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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why I love wedding stuff

I must profess to being something of a Scrouge. I learned it off my dad - he would scoff at the idea of buying something himself, but he's the most generous gift giver in the world. I'm the same - I can't bear the idea of splashing out for a $2 chocolate bar for myself, but I'll shell out for presents, for nice food to bring to other people's parties, for anything CDH could possibly desire.

It didn't help that two years ago I achieved a rather impressive feat; after four years of university I graduated...with more money than I came in with. Several scholarships and some very sensible financial decisions gave me my degree and an awesome start to my adult life - financial security.

So when I hear brides worrying about their wedding budgets and trying to navigate their way through the plethora of wedding purchuses, I feel your pain. I see the shiny things, I imagine what it would all look like coming together, I look at the price tag, I change my mind.

Weddings are a consumer driven investment, and they shouldn't have to be. I say this, and I run what could only be described as a glorified shopping blog (I'll get to that in a second). Part of my reason for writing the Halloween Wedding Planner ebook was to challenge what people believe makes up a wedding, to strip the event right back to it's core.

And you may think your wedding is different because it's counter culture - punk or gothic or indie or steampunk - but it's not. Whether you spend hours searching for that perfect white meringue dress or drooling over FairyGothMother corsets, the result is the same - consumerism, adherence to cultural ideals, advertising, marketing ploys, mass-consumption. Shame on us all.

Or is it?

See, while I DO believe in the planning stages of your wedding you should strip the process back to it's barest parts - which I discuss at length in my book - and I DO believe you should disengage yourself from the 'wedding industry' and all its associated products, I also believe you shouldn't worry too much about your consumption habits. Hell, that's why I started this blog. Here's why:
  • Buying a few things here and there, things you'll love, things that will make you smile when you think of your wedding day, things that you'll use again or decorate your home with, things which will bring you joy for many more years, aren't so much purchuses as they are investments.

  • When you buy wedding things from craftspeople like the ones I feature on this blog, you support the people that keep counter-cultures alive. How would goth as a culture exist without corsetmakers? How would heavy metal survive without leather studded gauntlets and band patches? It's simple - they wouldn't. Goth and heavy metal and whichever subculture you subscribe to represents a state of mind, sure, but they're also about the stuff. You can deny it all you like, but it's true. And the more beautiful handmade goods exist in the world, the less mass-produced garbage there is, and the happier we all are.

  • Stuff brings pleasure. So do lots of things: eating, travelling, some things I probably shouldn't talk about in graphic detail (ahem...) but owning and appreciating stuff is right up there. In the Grand Designs Handbook, Kevin McLeod admonishes people building new homes: 'Don't throw away your old furniture and buy everything new. Our possessions are our autobiographies'.
  • We have to consume. We have to clothes ourselves, we have to eat, we have to entertain ourselves and celebrate. For these things we need stuff - often not as much or as expensive or as mass-produced stuff as we buy - but stuff is essential for our survival.
See, stuff isn't bad, stuff is good, in many instances. And here at Wedding Skulls - even though I do say weddings are so not about the 'stuff' - we do love us some awesome stuff. But more importantly I think, we love the craftspeople who make us these things - we love the new friends we make, the lessons we learn. We love our subcultures and the people that work behind the scenes, making our scenes brighter, vibrant and fun. These are people whose stuff we love gracing our weddings.

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Anonymous Sadie said...

That's a really good post. Sometimes I catch myself oogling wedding goodies online and think I've turned into a crazy person!

We all get so obsessed with finding the 'perfect' this and the 'perfect' that at our weddings. It's like we're afraid that if our wedding isn't perfect, our marriage won't be, either.

January 8, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

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