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Say Yes to the Dress: every girls dream

April 7, 2010

I have a confession to make. I’ve never had any burning desire to get married. Probably I’m a betrayal to my gender, feminist ideals gone wrong. But I never really dreamed of the dress or the cake. I don’t have every (or any) detail planned. That being said, I understand the appeal of the fairytale. This is why TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress is so watchable. This is a show that isn’t about weddings, or love necessarily. But it’s about the single item that most embodies these things: the wedding dress. The one garment that is acceptable to spend more for one days wear, than you do for the rest of your wardrobe combined. 

This Pnina Tornia will make your love complete

I talked previously about reality shows selling us the idea of love, rather than love itself. This show cashes in on that same concept. We don’t see the couples relationship or what their marriage will be like. The snapshot we get is of the bride, shopping for a dress for the happiest day of her life in New York’s premier bridal salon: Kleinfelds. Realistically, not all of these brides will live happily ever after. We all know the oft cited statistic that the divorce rate is somewhere between 40 and 50%. But we don’t see that. In all the times of watching the show, I’ve only seen one bride come back because her wedding was cancelled. We see smiling, crying, fawning. We see the flush of love. Who knows why watching other women try on wedding dresses is so fascinating? It should be on par with watching grass grow. Part of it for me is also the indulgence of it. Watching women casually drop $10,000 on a dress is baffling to me. But seeing them swathed in tulle, crystals, satin, silk, fantasies and dreams it almost seems worth it. These women aren’t just buying a dress– they’re buying happiness. They are buying the physical representation of their love, and if it’s not met that spells disaster for the relationship.

Even better– it is a moment that is justifiably all about them. A whole day! And planning for that day takes months. That is months of attention! It’s a reality dream! The fiances are barely mentioned, they are beside the point. It’s not about the person you are in love with, but the way they make you feel, they princess that you become when you are with them. When girls think about getting married, I can guarantee they envision more detail about the dress than the man they’ll be wearing it for.

Yet the show still has a simplistic sweet sense of optimism. There is hope and stars in the eyes. These are real people, so this kind of love can be possible for all of us. Back in the day people read Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, dreaming of their happily ever after. Now they watch Say Yes to the Dress, dreaming of Kenneth Pool and Pnina Tornai, hoping this little slice of reality in Kleinfields will happen to them one day too.

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