Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Wedding Indie-dustrial Complex


I am feeling a bit conflicted about the nature of wedding-ness in general and the nature of the Wedding Industrial Complex and that of what I will call, for now, the Indie Wedding Complex (maybe the Wedding Indie-dustrial Complex?).

What I see happening is a battle between the Industrial and the Indie. There are some weddings out there that people just throw money at. It's the BEST-DAY-OF-YOUR-LIFE so you better not skimp. Then, there are the indie folks, devoted to not giving into the mentality of spending all their money on wedding shit. I support that, of course. But you know what happens? Instead of throwing a bunch of money at it, all of a sudden to be a Good Indie Bride you've got to: sew your own table runners, make your own flower arrangements, create your own centerpieces, find a thrift store dress and have it altered by one of your talented best friends who just so happens to be a seamstress, design and print your own letter-press invitations (because you just so happen to be a letter-press goddess and designer on the side), and then, if you don't have time to make the jewelery yourself, make sure to get it from Etsy.

Okay, I fucking LOVE Etsy, (we bought my ring on Etsy) but seriously, all this hub-bub about what you're SUPPOSED to do to be the Good Indie Bride is, in some ways, just as dangerous as falling into the gravitational pull of the Wedding Industrial Complex.

And there is more to it than that, isn't there. It is kinda spooky, but why are so many of the bloggers out there white and middle-class and domestic goddesses? Even the blogs devoted to being thrifty and budget are doing so from a very comfortable middle-class background. While one intrepid couple managed to host a $2000 wedding, the other "budget" weddings come in at around $10,000. People, that might be ON a budget, but that ain't budget.

In the drive to be indie and be unique and resist the Wedding Industrial Complex, are we just creating a different one? Feminist Gillian Brown argues that domesticity is a key component to the identity of white femininity which is constructed alongside white masculinity and thus continues to position white people as the more privileged and the more powerful in today's society. It is a complex argument, and even if you don't buy it, I do think it is worth considering how resisting the Wedding Industrial Complex via indie methods is not a truly effective resistance. Is there a right answer here? I'm not sure.

I'm crafty, I'll admit. I love being artsy and designing things that are fun and beautiful. I'm not going to stop doing that. But there is a certain amount of awareness that I think we have to bring into this wedding stuff. For instance, I get that we're hosting a party, but I've hosted plenty of parties that were amazingly fun that were planned in about 2 days. The amount of things that we are "supposed-to" do to host a wedding are out of control. Or perhaps controlling?

While I recognize that we're hosting a wedding that people know to be "A wedding" and thus have specific ideas of what will happen at this shindig, I do want to be a responsible engaged person and make sure that the expectations I bring into the occasion are thoughtful and maybe even a little different. Thinking about the controlling discourse that even the Good Indie Brides shoot out, I want to meditate on what REALLY matters to me (and of course ask T to do the same) and we craft this occasion. Which, let's remember, isn't about other people at all. It's about us, dammit.

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