Subscribe to the Quartzy newsletter to receive this in your inbox each Friday.
Today finds us on the eve of the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, which feels also like the unofficial launch of the 2018 wedding season. To me, this year is a special one, as one of the weddings I’m planning to attend is…my own.
Soon after I got engaged, I swore I wouldn’t get carried away with the wedding. I wanted it to be quiet, intimate, discreet, chill. I can’t fully explain this instinct, as a person who loves a party, has a giant family, and is deeply enthusiastic about my partner. Maybe I didn’t want to overspend. Maybe I was afraid of being disappointed. Maybe it’s a child-of-divorce thing.
In any case, last week, just before we visited our venue in New York, this manifested with a short monologue from me about how I did not want to “go crazy” with flowers: The space was special already! They would be too expensive! Who really notices flowers, anyway?
Then, the elevator opened onto the terrace where we will marry in September. We entered a series of rooms filled with empty surfaces, and flooded with natural light. And all I could think was: Flowers. This needs flowers. Suddenly, I was googling “pink artichoke flower” to find, Yes, that’s it! Protea. I could see giant thistles, stuffed into vessels with olive branches and eucalyptus leaves, and imagine just how those silvery greens would echo the color of the painted brick walls. Protea would be our flower, I declared. And I was off and running.
Weddings have a way of doing this to us, I think. Of making us spend money on things we hadn’t anticipated, yes. But also of giving us license to fantasize about just the moment we want to create—the song, the drink, the protea, for Pete’s sake—and to do our damnedest to execute it. I guess I’ll have to set a floral budget, but I’m happy to get a little carried away, for the time being.
Shopping for wedding dresses beyond the bridal salons
I had a similar journey with my dress. At first, I pictured—and even purchased, deeply reduced from Neiman Marcus—a simple cream-colored slip dress. But I continued to browse, within Neiman’s 60 day-return policy. I made it a secret mission for an afternoon off on a work trip to Milan, visiting designer showrooms, vintage stores, and MaxMara—which has a great variety of off-the-rack options for brides in Europe. Lots of fun, but no dress.
Then, one afternoon, on my way to a comedy show in Hollywood, I stopped at the Glamour Closet, a store with outlets in several cities that sells wedding dress samples—those dresses designers use for showrooms, shows, and photo shoots—from previous seasons, at a fraction of their original prices, and donates a portion of profits to Parkinson’s Disease research. I got lucky there.
Here’s what I found: You can actually skip the whole rigamarole and expense of the traditional bridal salon, if that’s not your thing (it wasn’t mine). A glass of champagne while you shop is nice, but sample stores like Glamour Closet, and secondhand wedding gown shops, with their vast variety of labels and silhouettes and looser vibe, are just more fun. Rather than requiring appointments with overattentive attendants, many secondhand shops allow brides to browse the racks, froufing the skirts of major dresses by Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Pronovias, and Claire Pettibone. You can always go for that glass of champagne after.
Destination weddings: to attend or send regrets?
If you are fortunate enough to have friends and family around the globe, chances are an invitation to a destination wedding will occasionally land in your mailbox.
Quartz’s Rosie Spinks—fed up with the unspoken expectation that guests subsidize wedding costs—says such invites should come with a price-tag, clearly stating the cost of attending the affair. Until that’s the case, she and David Yanofsky tackled the conundrum by creating a wedding chatbot that will dispassionately weigh the pros and cons for you.
“Instead of the hand-wringing over whether or not to spend your paltry savings and meager vacation time on your college roommate’s Tuesday wedding in Tulum, Quartzy has a neutral solution: Have a chat with our destination wedding bot,” they suggest. “It will help you decide if it’s time to book that flight or embrace your JOMO (that’s joy of missing out). Take the quiz, then RSVP with confidence.”
How to watch tomorrow’s royal wedding
Quartz’s Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz has you covered: The ceremonies start at noon UK time, and will be aired and live-streamed around the world. Sangeeta has made a drinking game that gets at the essential questions. Will Beatrice and Eugenie wear bonkers fascinators? All we can do is hope.
Have a great weekend!
PS: May I suggest a podcast?
If you’re rolling your eyes at the royal obsessing, but you’re secretly mildly amused, you might try Vanity Fair’s In the Limelight. It’s just the ticket when it comes to embracing the pure inanity of celebrity culture, and hosts Julie Miller and Josh Duboff—whose vocal fry is off the charts—really shine when it comes to obsessing about Meghan Markle and all things royal. (My favorite episode so far had the hosts losing their minds over Markle’s encounter with a Shetland pony and her controversial pronunciation of the word scone, to rhyme with “gone.”) I’m saving this week’s “wedding countdown” episode for a drive tonight with my boyfriend. He will pretend to protest, but we both know this podcast is a delight.