Thirty years ago, with the help of a massive coffee table book, the American wedding theatrical complex was born.
There’s a ritual that takes place, several times, during each 22-minute episode of the reality-show juggernaut Say Yes to the Dress. A bride-to-be, who will typically arrive at Kleinfeld’s Manhattan wedding emporium with friends and family in tow, will first introduce the group (her “entourage,” the show will call them) to the person who will be her personal attendant throughout her Kleinfeld Experience. The bride will then be spirited away, from the “Bridal Floor” and its effusions of white, to a simple dressing room. There, she and her attendant will get down to business. “How do you want to look,” the consultant will ask her, with cheerful solemnity, “on your wedding day?”
The bride will reply instantly (“classic,” “ethereal,” “edgy,” “like Beyoncé,” “like a princess”), and if she does not—if, indeed, she betrays any uncertainty about her bridal Look and/or Style and/or Philosophy—the attendant will allow a shadow of disapproval to cross her face. This is part of the ritual. After all, in the Kleinfeld cosmos, a Wedding Day is not really a matter of legal pragmatism, or of religious tradition, or even, really, of love; it is an act of determined transformation. It is a day about Dreams—Dreams whose roots have been growing in the bride’s mind and heart ever since, as it goes, she was a little girl. Dreams made manifest in that most quintessentially American of manners: through the purchase of an extremely expensive piece of clothing.