Bullish Life: Very Silly Wedding Things That No One Needs


No. Just no. Why would I do this to my lady friends? Wearing matching dresses is for dance troupes, North Koreans, and pneumatic twins appearing on the withered arms of Hugh Hefner.

You know what my lady friends want? They want to be invited to a nice party where I pay for their alcohol. They do not want to sequester themselves in a back room where they must emotionally maintain me and button me into a forty-pound dress while their boyfriends/husbands sit around awkwardly outside, talking to someone else’s uncle.

My lady friends are gentlewomen and demand a certain amount of gravitas.

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    • jackie

      I get that you have the type of body that just magically fits in clothes off the rack. But most women who need tailoring don’t have “unusual body proportions” they just don’t fit in standard dress models. If you’re spending more than $50 on something you like, and it’s for a big event, what’s the big deal of getting alterations?

      • Jennifer Dziura

        Didn’t mean to offend — just saying that there’s no reason wedding dresses need to involve more tailoring than regular dresses. If your regular dresses need tailoring, then I would imagine your wedding dress would as well.

        If you are someone who normally fits into clothes off the rack, it is bizarre and counterintuitive when MORE expensive clothes fit LESS well.

      • len132

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure all of my dresses could use tailoring, if I really wanted them to look perfect. However, I can’t afford that. When I buy a wedding dress, I’m going to make it a priority to have enough money to get it tailored.

      • porkchop

        I’m all for dress fittings. I think that most people are just used to clothes that don’t really fit, and that all our wardrobes could be greatly enhanced by alterations

        Jen is just spoiled by being physically perfect. I’m sure she has other hardships to deal with, but she doesn’t know the world the rest of us are living in, fit-wise!

      • Elizabeth

        I’m with Porkchop. Most people just don’t know how clothes can look and assume that clothes fit if they come off hangers, fit over their bodies, and look like the other clothes that come off hangers and fit over their bodies. I’m also an easy, standard size, and I still get a lot of my clothes altered, because a quarter inch here, a quarter inch there, and you’ve got normal clothes that suddenly look like couture.

        For custom-made clothing, three fittings is normal if everything goes well.

    • Hallie

      This article is one of my favorite things I have ever read. I have been a bridesmaid about 4 billion times and it sucks balls. That ball suckage has awakened a real distaste for weddings and all the poop your “friend” wants you swallow b/c her and someone else made the decision to get married. Weddings are stressful, awkward, expensive and at least 4 things inevitably go way wrong. Which then causes everyone who spent years planning this day to loose what’s left of their minds.

      Thank you for voicing perfectly what I have felt for years and could never say because being a girl who doesn’t want a “regular” wedding is apparently the social equivalent of having a penis coming out of your forehead.

      With MUCH appreciation,

      P.S. Your dress is hot, girl!

    • Trish

      This article speaks to my SOUL. Everything I’ve ever thought about weddings, written up so nicely.

      As my dude and I just got hassled by my mom this weekend about wanting a date to put in her calendar (we’re not even officially engaged!!) it would have been fantastic to hand this to her to read.

      It would have put her straight to worrying about all the things she thinks we should do for the wedding, and hopefully make her forget that, so far, there isn’t one planned.

    • Allison

      Maybe re-title this article Silly Wedding Things that *I* don’t need? Because I did many of the things on this list and nothing terrible happened. In fact, we had a really good time, bridesmaids, matching colors, strapless dresses, “white people food” and all.

      I get that you’re trying to be funny, but belittling the way many other women conduct their weddings is a bit much.

      • Suriah


        I usually love your articles but this one just seemed mean.

      • porkchop

        I think it’s meant more to open up your options if you haven’t gotten married yet, rather than to dump on the choices you made in a wedding that’s already happened.

        There’s so much pressure out there to do things by the book.

        Most people would look at any wedding that’s currently happening and say it’s beautiful–how could you not? But there are ladies out there that can still be rescued from conventions they really don’t want.

      • Jessica

        I totally agree. It seems to be fashionable at the moment to say “well I got married in a public bathroom with a rat for a witness and then we walked through rain soaked streets and partied with meth addicts. It only cost £20 and was fantastic!” with a subtext of “any wedding with the tiniest amount of planning or ostentation is awful and should be mocked”.

        Jen, it’s great that you fit sample sizes. I used to, I do not any more. I’m a UK 12 and my boobs are 34F. There’s no way in hell that a 12 was going to do up. I would usually just buy a 14 and accept that it was a bit big everywhere else, but on the one day of my life where I’m having 8million pictures taken, I’d rather have a dress that fits (oh and I didn’t have anything spilling out or sagging down).

        Lastly, why would someone resent you when you are paying them to do their job?

      • Jennifer Dziura

        I made sure the title said “Needs,” not “Wants.”

        With Jessica’s incredible boobs (!), it does seem as though tailoring would be in order for many garments. Again, I just think that expensive wedding dresses should fit at least as well as normal dresses.

        Also, my final bold item (not bold, for some reason, oh well) was regarding the positives of working with professionals (not rats/meth addicts).

        As for resentment, though: OHMYGOD, so many people who make minimum wage or not much better are just dripping with hatred while serving the rich, or those they perceive as privileged.

        Sure, some are nonchalant and some are happy for the opportunity. Some love their jobs! But some workers (who don’t have health insurance! while you are eating shrimp cocktail!) absolutely hate you, every time you eat fancy food, stay in a fancy hotel, go to a salon, etc. Plenty of food service workers are sickened by what the rich throw away, while they themselves could never afford to eat in the very places they work every day.

    • Melissa

      My sister is getting married this week and I can’t imagine ever caring enough to have anything resembling a traditional wedding. I like parties and drinks and music and lovely dresses but weddings seem to ruin all the fun of that by making you worry about things that are really inconsequential.

    • zanbrody

      #1 Yay!! I won!! Kind of by default, but I WON.

      #2 I am hoping that the tradition of bridesmaids purchasing their own dresses, which are chosen by the bride, is phased out in the next 5-10 years.

      I cannot think of one girlfriend of mine in the past 10 years who has been excited to be a bridesmaid. At best, there is a solemn resignation to the financial/emotional burden. At worst, a multi-month bitchfest which results in the end of a friendship.

      • Jenny

        I love this dress! Good job. Agree on the rest too!

    • F

      Being free of bridesmaids only works if you are adamant that you don’t want help with anything. A matching dress might be tiresome, but it’s worse when a bride pares down to one or no bridesmaids, or picks out-of-towners who can’t help, and then relies on all of her other friends/family to pick up the slack and throw parties, help with wedding errand running, talk her down when she gets too nervous, etc.

      Everyone should just elope.

      • Trish

        Isn’t that what your friends would do anyway? Even if they aren’t given the title of bridesmaid?

    • Bob V

      I would tepidly volunteer a couple of additions based on personal experience:
      1. High-end professional photographers
      2. Flowers – I don’t have anything against flowers, but you can spend a whole lot of money on them, and they will still be overwhelmed by whatever other design elements are in the place.

    • Anastasia

      Just hilarious and thank you for pointing to some of the weird traditions in weddings that people do just because “that’s how weddings are” and not necessarily because the bride and groom really thought about it and decided it was a great fit for them. Also guests need to have way less expectations, which drives a lot of these choices. Don’t be the sister/cousin/mother who pressures the bride into doing it your way, please.

      We once drove through three states to my home country for a wedding where after SEVERAL HOURS of ceremony & slideshows (dear god WHY?) and my boyfriend fidgeting in his seat, there was NO DANCING. Oh they did the bride & groom, etc, then after waiting through all that shit, they packed it all up and we were all standing around waiting to be allowed to dance and… nothing. So just go in understanding they’re doing it their way, don’t expect the standard cake-cutting, etc, and you’ll be a much happier guest too.

    • Mary paquette

      You have made something wonderful (wedding) into a mundane event, so sad.

    • Jennifer Wright

      I don’t know why you have such a hard time accepting that I am your bridesmaid. Is it because you’re afraid I’ll show up in something too sparkly? I WILL WEAR PUCE, JEN.

    • Eagle Eye

      Hahah, Love it!

      Although I’m surprised that you didn’t go off on registries – I mean, if you’re old enough to get married you’re old enough to have ‘stuff.’ A few of my friends are getting married this summer and I know that the poor brides are getting shit for not having a registry, um, hello, they’re adults who live in a city without closets (not NYC) so, they all have just enough stuff and not enough places to put more stuff.

      Thank goodness too, its so much easier to write a check than to weigh how many napkins you feel like buying for your adult friends who’ve been living together for years and have jobs and shit…

      • Sarah!

        I’ve been to a few weddings recently where the couple says, hello we are 30 and we have been living together for 5 years, we certainly don’t need napkin rings or toaster ovens. Please donate to our honeymoon fund or these charities. I think that’s a cool idea but older guests tend to feel like that’s tacky.

      • K

        In theory not having a registry is fine. Except that a certain percentage of people will not know what to do and buy you dumb crap that you hate and have to get rid of one way or the other: ebay, craigslist, goodwill. If ONLY they would all have some common sense and just write a check.

      • Ella Jane

        this is why I tell everyone I know to do what I did and register on Amazon. No one yelled at me for not being registered. I didn’t have to pick a store that all of our far-flung guests could get to. We didn’t register for wedding china – we registered for a new external hard drive, a super bitchin’ tent, a top of the line humidifier, and only drew the line when my husband put comic books on it. (UM, SERIOUSLY.) We’d been cohabitating for years, and everyone knew that, so what’s the point in asking for a bunch of household stuff you already have – so what if it doesn’t match?

        one caveat: to the aunt who got us the stainless steel heinckles silverware set: I fucking love you. This shit is magic, always looks brand new, and who knew that putting matching silverware out on the table makes you look like such a goddamn grownup?

      • Elizabeth

        Registries are good because if you don’t use one, you will get a ton of weird, re-gifted crap that you can’t return. Seriously, you’d be amazed at the weird, re-gifted, unreturnable crap that people will give.

        But pretty much the first thing you learn after having a wedding is, “Forget what Miss Manners says. Just give them money. Nobody doesn’t appreciate money.”

        But there’s genuinely no non-tacky way to talk about gifts on an invitation or say, “Just give me money.” So you sign up for a registry with stuff you would actually want, then people will call and ask your mother or bridesmaid or whoever where the registry is, and they will tell them where to go. (I like Amazon’s registry, because you can put anything on it. I got a Roomba, The Wire, a countertop dishwasher, a bunch of books I wanted, better pots and pans, and a jar of truffle honey.)

      • Bob V

        Maybe we have weird friends, but not having a registry did not result in crazy gifts. When people asked, we told them that we didn’t really expect gifts, but if they’d like to do something, they should make a donation to Humane Society International. A few people did that. The others
        – didn’t provide gifts (which we were happy for because we really do more than we need already) or
        – wrote checks (yay!).

        We did end up with a rice cooker and a decorative plate, but we actually still use those.

    • Nicole

      First of all, I love that dress! It it seems perfect for you and what you’re doing. But more importantly, as someone who has never wanted a wedding, I really appreciate you calling out how ridiculous some of these traditions are. UGH.

    • Shawna

      For years, I felt bad for going to Las Vegas and getting married, but I just couldn’t bear dealing with everything you talked about here. So, on my anniversary, I say Thank You!

      By the way, your dress is fantastic!

    • EmJay

      Ugh, I’m now having flashbacks to when I planned my second wedding. My soon-to-be mother-in-law went apeshit when she heard that I didn’t want to be given away and didn’t want attendants. “Maybe people do that in California,” she said, not-so-subtly dissing the state I call home, “but we’ve never heard of such a thing here in New Hampshire!” I told her I’d been given away before and didn’t remember being returned, so I didn’t think it made sense for me to be given away again. She still couldn’t get her head around the idea of not having attendants, so I compromised by having a maid of honor and a best man. Making that one compromise led to making many others for the sake of my new in-laws’ comfort and sense of tradition, and it really set the tone for the marriage that followed, which is now ending because my soon-to-be ex-husband got way too used to my giving in to his wishes. I’m glad you’re doing things your way, and I’m sure your future self will thank you.

    • saphy

      So glad someone else understands what I’ve felt for years! I REALLY hate the idea of having to stand there and reveal all these personal, intimate thoughts and promises in front of other people! I don’t want to bare my soul to my family or his about how much I love him but at the same time I don’t want to recite the “traditional” boring vow that don’t mean a damn thing to either of us!

      The sex thing also creeps me out too. Have you ever seen the TV show the tudors? In one episode the king marries this women then all these people gather round their 4 poster bed with some thin sheets round it to watch the shadows of the couple consumate the marriage and produce an heir. The everyone knowing the exact date and apporximate time the couple lose their virginity reminds me of that episode.

      Also find the gift list thing weird. Last time I wrote a list of presents I wanted bought for me and gave it to someone I was 10 years old and asking my mum to post it to santa…

      • Lo

        Sexual experience or no, the four-poster bed silhouette thing sounds excellent and I wish every wedding used it. Just think of the opportunities for shadow puppetry.

    • Christina

      Omg. THIS! I’m in my mid-thirties and I live in New York. I’m REALLY fighting not to have a froo-froo princess wedding (plus keep the costs down), so we’ve been exploring alternative venues. I too am having trouble visualizing my fiance’s granny and grandpa climbing the narrow rickety staircase in the charming brownstone restaurant we saw last night. My six foot tall mother will kill me if a choose a place with a tiny bathroom. And forget about the farm to table quirky menu options (that I actually like) with my very international family.

      I despise wedding factories, but they seem to know what they’re doing…the saga continues.

    • RM

      I didn’t get the sense at all that this was mean, or that Jen was dumping on people who have done these things in the past. I agree with her on most of this. I think the garter thing is offensive, I hate all the specific dances and cake cutting and such. I have to say, I think place cards are a waste of time and I’ve never been at a wedding where people didn’t just ignore them. It sucks to go to a wedding and want to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in years, only to be placed at a table of all strangers because you’re “the outgoing one.”

      The other thing I would get rid of is showers and bachelorette parties. I mean, I love my friends, but summer is fleeting in New England, and you’re asking me to commit how many weekends of it for your wedding? Just say no.

      Also, ladies: about the bitching about being bridesmaids: I get really tired of hearing people bitch about it. If you don’t wanna do it, say no. I said no once, because I couldn’t afford the $1000 plane ticket, much less the dress and shoes. I lost the friend because of it–but what kind of friend was that in the first place, to drop me because I was poor? You can say no.

      • Kristen

        You can’t ignore placecards at a wedding! That’s unheard of, as far as I’m concerned. Unless you mean that people initially sit down at their assigned table, but then as the night goes on, they end up parking in an empty spot to talk to different friends, and people end up getting all shuffled up. Yeah, of course, that’s to be expected. The purpose of the placecards is to give people a spot to sit for DINNER, and for the initial sitting stuff, like watching the couple do their first dance, and the toasts and stuff.

        You can’t just ignore the table you’re supposed to sit at, because it would mess everything up. Like on an airplane. You’d be sitting there, and the bride’s aunt would come up to the table like, Uhhh… I could have sworn this was my table, but there’s no room. So then she has to walk around the wedding, foraging for an empty spot, taking someone else’s seat, and this is just a chain that happens all over the place? There are EXACTLY the correct number of seats for the amount of people there. The author is absolutely right that it would be really chaotic and messy for everyone to try to seat themselves (couples have to sit together, people have to sit with their kids…) if it’s just some free for all. Seriously, if you’re ignoring placecards at weddings, that’s an extremely rude thing to do, and if I were the bride that spent hours trying to figure out a seating chart that made sense for everyone, I would be super pissed.

    • Lindsay

      I ran a catering company that specialized in weddings after college and even did some full wedding planning. You have written exactly how I feel about weddings. I certainly don’t think you were passing judgement on brides that went the traditional route! The best advice is to do what makes you happy while not completely alienating your friends and family. They love you and should respect your choices. But if grandma wants you to do something traditional for her, do it. She’s old and has been waiting for this day longer than you have.

      Oh and that carving station attendant does hate you. How would you like to stand in one spot for hours carving a giant piece of animal that has not been cooked properly? ha

    • Jenny

      This is hilarious! I was one of the lucky ones who had a family with a really beautiful (if perfectly normal) country house, and our wedding there was low key, pretty and lots of fun. We all did the cooking. My flowers were from Mom’s garden. My cousin the erstwhile professional photographer took pictures. We eschewed gifts as we were grown-ups etc. etc.

      BUT, Mom was really excited and insisted on “a theme”: I said “But Mom, you live in the country, the place is already pretty, lots of flowers and tress and birds and shit, that’s a theme!” “No, no, you must have a theme – colors – stuff like that.” So I said “You go with whatever you think is good, I know your taste, I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous, just one thing: NO PURPLE.”

      Sure enough, Mom chose beautiful colors, the early fall colors of the garden were followed through with the table settings as we sat outside, enjoyed all the communally-prepared food, and daubed our faces with purple napkins.

    • Mario

      WEDDINGS are silly things no one needs!

    • Rubinator

      Love this! My guy and I have been together for SEVEN years, lived together for about 4 of them. We’re not “engaged” because we are still so poor. But, we had a talk about what kind of wedding we would have and we’re leaning towards the City Hall with family, nice restaurant party after. We’re practically married anyway, so the idea of making a fuss over it doesn’t appeal to me.

      Plus, we’ve attended 2 weddings, one for his cousin and one for his best friend. I wasn’t even part of the wedding party and the whole thing made me anxious. Both of the brides privately told me how much they spent and I was aghast. Love your dress as well (I’m not wearing white either, for obvious reasons.)

    • Kj

      On the one hand, in practice, I hate a lot of this wedding bullshit. It makes love, romance, and companionship seem completely tacky and fake. I worked in an engraving store that did a lot of wedding favours (You wanna talk about crap no one needs? How about a set of flasks/guestbook/champagne flutes/ringbearer pillow etc ALL engraved with your wedding date and initials?) AND a banquet hall at the same time, so I really really grew to hate weddings.

      But I am the kind of person that enjoys ritual, and think it’s important to involve my friends and family in celebrating my relationship in a formal way. And damn right I have my colour scheme and bridemaids picked out – I just want everything to look good, ok? (It’s navy blue and champage, fyi, and the theme is “seaside”) …even though we haven’t picked a date yet. And I plan on having a motherfucking guacamole/poutine bar to represent the union of our respective cultures. And I love poutine. And guacamole.

      Obvs the wedding industrial complex is disgusting and superficial, but I think that you can have a fun wedding with some tradition without it turning into a creepy incestfest.

    • Jess

      Bitter and cynical much? My god.

    • Jennifer



      SAVE OTHERS FROM READING ALL THIS NON-SENSE .. I didn’t even make it to the point, if there was one, oh wait, sh* we don’t need for weddings … Sounds like you DON’T NEED a wedding AT ALL!

    • Beanie

      My wife and I got married just over a month ago. We had a medium sized wedding and just got rid of all the crap we didn’t care about- no fancy cars, no white dresses (50s circle dress in red- best dress ever!), no fresh flowers (my mrs made fabric and origami), homemade cake, no father walking me down the aisle (we are grown ups, we came in together), massive ceilidh (we’re from Scotland- it’s traditional dancing but awesome) and just threw a party.

      It was wonderful and we could point to everything and say ‘this feels like us’! If you are über traditional then have all the wedding stuff but it shouldn’t be mandatory. That shit is expensive!

    • Kathy

      This article is great! I’m in my early 30′s and have seen my normal friends, become these bitchy obsessive wedding freaks who speak of nothing but cake flavors and reception color schemes for a year. I’ve been in several weddings and for the most part, i hated it. I consider myself a pretty traditional/conservative girl, and figured that i would always want the big traditional wedding. But the older and closer to marriage i get, the less i want the big wedding “show”. Many of my friends have said if they had to do it again, they wouldn’t have done the cookie cutter wedding. They would have done something simpler or destination. I plan on taking their advice and my boyfriend and i have discussed having a small destination wedding and a casual party when we get back with our friends. I can’t wrap my head around the idea of shelling out (or having my parents shell out) big $$ for a wedding. Most wedding’s i have been to are boring. Of course the bride thinks its awesome but the guests just stare at the clock. No thank you!

    • Emily

      I just have to comment:
      Some people truly enjoy their big lavish weddings. There is no need to sound so high and mighty and holier than thou about them. People are different, have had different lives, and upbringings. A dear friend of mine had a princess type wedding because she had never felt special enough, pretty enough, or like everyone (her family) loved her for her. Her husband understood, told her she was gorgeous, and let her plan her fairytale. There was no bridezilla, just a great huge gathering in the woods, candles and ribbon everywhere, a 50 lbs dress, and one very happy bride.
      I planned mind in a community art museum for less than 5 grand out the door- catering, dress for me, suit for him, flower girl dresses- we didn’t really decorate because, well, art museum. Ceremony inside in the atrium, Reception was on the rooftop, and all we did up there was grocery store red roses and peacock feathers. It was gorgeous, simple and perfect. It was important to me to have the father bride dance, and to be escorted (not given away) by my dad- he has cancer, so if my guests were bored, they can suck it.

      • sara

        to each their own (opinion) i think.

    • Formerly Known AS

      Vegas, baby!

      My husband and I lived together for 10 years then eloped to San Antonio & got married on Marriage Island on the Riverwalk ( a touristy thing to do, like getting married in Las Vegas, but hey, we were tourists!).

      We used the money my husband’s mother gave us to buy a computer (this was in the early days of PCs, when they cost a fortune).

      We spent a month in San Antonio and had a blast!

      The only thing I would have done differently would be to have hired a photographer. It was just the 2 of us and the justice of the peace…could have used a photog.

    • K

      Gorgeous dress!

    • Mandy

      …Do you even want to get married? I mean, that’s a really old-fashioned, uber-traditional thing to do, which it sounds like you are violently opposed to.

      Yes, many wedding traditions are unnecessary wastes of time and/or money. However, if it makes someone happy to do that, why the snarky attitude? I personally wouldn’t do most of the things you mentioned, either, but sheesh, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

    • Lisa

      Thank you SO MUCH for this.

      The idea of planning a wedding sounds so boring. Of course I want it to be perfect, just not as much as I want to not have to bother with this dumb shit, and certainly not as much as it costs to have someone else do it all for us.