Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Over the last few months I've been hanging around on a couple of bridal/weddingy forums.

For very good reasons, it's not the Done Thing to out and out criticise other people's wedding choices.

It's acceptable to offer constructive input when asked, and to show respectful interest in the different customs and traditions being observed. That's a good thing. When someone is trying to decide between bows and floral swags to decorate the ends of the pews in their church, it's a good time to offer any experience of those products, but it's not the time to spark a fundamentalist religious debate about whether they should be getting married in a church at all. Tolerance is important in a community and it's great that different people, in different countries, having very different weddings, can all support each other.

This, however, is not a community. This Is My Blog, just like it says at the top of the page, which means it's not inappropriate for me to voice my opinions, and this has been bubbling up inside me for months now. In the interests of civility, I must stress that I recognise that different people have different tastes and if you want any of this stuff at your wedding, you go ahead, it's your wedding. If you are planning a wedding, or you just had one, you may prefer not to read any further. This is your fair warning: you may be offended.

But at last, I must say that I find the following things hideously tacky.

  • White hoodies with diamante transfers saying “Bride” or “Maid of Honor”. (American spelling intentional.) Yes, while getting ready for your wedding it's a good idea to wear something warm and comfortable that can absorb any spills. It's good to wear something that is fully front-fastening so it can be removed without disturbing your hair and makeup. But white with diamante? My dear, you will get enough attention today once you're in the dress. Be content.

  • Flip-flops with soles that print “Just” and “Married” as you walk along wet sand. My PA spotted these in a craft store and proposed them as the winner of that store's Wedding Tat collection. And believe me, they had some tat.

  • Hen parties with “naughty” games and gifts. Well done, it's a (whatever) shaped like a penis. It's not comical, it's not erotic, and the faint air of desperation is unsettling. Lingerie and sex toys can be great, but I can't imagine there's anyone who's actually turned on by pink plastic fluffy handcuffs, or anything with a picture of a cat and “Sex Kitten!” emblazoned across the front.

  • Music on the wedding website. Internet access has reached a point where even your parents have it, so a wedding website is no longer necessarily a celebration of self-obsession viewable only by other geeks who aren't invited to the wedding anyway. But automatically playing music is a step in the wrong direction, as are hearts falling across the screen, or anything that won't properly load onto the smartphone of a guest who's got lost on the way to the venue.

  • Vistaprint overdose. On the one hand, Vistaprint do a very good line in affordable, fuss-free printing that can be invaluable for things like invitations and RSVP cards. On the other hand, just because they can put your picture on more or less anything, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. The overdosing idea also applies to people who went to a venue dresser for a few flowers/balloons/table decorations, and ended up ordering a twenty-foot-tall inflatable Bride and Groom in the belief that these would somehow look appropriate outside their elegant, classy venue.

  • Pretending to be something you're not. This covers people getting married in churches who don't believe in God, people getting married in libraries who don't read, people who order glass carriages and aren't princesses (Kate Middleton got that bit spot-on), and people who order fancy formal meals that they're not sure how to eat. You make some pretty hefty promises on your wedding day - make them as yourselves.

Ohhhhhh, that feels better.


The Goldfish said...

I loved this. I've always thought that a *lot* around modern weddings is about pretending to be other people, that princess for a day thing. But it is also to do with a one-off ritual, and rituals are grounded in tradition, even if we now have the social freedom to pick and choose.

All the tacky stuff amuses me immensely. At the same time, I think marriage means such different things to different people (as it always has), that maybe there is a place for diamante-encrusted hoodies in somebody's sollemn occasion. You know, if you were going to rap your vows...

Mary said...

Right from February we've been using "yes, but what does it have to do with us?" as a yardstick for whether we really need something.

I am absolutely certain that somewhere out there is a bride-to-be in a diamante-encrusted hoodie who's equally appalled by some of the things we're doing. :)

Mandy said...

I LOVE the flip flop idea, but then I was a child that if they found an odd looking footprint on the sand I would follow it, designer trainers, some body with a stick, three legged dogs and I was in heaven. So to find Just Married, would have been wonderful.

I wonder if some of them go on to have Just Divorced flip flops!

One Girl said...

How right you are (as usual!)

The Beardy One and I are looking to get married next summer (but we're not officially engaged yet - long story).

I either want a £10k extravaganza in a local hotel (former Abbey) - if parents are assisting us with it; or, if we're paying for it - I want the local registry office, black cabs and a slap up chinese meal, before a big family party that night with a cheesy disco and home-made (by aunties) buffet.

Because it's not about the DAY it's about the future together. It's about the fact that I want to be Mrs Beardy One.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too tough on those who want a Church wedding without being religious. This was the case with me and mrs Yerboots. In those days it was hard to get married anywhere other than Church or a very grim registry office.

We went for the Church. I was sufficiently open minded to be impressed that the Vicar didn't mind that we did not attend. He did a lovely service. When our first child was born, I was happy to go back to have him christened. As I have got older I amm much more interested in values and ethics, and see the Church as a source of these. I go fairly often now, and am happy to be called Christian.

Diamante Hoodies? I am with you on that one! though I am sure that you could dine out on that one for some time...

Best Wishes

Dr Phil

Mary said...

mandycharlie - the evil part of me is wondering if it would be possible to manufacture "just married" flipflops the sole of which, on contact with salt water, would dissolve to reveal something else.

One Girl - best of luck! When I did the calculations for the cheapest possible wedding, it was just over £100. That was £33.50 each (£67 total) to give notice of intent to marry, and then about £45 for a midweek ceremony at the small register office with up to seven guests. From there on in it kind of zooms upwards!

Dr Phil, yes, I remember in the town where I grew up, there were some lovely churches, or there was the registry office with it's fabulous view onto a supermarket, a multi-storey car park, and a public convenience. Bit of a no-brainer. Thankfully these days having "approved premises" like hotels and country clubs makes the civil options a lot more palatable. :)

Chelsea A. Morrish said...

Have you visited Offbeat Bride? They have a community (read: forums), along with the site itself, that contains everything under the sun. People there aren't nasty and judgmental like they on some of the regular sites. They're comfortable with people who want a traditional wedding but don't have the WIC mentality but also with the person who will do the most off the wall and bizarre things. Take a look =)

Mary said...

I did have a look at offbeat bride but I suspect I'm not their kind of person. I didn't sign up.

I also looked at A Practical Wedding, and added it to my google reader, but while I liked many of the older posts, which seemed sensible, 90% of the newer output makes my toes curl even more than Wedinator.

Flowers said...

I agree with every point you have made...especially those nasty tracksuits!