In the News
It’s Not All Bride Wars
The editor of Brides magazine on today’s wedding
Bride Wars may be a dog of a movie but being a bride is still the most important moment in most women’s lives. Nobody knows that better than Millie Martini Bratten, the editor of Brides magazine, which is celebrating its 75th birthday this year. The current anniversary issue has covers, wedding dresses and advice from the past seven and a half decades.
Over the years being a bride in some ways has changed and in some ways stayed the same, Bratten told me. “Today’s bride is not the young, inexperienced girl, leaving her father’s house to live in her husband’s house,” she said. “Today’s bride is usually around 27. She is working, is very realistic, and is paying for part of the costs.” But, at the same time, she notes, “the most important thing for a bride still is to be surrounded by friends and family at the moment she is changing her life.”
Currently, because of the downturn in the economy and the tightening of credit, brides have become more practical. Though they may still want to have “dream weddings,” most couples no longer have a dream budget to spend. “This is not the first time this has happened. But today they really have to plan smartly,” she said. The average American wedding with about one hundred and seventy guests costs around $25,000.
What are some current trends in weddings? “Personalizing is huge,” Bratten noted. “Couples want to write their own vows or incorporate family recipes in the dinner. They also may base their wedding on a personal interest. For example, if they love wine, they may have a wine tasting as part of the festivities or marry in a vineyard.”
And as for wedding dresses, they are getting sexier and sexier. “Women work out and are fit and they want to show it off.” Bratten says that many of the newest wedding styles are reminiscent of the sexy strapless gowns movie stars of the ‘30s wore in romantic comedies. Bridesmaids dresses now also can have a “red carpet look” and can look more like cocktail dresses.
Sometimes showing off one’s curves can be a problem. Bratten recalled one wedding when the bride insisted on her dress being made tighter and tighter. When she knelt down at the altar her wedding gown ripped all the way down in back. She was miked and so everyone not only saw but heard the tear. She had to back out to be sewn up before the wedding could continue. “Sure there are some Bridezillas,” Bratten said. There are people who obsess with every little detail and have short tempers. They get married too.”
When it comes to the honeymoon, the most popular destinations today focus on “sea, sand and blue skies.” Adventure honeymoons are becoming more popular or doing things like going on safari. But most people want to lie on a hammock on a beach. You can’t blame them. They have spent a year planning their wedding and they are exhausted.
Bratten has been married over twenty years. “My husband was a Marine major and we had a military wedding. I would say, yes, it was the happiest day of my life. I was so in love and I was surrounded by our families and friends. A wedding is a wacky wonderful party like no other where you can include your grandmother, your college friends, your nieces and nephews. It is a celebration of putting two families together and starting a new family — based on love.”