Hey little sister, what have you done?
Hey little sister, who’s the only one?
Hey little sister, who’s your superman?
Hey little sister, who’s the one you want?
Hey little sister, shotgun!
– Billy Idol, White Wedding
So it’s Friday night at 10, and David is, unfortunately, still at work. Fortunately for me, though, this allows me to indulge in one of my favorite guilty pleasure shows – Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.
The premise behind this show is that women come to Kleinfeld – a widely known high-end bridal salon in Manhattan – to search for the perfect wedding dress. Each of them is paired with a “consultant,” which is really just a fancy word for salesperson, and shown multiple dresses in the hopes that one will catch the bride-to-be’s eye (and wallet).
This show is like the ultimate in wedding porn. Kleinfeld carries thousands of dresses in all styles and price ranges. That is, assuming your price range starts around $1500. The brides generally come in with a budget, be it $1500, $3000, or $10,000. Sometimes, like tonight’s lesbian couple searching for “matching pantsuits,” the budget is unlimited. This is actually the part of the show that irks me the most: no matter what the stated budget is, the consultants – without fail, always bring in dresses that are out of the bride’s price range. The goal, of course, is to get the bride to fall in love with one of those dresses, and they count on the absolute madness that surrounds so many women planning weddings – the idea that the day has to be perfect and that every detail matters immensely – to convince her that she must have THIS dress or the wedding will be a disaster. It’s kind of unsavory, frankly. And watching the struggle some of these brides and their families go through – one bride’s obviously working class mother agreed to take a second job to afford the out-of-her-price-range dress her daughter wanted - is a little more reality than this show needs, I think. It should be pure fantasy.
To be honest, however, part of the appeal in watching this, for me, is to marvel at that very same madness that I just criticized. It’s amazing to me that women will pay thousands of dollars for a wedding dress. I just cannot fathom that. Even those brides whose wedding budgets would have paid for my law school education with change leftover – I just don’t get it. It’s one day, you wear the dress for 6 hours, and you never wear it again. And you can’t do anything else with it, either, except put it in a box and hope you have a daughter who might want to wear it. I’d rather spend the money to rent a Dippin’ Dots cart.
And I don’t travel in circles where these kinds of things matter, either. My mother would die if I told her I wanted to spend $2000 on a wedding dress. I happen to know that Aimee got everything – wedding dress, veil, undergarments, shoes, etc – for under about $700. And her dress was absolutely perfect for her. See?
(That’s hands-down my favorite picture of her, ever.)
And if I were as crafty as Lydia, I’d make my own wedding dress, too. I absolutely love the pattern she chose. Oooh, maybe I’ll pay Lydia to make my wedding dress!
Look: there’s no doubt the dresses on this show are, for the most part, beautiful. And if these women are comfortable spending that kind of money for a dress, and it makes them happy, then more power to them. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show.