEN WANT.” Um. UM. Really? We want Top Gun? We want ferret head? *Snort* Yes! Yes that’s right! That’s exactly what we want. Keep up the good work! *Eye roll*


More:

Deviance, pt. 14 | Deviance, pt. 13 | Deviance, pt. 12Deviance, pt. 11 Deviance, pt. 10 | Deviance, pt. 9 | Deviance, pt. 8 | Deviance, pt. 7Deviance, pt. 6 | Deviance, pt. 5Deviance, pt. 4Deviance, pt. 3Deviance, pt. 2 | Deviance, pt. 1

four stores and under seven months to go*

So. I went dress shopping again this weekend. Again for the first time since Christmas, that is. Yay?

I didn’t find anything I really liked, but I learned an important lesson: things you like on the hanger you won’t always like on your bod. I realize I am the first person to ever figure this out, so I’m sharing that here. You can thank me with an Amazon gift card.

I’ve never been good at fabrics. The most my mother taught me about fabrics is that you are supposed to wash like colors.** I grew up on Mervyn’s and JC Penny’s clearance sale clothes; poorly-constructed poly-cotton blends were all my closet ever knew. So this whole dress-shopping thing has been like trying to speak a new language. I’ve been teaching myself to pay attention to cut, fit, and style. I’ve been learning the difference between chiffon, taffeta, and shantung. I’ve been driving sales assistants nutty with my faltering attempts to articulate what I want.***

Through all of this I’m beginning to realize that the dress hunt is largely an intellectual process. You research looks. You try on styles. You scratch options off the list and add others. This goes entirely against the emotional myth we’ve been fed about wedding dress shopping. You know what I’m talking about. You go to a store, you try on a dress. Maybe it’s your first dress or maybe it’s your 24th. None of that matters now, because you know. You just know. And as you gaze into the mirror your face crumples, but you’re grinning through the tears as you whisper to yourself, “This is the dress I’m going to get married in.”

Listen. If your experience was like this, glory and power be to you, because that’s an important thing to cross off the list — not to mention a cute story. But I’ve gradually come to realize that I will probably not have a “Say Yes” moment like the above. And I suspect a lot of other brides won’t, either. This is like the elephant in the wedding room that nobody talks about.

I’m going to guess that if you’re anything like me, you do a lot of thinking before making a big purchase. We read reviews. Analyze specs. Compare prices. We gather all the information and weigh it before making a final decision. Yet we’re just supposed to know which dress to buy? Like the magical dress fairy comes and taps you on the head with her wand and that’s it, that’s your dress? Style and circumstance and budget be damned? That doesn’t make any fucking sense. I’m going to call B.S. on that.

A sales associate at one of the shops I went to last weekend made a telling comment: “You know, I’m surprised at the number of brides who come in, try on a dress, go (mimics staring expressionless into the mirror), and say, OK, I’ll take it.” Maybe these women had already done a lot of looking around. Maybe the process was rational for them, and not emotional. Maybe we all won’t love love love love love our dresses like the brides on TV do.

That’s OK.

I will find a dress I like. I will be excited to wear it on my wedding day. But the choice I make will probably come down to which fabric feels better, which color I like better, and (most importantly) which has the lowest price point — not to which dress I’ve formed an intense emotional bond. Is any romance to a dress decision like that? No. But there’s a lot of practicality.

At this point practicality is good enough for me.

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* Do you like how I lamely ripped off the opening line of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address here? Because I do.

** Sage advice I willfully ignore. Just dump everything in at once and use cold, I say.

*** “I’m looking for, um, something that’s, you know. Not shiny. Or something.”