Why do so many brides strive for perfect weddings when it’s the imperfections that make the day truly special?
Forget the meringue wedding dress, matching tuxes or monogrammed aisle liners: It’s the bored ring bearer; clumsy best man, and “Thriller” dancing groomsmen that end up in our memories and on YouTube for all time.
Yet stressed-out American brides each continue to spend an average of $19,581 trying to create flawless weddings. A fair portion of that figure goes towards the following 20 items of unconscionable crap -- all pushed on these stressed-out women by an insidious Wedding Industrial Complex.
Don't say we didn’t sarcastically warn you.
1. Formal Engagement Photos
The New York Times won’t print engagement photos unless the couple’s eyebrows “are arranged on exactly the same level.” If you think about this policy, it makes perfect sense. After all, if you can’t play Sudoku on the brow lines, why bother?
2. Diamond Wedding Bands
Too many rocks on the hand could mean too many rocks in the head. The diamonds on your engagement ring should be more than sufficient. Besides, extra rocks just mean more callouses on your palm.
3. Cake Server Sets
Your manicured hands are going to cover those curvaceous and be-ribboned handles throughout the 10 seconds you’ll actually put the implements to use. It all comes down to whether you want to pay a couple hundred for engraved silver you'll never use again.
4. Classy Guestbook and Pen Set
The only person who’s going to see the cover of the guestbook is the poor schmuck you corralled into saying, “Would you like to sign the guestbook?” Besides, those $100 pens never really work for more than 10 minutes.
5. Bride and Groom Exchange Gifts
I thought your were giving each other the gift of yourselves. Silly me. If you really want to give something tangible, try a simple, heartfelt note written. Now that's something worth treasuring.
6. Monogrammed Aisle Runner
Why walk on a carpet when you can walk all over your own names (or squiggly initials). A free-floating runner is just another obstacle to trip on as you trip your way down the aisle.
7. Groom's Cakes
Wedding cakes serve two purposes: They make great photo props and single ladies like to slime the undersides of their pillows in hopes of sweet dreams. What purpose does a groom’s cake serve besides lining the trash bin. along with the baker's pocket?
8. Padded Guest Lists
Sure it took a village to raise you, but does the entire village need to attend your wedding?
9. Wedding Planners
Some venues require brides hire wedding planners, which suggests they’re getting a huge kick-back. Some planners are worth their weight in gold, but others create more headaches and chaos. (Remember semi-hysterical Anthony Marantino from "Sex in the City?")
Sure it's fun to stand up in the sun roof and shout "woo-woo," and it's cool to legally drink in a super-stretched car, but it's a lot cheaper to just pack a whiskey flask in your purse and borrow a friend's sedan.
Videos are more than expensive, they're dangerous in the wrong hands. Remember the bride who ended up on YouTube after the clumsy best man shoved her into the pool? Thankfully, the videographer was facing the wrong way when her dress slipped to waist level.
Years after the wedding, many couples say they’d much rather have spent the money on professional still photos than a video they seldom watch.
12. Engraved Invitations
Hang the expense. Collating all that paper is exhausting. There’s the engraved wedding invite; the totally unnecessary tissue paper; the engraved reception invite; the engraved RSVP card; and possibly a SASE RSVP envelope. All are stuffed in a spiffy envelope that you then have to stamp and hand address.
Unless they have a vested interest, people look at all that paper for a few seconds, send back the response card -- if you’re lucky -- and toss out the rest.
13. Rented Tuxedos
Have you ever known a little boy who dreams of growing up to look like a penguin?
14. Personalized Matches
Unless you hang out with a lot of smokers, tokers and/or candle freaks, these suckers are going in the trash.
15. Matching Bridesmaids Dresses
Let your bridesmaids wear any dress in their closet and you'll still be speaking after the wedding. Every bride should be forced to watch "27 Dresses."
16. Make-Up Professionals
Rule number one: The skin on your face should match the skin on your arms and back.
Rule number two: Your fiance is marry you, not the make-up artist.
Rule number three: It's a lot cheaper to visit a department store make-up counter for a make-over. Just be sure to buy something when you're finished, like a base color that matches your skin tone.
Is baby desperate to get back -- to the late 1800s? If you want to catch a train, call Amtrak.
18. Expensive Shoes
Listen up. NOBODY CAN SEE YOUR FEET UNDER THE DRESS! Unless you're wearing a cocktail gown, of course. Then go hog wild.
19. Wedding Favors
Personalized tote bags; soy candles in cute little bags, sterling-silver bubble tubes; monogrammed M&Ms, lip balm andwater bottles...stop me before I hurl cash.
20. Dry Cleaning the Wedding Dress
Like you’re EVER going to wear it again. (Thanks to MyExWeddingDress.com for the photo.)
Things Upon Which I Order You To Spend Money
1. Professional Photographers
Trust me: Uncle Fred or brother-in-law Ed can not take photos "as good as any of those fancy-pants professionals." Pay a pro and you'll never regret it.
2. A Divorce Dance Video
Just in case things don't work out, follow the example of the couple who created a divorce video patterned after "Jill and Kevin's Wedding Entrance Dance," viewed 52 million times on YouTube and featured on The Office and the Today Show.