When I found Godawful Wedding Crap I was instantly smitten. Here's a blog that highlights the worst wedding paraphernalia on the web, all with a heavy dose of snark tossed in. Offbeat brides need their snark — sometimes it's the only thing that will protect you from the creeping "white blindness" of wedding-planning dementia.
I cornered godawful blogger Riona MacNamara to ask her a few questions about the site and her thoughts on all the bridal detritus that the Wedding Industrial Complex tries to convince brides they need. Read on for her thoughts on toothdix, mermice, and the fine line between offbeat and tacky.
What inspired you to start Godawful Wedding Crap?
Probably it was a line item on the billionteenth checklist I read that suggested that it might be okay to skip the calligrapher if I really felt the need to save money. WTF? A calligrapher?
What bugs me is that this industry has created a situation where people (brides usually, let's face it) are genuinely worried about things that don't matter.
Until I got married at 39, I'd been incredibly ignorant about the stuff that goes into planning a wedding. I never really thought of myself as the marrying type and so I had no idea of the kind of wedding I wanted — and my fiance just wanted a reasonably simple affair where everyone got to relax and hang out.
But when we did decide to get married, we wanted a day that would reflect us and be fun for our guests, and once I started looking into things, I was just knocked sideways by the stuff that people said you needed. And by the rules the magazines said you should follow. (My pet peeve: spelling out dates and addresses in full. For god's sake, why? Because printers used to charge by the line, that's why.)
But what bugs me isn't the archaic dumbness of it all. What bugs me is that this industry has created a situation where people (brides usually, let's face it) are genuinely worried about things that don't matter: "Will I look cheap if my napkins aren't personalized? What if my pictures don't look just like this? It says flowers should be 20% of my budget, but I'd rather spend it on food … will that be okay?" The magazines and boards are full of people asking: "Is it okay? Is it allowed? Is it correct?"
If you want it, it's okay. If you really really want calligraphers and toasting flutes and "Tears of Joy" hankies, you should have them. But you don't need to do anything except make your guests feel welcome and looked after. Everything else is candy and confetti, and nothing else will be remembered, at least by other people. Nobody ever left a wedding complaining that the napkins weren't personalized.
If you had to pick just one, what was very most god awful bit of crap you found?
The whole bachelorette penis party thing is pretty much a shoo-in but … you know, Toothdix are hardly offensive at all, and even then only on one very small, superficial level. On mature reflection, it has to be the personalized roses: Because a flower doesn't exist that wouldn't be improved by having my face on it.
But oh, sweet Jesus, the most definitively godawful crap has got to be the cake toppers that show a predatory bride and a hapless, miserable male resigned to his fate. The people behind this are geniuses. They're swiveling round in their frayed gray Office Depot chairs going: "You know what would be funny? To make women look desperate and needy! And even cooler? To have them pay us so they can show this in public! In front of everyone they know and love! How totally humiliating is that? K, gotta go, meeting Dave at Hooters at noon."
And yet, people are buying this crap, and that makes me sad. Are people really getting married who see a wedding as a form of combat, where the groom is the loser?
How do you draw the line between godawful and unique?
I'm very proud that my blog is the #1 Google result for "mermice" — who doesn't love a mermice cake topper? But a little part of me feels bad for including them in a blog dedicated to godawful crap. Mermice may be weird and random and a little bit … um, distinctive, but they're not godawful at all, because I think we can safely say that a bride who chooses to top her cake with mermice is truly following her own heart and not the instructions of the Wedding Industrial Complex.
I've noticed that the Godawful Wedding Crap isn't updated very frequently these days. What's up with that?
You know, I got back from the honeymoon and I realized how much time I'd spent researching wedding stuff. There I was thinking I was all like, you know, Indie Bride!, and really I was all like, Surf! Buy! Consume! It was a relief that this was all done, and it was intoxicating to discover quite a lot of non-wedding-related content on the Web.
And yet … and yet there's still a part of me that wants to pick up Martha Stewart Weddings every time I go to the supermarket. But instead I throw the toilet paper in the cart and I soldier on – no longer a bride, but just a wife. And then I go home and we shoot up together, like a family.