Aside from shouting my social security number in the prison ward full of identity thieves, I can think of no greater invasion of privacy than telling a large company that you’re planning a wedding.
My fiancé and I are planning a small affair—more a large-scale gathering of friends than a weekend-long schedule of nuptial excess—and we’re starting to line up the day. The venue is a small community space, so the owner isn’t likely to sell our information to companies. Our photographer is independent and is a personal friend, so he’s not going to sell us out. (Thanks, Brad!) A friend is serving as DJ for the event. Hell, we haven’t even told Facebook that we’re engaged to spare ourselves the onslaught of ads targeted at the betrothed.
But I went to David’s Bridal’s website. And it was all over.
The dresses I’d scoped out prior to my appointment haunted me on Facebook—and the friends who I’d sent the items to for their opinion. But it got even worse when I bought a dress and David’s Bridal had my mailing address. Several times a week, I’m receiving cards urging us to “Make the memory of your first dance last a lifetime” and specials on suits for the ring bearer. I’ve also “won” a spa consultation to prepare myself for the big day.
The Knot’s temerity impresses me. In the early days of our engagement, I played around with setting up a website. I don’t recall publishing the site, but I must have—it now comes up on the first page of rankings when you Google either of us. From a purely professional standpoint, I’d like to get inside the minds of the Knot’s SEO masters.
Once a page on the Knot is live, it’s not a one-click process to remove it. One must find the years-old query in the customer service forums on the website, then email the Knot mothership for instructions on how to remove the site. And I still get the emails about “The Wedding Color That’s Taking Over the Internet” and “7 Wedding Hairstyles You Need To Know About Right Now.”
With each email and mailer I receive, my guilt about participating in the $53.4 billion wedding industrial complex grows. If a couple wants to spend obscene gobs of money on their wedding, more power to them. But as the trees die in a vain attempt to get noted klutzes like my beau and I on the dance floor, the more I’m wishing we’d just gone to City Hall and been done with it.