Episode 5: Wedding industrial complex bells are ringing

Going to the chapel of love? Time to talk about the billion-dollar wedding industry! We take you through the stats and checklists of wedding planning, and give the low-down on the capitalist origins of some major Big Day traditions. Get ready to rethink white dresses, diamond engagement rings, celebrity weddings, and where taste comes from. Appearances by Disney princess culture, Scottish kilts, promposals, Eliza Dolittle, and more!

Links to Stuff We Talk About


Pierre Bourdeiu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, translated by Richard Nice (Harvard University Press, 1984) 

Eric J. Hobsbawm, and Terence O. Ranger, eds. The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge U Press, 2010).


Vicki Howard, Brides, Inc.: American Weddings and the Business of Tradition (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). 

Rebecca Mead, One Perfect Day the Selling of the American Wedding (New York: Penguin Press, 2007). 

The Knot, The #1 Wedding Site, Releases 2014 Real Weddings Study Statistics.” PR Newswire. March 12, 2015.  

Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist.” RealSimple.com


Maria Sachiko Cecire, “Reality Remixed: Neomedieval Princess Culture in Disney's Enchanted,” in The Disney Middle Ages: A Fairy-Tale and Fantasy Past, ed. Susan Aronstein and Tison Pugh. Palgrave MacMillan, 2012. 

Edward Jay Epstein, “Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?The Atlantic Magazine. February 1982. Archived online. 

Uri Friedman, “How an Ad Campaign Invented the Diamond Engagement Ring.” The Atlantic Magazine. February 13, 2015.  

Hannah Wallace, “The Marriage Industrial Complex.” Salon.com. May 21, 2007. 


Watch Eliza Dolittle get some linguistic cultural capital in My Fair Lady (1964) and Cher decide to share some of her cool in Clueless (1995). Now go get some of your own modern-day elite taste-making from Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop newsletter! Or just check out Lauren Conrad's Paper Crown bridesmaid dresses, as worn by her real-life bridesmaids. Also: promposals.

This episode, our tunes are interested in going to the chapel, getting to the church on time, and making sure the ladies remember that diamonds are a girl's best friend. Courtesy of the Shirelles, Ol' Blue Eyes, and Nicole Kidman.

Posted on July 22, 2015 .