100th Post!!!

Wow, it's the 100th post! "...And there was much rejoicing. Yay."

Okay, buckle up, cowboy. It's gonna be a long rant.

Part 1: SNAFU

While shopping for clothing, it is customary, particularly for women, who tend towards more tailored looks, to try on the articles you intend to purchase. The more expensive it is, the more likely a person is to want to try on the clothing, just to make sure it fits. All kinds of things can affect the way clothing looks on a person - the weight and texture of the fabric, the cut of the garment, etc. - so a dress that looks great on the model and great on the rack might NOT look so great on you. Even experienced shoppers can't always tell if something is going to look great on them or terrible - it's why we try stuff on.

Now, to "sample" gowns. Bridal and bridesmaids dresses are frequently only available for actual manhandling in stores as "samples". The idea is, you go in, try on a sample dress in a set size, decide if you like it, and then order the dress in your size, based on your measurements and the designer's sizing chart. When I bought my wedding dress, I tried it on in the only size they had, a size 12. To get an idea of how it will really look on me, the sales lady pinned back all the extra fabric with heavy-duty Home Depot clips. Standing there with clips all down my back, I looked more like a stegosaurus than a bride. However, the image was convincing enough, and my parents plunked down over $2K for the same dress in a size 4. In a Whataburger-style approach to fashion, the dress will be ordered and then made for me at the couture house in Barcelona, and finally shipped to the US. I won't actually see what the dress looks like on me in MY size until about a month before the wedding. It's a very strange way to do things.

Now, sample sizes are usually anywhere from a size 8 to a size 12. This means there is one dress, and ONLY one dress available in that particular style for a person to try on, and it is in whatever the manufacturer deems as the "sample size". Note that this is not the largest size available in the dress. (Because that would make sense.) What if you are one of the many women in America who can't fit a size 8, 10, or 12? No amount of Home Depot clipping will help you determine how a dress will look on you if you can't even get the thing over your boobs. Are you supposed to just hold the hanger up to you and hope it looks great? We ran into this dilemma while shopping for a bridesmaid dress for my aunt, a very attractive woman who is more of a Marilyn Monroe than a Kate Moss. We found lots of dresses we thought would look great, but she couldn't try on any of them. At this point, young sales ladies would say "Oh, don't worry, I can tell how this dress will look on you..." What?!? Does she have a crystal ball behind the counter or something? Every woman has had the experience of grabbing a dress off the rack, sure it will look fabulous on her, only to find out in the fitting room that it's a train wreck - the fabric bunches, the cut's unflattering, and it just doesn't "fall" right. If we as women, knowing our flaws and our best features, knowing the styles and fabrics we look great in and the stuff we just can't wear, if WE can't tell reliably how a dress will look on us without trying it on, how on earth does some cheeky sales lady think she can tell?? It's completely ridiculous.

Instead of offering "sample sizes" in what the manufacturer must think is the "average" woman (and clearly there's no consensus on this, even in the fashion world, since sample sizes are different from one designer to the next), sample dresses should be offered in the largest size available for that style. That way, everyone who could potentially buy the dress can try it on,
pin it back if they need to, and make an informed decision. By offering a sample dress in the middle of their size range, they are effectively excluding women who would've ordered it in, say, a 14, if they could've seen in on. It's just a poor business model that encourages women who don't fit the sample to buy dresses elsewhere, from different designers. For example, after 2 days of fighting with sample sizes, my aunt and I went to David's Bridal, where they have all their gowns in a range of sizes, and found a beautiful bridesmaids dress that we know looks great on her (because she tried it on!).

Part 2: It's the Principle of the Thing

Weddings are a business. They're actually one of the best kinds of business because they:
- are a "once-in-a-lifetime" expense (in theory)
- have women as their target market. News flash - money may make the world go 'round, but it's women that are spending it.
- are an emotional expense. I actually read an advertisement in a wedding magazine that said "He promised to treat her like a queen - until then, she's still your little princess."
- are a purposeful display of wealth and status, both traditionally and currently.

This might be why weddings are so outrageously expensive. The cost for an American wedding has gone up an average of 35% per year every year since 2000. This is clearly an example of charging as much as the market will bear - and that seems to be a lot! I'm all for capitalism, but at some point, it becomes exploitation. People shrug off ludicrous prices because "that's just what weddings cost". My question is, WHY? Why should I pay $3 a slice to have someone cut and serve a cake that I already bought from them? Why do wedding cakes START at $500? Why do snacky appetizers and hors d'oeurves cost $18 per person WITHOUT drinks? Why do brides have to pay a fee to rent the facilities at a bed and breakfast when they'd be able to use all that stuff for free if they were regular B&B customers? It's like as soon as someone says "wedding", vendors tack on 50% to all their numbers! There is just NO REASON for stuff to cost that much, and there is also NO REASON that brides should have to engage in guerrilla warfare to have a wedding that costs less than 4 years at university. Really, $500 for CAKE?!? It's shameful.

Part 3: Progression

So, enough ranting. I've been so busy I haven't had time to blog, and I keep forgetting what people know and don't know yet. Geez, just read my mind, okay? It'd make all this a lot easier!

For the wedding, we now have:
my dress (see previous post)
bridesmaids dresses
a venue
a date
a time (that was a tough one, actually)
a theme (who knew you needed one of those? It's a wedding. Aren't they "wedding-themed"?)

Well, we sort of have invitations. That's a long story, and if you receive one, you'll instantly know why. I can confidently say they are totally unique.
The theme is "fall/autumn", since that's the time of year we're getting married, and it lends itself to a lot of pretty options. Plus, now I don't have to pick out specific colors.
We've found lots of cake ideas we like, but we'll need to do tastings and stuff to get that taken care of. Then there's flowers and decorations, the DJ, the officiant, final decisions on food, and ordering the alcohol. And deciding on gifts for the attendants, figuring out what to do about favors (we want to make a donation to the Humane Society, my parents want us to pick a charity that they prefer...it's kind of a mess) and squaring away the men's attire. I'm sure there's more stuff to do, but I can't think of any of it now. So anyways, we've made some major progress, but we've still got a LONG way to go.