Thursday, July 24, 2008

Botox for Bridesmaids

After I returned from Japan and was searching for a meaningful work opportunity, I temped. My nightmare temp job was working for a small bridal firm owned by a married couple from hell. My job was to type their annual report, which outlined the firm's strategy to sell hordes of bridal accessories on top of the bridal gowns (because that's where they make their real money). The year was 1990, the era of disgustingly ruffly, frilly bridal gowns, floral bridesmaid dresses, and teal and pink, and I was also preparing for my own wedding. We opted to go simple: I wore a simple tea-length dress and a hat; we had three attendants each; and we saved $ in every area we could. This was necessary because we stubbornly insisted on paying for our own wedding. I was 25, and Mike was 27, and I figured we had been on our own long enough to be independent.

I've always had a hard time understanding how people can spend thousands of dollars on weddings. The ritual, vows, and personal nature of the ceremony and reception are so much more important than couture gowns to be worn only one day, an enormous wedding party, and extravagant feasts. With that said, I love attending weddings. But it's probably a good thing that I don't live in southern California or the east coast, where I suspect the expectations for big-money weddings are higher. I have little patience for gratuitious spending.

And now, the New York Times reports that botox and plastic surgery are the latest things for brides--some brides are even encouraging or requiring their wedding parties, mothers, and mothers-in-law to get nipped and tucked.

I have strong opinions about cosmetic surgery. Why take a risk by going under the knife purely to look younger or more "beautiful"? I have great respect for plastic surgeons, having been born with a cleft lip and palate, and one of my favorite charities is The Smile Train, which raises money to perform plastic surgery on children in developing countries with cleft lips and palates.

But how can people spend gobs of money on temporarily looking younger...when so many are in need?

The New York Times article mentions one bride who had a falling out with her bridesmaid who refused to get a spray tan in preparation for her wedding. It's very hard to imagine any of my own friends requiring such a thing...and I'm glad I don't know any people like that! I pity such shallowness.

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