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New Launches

It’s a nice day for a….

10.14.07 | 3 Comments

I had an alternative wedding. The rabbi-performed ceremony may not have seemed “alternative” to my elderly relatives (though there may have been a bit of clucking about Reb’s Mickey Mouse neck tie) but then–at the very end something transformative happened: a chocolate buttercream wedding cake was served rather than the typical white fondant. What, you’re not impressed by that? Uncle Joe at least was happy—every wedding cake, he felt, should be as chocolate as mine.

Ok, I didn’t get married on a roller coaster or sky diving but rest assured that the editors of the newest glossy dedicated to all things wedding would think the bold cake statement my wife and I made was pretty cool. Of course, in Bond magazine “alternative” nuptials come easily. Blue pumps for the bride? ALTERNATIVE! Registered at Moss instead of Pottery Barn? ALTERNATIVE! Serving Free-range lamb instead of rubber chicken? That’s ALTERNATIVE baby! And yes, Bond gives a big alt-nod to deserts that aren’t white, layered, and covered with an inedible shell too.

In fairness, the magazine has a stated focus on interracial and gay marriage, but these interests are overwhelmed by the magazine’s real priorities: consumerism and consumerism with a patina of social-consciousness. But even the magazine’s defined goals seems rather more mundane than all the editorial self-congratulation would justify. The suggestion that interracial marriage is extraordinary or different is downright offensive—and while a case can be made that same-sex marriage is out of the mainstream in the reddest of red states, it’s hardly a new phenomenon with undefined traditions. Even The New York Times has been covering gay marriage and civil unions on its bridal pages for the last eight years.

Bond does have lovely photography, and airy elegant pages with lavish two-page section dividers; which one suspects (as is true of many of the newest books I’ve looked at lately) are the result of having little to say as much as a dedication to a modernist aesthetic. With a focus on the rituals of the big day, articles in the first issue don’t get much past the obvious in their take on family acceptance or defining roles, or living a life after the ceremony that some would judge harshly.

A so-broad-as-to-be-meaningless look at an ancient ritual leaves the magazine without much that distinguishes it from any other bridal magazine–except for the contemporary urban aesthetic. Magazines make money by narrow-casting—by serving readers with a focused topic and advertisers with a narrowly defined demographic. Bond‘s cobbled-together constituency of gay, lesbian, hetero, green, gourmet and hipster readers hardly forms a natural synergy—unless the magazine is (contradictorily) intended as wedding-porn for iconoclasts. But if that’s the case, there should be more focus on personal stories and pictures of events—and fewer product shots. There are few real-looking couples in Bond—just models showing off clothing for sale. In contrast, real couples planning a same-sex wedding or union will find a plethora of more useful and specific resources on the web.

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