Maybe it’s that I have two gianormous papers to write so I’m in a bit of a mood, but this post is going to discuss one of my suspicions about this whole wedding process… Please excuse the negativity by looking at these lovely illustrations from Bonnie’s Style Press.
I’ve discovered that a lot of wedding magazines have ads or sections in them devoted to setting up your house. They kind of implicate that a part of the whole wedding/registry process is to do a complete overhaul of your living quarters. Now, this is likely because many brides move in with their grooms after the wedding, and need to buy house stuff. But more and more of my friends are living with people already, way before they even get engaged!
So, I’ve developed a theory: The American Wedding As Consumer Upgrade Training. Let me explain:
When you’re planning the wedding, you’re confronted with things that likely cost more than they have ever cost before. Have you ever bought a dress as expensive as your wedding dress? Or flowers as expensive as your table arrangements? And what about the nicer, fancier housewares you ask for in your registry?
All in all, the wedding signals an “upgrade” if you will. And it seems to me that many vendors use this opportunity to move you from one buyer column to another, richer one. This also goes hand-in-hand with the idea that many women are marrying someone with more disposable income than they have (Forgive the anti-feminist assumption, but the average woman still earns less than the average man and marries someone who has been in the workforce longer, so this assumption is based on cold, hard, glass-ceilinged fact.). She will now be spending more money than she used to on clothes, decor, food, etc…
I can see it already, and it makes some sense:
- You get the hair stylist to make a housecall for your wedding, and decide to buy the same service a year later for a fancy party updo.
- You pay for lovely flowers on each table, and decide that lovely flowers delivered weekly to your home wouldn’t be so bad either.
- You pay thousands of dollars for a wedding dress, so next year’s more versatile designer little black dress doesn’t seem so expensive.
I don’t want to sound harsh, because it’s smart business to try and gain life customers from wedding consumers. If I ran a store, I would do the same thing.
But it does make me look at ads like the new Bloomingdale’s “The New Rules of the Registry” ad campaign with a grain of salt.
From the NY Times: “We have this contemporary sensibility, co-existing with luxury goods,” Ms. Hare says, referring to the store’s brand identity, and can offer style-focused merchandise that extends beyond conventional wedding-gift categories into areas like luggage, furniture and mattresses.
And it’s not just upscale living – Target Club Wedd tries to extend the brand loyalty through their section of their “Club Wedd” website on “Newlywed Living” – It focuses on hosting parties in your new home…
All in all, the stores are trying to get you to sign on to a lifetime of customer loyalty, extending WAY beyond your wedding day.