Under bridal magazine hypnosis
Before I got engaged in January I hadn’t given much thought to the arresting reading material targeted exclusively at brides-to-be. If I had, I might have attempted to secure a ring on my finger much sooner. Bridal magazines, while almost entirely useless, are dazzlingly hypnotic.They’re generally printed quarterly, mostly because publishers hope that those who buy the $5-$9 glossies will forget in a few months’ time that nearly the exact same articles (e.g. “The Most Amazing White Cakes You’ve Ever Seen,” “1,074 Ways To Personalize Your Big Day,” “A Perfect Reception for Every Budget and Style,” “A Step-By-Step Beauty Planner for Every Bride,” “Reception Ideas in Your Favorite Colors”) ran three months earlier.Any engaged woman with more than six weeks but fewer than 12 months to plan her big day receives little to no benefit from bridal magazine content. Wedding dress, flower and food suggestions made, for instance, in the winter, spring and summer issues offer nothing serviceable for anyone planning an autumn wedding. By the time the fall issues hit the newsstands, the flowers, caterer and dress have long been chosen, custom ordered, hired, arranged, fitted and paid in full. To be fair, though, shotgun wedding brides likely benefit from the seasonal recommendations. After all, anyone scrambling to schedule simultaneously for the birth of her child and a shindig for 150 guests must happily grab all available helpful hints in what has to be the perfect storm of rush planning.Women with the desire or means to plan their weddings in lieu of full-time jobs surely devour the magazines. The over-the-top elaborate ceremonies and receptions featured in each issue undoubtedly require no less than a 24/7, year-round planning commitment accompanied by a wedding planner and the requisite figurative shedding of blood, sweat and tears (with waterproof mascara, of course). The brides whose real-life fairy tale weddings rival those of Cinderella to Prince Charming, Prince Charles to Lady Di or Celine Dion to her creepy, much-older manager/father-figure usually have surnames like duPont and Carnegie.Ordinary women who think achieving nuptial perfection can be achieved while still maintaining the semblance of a normal life (or day job), however, are probably somewhat discouraged by the implications in bridal magazines that a marriage is doomed to fail unless the seating cards at the wedding reception are made from pomegranates or have a bird motif that corresponds accordingly to the home states of the bride and groom, the guests sign in using an antique typewriter found at a treasured country flea market and the bouquets carried by the bridal attendants have been handmade in exquisite, life-like detail with tissue paper and historic lace. The magazines all feature the same advertisements for honeymoon locales, registry websites and wedding dresses. Whether sporting Vera Wang couture gowns or off-the-rack pouffy chiffon frocks, wedding dress print models share a common bond – they either aspire to star in 1-900-number phone sex commercials or have been rejected as Playboy centerfolds. Women with angry scowls, and layers of make-up that would put a Duncan Hines cake to shame, pose provocatively, seductively across the pages. And then there are the bridal magazine etiquette sections. While my upbringing included a healthy share of lessons on manners and tact, on occasion I could probably use a reminder on whether it’s OK to wear white before Memorial Day. However, reading the “Ask the Expert” wedding sections in the magazines makes me feel as if I graduated magna cum laude from Emily Post’s finishing school. A shocking number of brides question whether they can print their bank account numbers directly on their wedding invitations so they can avoid the, like, totally annoying step of depositing checks all by themselves. Or if it’s OK to ask guests to send money directly to the caterer and florist instead of giving actual gifts to the happy couple. If these same brides were the basis for comparison, Miss Manners certainly would have awarded me the blue ribbon for propriety when I re-used my salad fork with my main course at dinner on Tuesday night.Sadly, as my wedding day fast approaches, so does the time when I’ll have to find a source of entertainment beyond bridal magazines. After all, articles on “The Best Blushes for Any Bride,” “Flower Girl Fun” and “Details that Elevate a Wedding from Special to Spectacular” probably aren’t the most appropriate reading materials for a newlywed. I suppose if married people’s magazines totally bore me, I could always subscribe to one of the bridal magazines using one of the seemingly endless insert postcards that fall out of them all the time. It just seems that after a wedding band gets placed on the ring finger of my left hand, reading Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, In Style and Martha Stewart’s wedding magazines might give off the erroneous impression that I long to be a serial bride. On the other hand, that could make for a great quarterly magazine.E-mail questions or comments to email@example.com.
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