Wedding media (also called “bridal,” because you know it’s geared toward women) is a particular niche of media, both digital and print, that I’ve gotten a large dose of lately. Out of all the things out there that could have crossed the line (a silver bubble wand from Barneys as a bridesmaid favor! A “budget” post with a sentence that starts with “If your heart is set on serving caviar,”!) the one that did it for me was an ad that came on Pandora. I can’t remember which jewelry company it was for, but it ended with the phrase, “Because you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to your engagement ring.”
It’s hard for me to put into words the way that makes me feel, but it is some combination of blind rage, sadness at the state of our culture, and insane laughter at how ridiculous that is. But this is where it all starts: marketing aimed toward women and girls before they even get engaged that makes no bones about telling them that they should have everything they ever wanted, cost be damned. That kind of message carries on throughout all wedding media, whether it’s directly from a company trying to sell you a ring/dress/venue/cake or not.
For the record: YOU MAY HAVE TO COMPROMISE. ON A LOT OF THINGS. When you’re planning a wedding, but also just in your relationship in general. That’s life, ladies.
My main problem with wedding media is how out of touch with reality it seems to be. It’s selling a fantasy, and very few people can afford to make it come true exactly as wedding magazines tell you it should be. You need a super blinged-out diamond engagement ring, then a matching wedding band, a dress that costs approximately $5,000 (plus a few hundred dollars worth of alterations), a spectacular venue, delicious catering, a huge cake decorated in your wedding colors, table centerpieces that will blow everyone away, the best professional photographer you can find, a fun DJ or band, and all the alcohol your family and friends can consume. You also probably need a wedding planner, a sweet Rolls Royce (or a carriage) to take you away in, and a luxurious honeymoon destination to spend the week after in.
And that, my friends, is a perfect recipe for a bridezilla-style meltdown. Reality is never quite as perfect as your favorite blog post or ripped-out magazine page, because media doesn’t show the hard parts or things that went wrong. Wedding media tricks us into thinking that this is our day and we deserve to have everything we could ever want. What kind of childish nonsense is that? It’s enough to turn anyone into a huge brat.
We always have to be aware of media and marketing and its effect on us, but wedding media seems to be particularly hard to resist. Who doesn’t want to believe they deserve all the sparkly and fancy things they ever dreamed of? But the real reason for your wedding is not to have fabulous things showered upon you, it’s to marry the person you want to be with for the rest of your life. If that gets lost along the way, yer doing it wrong.