Besides simple aesthetics (I am predictably not a fan of the strapless rhinestoned lace number in this video), NPR’s remarkable Planet Money offers up some compelling economic reasons to avoid bridal shops when you decide to marry. My unqualified advice? Skip the “wedding” dress entirely and opt for buying a nice dress that comes in white (or whatever color you like) instead.
By the way, I found this video while perusing the comment section of a recent piece on A Practical Wedding, which alternatively inspires me or makes me want to vomit. (But then again, so does this blog. And life in general. So
maybe probably it’s me…) In any case, the particular post in question offered up a defense of sorts for David’s Bridal, which, surprise—especially after watching the above video—I can actually get behind. Well, sorta. On the one hand, if you’re going to shop for a typical “wedding” dress, then you may as well save yourself some bones and time and buy it off the rack at DB. Really, it will probably look the same in your pictures as the $2,700 number featured in the video. And because it’s sold in mass quantities, and buying in bulk is always cheaper, the fabric quality probably isn’t even that much worse than something you’d get at a traditional bridal shop.
Where I have the problem with shopping at David’s Bridal, though, is where I also have a problem with Walmart and other big-box shops. And that’s that there are a lot of secondhand ideas in discount big-box stores when it comes to clothing (and furniture). What I mean is, as somewhat of an artist myself (emphasis on the “somewhat”), I put a premium on originals because I think clothing and furniture can be art. So, just as I’d rather save up and pay to own a real Francis Bacon painting (I’ll be saving till well after I’m dead, by the way, and then some…), than shell out a (much) smaller sum to get a fine-looking replica, I’d rather know that when I’m wearing something with a unique design, like a gown, the money I put into it is actually going to the proper intellectual property holder. For the record, I paid about $1,100 for my dress, which was conceived by an indie designer from New York that I purchased, ironically, from a little shop in London with mail-order. Yes, I realize the dress was most likely marked up quite a bit because the store owners also need to get paid, as well as the designer, as well as the manufacturers, who, sadly, probably weren’t getting what they’re worth (the tag says my dress was made in India), but I know one thing for sure: the design, at least, is 100 percent original.
Now, this isn’t to say that everything you’ll find at DB is a copy. Nor is every item of clothing at Walmart, I’m guessing, a total rip-off of someone else’s idea. I also realize whether or not something’s a copy probably isn’t even important to most people, although I wish it was, which brings me to the conclusion (finally) of this post that was originally supposed to be just a link to the above video…
And the conclusion is (don’t brace yourself; it’s not groundbreaking): everything, well, most things are subjective when it comes to weddings, and definitely wedding dresses. For instance, I’m pretty sure there’s some people out there who think I’m terrible for not putting more emphasis on production conditions in my own purchase because I didn’t buy something handmade in America. For what it’s worth, I do feel a bit terrible, but with a budget, it’s damn near impossible to get everything you want. So, to get something at all that you want, most of us will probably have to compromise on something, whether it’s originality (my non-negotiable), price, quality, etc. Basically, we each have different factors that are important to us as individuals, and it’s up to each one of us to make a conscious effort to think about those things in order to make the smartest purchases that will lead to the least regrets. And now I’m even starting to bore myself…
Which means, I’m gonna stop thinking about weddings (for now) and spend hours instead on Greg Rutter’s Definitive List of Things You Should Have Already Experienced on the Internet in 2012 Unless You’re a Loser or Old or Something. I’m already feeling boring, I certainly don’t want to be loser or old or something.