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25 Men In 25 Years

The princess marries the prince: cue applause. This is happily ever after. The prince is a man she’s met briefly, whose most favorable qualities include charm and money. The princess spends more time preparing for the ball than she does assessing the quality of the relationship. And, so do we.


In Say Yes to the Dress, a bride selects her wedding dress with careful consideration. She considers her options, weighing the pros and cons of each fit. She considers the way the dress accentuates her figure, the way it emphasizes her face. All the dresses look beautiful, but she journeys to find the one that is right for her.


Once the bride selects her dream dress, she prepares for her wedding photos. Wedding photos are meant to depict the fantasy of the relationship, picture-perfect happiness. This is proof that the princess has been found by her prince. Lucky her! The bride usually sits as the center subject of the shot, while the groom stands to her side, admiring her beauty. Oftentimes, she looks straight into the camera, as if to say, “I am the chosen one.”


And, the wedding! Oh, the wedding! So much planning required, many hire wedding planners to bear the brunt of it. From tablecloths to DJs, every element must be analyzed and examined. Is pearl elegant or washed out? Can we thrift with peonies, even if orchids are a better look? Will people dance to Top 40, or is that too basic?


If brides took as much time assessing their partners as they did their weddings, the divorce rate might not sit at a whopping 50%. A better reality show for brides might be, Should You Marry Him? where love birds are taken through a bout of couple’s therapy. If after psychoanalysis, the couple feels willing and able to take on their partner’s childhood trauma and unresolved conflicts, then to the chapel they go!


Prince Charming didn’t get enough attention from workaholic dad. Are you, princess, prepared to work through his narcissistic tendencies and jealousy issues? Or, is that the prince was a fat kid turned hot, who feeds his leftover insecurities with attention from other women and secret affairs? Or maybe, just maybe, the prince’s frequent ferda nights are red flags directing you to his deeper dependence, addiction.


25 Men In 25 Years is a performance art piece depicting a bride trying on different grooms in her search for love. The wedding photos illustrate the reality of their relationship, a peek into what forever may hold for the pair. Reality is a rain storm on recently dyed hair. It’s trying to put a sock on when you’ve just had a manicure. It’s an appointment with your probation officer after your roommate’s birthday party. Reality is the antithesis of fairytale. And since fairytales haven’t helped much in the expectation department, I figured a concentration on reality might be an interesting new take. If Fairytale = Divorce, then Reality>Fairytale. A + B = C, if C is the money saved on divorce attorney fees.



  • Bride. The word comes from 'bryd', which is derived from the Proto-Germanic verb root *brū-, meaning 'to cook, brew, or make a broth,' which was the role of the daughter-in-law in primitive families.

  • Groom. The word comes from guma, which refers to a young servant boy who takes care of horses. It means to take care of, or to train something to be better.

Photos By: Kelly Balch

Creative Consultant: Mark Hapka

Thank you to Chris Labadie, Les Bacon, and Eric D'Agostino

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