I feel like I need to issue a preemptive apology to my mother, my boyfriend’s mother and my boyfriend’s grandmother: I won’t be a “fun” bride.
I will probably be more of a wet blanket, really. I won’t get excited about table settings or flower girl dresses. I won’t even care about the cake (much). I’m a little excited about buying a special dress for the Big Day, but honestly, whenever I look at wedding dress prices, I start to hyperventilate. Why the wedding apathy? First of all, I feel like the wedding industry is a total racket. I mean, $35 for satin ring pillows? Please! Second of all, my three older sisters are all wed and I feel like I’ve “done” the stress/tears/drama of the wedding-planning rigamarole. And lastly, my boyfriend and I don’t have any money: I’m a blogger, he runs a fledgling web start-up, and we are Can Pay Our Rent But Couldn’t Pay For A Wedding broke. Personally, I’d be happy to wear a cute cocktail dress, marry at City Hall and celebrate afterward with our families and close friends at a restaurant or in a garden. Simple, tasteful and debt-free.
So I realize it doesn’t make any sense—any sense at all— that I’m addicted to this show WeTV called “Platinum Brides.” Wealthy couples spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on custom-made designer wedding gowns … Swarovski crystal wedding cakes … receptions in underground Mexican caves. Its tag line? “The perfect wedding is priceless.”
If you haven’t seen the show, I know what you are thinking: “Bridezillas” with a “Gossip Girl” twist. But you are wrong! “Platinum Brides” isn’t snarky or mocking; it is actually a pretty classy program, the absolute antithesis of she-did-what? bridal TV. Most of the weddings are quite lovely—amazing what you can do with half a million dollars!—but a couple veer off into “gaudy” territory. (“Baby, I want an ice sculpture at our wedding,” I whined, sarcastically, the other night, in my best Veruca Salt impression. “I promise you can have an ice sculpture,” he said. “It will be shaped like a big ice cube.”) Really, “Platinum Weddings” should be called “Trophy Weddings,” since it’s really about showy displays of wealth. But everything about the spectacle is fun—the flowers, chandeliers, cocktails, jewelry, gowns and sumptuous food—and I watched three straight hours of “Platinum Weddings” re-runs on Sunday night.
I know, intellectually, nothing about “Platinum Weddings” is really “me”: the spending is beyond wasteful and a lot of the traditions, like the father giving the bride away and the white dress, aren’t my bag. But still, I freakin’ love this show—and a bundle of contradictions is getting to me.
The best explanation I can come up with is that “Platinum Weddings” is wedding porn. Yes, wedding porn. Porn is something you enjoy watching and even fantasize about doing, but which you don’t necessarily want to do yourself. For the most part in porn, expressing who people really are doesn’t matter. And just like porn, on “Platinum Weddings,” excess is glorified.
While I’m binging on “Platinum Weddings” at home, sometimes my boyfriend sits with me and we’ll talk about what our special day will be like. While he generally thinks the weddings on this show are showy and gross, he has also consistently surprised me by being more excited about the details of wedding planning than I am. He has lots of opinions on wedding dresses, but the food, especially the cake, really gets him hyped up.
In this way, he’s also opened me up to the idea that our wedding isn’t just about my tastes and preferences; it’s about his and our families’ too. If someone wants to spend a few thousand dollars on renting a lakeside reception area or something, I may have to compromise on that. So even if I, personally, don’t want to fuss over flowers or invitations, other people might, and I shouldn’t be a grouch.
And I can live with that. I just think I should probably keep my crabby opinions about wasteful spending “wedding porn” to myself, lest I really do sound like a bridezilla.