Friday, August 12, 2011

Why I dislike "The Knot."

I poke fun at the wedding website The Knot here often, but never explain why.

Pick up any newspaper and you'll see at a headline's glance our country is in trouble. Sometime in the last thirty years living beyond one's means became a way of life. (I'm looking at you, "The 80s"). Countless citizens do it, businesses do it--heck, even the government does it. From the overpriced cradle to the planned payments grave, American milestones are being replaced by moments of debt. Graduation has given way to under and unemployed students struggling to make loan payments to keep their credit score up for the move into that home they can't afford. And now the average American wedding costs $29,000, just about the cost of the average Master's degree, car, or down payment.

I promise you this cake costs more
than my current car is worth.

Now, there are plenty of responsible folks who have saved for the day, but there's plenty of people letting Uncle Credit pick up the tab and this is where I find offense. When did a $29,000 wedding become "the norm"? Why do brides and grooms struggle under the weight of debt rather than tell supposed loved ones "We can't afford to feed 250 of you"?

Sites like The Knot and shows like Bridezillas feed into the problem, sustaining unrealistic expectations and creating nonexistent demands (you do not need 250 tiny draw stringed bags filled with craft store garbage, your guests will forgive you). They echo the ugly, modern bridal mantra "This is my day! My special day!" When did this start? Can we stop it? We can't all be Veruca Salt, that's a lot of pressure. If you think a wedding is all about you, then you probably shouldn't be part of a couple. And if you find yourself throwing a tantrum over place cards, then you're probably not ready to get married.

Understated femininity and elegance.
Just like Grace Kelly. 

The situation is so bad that when brides don't give into this behavior, some wedding parties don't know how to respond. Right now there's a trend of bridesmaids picking their own dresses. I know several brides who tried this. Lovely, down to earth brides who had to give up on the idea when their bridesmaids bombarded them with panicked emails and phone calls to choose for them. They were all afraid of picking the wrong frock! These brides were trying to keep their weddings simple and affordable for their friends, but in the end they were foiled by women so broken by the Davids Bridal machine that they literally could not dress themselves.

Nine women who can pick their own dress,
like real grown ups! 

A wedding should be a personal reflection of the couple and their pledge to one another. (Clearly in our case Ryan and I are pledging a life of love and humor to each other). Don't adhere to what you think a wedding should look like. Think of the special times in your relationship, how often were they in the center of 250 people? How much fun do people really have at giant, serious celebrations? The best wedding I've been to was Preston and Kaela's circus themed wedding this past May. They enlisted their own talents and the skills of their friends and family to make the day unique, beautiful, and memorable. It was felt personal and intimate, and I've never see a more relaxed bride or groom. That's one real life example of love conquering the modern wedding. For a beautiful video of a modern couple eloping the old fashioned way click here, and for a fun and famous video of a bridal party that did it their way click here

My point with these examples is just do your thing, tell your story, make it about your love, and it will be beautiful. That's all the wedding advice you'll ever need.

But you'll never top this wedding....


  1. (Found your blog from Jaime's- love it so far!)

    I could not agree more with this! A few months ago I took part in a wedding that had what would be considered a "strict" budget by today's standards and it was perfectly fine! Less than fifty people, a cake split into individual cupcakes, and a ceremony under a large tree with arranged flower petals as the main decorations- just beautiful! People have become way too caught up on what they think a wedding "should" be, and have sadly forgotten what it's all about.


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