Apr 11, 2016

How the High Street Has 'Cheapened' Marriage.

If you're a closet fan of train wreck opinion pieces from the fashion pages of the paper like me, there's a high chance that you've already read journalist Rachel Wells' piece on her feeling that the release of ASOS and H&M's fast fashion wedding ranges cheapen marriage.  At last count , the article generated 365 comments and, I'm sure, a whole lot more google searches for the H&M and ASOS collections Wells' is decrying. Win, win for everyone involved, I guess.

Today's blog post is going to be about my response to the arguments and opinions that Wells has put forward to defend her stance and not a personal attack on her.  As she has chosen to share details of a very personal day in a very public forum to support her personal opinion, I think its fair that we, as readers, be allowed to respond to what she has shared willingly.

www.news.com.au
Rachel Wells in her $5000 wedding gown.
When I read the headline for the article, I had hoped the the main focus of the piece would be on the inhuman conditions those employed to produce fast fashion garments are forced to endure for a menial wage.  That perhaps boycotting H&M's line could be a stand against the current state of affairs and a vote for better treatment of the people employed abroad in clothing manufacture. There is a mention of 'conveyor-belt fashion in a faraway factory' and that's about it.

But sadly, it was not to be.  To Wells' mind,  what really signifies the sanctity of a wedding is the cost of one's wedding gown.  To be of significance, the gown should cost more than 'a toaster or a Nutribullet' that are likely to be your wedding gifts and that something that costs less than one's weekly grocery bill somehow 'trivializes' a wedding.  Then Well's cost argument veers off to onto contradictory ground when she deems the work of ready-to-wear designers whose pieces cost in the hundreds (making them the 'good' cheap?) to be suitably respectful of the sanctity of marriage on account of the fact that these items are made with more care and attention than the' shoddy' cheapness of H&M et al.

People all around the world (including our country) are fighting for their rights (and sometimes lives) with regard to marriage.  The gay community is fighting for the recognition of same sex marriage.  Human rights activists are fighting to abolish the practice of child brides being given to older men in the name of tradition or religion.  For some, a wedding is the gateway to a life of domestic slavery (or worse) at the hands of their husband's family.

And here we are reading the opinions on how to truly honour marriage written by a woman in a first world nation who got married three years ago in a $5000 dress.  No one is questioning her right to spend $5000 on her dress though some may be questioning the use of the word 'stunning' ahead of its price every time the gown is mentioned in the media.  It is not an uncommon practice for gowns, even those 'created by designers' to be sent overseas for detailing and in some cases construction to take place.  While 'care and attention' will no doubt be bestowed upon each gown, economics is far more likely to be the reason that this occurs.

While the author is smugly confident that spending $5000 on her dress made her wedding day that much more meaningful than that of the bride who spent $150 - these things are all relative.  Somewhere out there are women who spent $50 000 or more on their gowns.  They were possibly created in the couture houses of Paris or London.  What if their response to her article was to liken her effort to picking up a frock from ASOS or H&M?

www.dailymail.co.uk
Some of H&M's wedding dresses.


Personally, I love the look and idea of high street bridal.  It's a perfect solution for women who can't face months of fittings, hidden costs and the uncertainty of how things will look on the day until the very last moment.  There are women who prefer comfort rather than corsetry on a day they'd like to be as much about their guests as about themselves and their husband.  There are women who might like to make the day about more than just their dress.  What they save on their dress might go to a donation to a cause close to their hearts they'd like to celebrate.

And you know what?  They are all women who value the sanctity of marriage.  They know that weddings are just a day and that it takes more than a dress to make a marriage work.  And they will all look just as stunning as you on their big day,  Rachel.

What did you think of the article?

Would you buy your wedding dress from the high street?



23 comments:

  1. I loved this, such a great opinion piece. Thank you. You raised great points about what we are fighting for re marriage here and around the world.

    I bought a dress from a bridal store that was reduced by $1000. I was also gifted a dress from St Frock that was under $100 and I loved them both. The second dress was definitely more of a dance floor dress, and made going to the toilet easier! Adam and my marriage is quite strong, despite my cheap dresses.

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    1. I love both of your outfits from your wedding, Carly!

      SSG xxx

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  2. Wells: I literally can't even.

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  3. I bought an expensive wedding dress. More expensive than the author of that article, if we want to get picky. Does that make my marriage stronger or "better"? Not a chance. That's not the way these things work. Good marriages need work, understanding, flexibility. It has nothing to do with the cost of a garment. She does herself no favours with this piece, just coming across as pretentious and snobby.

    PS: the most expensive wedding I ever went to lasted a grand total of 8 months. I worked out the wedding dress cost approximately $2,000 for every month they were married. Fancy that.

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  4. Eek what is wrong with people!! My dress was $300 and 11 years later we're still happily married and not in debt! Each to their own on how they want to spend their money, but let's not get judgie about what others choose to do on their special day. And as it is so well put in this article recognise marriage can be more complicated than the fairytale version that is sold in the west. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. Hi Bell

      Thanks for stopping by and I agree totally - wedding spending is such a personal thing. To judge another person's spending is out of line and irrelevant.

      SSG xxx

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  5. Great blog post! I was kind of saddened when I read it - the high street dresses are a great option for people who don't want to (or can't) spend a lot a dress. They are pretty - why not sell them in a store like H&M or Asos?

    I absolutely would buy one from there. I think it's pointless to spend thousands on a one-wear dress. If I could get one for under $500, I'd be very very happy.

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    1. Thank you, Elle. I love the different looks that the high street have offered to bridal fashion at a reasonable price for something that will literally only be worn for hours.

      SSG xxx

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  6. My beautiful dress was made for me - by a friend. She charged me only for the materials, not the hours and hours of work. I would have been equally happy to purchase a beautiful dress from anywhere - and it wouldn't need to be from a 'bridal' range. It's a beautiful something to wear for a beautiful day. That's all. It doesn't make your marriage. It doesn't create your commitment.

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    1. Hello lylyee

      Thanks for stopping by. How beautiful that your dress was made by a friend. That adds so much to the happy memories of the day.

      SSG xxx

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  7. I don't usually comment but I felt comment to today.

    My Mum's wedding dress came from Katies - did you know Katie's had a bridal section in the 70's. Her Mum got married in her best Sunday dress.

    This idea of spending the cost of a small car on a dress is very new. The idea of the sanctity of marriage is one that is very old. I think the focus on the wedding rather than the marriage is what cheapens it, not what you wear!

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  8. As if the cost of the dress means anything! How absurd. I'd say people who focus on the marriage rather than the day stand a better chance of making it. But having been married only 5 years I'm certainly no expert, and I'm surprised she has herself pegged as an authority on the subject after just 3 years. I'm heaping so much scorn on this lady right now, in case you couldn't tell!

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    1. Fair call, Rachel. I also found it odd to be still going on about the price of a wedding dress three years after the fact.

      SSG xxx

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  9. When I read that article it made me so irate I had to close the screen. Feminism is about choice. We should be able to choose if we want to get married or not. We should be able to choose who we marry. We should be able to choose what kind of wedding we have to commemorate the occasion, right down to choosing the dress. Who is one person, to slam another, on their choice of WEDDING DRESS out of all things?

    No one needs to talk about their dress, how much it cost, who made it, etc. It matters not. What matters is that these women, the one in the $5000 sequinned sparkler or the $150 ASOS / H&M dress, chose it for themselves for their special occasion. And that is a freedom that should not be taken for granted.

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    Replies
    1. I sometimes wonder that often our worst enemies are often other women. The judgment, the need to feel and be superior...

      SSG xxx

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  10. My mum paid £5 for her wedding dress from the newspaper ads & then sold it for the same amount afterwards. It was beautiful. What difference does price make? My partner's mother & her sister in law made their own dresses. Didn't cost much but hours & hours & care went in to them. Surely that makes them even more special. My partner & I intend to knit at least shawls for our wedding but it can't happen until our government changes the laws because we happen to both be female. It' s ridiculous.

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    1. Hi Kath

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and for your comment.

      One day soon, I hope. One day soon for marriage equality in Australia.

      SSG xxx

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  11. I totally agree with this post. It seems these days that getting married is almost equal to a house deposit. I am not married but to me a wedding should be about celebrating with your loved ones.I personally would not buy from a bridal shop, I think there are some great alternatives - on the more expensive side but Thurley is a great example.

    I think even going as a guest to a wedding is becoming over the top -especially with the rise in overseas weddings.

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    1. Hi Minimal Focus

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting. I like your idea of Thurley. They have some beautiful pieces.

      Yes, overseas destination weddings are getting a bit excessive these days. Lovely for the couple but it can be a stress on the finances of guests.

      SSG xxx

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  12. Just excellent customer service all around. The receiver found the Same Day Flower Delivery absolutely stunning and I have a new go-to flower shop! Cannot stop swooning over their Instagram and thinking about flowers.

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