As a result of hashtags, live streaming feeds and blogs weddings can hardly be considered intimate, sacred, or even your own anymore! Now there is a magazine for every region and every “type” of wedding (California, vineyard, LGBT, island, offbeat, punk) and each magazine is desperate for “real wedding” features. Although the digital age has become a godsend for brides and grooms planning their weddings from afar or including far-off family and friends in the celebrations, it has changed our perception of weddings by introducing the idea that all weddings have a chance to be featured and coveted by millions of blog readers. Your wedding isn’t just the start of your life-long marriage — it’s your chance to be “blog worthy,” “featured,” approved by “Martha” or the editor of your favorite wedding magazine.
And just when the publicity seems overwhelming, there’s the TV wedding. Gone are the days where weddings on TV were exclusive to your favorite sitcom characters getting hitched or soap operas dedicating entire seasons to wedding hype. Much like blogs, reality TV works in the language of the “every-gurl”— where YOUR wedding could pack enough of a punch to land you on your favorite show! As much as we’re all for being inclusive, the fact remains: not every wedding can be featured and not every wedding should be.
TV weddings are now spectacles, and not in a romantic way. Relationships have already gone by the wayside—cue the “engagements” of countless Bachelors and Bachelorettes that have ended before the winning pair could get married—and now weddings are being hyped much the same way. We see lavish, extravagant parties, beautiful designer dresses, crazy family dynamics and a true love’s kiss at the end. How often is that a reality for the masses? And how often are the couples featured ones you’d truly want to be? Most of the brides featured on TV are “bridezillas,” concerned more about their hair and makeup, the cost of their shoes, what their friends will think of the food than with the actual marriage itself.
Today’s wedding shows are taking over our psych and are becoming our reference points for what a worthy wedding should look like. Not only is this completely unhealthy (no one should be determining what makes your wedding “worthy” other than you and your partner) but it’s silly! Today’s TV weddings are a far cry from the elegant, personal celebrations most of us dream of.
Say Yes to the Dress: This show completely downgrades the actual act of getting married in favor of glorifying the search for the “perfect” wedding dress. Instead of showcasing marriage as the outcome of “saying yes” to a proposal, TLC puts a designer gown up on a pedestal. Once, in the early seasons, the brides coming in to Kleinfelds were quiet, honest, nice gurls who really just needed some help. They brought their moms or their sisters and occasionally had very genuine stories. On today’s version of the show, however, the brides are obnoxious, desperate to snag 15 minutes of fame as well as a designer dress on the cheap, bring in an entourage ten deep and make a fuss only worthy of TV drama. The show attempts to meld emotion with the cold reality of purchasing a dress—encouraging tension between the mother and the bride, showing sisters and best friends putting the bride down for body issues, highlighting brides who can’t commit to a dress and thus, can’t commit to a husband—but the joke’s on us.
Why it messes with our heads: Come on! A dress versus a marriage… which one would you really pick? It’s nice to see the process that goes into picking a dress but at the end of the day, these brides only seem to care about what they’re wearing on their wedding day.
Four Weddings: The premise of this show is horrific. 4 brides compete to win a dream honeymoon (are those things even worth it in the end?). They attend each other’s weddings and award points for different categories—“best overall experience,” “best dress,” “best food,” “best theme,” and the one that gets the most points wins. It’s sad to watch — there’s no thought given at all to the meaning behind the ceremony or the hours of love and support the couple received from their families. Instead, it’s cold, subjective points-earning. Obviously, if there’s a lower-budget wedding in the group, it’s going to come out last… and if you take time to actually listen to the brides’ commentary, the things they find to criticize is appalling.
Why it messes with our heads: No one—and I mean no one—should have the audacity to “rank” your wedding or give you points based on what you’re wearing or how closely you stick to a “theme.” This show encourages competition and weddings are personal… how happy you are on your wedding day should have nothing to do with what your friends (or enemies) think.
Newlyweds, The First Year: This show is the only one, currently, that gives a tiny glimpse into MARRIAGE. That is, after all, what the whole wedding thing is suppose to be about. Bravo follows 4 couples through their first year of marriage and gives us an inside peek at the “reality” of married life: The fighting about sex, money, the drama of moving, the tensions that build when two people live together day in and day out. It’s refreshing to see someone begin to admit that there is life after you say, “I do” and that it isn’t all fairy tales and romance.