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.
Rachel Wells in her $5000 wedding gown.
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?
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?