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Color Me _______

A week after my bookstore visit, I had chosen my wedding colors.

In my defense, my headlong plunge into planning wasn’t entirely a result of my inability to resist the wedding industry’s wooing—though it’s a persistent suitor. When you’re a bride-to-be, the special offers start coming your way, and fast: coupons and websites and bride bags, sweepstakes open only to the betrothed. The steady stream of messages proclaiming your special status is seductive, but the truth is that the most special thing about you in the eyes of the industry is that you and your family are preparing to drop some dough. All those folks fawning over your bride-ness are hoping that (a) it’s a lot of dough, and (b) you’ll send it their way.

It’s sometimes irritated me, actually, that we féte brides and grooms with such fervor, while we all but ignore many milestone accomplishments that result from flat-out hard work. The happy couple, after all, has already won the lottery of luck and timing, so why do they get the cake too—not to mention the complimentary tasting? Follow the money, though, and there’s no market for grandly celebrating something like, say, earning an advanced degree. Most grad students live on the edge of poverty, and mass graduation ceremonies—usually long and boring and involving uncomfortable chairs—are a much harder sell than a garden party with free booze and a DJ.

But I digress. 🙂

I was excited about our engagement, of course, and in love, and all those long-tamped down and tossed aside dreams from my girlhood rapidly re-surfaced. That’s the state in which the wedding industry can have you at hello, the danger zone wherein they can talk you into moneymakers masquerading as must-have traditions, whip you into a frenzy of wants disguised as needs. Caution is well advised.

For me, though, the industry, with all its wiles, wasn’t the greatest source of temptation.  Continue reading

The “Anti-Bride” and Me

Within two days of arriving home after our Virginia Beach engagement, I found myself standing in Barnes and Noble, staring at shelf upon shelf of books for brides-to-be.

There were planners and checklists, do-it-yourself decorating tips, weddings-on-a-budget books; thick binders and skinny hardbacks and sleek spiral-bound volumes of all shapes and sizes (weirdly, a bit uniformly pink in bookshelf1hue–really, are we twelve?). All claimed they’d help me plan the wedding of my dreams. And I hadn’t even gotten to the magazine section, where a row of strangely serious, sculpted women, all angled elbows and white lace, brooded out at me from the covers of at least ten different glossy tomes.

I was mesmerized. And a little horrified. Continue reading