Americans, it seems, are in love with love.
From TV shows such as “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” and movies such as “The Wedding Planner,” it appears that everywhere you turn, someone is saying “I do,” or at least telling us how to do it.
Today, a bride today has her choice of at least 77 bridal magazines on newsstands, more than four times as many as the 18 published in 1989, according to the National Directory of Magazines.
Most of them will tell the happy couple how to save money and many a father of the bride has joked about having to mortgage the house to pay for his daughter’s wedding.
The wedding, nevertheless, is a girl’s big chance to be a celebrity for a day.
She’s got her own paparazzi.
She’s the center of attention, wearing a $2,000 dress, soit’s her opportunity to shine like a star.
So, hiring a stylist or wedding planner is becoming more commonplace.
After all, the bride has enough things to worry about on her wedding day, right?
What if it rains? What if the tuxedos don’t fit? What if the hair stylist gets sick and doesn’t show up for work? What if, what if, what if…?
These worrywarts can be a nuisance to the entire wedding ensemble. They can explode at the least disappointment, the least breech of etiquette.
Sometimes they’re called “BRIDEZILLAS.”
That’s because they can obsess about the width of wedding flower petals, demand bridesmaids dye their hair the same color, force groomsmen to have a pedicure, even design nuptial logos for the reception hall.
That’s where wedding planners come in.
These women are professionals.
Wedding planners, as they are known in the U.S., were once the refuge of a small group of well-heeled, professional Anglo-Celtic couples in their 30s.
Now these planners have taken on an entirely new persona: consultants/stylists/party planners/substitute mothers/psychologists.
Popular culture and changes in women’s lives—they are now more educated, work full-time and marry later—have helped transform America’s multi-billion dollar a year wedding industry.
The wedding planner advises on the overall theme, venue, food and beverages, invitations, photographers, music, and, of course, flowers.
They charge a flat commission or negotiate a fee.
And, yes, weddings are growing in scale and expense.
Total costs, a wedding planner in Huntington told me recently, can run to about $30,000 for a standard 100-guest wedding.
“We try to help the couple see that the marriage itself in a church is a special and sacred moment,” the amiable planner explained, “and the reception is the place you celebrate that.”
She went on, “I sometimes tell couples: ‘You might think that this is going the be the best day of your life, but the best days will be 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. This is the beginning of a wonderful journey together; it’s not the high point.”
Well said, perhaps, but who is footing the bill?
Probably the bride’s parents, though a new trend in weddings incorporates the wealth of both families, in order to off-set the cost of entertaining guests from both sides of the marriage.
And the money isn’t the only thing to stress about.
News that a Georgia bride-to-be lied about her own kidnapping to avoid admitting she’d run away from her wedding shocked the nation.
For florists, wedding planners, bridal shop operators and others in the wedding industry, last-minute cancellations and jittery grooms and brides come with the territory.
As the wedding approaches, reality starts to set in, and people sometimes fear the commitment of marriage, a local minister explained recently.
“Planning extravagant weddings can overwhelm brides,” he added. “There is more pressure when a couple realizes that a few words are going to change their whole life.
“People are aware when something isn’t right as the wedding day approaches. It’s important to stay focused on spending a lifetime together and not just a day. It’s about your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with God.
“If I were offering advice to a couple about their wedding, I would say this: ‘Stay away from the magazines and the TV shows and be involved with each other.”
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