What is the Wedding Industrial Complex?
The Wedding Industrial Complex (or the WIC) is the proverbial pyromaniac that takes your wedding day dreams, pours gas on them, and lights them on fire just to bring your wedding planning insecurities out of the shadows.
Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic, but the WIC is an asshole and it’s surprisingly easy to fall prey to it.
Some notions the WIC popularizes:
people (specifically women) will automatically turn into an expert wedding planner once they have a ring on their finger
your wedding is only a wedding if you have/do xyz
only certain types of people have weddings and if you don’t fit check all the cis-gender white thin heteronormative boxes, you don’t get to get married
Marriage is the ultimate goal. You can’t have possibly “made it” until you have gotten married. And if you aren’t married — or don’t aspire to marriage — you are less than
Hell, as much as we hate it, Rogue Wedding Company is even part of the WIC. While we don’t by into industry standards and stereotypes, we do directly benefit from the societal pressure to get married. Sorry.
A Brief History of american Weddings: A Timeline*
Marrying for love wasn’t a thing. You got married to solidify your social status.
Marrying as a spiritual act becomes more favorable, with just a ceremony (no parties yet) and only immediate family present.
Marrying for love is normal now. Weddings become more celebratory, with cake, dinner, and drinking. They are still intimate in nature, because the festivities happen in the home of one of the couple’s parents.
Weddings become more lavish affairs (dependent, of course, on your social status). Wedding vendors are on the rise, merry music and dancing is now added to the reception and inviting guests outside of the family becomes the norm.
The bride becomes the central focus of the wedding industry. Bridal gowns enter the market. Photographers become popular. The cookie-cutter wedding day script — ceremony, dinner, dancing, cake — is born.
Weddings ventured out of the normal church or home. Wedding planners come on the scene.
Weddings are such elaborate events that vendors are now a necessity. Pre-wedding festivities, such as bachelor[ette], bridal parties, rehearsal dinners, even proposals, are now also spectacles.
But Weddings are Better Now, Right?
Sure, we don’t pass women off to the first man who offers our dads 6 chickens and 2 goats, but we do still incorporate many patriarchal, misogynistic, and classist practices into modern weddings. Some of them are harmless (bridesmaids), but some are downright creepy (garter toss).
Today’s weddings are a total production, not just a celebration of a couple’s love for each other. And couples are often expected, even shamed, into having a traditional wedding.
So How do we Combat the Wedding Industrial Complex?
Keep the marriage at the forefront
The first step is to remember why you’re having a wedding in the first place: to get married! For some reason, you said “yes” when your person asked you to marry them. Remember those reasons as you’re planning your wedding. And, if you can, find a way to incorporate those reasons into your marriage celebration.
Make a list of your wedding day priorities. Stick to them and budget accordingly. If you want to eat amazing food, but don’t really care what the place setting looks like, invest in a bomb caterer and rent basic white plates. If you want to spend the evening dancing your ass off, just serve cake, and throw your money at a killer DJ or band.
Stay true to yourself
Just because your mom wants you to wear white doesn’t mean you have to. If you don’t like being the center of attention, consider eloping. Yes you can (and should) name all of your guest tables after 90s hip-hop artists.
*adapted from DaVinci Bridal