Let's talk about a very real thing. It's not a syndrome that applies to brides only. It can spread to moms, dads, even to third-cousins-once-removed.
Wedding Industry Complex.
First, what is it?
Wedding Industry Complex (WIC) is a term I first encountered on Offbeat Bride. It refers to the idea that the wedding industry is a capitalist gargantuan machine that tells you that you can't have a "real" wedding without all of the trappings.
Does it exist?
Of course it does! But thanks to a healthy amount of common sense and wanting to afford a good down payment for a house, WIC seems to be slowing down. People are caring less about how big the wedding is, and caring more about how it reflects them as a couple.
How do I know if I have it?
Here's a hint: all a wedding needs is an officiant, your intended, the license, and two witnesses. Everything else is just fun. No one has to have anything more than that for it to be a real wedding. If you're finding that you're bogged down in details and spending your free time tearing your hair out over the color of the linens, you might be suffering from WIC. What you should do, at that point, is give me a call to take care of the details for you! It's a shameless plug, I know, but it's true!
As a planner, I fully accept my role in this process. However, most of us know about WIC and counteract it by being at the helm of the project. We know what you need, and what you want. We also how to try and give it all to you within your budget.
Is there a cure?
Some people will tell you that the cure is taking a "chill pill." Chances are, though, if you're the kind to get roped into WIC, it doesn't mean that you're gullible, or overexcitable, or a bridezilla! I find that those are terms used to gaslight brides. It's one thing to help a bride back off of the WIC cliff. However, calling someone names, or insulting them, is just mean behavior.
What it does mean, is that you do need to acknowledge what's going on. Turn off Pinterest. Put down the bridal mags. Spend some time outside of the Wed-O-Sphere. Have a date with your intended!
The next time you think WIC might be taking over, do a marketing analysis:
What are they trying to sell me?
If it's a photographer, chances are that they're offering a more valuable service, and you should listen. However, if it's a smaller detail, like expensive trinkets or time-consuming DIY projects, consider the source. It's not to say that you shouldn't buy these things if you think they're fun- just be aware that it's not a necessity!
It used to be that bridal mags were the main propagators of WIC. Now, it's everywhere.
As an event planner, Pinterest is a great tool for getting an idea of where a client's head is at for their style or their theme. The problem with Pinterest, is that it's grown into an amorphous behemoth that disguises wants for needs.
Coming from the world of marketing, I am particularly cynical. I'm never a fan when someone tells me I need something that I merely want. There's a crucial difference. Pinterest, I feel, does brides a disservice in that they show bridal shoots as the real thing. If they show real weddings, they show the kind with $100,000+ budgets. What good does that do to a bride with a $20,000 budget? Don't get me started on some of the advice that pops up. Honey is NOT a replacement for sanitary products.
Since I feel that Pinterest causes an issue, I will be bringing out a series of articles. Each one will address Pinterest trends, and I will have real vendors price what it would cost to execute the photo. We'll also be putting together some great ideas (with photos!) for budget brides that won't require weeks of blood, stress, and Mod Podge.
Keep it fun, Wed-O-Sphere!