A Conversation with Steve "Bridal Man" Dines | Local Vocal | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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A Conversation with Steve "Bridal Man" Dines

Steve Dines, a.k.a. Bridal Man, hosts Pittsburgh's "Car Talk" for brides -- a weekly radio talk show during which soon-to-be brides (and sometimes grooms) call in with questions.

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What are some wedding-related issues?

Planning and etiquette, on the one hand: Should I bring a gift to the engagement party? And, on the other hand, The Bachelorette. My co-host Terri Russo gives a weekly update. We talk about [TV shows like] The Littlest Groom, and that obnoxious fiancé. A few weeks ago we brought as a guest onto the show the author of Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul.

 

Do you get difficult questions?

Not really. Sometimes guys call in and say, "I'm getting married. What am I supposed to do?" And we'll get brides who are getting married in a month, have been engaged for a year, and now say they want to call it off. I say to them that a marriage isn't just the wedding. Forget the party. Because after the honeymoon, you'll be sitting across a table from someone and hopefully you'll be able to have a normal conversation.

 

How are you qualified to give advice?

We mainly discuss the wedding industry -- flowers, receptions, how dresses are made, where they are made, how much they cost. But this isn't an exposé; I want to build the industry to where it used to be. The Internet has taken a big chunk out of it in a negative way. People hear that they can save money by buying their dress online, so they go to the bridal store, try it on, then go back and make the purchase through the Internet. This is bad for the business owners who don't make money until they make an actual sale.

 

But maybe the Internet dress really is cheaper.

The bridal industry is the last real service industry that hasn't been corporatized. You still can't buy your wedding dress at Wal-Mart, and I think that's a good thing. I want to support the individual -- the individual photographer, dress shop, harpist.

 

How much do weddings cost?

The average wedding is $19,000. Americans spent $70 billion on weddings last year. But here's my point: You can do whatever you want. Every year, these morning talk shows on TV have a "Wedding Week," and they showcase these extravagant weddings, weddings people can't even begin to afford. And I think it casts a bad light on the industry. They're showing the Vera Wang gown. And the potential bride is watching this thinking, "I will never be able to afford that!" So what's the message? It's like supermodels: You end up thinking, "I'm not good enough." I want to send the message that anyone can get married, have a great wedding, for a good price.

 

But most women want the perfect one.

I hate to hear the words "perfect wedding." There's no such thing. Something will go wrong and that's OK. Take my wedding for example: My wife was sitting there and a spider was crawling up her dress. She looked at me and we laughed. Some of these girls that call in, they're so stressed out! My main point is that you need to have fun, to step back and pay attention to the day, because no matter how many photographs you take, how much you spend on videography, nothing beats a memory. This is your day, and you're not going to have another one -- well, anyway, let's hope.

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