Monday, March 17, 2014


So, some deeper thoughts today than I've put on my blog in the past...

I'm not a bride yet but when I was maid of honor for my friend Jessica a few years ago, she introduced me to the blog Offbeat Bride.  OBB was a beacon of common sense for us in the crazy world of weddings and long after her wedding was over, I've continued to read it, inspired by their straight talk and open-minded views on weddings and life in general.

Offbeat Bride and another blog, A Practical Wedding, both write fairly extensively on the issue of the "WIC."  WIC stands for Wedding Industrial Complex and essentially, it refers to the wedding industry as a whole, which is generally characterized by its tendency to pressure people, primarily women, to spend tons of money on ridiculous stuff that they don't need.  This market tends to be full of weight loss supplements, over-priced dresses, and "personal details" that every bride just has to have.  It's perpetrated by slick wedding websites, pushy sales people in overpriced salons, and (my guilty pleasure) wedding TV shows.  

Mason jars and chalkboard. A (beautiful) wedding that was inspired by a bride's desire to incorporate as many of her Pinterest wedding pins as possible into her wedding.  Via

The thing is, as OBB bride's editor Ariel wrote, any wedding business, no matter how indie or alternative, becomes by default a part of the wedding industry.  I was reading this article from APW on Friday and I got to thinking, if all of us who are trying to keep it real, but have wedding-related business, are technically part of the WIC... how can the whole thing really be all that bad?

The really awesome thing about all the bells and whistles and "personal details" that no one really needs for their wedding is that often there are indie artists and crafts people making a living and getting to share their art by selling those 150 overpriced place card holders that you bought even though you didn't need them.  My business is giving me the opportunity to work on becoming self-employed while doing what I love.  I mean, does anyone really need the customized, eco-friendly bouquets I'm peddling?  Of course not, but I'm doing what I love by selling brides something that they want. Sure, there are awful companies out there trying to cash in by selling brides weight loss products and other terrible things, but there are a lot of great things out there too.  

I think the reaction to all of the wedding sales-driven hype is often to downplay the wedding. As the APW article points out though, planning a wedding isn't a competition to see who can be the most blasé about the whole thing.  Some people (myself included), genuinely care about beautiful flowers and the aesthetic side of things. Can't it be a fun thing to have a wedding that is full of pretty, handmade, personal things? Is it necessarily tied to the need for vendors to sell MOOOORE? Can't there be moderation?

Isn't what makes us human our ability to elevate things above the ordinary and make them more beautiful?  So why does an industry that strives to do that necessarily have to be the root of all evil when it comes to weddings?

And don't even get me started on Pinterest.  I think it often makes people feel like their weddings (and lives for that matter) have to be "pin worthy" and therefore kicks up the obsession for perfection.  The flip side of that though has been a resurgence of handmade and has helped us little guys out quite a bit.  It's an interesting dichotomy. 

I'd be interested to hear some other opinions on this!
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  1. I think the most important things to do when planning a wedding is to keep a healthy sense of perspective about the event and be true to your values as a couple. If you do this and attempt to not take yourselves too seriously I think the WIC can be enjoyed without the overkill or guilt.

    1. Good point. A healthy sense of perspective goes a long, long way in a lot of areas in life.