Sunday, May 08, 2005

Wedding Wishes, Woes and Wisdom

Melinama has a recent post on wedding greed, and you may read it here: http://pratie.blogspot.com

As a Bride, professional wedding florist, Mother of a Bride, Mother of a Groom and Mother of a Bride to Be, I am uniquely equipped to speak to that. Greed shows an ugly face in so many ways during the planning and executing of a wedding. Not many people read or subscribe to the old theories on polite etiquette anymore, or so it seems from where I sit. And way too many brides look for ways to turn their nuptials into money-making schemes.
I read often the forum/post area of a wedding web-site (www.theknot.com) where brides, mom's, lurkers and vendors like me can read what others have written or questioned in the planning of their weddings and honeymoons. They rant about future mothers-in-law, their own mothers - who are "forever" trying to take over the planning and style of the wedding ( imagine that! ). They ask their parents to pay for what sometimes turns out to be an extravaganza (starring the bride) and yet they don't want to allow the parents any say in how the money is allocated. They buy tacky favors, print long wordy programs, choose unflattering bridesmaid's dresses in trendy color schemes - and worse yet - some of them plan "theme weddings" in the style of fairy tales or theme parks. Do I sound bitter? I am really not - although after 23 years in the business - it begins to wear on you.
But every now and then, a young woman comes along who realizes that a wedding is - or should be - tasteful and elegant. She allows her parents some say in the budget, she errs on the side of understatement and grace. She attempts to choose a dress which can be worn again, or at least one that will not embarrass a bridesmaid to be seen in. She does not insist on thousands of flowers solely to impress the multitudes and she limits the number of attendants instead of having every person she sat next to in school, or her entire sorority from college. Unfortunately, there are not enough brides like this, but when one comes along, it is a joy to work with her and her family to produce the wedding of her dreams.

12 comments:

Angie said...

When Steven and I married last summer we knew we did not want a 'wedding'. We had both been married at a 'wedding' before and it was not something we wanted to do again. I planned in one day. Went the next day and found myself and the girls lovely dresses. I did my own flowers and cake. I used handmade paper and a quill pen and wrote out the few invitation. I did the same for the announcements, though it took a whole lot longer. Something we both know and are committed to: After the 'wedding' there is a marriage. We opted for the Marriage! On our farm the orchard is just incredible when everything is in bloom. All 3 of our children have started their girlish dreams of their wedding. They all want to be married in the orchard. I love it! Not because I am cheap lol though I am! But because of the simplicty of their dreams and wishes.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

One of my guilty pleasures is reading Bridezilla stories, like the one you linked to. The lack of common courtesy and ignorance of simple etiquette is just astounding.

vicki said...

One of the absolute best things about a second wedding in mid-life is that it can be a "grown-up" wedding. We arranged for perfect weather, a simple campus chapel, an elegant but ample small plate reception at the local jazz club. The only place I didn't care about being cost efficient was at the florist because I knew I could trust him, as always, to do them perfectly. (I'm sending you a jpeg by e-mail!) And, having the children we do, we got the best music in town for free. It was a GREAT wedding- and our anniversary is coming up so your post made me smile in memory. A good post with a good point. thanks!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

But if weren't for uglifiers, how would we know when prettyfiers come along?

I love being philosophical on this site. Can't be done where I live.

scrappintwinmom said...

I hear you on this one. I got married three years ago this Sept, and DH and I paid for the whole thing. As such, I didn't appreciate my Monster in law dictating certain aspects of the wedding. I did however respect her wishes whenever possible, because I know feelings get easily hurt during an endeavour like this. I did my best, and don't think I'd change a thing. But its true, how do you know the good ones if it weren't for the bad ones? Great post - when's the next 'dollar dance'?
ps. here via Michele's today. I'll be back on my own.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Every parent's dream: I eloped. Later on I deloped.

colleenR said...

wedding and funeral can bring the best and worst out in people. I've been married twice, both outside and low key.

Shannin said...

I love reading bridezilla stories as well. I actually rented my bridesmaids' dresses, but let them choose (well two out of three since one was in London) the style. Also, my husband and I paid for the majority of the wedding with our parents chipping in for a specific thing (my mom covered the photography, my dad did the booze, his mom paid for his side of the family, all 16 of them, to travel from Cleveland to Los Angeles).
Heck, I didn't even throw a hissy fit when the florist subsituted a different color rose in my bouquet because I knew it wouldn't have done any good (I had ordered an almost black-red rose and ended up with Fire-and-Ice).
I bet you would have some great stories!

Badaunt said...

We didn't have a wedding, when we got married, just signed some papers at City Hall. The marriage and the wedding are separate here, and there is no necessary ceremony or vows at all. Neither of us were interested in having a wedding.

However, a few years later, after I had an accident and couldn't work, and The Man couldn't work either because he was taking care of me, we ran out of money (no insurance, savings gone). Knowing of our problem one of The Man's friends got the idea of having a wedding party for us. I was still very ill, but at weddings here the guests bring MONEY.

So he arranged the 'wedding,' which was held at our house, everybody (who had been told what it was all about) brought fat envelopes, and I spent most of the time upstairs, resting, because it was all too much for me.

It was a lovely idea. They wanted to give us money, but they didn't want it to be charity, and these were all people whose weddings The Man had been to and given money for. I just wish I could remember more of it. I could only put in five-minute appearances before my head started spinning. But The Man had a lovely time catching up with old friends, and we were able to scrape by for a few more months before running out of money again.

Melinda said...

I'm an event planner, and we're just starting to get into the wedding business. So far I've been lucky in that the brides haven't been nuts, but luckily for me, our venue puts a fair amount of limits on them already so it can't be too crazy.

melinama said...

Thanks for the link! The story (which is at http://pratie.blogspot.com/2005/05/wedding-greed.html) was in the Wall Street Journal. Miss Manners posts a lot of wonderful greedy bride letters.

I mostly MEET nice brides - because the awful ones don't want a band like ours - but there are exceptions.

I remember one standing among her friends and family and literally screaming, in her nice white dress with her fists clenched: "I want you all to dance and you're GOING TO DANCE."

Sylvia said...

weddings definitely bring out the best (and worst) in people! a friend of my partner's changed her mind about the jewellery about a week before the wedding; there was a mad scramble for the money to outfit all the bridesmaids again, but she wasn't paying for it so didn't care!