Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Fine Line Between DIY and DIE

If someone were to ask me just how much time per week I spend poring over wedding blogs and the like, drooling over photos of other people's wedding, and ravenously seeking out new sources of inspiration to incorporate into my own wedding, aka looking at "wedding porn," I would probably lie. Because it's really so much that it's almost embarrassing. I am blown away by couples who have the creativity and dedication to handcraft all of their centerpieces, flowers, invitations, guest book, wedding party attire, utensilholdersringsvenuedecorationseverything! And my admiration threatens to cross over into idolization when I see weddings where the couple has completely committed to some unconventional theme, like medieval wedding with a first duel instead of a first dance or a pirate wedding with invitations sent inside bottles! I get really jazzed thinking about how I can be more creative with all the details of my own wedding. Surely I can design and construct five bridesmaids dresses in addition to my own! I can totally make 150 scherenschnitte invitations by hand! I will go to the park on the morning of the wedding and make all the centerpieces only out the flowers I can find there! Yes, I can do it! I am smart and capable! I CAN HANDLE JUST A COUPLE LITTLE DIY PROJECTS!!!

I work myself into a total frenzy and suddenly....

I feel very, very tired. Whoever labeled sloth as a deadly sin got it totally wrong. Because whenever I get tempted to overburden myself with diy wedding chores, it is not cold, hard rationale, but my own lethargy that keeps me from going off the deep end.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Book Report: One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding part 1

I am currently re-reading One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead, an exploration of the wedding industrial complex. The first time I read this volume was nearly two years ago after Dr. F and I had thoroughly settled into our first apartment and began tentative discussions about staying together permanently now that we'd established we could live together without wanting to scratch each others' eyeballs out. Around the same time, I had been asked to be Maid of Honor for my cousin's wedding, the first time I had ever played a substantive role in a wedding.

In the Preface of the book, Mead defines the questions she sought to answer when she began writing the book:

My interest in the wedding industry...was driven by a conviction that weddings provide an unparalleled lens upon the intimate sphere of American life, and that the way we marry reveals a great deal about prevailing cultural expectations of love, hopes for marriage, and sense of the role of family... We want weddings to be meaningful. But what, these days, do we make them mean?

Mead goes on to discuss the competing interests of the American wedding as "a vehicle for self-expression" and "one of the most conventional and... most exalted things a person can do." The crux of her book is that the wedding industry has positioned itself as the bridge between these twin impulses, such that "the American wedding is shaped as much by commerce and marketing as it is by those influences couples might prefer to think of as affecting their nuptial choices, such as social property, religious observance, or familial expectation." She further asserts that, "the foremost product peddled by the wedding industry is the notion that a wedding, if done right, will provide fulfillment of a hitherto unimagined degree, and will herald a similarly flawless marriage and a subsequent life of domestic contentment." Mead notes that because her focus is on the effects of the wedding industry, she doesn't take pains to interview individual brides and points out that there is no such thing as a typical American bride.

I'm curious to review to the evil machinations of the wedding industrial complex and will report back periodically with interesting findings.