What’s the Wedding Industrial Complex?

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Engagement Ring Luxury Tax Monopoly
Photo by: Philip Taylor

Have you heard of this term, the Wedding Industrial Complex? I certainly didn't make it up, but I used it in my book… it's a cheeky spin on the term Military–industrial complex, and basically summarizes up the feeling some brides have of facing down a huge industry that's built to get you to spend more money in whatever way it can… often using methods that are exploitative and cynical.

(Some people shorten Wedding Industrial Complex to “WIC,” but I find acronyms alienating… so I don't do that.)

An Offbeat Bride reader named theelusiven shared this imaginary conversation with “The WIC”:

Wedding Industrial Complex: Hi! Great to see you! You know, you've only been wearing that engagement ring for over a year now. You owe it to your friends to get married soon. They aren't going to be around forever, you know. You don't want to wait until you're a fat old embittered hag of a career woman who can't pop out the babies anymore, because he'll leave you for the Emperor's Club!

Me: ::sigh:: No, not right now. I'm just taking a look at some informal wedding dresses to take a break from deconstructing Article III. Don't go getting your hopes up.

WIC: ::grumbles:: Okay! There's this dress: see how pretty it is, with the flounces! And the train! You're not a real woman if it's not bright-white and floor length, and he'll think you're so beautiful with that extra few yards of cloth dragging the ground and slowly turning black!

The funniest thing about the Wedding Industrial Complex? Now that I've written a wedding book and run a wedding blog… I AM TOTALLY A PART OF IT! I always laugh a little now when people rail against the evil wedding industry on Offbeat Bride because, well… we may not be evil, but this website is absolutely part of the wedding industry! Trying to make it a little less complex, and a little less evil, every day…

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Comments on What’s the Wedding Industrial Complex?

  1. I laughed so hard at that that I snorted in the middle of our very quiet university library. Thank you for cheering up my day!

  2. WOW!
    Thank you for cheering up MY day.
    I was going to post it on my OBT blog, but for some reason, the links wouldn’t paste in.
    I just squealed in a law school computer lab.
    How un-lawyerlike.

  3. I just read the whole post – sooo funny cause it’s SOOOO true! When I was calling around interviewing ministers for my musical theater/karaoke wedding, I actually had one tell me “Oh, honey…you don’t want to duet into your ceremony. That’s just too much pressure!” When I explained that my fiance and I had done quite a bit of musical theater and were used to that sort of thing, she actually said (in her most uppity-pretentious voice): “Well, I’ve done SEVERAL CELEBRITY weddings and you would not believe how nervous they are. You do NOT want to sing on your wedding day.”


    I ended up finding a minister who sang and played guitar and was all down with it – and it was a blast!

    OH – P.S. Nordstroms.com is a great place to find cool, chic, re-wearable dresses. I found a Marilyn Monroe inspired knee length dress for $150. Best part – you can order multiple sizes, try them on at home and return whatever doesn’t work to the store! No pressure and no pushy salespeople forcing a veil on to your head!

  4. So glad you’re here! I retired from corporate America (after 20 years!) after a year of wedding HELL … I knew there HAD to be a better way! You, Offbeat and others that have taken the alternative plunge into the wedding industry are turning it on it’s head! Love what you do ~ Thank you for being an inspiration to those of us who are buckin’ the system. PLEASE bring Lovesick to Memphis! We could ROCK the South! xoxo j

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