The Communal Aspect of Wedding Websites

Earlier this week, A Los Angeles Love posted her thoughts on this Wall Street Journal article, which basically outlines how much money you would lose in the long run if you never had a big wedding. I was annoyed at the patronizing tone of the advice that the article gives at the end. I'm making my invites and all the paper products. Making the centerpieces. We're not even having a DJ. We're not even having cake, they're cupcakes. No planner. No coordinator. No rehearsal dinner. No Sunday brunch. And I'd still get a big fat lecture from Brett Arends about my lack of a retirement plan.

Today the boy sent me this follow-up article from Yahoo Finance. This paragraph stood out to me, given that I think of myself as a pretty active member in the online wedding community.

Now throw in the community aspect of Web sites, and the battle to steer clear of the $18,000 wedding is nearly lost. Commiserating online with other brides-to-be on floral arrangements, DJs and videographers hardly inspires independent thinking (and budgeting). We take our consumption cues from our peers and often embellish them, writes Ron Wilcox, author of "Whatever Happened to Thrift: Why Americans Don't Save and What to Do About It."

Did Laura Rowley not do any research? Does she not realize how many blogs out here in wedding land are devoted to the chic yet cheap wedding (10k Wedding, A Practical Wedding, 2k Wedding...just to name a few) and that message boards are flooded with budget and pricing questions?

Before I complain some more, I do see her point. If we see enough lavish weddings or trends then we begin to think ZOMG I REALLY NEED THIS, THIS, THIS, AND THAT FEATHER HAIR PIECE (because that's what I thought/wanted yesterday).

I admit, I like pretty things. But, c'mon. We're smarter than that. We rely on each other for information. We share tips and strategies and new ideas so that we aren't cut from the same tulle skirt. We don't just see the latest Sylvia Weinstock cake and all of the sudden must have it and then commiserate with one another about how we all can't have it. No, one of us would probably try and copy it and then post DIY instructions so we can all have one!

I proudly think that we are all independent thinkers and researchers who are just trying not to get shafted in this big wedding world and still like looking at pretty pictures. It's an infinitely better community of people than the whiners that Yahoo Finance describes.

To my friends who are in the thick of their wedding planning--thank you for being part of my community.


The Professional Bridesmaid said...

That WSJ article is sooo patronizing. While I see (sort of) where the author was going with the article (you don't have to spend a ton on a wedding), he totally glosses over the fact that many, many brides and grooms today are planning finance-friendly weddings AND pay for them (without help from Daddy, as insinuated by the author. Sure, you can always 'invest' that money....it might yield more in an account/stock somewhere....but will you still have the awesome memories??!!

Missy May said...

Weddings are once in a lifetime. So what if you splurge?

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Unbelievable and so off-base.

You're right. We all do ooh and ahh, but we ARE smarter than that and find ways to do it for less or we remind each other we can have some things, but don't HAVE to have others. There is always an opportunity cost to doing things - a house, a party, a vacation. That's just life. It's funny though because the people that also did invest $25k in their 401ks saw those funds plummet in value this past year (raising hand). Memories from a wedding - priceless.

I love being part of your community. :)

buhdoop said...

I am so happy that a community of wise brides are here. I would have gone crazy without sites like this one and many others.

very married said...

"We share tips and strategies and new ideas so that we aren't cut from the same tulle skirt."


plus, like, if i didn't go to that movie this week, i could save $100 in the span of my life. If I didn't go to that museum exhibit and saved the money instead, how much could I have saved over the span of my life?

if you followed his advice to its logical conclusion, you'd end up rich in money at the end of life but poor in memories and experience.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the wedding blogging community because it gives me amazing ideas for what alternatives we have as brides. If we really did go through the traditional routes, we might end up paying a lot more for our weddings.

But when I read the WSJ article... I also agreed with it.

My cousin recently married this past August and she is one of those people who wanted to get married because all of her friends were getting engaged and married at the same time... they all serve as each other's bridesmaids. She makes very little money at her job in NYC as an editorial assistant... and her now-husband is still going to school and only works part-time. So, the burden was left to her family to pay for this extravagant affair:

- The bride had THREE wedding gowns (TOTALLY UNNECESSARY)

- She had 7 Bridesmaids (She paid for their dresses)

- She invited everyone she knew, including everyone at her church (600 Guests she had to feed during the Reception)

I couldn't help but sense a healthy sense of competition between them. I knew that she really liked them, but I could also tell that she wanted her wedding to be better than theirs.

A collection basket went around during the wedding ceremony and reception, but they collected just around $8,000. They are over $40,000 in debt... or rather, her parents are. I'm further miffed at her for demanding her parents provide her with the capital for their first apartment... if you can't save up for your own security deposit and rent yet, maybe you should hold off on getting married until you do.

It doesn't sound like you and the boy are anything like my cousin... so I wouldn't take this article too personally if I were you. But you two have been together for a long time and are gainfully-employed. I am certain you are getting married for the right reasons.

That said, I really appreciated what you had to say- I love reading the wedding blog sites and wouldn't change that for anyone else!

Luxeville said...

I think everyone has "that cousin" who messes things up for the rest of us!
I know that my parents set up a wedding fund for my sister and me from the time we were little... but seeing how I'd rather them put my portion away for their retirement, I want to have a simple, intimate wedding that suits both our needs.
The wedding blogging community is really helping me plan the small wedding of my dreams! I just love seeing projects from the start to finish, and cheering on blogger friends along the way. It's a long journey and it's nice to have support!
Those journalists really seem to miss the point of it all... which is more sad than anything else.

Mo said...

Thanks for all the feedback ladies!

@Anon: I totally agree with you that, unfortunately, there are some people out there who do fit the type that the WSJ/Yahoo are describing (like your cousin.) I just think it sucks that they don't also include examples of couples who aren't going into debt or who have considered the ramifications of spending on a wedding or who had a strict budget. I suppose if they did, than the article wouldn't get the point across as well. Ahhh media.

Thanks so much for reading and for your sweet comment about the boy and I getting married for the right reasons. It gives me the warm fuzzies, even if I do not know who you are.

Wedding blogs--so much more than a way to compete with other brides. :)

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