April 23rd, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
This is a very silly and stupid rant. This particular fight doesn’t really touch me directly. I’ve only been to two weddings in my life, for cousins, and I was young and I had to go. That was back in the 80s or 90s. But excess at weddings is likely to continue. Wealth in the USA is concentrating, and the working class no longer gets married, so marriage has emerged as a powerful status symbol. 50 years ago, when the New Deal had compressed income differences, everyone got married. But nowadays, fewer and fewer people get married, and it is increasingly those from the affluent classes, so excess at a wedding is 100% certain. The wedding itself is increasingly becoming an assertion of social class.
But some disagree:
I realize that this sounds very Pinteresting in 2016, but in July of 2005, Facebook was still just for college kids, and none of our phones had cameras on them. I don’t own digital copies of my wedding photos. In fact, in a move that was heralded for its coolness, we had put a disposable camera on each table during the reception so that people could take their own “candid” shots for us. Some of those photos are indeed very candid, and they will never incriminate anyone, because they live in a box at the back of my closet.
Now, the summer of ‘05 seems like Eden before the fall. The cute DIY stuff, the thoughtful touches that we came up with—that was child’s play compared to what came later. Over the past decade, we’ve borne witness to a wedding arms race, and you all know it, because you’ve been on the battlefield. You’ve sipped cucumber water before the ceremony; grinned at the beloved family dog leading the processional down the aisle; scanned the tables for the photograph that cleverly matches the hand-written place card with your name on it; gratefully sipped a delicious cocktail that, according to a chalkboard sign, is the groom’s favorite; mugged in photo booths wearing funny hats and holding cardboard mustaches up to your faces; chatted over the flickering light of DIY candle holders that look like birch trees. You’ve seen it all. You were all such good sports.
But I’m here to tell you that it’s peaked. It’s fucking over. I’m sorry to those of you who are getting married this summer, who read this and think, “This bitter hag has no idea how beautiful my wedding is going to be.” I’m sorry to my friends and family who might invite me to their future weddings. And I mean no offense to all the wonderful loving friends whose weddings I have happily attended over the past decade. I love you all. I don’t mean to piss on your love, your good taste, and your generosity. But guys: It’s DONE.
I hesitate to offer evidence of the peak because that might constitute an insult to your intelligence. But allow me to present some nonetheless. Two summers ago, my friend James and his fiancée Beth (names have been changed) were setting up a website for their upcoming wedding. They discovered that their first-choice webpage, bethandjames.com, had already been taken—by another couple named Beth and James, who were also getting married soon. They even looked vaguely alike, the Beths and the Jameses. James checked recently, and bethandjames.com now belongs to a third couple, who are getting married this coming October. In a year, the domain will probably belong to Beth and James IV.
It’s as if love itself had become more special over the last decade. How else can we make sense of this? “Reception dresses” as a genre of dress? Three feet of shiny ribbon sold for $60 on BHLDN as a “sash”? There’s a reason for the whole “something borrowed” thing, dawg—you’re supposed to borrow something! Elaborate signage involving expensive hand-lettering on pallets stolen from the back lot of Home Depot (please reassure me that people don’t actually pay for these things)? Forcing your bridesmaids to all buy blue shoes that differ slightly from one another, for the sole purpose of having them produce the perfect pop of color against the distressed barn floor during the photo shoot? Spending $180 on a hand-beaded clutch for your—well, what, your phone and lipstick? If there’s one day you can prevail upon your friends to carry your shit for you, it’s on your damn wedding day. I realize that rich people will spend their money on any old thing that makes them feel better and more rose-smellingly bionic than other people, but this stuff is not just being sold to rich people!
Of course I am compelled to say something on behalf of the bridesmaids. Being a bridesmaid is not an honor. In 2016, the age of the bridesmaid-handmaiden, it’s a favor. For a while there, having bridesmaids choose their own dresses to suit their own style—within very particular color-and-length guidelines, of course—seemed like a commonsensical innovation. It was so silly back in the 80s, when all the bridesmaids had to wear the same dress, like a poufy, evil-spirit-deceiving brigade! But now that bridesmaids are expected to drop at least a hundo on something that they will certainly not be wearing again no matter what your optimistic friends say about alterations or dying—not to mention another $50 or so on one of those cute robes for the getting-ready sesh—the bridesmaid-uniform starts making sense again. I am even starting to find something subversively interesting about a group of women all wearing the same dress, which is further proof that weddings are over.