Avoid bridal vision: Adjust your focus before breaking the bank


Megan Palbicki Headshot

Megan has written for Arches for two years.

Many young girls have dreamed of their wedding day since they were old enough to play with Barbies (and the ever-attached boyfriend/husband Ken dolls). It’s supposed to be the single day that you are entitled to be a princess — the dress, the tiara, the walk down the aisle, the party. Somewhere in there you pledge your undying love to someone.

The wedding industry has gotten out of control. It needs to be called out.

According to theweddingreport.com, a website dedicated to tracking the trends of the wedding industry, Milwaukee-area weddings on average cost $21,587 in 2012. I’ve known couples that have taken out loans to have their perfect day. That figure does not indicate if bridal party expenses are included, or if members of the bridal party paid their share separately.

Speaking of the bridal party, at one point it was an honor to stand up for close friends or relatives while they committed themselves to marriage. In the past, bridesmaids did not need to worry about outrageously expensive dresses, hair styling and gifts.

Today bridesmaids are racking up debt to contribute to the expectations of the bride: designer dresses, celebrity makeup and destination weddings and bachelorette trips. (Please put an end to these!)

By not attending some of these events, or opting not to take part in hair and makeup extravaganzas, a bridesmaid is risking the loss of the bride’s friendship. You may think this sounds silly, and it does, but it is a very real situation that can happen to anyone when a woman gets, as I like to call it, “bridal vision” (similar to tunnel vision, but with more tulle).

Why do brides think they need all of these expenses and “traditions?” Well, the wedding industry spoon-feeds it directly through your TV and Internet, preying on your emotions. Competition to show off social status is the basis for reality shows like “Four Weddings,” a show in which brides compete for who had the “best” wedding, and “Bridalplasty,” a show that has women compete against each other for plastic surgery before their wedding day.wedding 2

The fact is your wedding day is not as important to everyone else as it is to you. Many traditions that have become part of the American wedding were put there by the industry itself. It is all too easy to get swept up by the wedding vendors, some who use nostalgia tactics to pull heartstrings, some who use razzle dazzle to “help” your wedding stand out from others.

Before planning your wedding, do some research. I am not just talking about vendors. Research the emotional and financial stakes of being part of a wedding. Listen to the stories others have shared from their experiences. Avoid “bridal vision” to ensure a smooth planning process and focus on who you are marrying in the first place. A wedding is one day; a marriage (in theory) is forever.

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