Monday, December 20, 2010

Photography Hell

I've noticed a trend every time I log onto one of the wedding websites: the ever-present threat of photography. Or, more accurately, photography that goes horribly awry and is ruined because you, dear bride, didn't put enough effort into your wedding to make it worthy of being immortalized in a .JPEG file.

This is a consistent theme. Like most things inspired by the MIC, the threat is never made explicit. Instead, it's written as if it were a scandal that can only be discussed in hushed voices and polite euphemisms. It's like the nuptial equivalent of the high school girl who "went away to her aunt's house for a year," but we all know that she actually got knocked up by a dude who just happened to be a heroin dealer, junior high drop-out,  and her second cousin.

Some cases in point: 

1. The flowers will be one of the most photographed elements of your wedding. Therefore, it's important to choose centerpieces and bouquets that perfectly fit your wedding style. (Underlying message: when people look at your wedding photos -- which they'll be doing in large numbers, since you'll set up a slide show at work and everyone will sit at rapt attention while analyzing your floral choice -- they'll notice if your flowers don't fall within the parameters of your pre-determined theme and style. They will notice, and they will be aghast at your lack of consideration for this most blessed of blessed details.)
  2. Your wedding dress will be photographed more than any article of clothing you ever own. (Underlying message: THIS DRESS IS SACRED! You'd best ensure that it's perfect, because it will be immortalized in your photos - and those photos will be occassionally worshipped as an object of transcendent beauty.)
3. Take time to select a good wedding hairstyle -- it will be heavily photographed! (Underlying message: your 90-year-old Grandpa, the one who can't make it to your wedding and will be relying on photographs of the big day, will absolutely pay close attention to your hairstyle. He'll want those close-ups of the updo! He'll want side-shots that show both your profile and the little curled wispy bits that frame your face! People care about these things! They care deeply!) 

4.  An insufficiently decorated cake table can ruin your reception photos. (Underlying message: when people look at your wedding photos, they will be appalled if you have an inadequately decorated cake table. They'll think you're lacking in proper judgment and, quite possibly, not fit to be a parent. After all, the lack of decor on your cake table ruined your wedding pictures forever. You can't expect that people who make such bad wedding decisions will be able to make good life decisions - and you certainly can't expect that such morally bankrupt people would be able to care for small children.)
Ok, so wedding photography is a fact of life. Pictures will be taken. None of that is a revelation. But somehow, the MIC makes the leap from photography being a mere fact to it being a compelling reason to spend a shitload of money on your hair, dress, flowers, and table linens.

This just strikes me as...a steaming pile of crap. I mean, yes, I fully anticipate that lots of pictures will be taken. But really, is it necessary to use that as a life-altering reason to spend phenomenal amounts of money on things that, if we're being honest, very few people are actually going to notice?

I really don't think that people are going to analyze the wedding pictures as carefully as the MIC believes they will. Maybe it's just the people I know, but I can't imagine any of my friends or family pouring over every detail of every picture and then sneering when they find one that they feel is lacking. And, even if they do pull something like this, it's not worth spending an inordinate amount of money just to make sure you have the perfect setting and subjects for the photographer. Anyone who finds themselves aggrieved over too few shots of the bride's hair can get over it.

The fact is, as with all threats of wedding failure and eternal infamy, no one will actually die if the cake table isn't festooned with cascading flowers and glitter. The world will not actually stop spinning if there aren't 100 perfectly-angled pictures of your hair. Your 90-year-old Grandpa, your mom, and all the people who care about your will simply be happy to have pictures of the event. Chances are, they'll be looking at your facial expression -- and swooning over the look of sheer joy and exuberance you and your new spouse have on your respective faces -- and they probably won't give a rat's ass about the flowers, your hair, or the cake table.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Say Yes to the Dress; No to the Princesses

So I'm going home to Colorado for Christmas, and I'll be going dress shopping while I'm there.
I'm a bit nervous about this.
You see, my only reference point for shopping for a wedding dress is seeing Say Yes to the Dress while I'm on the elliptical at the gym. To put it mildly, I wouldn't trust those people to sell me a damn plastic bag. If some woman who consistently fails to fill in her lip liner tries to convince me to spend epic amounts of money on a dress by saying things like "This is the most impoah-tant dress you'll evah buy," I will run screaming from the dress shop. I'll die of exposure in the parking lot of a mall in Denver before enduring more of that obnoxious shit. 
There are other elements of this that make me nervous, though, even if I'm not helped by a dude who tweezer-massacres his eyebrows.
First of all, the dreaded princess factor reaches a fever pitch when dress shopping. I've lost count of how many times the princess theme is invoked in reference to bridal gowns. I'm mildly terrified that I'll be surrounded by women who want nothing more than to drown in a tsunami of tulle, or to sob with joy upon finding the one dress in the entire universe that makes them look like Walt Disney vomited tafetta all over them. I don't like tulle or tafetta. I refuse to wear anything that makes me look like a cupcake or that requires having a giant bow on my ass. I'm the anti-princess. Do bridal shops even encounter, let alone deal with, people who visibly cringe when the word princess is used? Shit. I'm already in for it.
Secondly, I'm not willing to spend a lot of money on a dress. I want to get one that I like, but the fact is, I'm only going to wear it once. I wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on any piece of clothing, even if I knew I was going to wear it every week for the next ten years -- so I see no reason to go into debt for something that I'll only wear for a few hours. I'm operating on a very, very limited budget (to be specific, no more than $350 for this thing) because not only can I not afford to drop a ton of cash on a dress, but also because, based purely on principle, I refuse to do so.
But then the MIC pressure-cooker arrives, spewing mantras like "Your wedding dress will be photographed and documented more than any other article of clothing you own." Are they kidding?! If we start measuring the value of clothing by the number of times it'll be photographed, Nieman Marcus will be forced out of business because their clothes will be devalued faster than Soviet currency.

But nonetheless, the MIC kinda makes a girl feel like she's going to wind up wearing a burlap bag if she doesn't shell out serious cash for this unbelievably important, uber-photographed, most-critical-garment-of-her-entire-life bit of fabric.
But really, that's what it is: fabric. Which, if all goes according to plan, you will only wear once. Yes, it's important. And yes, it will be photographed. But -- and maybe I'm being delusional here -- I doubt people are going to pour over the details of it and scrutinize each bead. Chances are, the extent of the attention paid to my dress will be "Oh, that's a pretty dress. And she doesn't have a giant bow on her ass! Lovely!"
While I completely agree with the idea that it's definitely impotant to get a dress that you like, I see no reason to spend as much you'd have to shell out for a month-long trip to Paris or for, say, an entire car. I'll be irritated beyond all reason if someone (salespeople at bridal stores, I'm looking at you) tries to convince me I should spend that much money or risk looking like a haggard, emphysemic bag lady who lives under an overpass.
The question, though, will be whether or not it's possible for an anti-princess on a limited budget to find a dress she likes. Updates to follow.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Epic WTF

I can't even come up with a good intro for this, so I'm just going to say, in all my flabbergasted glory: why the hell is there a show called Bridalplasty? Did I fall into an alternate universe populated entirely by stupid people? No, seriously, was there a rip in the time-space continuum and I just happened to miss it?

I'd heard about Bridalplasty and thought it must be a joke (right? RIGHT?) but came to the horrifying realization that it's real when I started seeing random articles about it. Now, my tried-and-true strategy for handling things I don't like is to bury my head in the sand, thus looking like a humanoid-ostrich hybrid, while hoping that it will GO AWAY because I am NOT DEALING WITH IT RIGHT NOW.


That strategy worked up until last weekend. In a random turn of events, a friend sent an email noting that Bridalplasty would be a good topic for this here slice o' the blogosphere. After hearing a thing or two about the show itself, I totally agreed and figured I should try to watch it at some point, just to get a brief sampling of its absurdity. A tapas platter of crazy, if you will.

As luck would have it, I felt like death that evening and thus decided to stay home from a friend's birthday party. Because I watch ludicrously bad TV whenever my Betrothed is gone, I turned on E! News. As I sat on the couch in a stupor, drooling on myself and pondering the nature of turnips, Bridalplasty came on. I perked up and allocated my one remaining brain cell to taking mental notes on this train wreck of a show.
And what a train wreck it is.

I don't even know where to start with this. Is it the fact that some of these women have the self-esteem of a gnat and say things like "my stomach is the only thing I like about myself"? Is it the idea that other women are clearly there so they can have an absurdly extravagant wedding for free, because they can't afford to throw their own "fairy tale wedding"? How about the nagging issue that all of these women are actually quite pretty, and certainly not in need of a plastic surgery overhaul?

Holy shit. I'm pretty sure my jaw is still on the floor after watching this.

It begs all sorts of questions. Where did they find these people? Like, was there a casting call that went out saying things like "Looking for women with astonishingly low self-worth who are willing to compete for enough plastic surgery to look like the love-child of Frankenstein and Heidi Montag"? And what the hell sort of dude wants to see, floating down the aisle sporting boobs the size of torpedoes, some lady who looks nothing like the woman to whom he got engaged? Who are these guys, Spencer Pratt's clones?

I particularly hated the fact that the word 'perfection' was busted out at least 8 times in the first minute. Look perfect, be perfect, have the perfect wedding. Have the perfect chin, the perfect lips, the perfect thighs. I mean, really: everybody wants to look their best, but what's up with the need for perfection? Would it be so wrong to say "there are a few things I'm self-conscious about, but nobody's perfect," or, for a real shocker that could hasten the apocalypse, "I'm happy with myself the way I am"?

Because I tend to become defiant when faced with something that I find absurd, infuriating, or both, I responded to this by retrieving my lactard-friendly ice cream (use air quotes on ice stomach has been hating on lactose lately) and polishing off what was left. Take that, Bridalplasty! I'm eating fucking dessert! Kiss my imperfect ass!

My hope is that something will go horribly awry and that the bride who wins the grand prize will wind up looking like cat-lady. Or that her washboard abs and miniscule waist, when combined with her massive boobs and newly-filled ass the size of Kazakhstan, totally throws off her center of gravity and causes her to fall on her face while walking down the aisle. That'd make it all worth it.