BHLDN: Ur Dstntn 4 Xpnsv Arts n Crfts 4 Ur Wdng

This post is the first of what I hope will be at least a two-part series focusing on BHLDN, Anthropologie’s fairly new wedding line. “BHLDN?” you may be asking, “OMG WTF is that srsly like 1 of the new abbrevs kidz r usng these dayz?” Actually, BHLDN is short for “beholden” – see how the vowels have been removed? Vry clvr!

To its credit, Anthropologie marketed the gingham-and-twine aesthetic long before magazines, web sites, and other retailers caught on. In my rather reductionist cultural narrative, first came Anthropologie, then came the Great Recession, then came the DIY movement, and now here’s Anthropologie capitalizing on the premaritals who still have money and admire the “vintage country hipster” look (a term coined by Special Someone) but are too lazy to DIY. It’s brilliant. This way, well-to-do modern brides can have the whimsical, countrified, “bloggable” wedding of their dreams without breaking a nail – or burning themselves with a glue gun, as it were.

But for those of us whose paper snowflakes somehow always turned out asymmetrical (I choose to blame being left-handed in a right-hander’s world for my lamentable scissor skills), assigning our arts and crafts projects to BHLDN comes with a hefty price tag.

Take, for example, these Glittered Letters. At first I read “$34” and figured it must include the whole alphabet. These things are made of cardboard, for Pete’s sake. It has to be the “German glass glitter” that drives up the price, because each letter is $34. If Mary Catherine and Maximilian choose to go the Glittered Letter route for their wedding, it will cost $782 just to have their names displayed in sparkly cardboard and $816 if you throw in the ampersand. Queenie and Quentin, meanwhile, are plain SOL – the letter Q is not available.

Clothespins! How quaint! Of course, anyone who actually hangs their laundry on a clothesline (or uses clothespins to clip bags of Tostitos, like I do) knows you can buy 50 of them at the grocery store for two bucks, sometimes even less than that. But if it’s “hand-stained” clothespins you’re after, BHLDN will sell you 25 for a mere $28.

Livia Cetti, the artisan who created this paper bouquet, was probably one of those kindergarteners whose tissue paper flowers the teacher always held up as an example for the rest of the class. Crafty in both senses of the word, Livia has turned her talent into a business, selling “hand-colored crepe paper” arrangements to BHLDN, which in turn peddles them for over $200. (Hand-colored and hand-stained decorations are really in these days, if you couldn’t tell by now.) Why settle for real flowers when you can spend even more on paper ones?

These coasters are probably more remarkable for the catalog description than the price. “Who doesn’t love a mirthful print atop rich Lokta paper?” BHLDN’s copywriter asks. Why, I used to wonder the same thing myself! Then I surveyed all our prospective wedding guests and, sure enough, BHLDN is right: everyone loves a mirthful print atop rich Lokta paper. Our friends and family will be just tickled to rest their gin rickeys on these handmade paper bev naps. And compared to most of the other BHLDN merchandise, they’re practically a steal at $18 for a pack of 50.

You could easily find a makeshift cake topper that looks kind of like this one at Value Village. But it probably wouldn’t have “Swarovski-studded vines” encircling the love birds, so what’s the point? On the other hand, when you blow $598 — more than half of your cake budget — on the topper, you get stuck with the plainest, most boring-looking wedding cake of all time (as shown above). What to do, what to do? Just take comfort in BHLDN’s assurance that this cake topper will “sit beautifully on a shelf or tabletop for years to come,” while the leftover cake itself will have developed a thick crust of freezer burn before you even hit your first anniversary.

Well, I think you get the picture by now. If hand-dyed paper and hand-twisted wire are what you’re into, go wild at BHLDN. For a small fortune, you can tell your wedding guests you made all your own decorations and they will actually believe you.

Coming soon: an analysis of BHLDN’s “Hair Adornments” collection!


5 Comments on “BHLDN: Ur Dstntn 4 Xpnsv Arts n Crfts 4 Ur Wdng”

  1. You make me laugh!

  2. M. says:

    …Or you spend ~ $5 and buy twine and tissue paper and make your own shit, stringing it up with the twinkle lights you previously had unceremoniously draped and partially stuffed into empty wine bottles, thereby upgrading the look of your apartment from “Drug Den” to “Drug Den With Paper Crap Strung Up All Around.”

    My strategy was to distract with booze and food.

  3. M. says:

    (Also, I thought BHLDN was a gang symbol for blow holdin’, something dealers would put on their doors to let junkies know where to buy. Kind of like the Jesus fish. Then I read the article and was disgusted and HIGHLY disappointed when I found out what it really was.)

  4. kathleen says:

    ahhahaha brilliant! a most enjoyable post. looking forward to future installments 🙂

  5. skepticbride says:

    Robin: YOU make ME laugh!

    Mim: Actually, I had written this post before your party the other night, and was telling Danny and I think your ma and grandma that you could totally sell your flowers to BHLDN! I believe I was just buzzed enough to keep repeating “FOR $32! APIECE!”

    Kathleen: Thank you thank you!!

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