Column: The big day

Recent events in the Silicon Valley – like the shooting that occurred in my hometown and the passing of my high school’s most famous alumnus, innovator Steve Jobs – had me so worried that I went home for the weekend.

There are certain perks to being home, and let me tell you, the main one is satellite TV. I was able to plop myself down on the couch on Sunday for E!’s special presentation of “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event,” a documentation of the reality star’s wedding.

Cameras flashed as over 400 guests gathered to watch Kim tie the knot to a man twice her size, New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries. The bride wore custom Vera Wang gowns (of course, a dress change was involved), the ceremony took place at a gorgeous mansion in southern California, and celebrities ranging from Eva Longoria to Ryan Seacrest were in attendance.

It was not long before tabloids were dubbing it a “dream wedding” and “the wedding of the year” (had they forgotten about the royal wedding?). But how many girls really want their wedding to cost millions of dollars and be documented for the entire world to see? Was this the wedding that many girls, including myself, have dreamt of from a young age?

As a self-proclaimed wedding enthusiast, I decided to delve deeper into the wedding phenomenon. I had added TV shows such as “Four Weddings,” and “Say Yes to the Dress” to my DVR lineup over the summer, so they had been recording while I was away. Side note: DVR is another awesome thing about being at home.

From what I could see of the former show (“Four Weddings,” in which four brides attend each other’s weddings and rate them to win a free honeymoon), the brides felt that they had to stick to a theme, serve the best food or have the biggest surprise element in each of their respective weddings in order to edge out the competition.

I got to questioning what happened to the day being about the love that the couple has for each other. Since when did a wedding turn into a day of criticizing the choice of décor or written vows?

After getting fed up with brides talking smack about each other’s weddings, I decided to switch to the other show, “Say Yes to the Dress.” The title seemed pretty self-explanatory: brides visit the enormous Kleinfeld Bridal Salon in New York to choose their wedding dress, thereby “saying yes to the dress.”

The dress, traditionally white, has always been a significant part of the wedding day festivities, so it was clear that the brides would want to walk down the aisle in their “dream dresses.” Little did I know of the drama that came along with these bridal appointments.

The death glares exchanged between mothers and daughters, the tears that flowed once the perfect gown was on, and the rookie mistake of exceeding the set budget were just a few highlights in the preparation of attire for the big day. Sure, every girl wants to look good for her wedding, but is a $24,000 wedding gown worth it when the groom-to-be loves the bride regardless of her attire?

Don’t get me wrong; I have been fantasizing about my wedding day for years. However, the media exposure of weddings, whether it is via celebrities like Ms. Kardashian (or is it Humphries now?) or through the television shows that depict the bridezillas of today’s wedding culture, I can’t help but feel anxious about what the young girls of today are planning for their own “dream weddings.” Do they include a fabulously expensive wedding gown or a $15,000 cake that stands five feet tall?

Whatever the case, the media has cast such a spotlight on weddings that it is hard to imagine girls dreaming of a simple wedding. Who wants to see a $100 wedding dress or homemade cupcakes when there are so many more extravagant options?

As for me, the weekend at home watching all of these shows had me fantasizing about my own big day. Although I shook my head while I watched them, I couldn’t help but imagine trying on an expensive gown or tasting delicious cake flavors.

Boy, these shows are really doing their job. I’ll be right back; I’m adding “weddings” to my interests on StumbleUpon. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

MEDHA SRIDHAR is now hooked on wedding shows and would love to hear your thoughts about centerpieces and flower arrangements. E-mail her at mdsridhar@ucdavis.edu.

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