Weddings were also a social engagement to show off wealth and celebrated the passing of the woman from being her father's property to the property of her new husband. Still to this day, a lot of people do try to make this one of their life perfect. Social media has likely perpetuated that and builds higher expectations in peoples minds. Weddings were always about showing off wealth. It wasn't until the 1930's that the wedding industry really blew up thanks to carefully planned ad campaigns that are still successful today.
^this is a real ad from De Beers Diamond company.
In 1938 the De Beers Diamond Company crafted the world's most effective marketing campaign. They grew their company from essentially nothing into one of the most profitable businesses by making people believe to their made-up "A Diamond is forever" campaign. To this day, ring shaming still happens. No, a diamond really isn't "forever." Just like a car, it loses value by 50% the second you walk out the door. Of course, it can be a family heirloom and have sentimental value if you take care of it.
Or just like in the advertisement, it should cost two months of the mans salary. The size of the diamond does not measure the love or respect your significant other has for you.
White Wedding Dresses
Up until the mid -19th century, brides did not traditionally wear white. Not only was a white dress seen as impractical, it was not financially wise for brides to purchase a dress to wear only once. Therefore, most brides simply wore their fanciest dress on their wedding day. For brides in the lower classes, that often meant wearing a black dress. Brides with more means wore showier gowns in lush fabrics, featuring gold and silver embroidery, as well as fur. But these dresses could and would be worn again. In 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in one of the first heavily-photographed royal weddings of the time. She chose to wear a white dress.
After Queen Victoria’s wedding, wealthy brides started wearing grand white gowns, because they could afford to have the white attire professionally cleaned. Still, during this time white was seen as a color for the rich, more about showing off one’s wealth than one’s virginity.
White wedding dresses didn’t hit mass popularity until after World War II. During the Great Depression and World War II, fancy fabrics were still hard to come by, so luxe white wedding dresses were replaced with simple suits in non-white hues. Some wedding dresses at the time were even made from repurposed silk parachutes. After the war, white wedding dresses became more available, with tea-length looks inspired by Audrey Hepburn considered fashionable. Long gowns were soon in style, and once Princess Diana walked down the aisle in her grand ivory silk taffeta and lace gown in 1981, the white wedding dress’ place in history was solidified.
"But it's bride and grooms special day, they deserve the finest" - said by someone I'm sure
Except newlyweds really are being scammed. Studies show venues charge four times as much for a wedding versus a family reunion of the same size This is called the wedding tax or wedding markup. The idea that weddings cost an absurd amount of money is a pretty accepted and well known concept in our society, so people expect that they will be paying an arm and a leg before they even begin booking services. People are so willing to scam people that are just wanting to celebrate their love and it really is just awful.
Although to be fair many flower shops, photographers, and caterers say they charge more because the expectations are higher and they have to deal with bridezillas or other overbearing family members of the couple. This appears to be a chicken or the egg problem.
Still, there's an overwhelming amount of pressure for the wedding to be perfect. Social media has likely perpetuated that. No, there's no reason for you to invite your mom's boss just she wants her boss to be there. For example, my cousin and his long time girlfriend are getting married in June. They have requested no kids at the wedding because they can't afford to pay for a full meal for every child. Especially when that child probably won't eat all their food. My parents were pissed at idea that they don't want kids there. Not only that but my cousin and his girlfriend also said that they don't want gifts because they've lived together for so long. My parents were also pissed at this. That leads to my next point.
Wedding gifts really weren’t a thing until the early 20th century when bridal magazines came into Vogue and appliance companies jumped on the “spend an insane amount of money on your wedding to impress your friends and family” bandwagon. Wedding registries were actually useful when couples would marry at a pretty young age while they were still living at home with their parents because these gifts would provide them with the things they needed to start and begin their new lives together. Nowadays, people are getting married later in life and they usually live together for an extended period of time before the wedding. So they really don’t need 5 blenders. If you aren’t interested in making a registry for gifts you don’t really want, you can ask your friends and family to abstain from gifts and consider donating that money to charities instead. Or just send them some money because going to a wedding isn't as expensive as throwing one.
Keep in mind, the wedding industry will only scam you if you let them. It is totally possible to have a wonderful wedding for much cheaper than the average price. (According to TheKnot.com it's $33,931) It starts by lowering your expectations and telling any overbearing family members that if they try to control your wedding they're off the guest list. There's definitely additional expenses you can cut. Why would you hire a dj to blast a music when you can blast music on your ipod? Other ways to help cut the cost include: getting married in the off season, if you plan on serving alcohol find a place that lets people bring their own alcohol, consider a non-traditional venue like an art gallery or bed & breakfast for the reception, shorten your guest list, or consider making the reception potluck style.
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I'm a mobile DJ, and I started in 1986, before many of you were born. I've DJed over 350 weddings over the years, and I can tell you that there has been a huge change in what people (mostly brides) demand from vendors, which reflects those higher prices.
In the 80s, a wedding gig was like any other gig: we had nothing to do with the ceremony and merely showed up to the reception hall, set up our music gear, and played music. The only difference was providing a single wired microphone for toasts.
Today, in California, most receptions are outdoors, and often so is the ceremony. The DJ is usually asked to provide a full second sound system for the ceremony, with multiple wireless mics and a music playlist (which means that you need and have to pay a second person to keep an eye on your other equipment), and on several occasions I have been asked for a THIRD system to provide music in a third area while guests have drinks between the ceremony and the move to the reception area (when the wedding party is having pictures taken).
Then at the ceremony, the DJ not only also provides dance floor lighting, but usually also up-lighting (lights around the perimeter of the room to wash it in color). The DJ is also usually in charge of the schedule and the many announcements and introductions (of people he has never seen before), which also involves multiple wireless microphones.
The amount of gear, the setup and break down time, the preparation time, and the responsibilities have grown massively over the years, and should there be a mistake, brides have been known to refuse payment or even sue.
Other vendors will have a similar story. From table shapes and seat covers, to 5-star meals and boutique desserts to bars that are expected to be able to serve 100 different cocktails, expectations have grown enormously, and vendors have stepped up to meet that demand, but, yes, prices have gone up accordingly.
For me, a wedding is now an 18 hour day in order to provide a 30 minute ceremony and a 6 hour reception - and that doesn't count the 30 hours of meetings, phone calls, emails, and music/schedule prep for times (remember that most brides have never done any of this before and I have to explain a lot of things to them and get lots of answers in order to do my job).
That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing.