If you open up any wedding guide, the general rule is that you should sacrifice in two areas: 1) food and 2) photography. Go to theknot.com, use their budget calculator, and they’ll claim that you should only spend 600 on photography. For weddings under $5000, $400 for photography is reasonable. Disposable cameras, bugging your friends who have nice cameras, or assembling a collection of photos from your countless friends and relatives at your wedding, are all ideas that are pushed. For some reason, resolution, compasition, skill, and everything else is pushed to the way side. It seems that have a couple of 8x10s that are okay and a stack of 4x6s is all you need to remember your wedding (or to use in your scrapbook later). I think, in general, that’s a boneheaded idea because the film cost for disposable camera development would be huge and trying to track down everyone who took pictures and have them all upload online so you can have access to them is like herding cats. But besides that, I have another problem with being cheap, and lazy, on photography.
I went to a wake last Sunday night. The wake was for a woman. She was 75. She sang in the choir, was married, and had one son. The only stories I remember about her is that she loved talking about her ailments in graphic gory detail but wouldn’t want to see a naked person on screen. She died after an illness and looked like she was sleeping at the wake. While there, I noticed the very few pictures the couple had of her. They were taken on her wedding day.
They were all small 4×6 in frames. She was smiling and happy. She and her husband were probably married for forty or fifty years so the pictures showed a young couple from the 50s/early 60s. Big glasses, big hair on the woman, crew cut for the guy. The pictures weren’t great. They were washed out a bit (probably from the sun). They were thin, the grays and whites weren’t very sharp, and the poses were typical and nothing interesting. But they did show the now deceased smiling, young, and on what I can assume to be one of the happiest days in her life.
When you’re finally in that casket, after a long marriage (hopefully), and the pictures are put up on display of you as a memorial, wouldn’t you like to have at least one decent large picture of you on your wedding day? And would you really just leave it to luck and chance that maybe a cheap disposable camera will work or maybe your Uncle Earl managed to get the perfect of shot during your 1st dance? Some might. I wouldn’t.
Good wedding photography doesn’t need to be expensive. There is one photographer I’m looking at for a base rate of 1k, which is very low end and I’m not expecting magic to happen, but I do know that for a little more money, I’ll actually be able to get at least 1 picture that’ll look great hanging over my casket. Or on the facebook memorial page. Or maybe projected onto the screens in Times Square when the greatest thing the world has ever seen finally dies. Women will beat their breasts, men will lament, and the groans will be heard for generations to come! Worlds will move! Civilizations will fall from the sorrow they feel! Or maybe it’ll just remind my special lady of one happy experience before I’m pushed into the incinerator. Or the vat of lye. Or maybe frozen in carbonite and then launched into space aboard a spacecraft. That would be neat.
Hey, alright now
Alright now fellas, (YEAH!)
Now what’s cooler than bein’ cool?
(ICE COLD!) I can’t hear ya’
I say what’s cooler than bein’ cool?
(ICE COLD!) whooo…
You know what’s not ice cold fellas? Wearing chucks at your wedding.
I know I like to pick on the brides quite a bit but today I’m taking on the fellows because there is a trend among groomsmen and grooms that really needs to stop. If your bride wants to wear chucks, fine. Considering how obsessive they are told they need to be about their shoes, if they want to wear an overpriced pair of rubber, let them go for it. But you fellows out there with your stereotypical aloofness, 5 o’clock shadow, and with your only requirement to actually show up on the wedding day at the right time? You, yes you, are not allowed to wear chucks at your wedding.
Wait. That’s a little harsh. In theory, I’m not against wearing chucks at your wedding. If, say, you’re getting married by Elvis in Vegas, then chucks work. Or if you’re marrying in a nudist colony and want something to protect your feet against the hot asphalt, chucks would work well in that semi-casual environment. But how many of you guys actually fit these requirements? Zero so why, over the last few years (which, I know, does mean that this trend is probably dying off) feel the need to wear chucks with their tuxes and suits? What’s wrong with you?
There is nothing hip or cool about wearing a pair of chucks. It’s not rebellious. It’s not interesting. And it does not look as good on you as you think it does.
To use the old self-defeating defense, I’ll admit that I love chucks – I’m wearing a pair right now actually. And I’d rather wear chucks than a lot of other pairs of shoes. But on my wedding day? No freakin way. Besides the obvious fact that Chucks are only great the more their worn (and beaten in), my black low tops and red high tops are spending that day in the closet. I know a lot about the history of chucks – their evolution into high schools in the 50s, their graduation adoption by punks and “edgy” kids in the 70s and 80s (because they were the only cheap shoe around), and their explosion among hipsterdom in the 2000s. There are now 70 different varieties of chucks, designer chucks, and they now cost up to 30 times what they did in the mid 80s. And why? Because American culture is a sponge for whatever is considered different and loves taking what’s outside, dumbing it down for the masses, and spitting it out to a new younger generation. And as the second and third generation punks and burnouts finally get old, along with their 2nd wave hardcore punk friends, the pop punk kids of the mid 90s and their distant relatives from the emo of the 2000s, and they big to marry, everyone seems to think that wearing chucks at your wedding is a good idea. For some reason, people find it edgy, cool, hip, trendy, and a modern twist on an otherwise traditional ceremony. It’s a way to put your “personality” into the wedding right? Make it more unique and different! Some guys even claim that chucks are more “comfortable” than other shoes (which is a total lie). Why, oh why, are you guys falling for this nonsense? Wearing chucks with your tux or suit at a wedding doesn’t show you being unique and different and making the wedding your own. What it shows is that you’re too lazy to actually take the time and energy necessary to really make the wedding different and to focus on those things that really make a man stand out. Details, and not chucks, are what makes a wedding known. No one is going to remember your wedding later and think that you wearing chucks is “cool” and made your wedding “more real”. And no one will look at you and say you looked really put together, that you looked great, that you knocked their socks off and impressed them. This is the opportunity to make your future mother in law actually excited that you’re marrying their daughter. Everyone loves a sharp dressed man so why not actually dress like one?
Every woman knows that accessories can make an outfit work or die. What every guy needs to know is that the same theory applies to them but in different ways. Your details are not as outlandish as a bag or a 5 inch heel. Your idea is to be Ice Cold. Your accessories are designed to form the illusions of clean lines, sophistication, class, and pop. The crispness of your shirt, the fit of your suit, the width of your tie – all of these are more telling than what you wear on your feet. And there are many ways to “rebel” without resorting to the boring and overused concept of chucks. Wear a skinny tie with a suit that’s a northern European cut. Add a slight pattern to your shirt. Wear skull and bones silver cuff links. Don’t wear a watch on your wrist but instead use a small necklace, money clip, or other piece of metal to reflect the line. Rather than wear a solid suit color, wear one with a light pattern that looks solid from a distance but the pattern is obvious up close. Invest in a bright and colorful pocket square. Get an awesome haircut. Get a facial, manicure, and take care of your face to remove sunspots or any redness. Pluck your eyebrows.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? Clean lines, color, and class are what a groom should bring on his wedding day. The idea of your wedding should not just to be your same boring self (and chucks/sneakers/whatever is just an extension of your every day self and if its not, trying to wear chucks on your wedding day is just labeling you as a giant poser and how is that bringing your personality to your big day?). You should go big by being sophisticated and bring your style to what’s traditional and expected. Change your label, get a jacket with a different pocket type, wear dark shoes with a tiny dash of color, wear a dull metallic tie. Wear argyle socks. Keep yourself focused on being clean.
And why clean? Because your bride is going to notice everything – from how you smell, how you look, and when she’s close to you during your first dance, she’ll get it. And shouldn’t you impress her on your wedding day as much as she’s going to impress her?
Caterers need to copy these Filene’s Basement sales
Twice a year, brides-to-be attack Filene’s Basement in Union Square hoping to score a cheap wedding dress. With prices ranging from $100 into the thousands, and with all dresses being marked down, young women with their small teams arrive at Filene’s determined to find the “one” but on the cheap. Its basically the search for a dress in its most savage and primal form. You can’t go to one of these events and not be competitive, savage, and militaristic. 1300 brides, lined up for hours, with wedding whites and dollar signs sparkling in their eyes…I’m amazed people don’t get killed at these events. Black Friday has nothing on these ladies.
The average price for a wedding dress is $799 (I don’t think this includes alterations). If you go to theknot.com, for a $10,000 budget, they graciously think that your budget for a wedding dress should be $850 (which includes alterations) but doesn’t include headpiece or veil. For a long time, I automatically assumed that the wedding dress budget should include the veil/headpiece/sash/whatever but, well, I guess I was wrong. I have a hard time seeing a wedding outfit, be in a suit or a dress, as merely one component. My suit isn’t just a suit – it contains parts, accessories, cuff links, collar tabs, pocket squares, shoes, crazy socks, etc. It’s a whole and I like to treat the whole package as a whole. Why you would want to treat it separately, while good for the vendors, might not be best for the outfit. Why budget out 100 for the veil? Doesn’t that inherently lead someone to automatically make the unconcious mistake to think that the veil is separate from the outfit and can be decided on its own? Maybe, in general, women don’t make this mistake but I tend to run into problems when I think less about the outfit and more about the pieces and budgeting out the tie would cause my brain to flake when I don’t really want it to. Or maybe my wedding day deserves a big bold power tie that David Letterman would buy (though I’m guessing no on that regards).
Anyways, is attending some massive event like Filene’s basement sale worth it? In terms of the stress, the planning, and the money, maybe not. But I don’t see brides who attend events like these as really focusing on an objective sense of worth attached to this events (and the businesses count on this). The brides see dollar sign discounts, sport, and an outlet for the competitive “uniqueness” that is propagated in all wedding markets – from indie to budget to princess brides. You would think that more wedding vendors would do this besides dress sellers. Imagine a warehouse sale like this for decorations or photographers. You run in, grab a person holding a camera, have them take a few test shots, you look at their portfolio, and then you move on. Or you could do that with caterers or cake bakers. Okay. I would totally go to that last one. If there’s food, I’ll go. Hell, even if I had my food lined up, I’d still go to an event like that. It’s like Costco Saturday food samples on drugs. Someone needs to make this a reality and soon – I’ve only got 13 months till the big day.