That’s basically my summary of this New York Times article, which covers a small number of women who planned their weddings (or are still planning their weddings) before they even had a boyfriend. And yes, I actually agree that spending large chunks of your free time planning your own wedding when you aren’t actually engaged to be married is… a tad bizarre, and kind of sad. There are so many other things you could be doing with your spare time! And while I think many of us have had the experience of seeing a pretty dress or a nice piece of jewelry online and going, “Oh I like that” and maybe even posting it on Pinterest (hell, even I pinned a wedding dress one time), it’s a whole other level to plan out a venue, monogrammed cocktail napkins and what you’re serving for dinner before you’ve even met the person who you’re planning to wed. My best advice for these women is to get a more productive hobby:
Pamela Prindle, 26, who has no boyfriend and who works in the accounting department of the Angel Fire resort in New Mexico, gave similar reasons for spending “a good portion of her day” on her Pinterest board titled “I’m single but still planning my wedding.”
“A good portion of her day.”
I have a difficult time relating to the women in this story at all, because the idea of planning the details of a wedding doesn’t sound at all fun to me. Also there are so many funny cat videos on the internet, just waiting to be watched! Do these women not know about those?
But I also hate all sides of this story. I hate that it’s another one of those “bitches are crazy!” stories about desperate single heterosexual women who are just dying to get married. While I personally find the Big Princess Dream Wedding goal to be thoroughly silly, I also understand that at least in the United States, there’s an enormous cultural mythology attached to women and weddings. We’re supposed to have been dreaming about Our Big Day since we were little girls. Our dress should make us feel “like a princess.” Our father should walk us down the aisle and give us away, sad to be losing his “little girl.” Our husband, otherwise mostly a prop in our grand performance, should tear up as he sees us coming down the aisle, and later should say, “You were so beautiful walking down that aisle.” And we will of course be so beautiful, with a $10,000 dress, a large diamond engagement ring, professionally-styled hair and make-up, and a slender physique courtesy of a no-carb diet and some sort of Bridal Bootcamp. Our besties will wear matching dresses, so cute, although at least one ungrateful bitch will complain that the cut is unflattering or will wear the wrong color shoes and almost ruin everything. We’ll have celebrated an elaborate bachelorette party where the bride is publicly humiliated in the name of Female Bonding, while her afianced gets to either eat steak and look at some titties, or go camping. The wedding is a big day for him, because it’s when he finally gives up his freedom. For her, it’s The Most Important Day Of Her Life. The happiest day. The best day. As if nothing a woman ever accomplishes is quite as sweet and getting a guy to marry her. And if you don’t go along with that script, there’s something wrong with you. You’re cheap. You’re lazy. You don’t respect tradition. You don’t really love your fiancee. You’re a man-hating feminist.
For the record, I actually love weddings. I think it’s quite wonderful that we throw parties to celebrate love and commitment. But I hate how, for women, the wedding turns into Your Chance To Be A Princess, rather than an important celebration of two people joining their lives together, publicly affirming their love, and dedicating themselves to the very difficult work of maintaining a life-long partnership.
I also hate how that “princess” narrative is basically a way to extract tons of money from women and their families, and tons of free labor from the women themselves. While you’re on Pinterest planning every detail of your wedding for hours on end, the guy in the cubicle next to you can use his spare time to write an article for a trade publication or get lunch with the boss.
And even though I know “your wedding day is the MOST IMPORTANT EVER!!!!” is something women are force-fed from the time we’re toddlers, I still cringe when I see women take that to the extreme, and plan a wedding as if it’s just about them and not about, you know, a partnership. Which involves another human being who is also being honored at this party. And which will take a hell of a lot more work and dedication and love than picking flower arrangements.
I also cringe when I see that small cohort of slightly-odd women being held up in the Style section for public mockery, simply for doing what the people who benefit from the many millions of dollars in wedding industry money have encouraged them to do and insisted is not only normal but valuable and necessary.
- Bride Price by Jill January 18, 2013
- Really good pieces about weddings and love by Jill February 4, 2013
- Divorcing ourselves from traditional marriage by Jill February 4, 2013
- Defending Traditional Marriage by Jill July 10, 2006
- Groom tries to take wife’s last name, is grounded by Florida DMV by Caperton January 31, 2013