Ross Bird and Jessica Black have their wedding all planned out, right down to the last detail.
Guests will ride bicycles to the venue, drinks will be served in mason jars and dinner will involve a build-your-own Vietnamese sandwich bar. There will be sparklers, an Instagram photo booth, a flashmob dance off, a group singalong, as well as a “10-minute silent meditation on each wedding guest’s own conception of love.”
All this because the two want “their upcoming nuptials to be not just a wedding, but also a true reflection of who they are as human beings.”
This “insufferable couple” doesn’t actually exist: Their story was a highly-viewed and much-shared spoof published last week by the satire outlet The Onion. The video resonated, especially for people who’ve attended one too many twee celebrations of love this wedding season.
The anti-wedding pile-on continued this week: The website Gawker attacked a real-life San Francisco couple’s elaborate wedding invite for being sickeningly cute, and thousands of readers chimed in.
Over at sports and culture website Grantland, 29-year-old Katie Baker caustically picks apart the Sunday New York Times wedding announcements with an elaborate nuptials scoring system in a column called Wedded Blitz.
Haven’t had enough? Google “horrible e-sessions” for reams of blogs ridiculing bad engagement photos set evocatively by railway tracks or in daisy fields. Or just look up “wedding mason jar” on Pinterest.
“It’s easy prey. Weddings are easy to pick on,” says Catherine Lash, creative director at The Wedding Co. in Toronto. Ms. Lash was tempted to put The Onion spoof on her blog: She gets why it targets couples’ finicky obsession with the details.
“Weddings have become more than about getting married: It’s all about the stuff, and that’s what [people are] backlashing against. We’re forgetting the actual point of the day, the actual standing up there and getting married. People are more into the cake topper than making sure grandma’s okay. It’s kind of funny, right?”
In a race to make their celebration the most unique, many young urban couples have chosen to regress: treasure hunts, horseshoe tosses, bubbles, balloons, cotton candy machines, flashmob dance offs and yes, bicycles, have taken hold as wedding trends. It’s this cutesy juvenile theme – not classic, cheesy taffeta – that’s rubbing online mumblers the wrong way. And with so many brides showcasing their fanciful visions on blogs and Pinterest, their “big day” is seen as fair game.
“There’s a trend right now of very precious, do-it-yourself weddings,” says Ms. Baker, the author of the scathing Wedded Blitz series. “Overly innocent,” she adds. “They’re all being ‘different’ in the same way.”
To stress her point, Ms. Baker does a line-by-line comparison between The Onion spoof and a New York Times wedding story that featured the (real) groom beseeching guests to recycle their cups and help stop climate change, as well as inspirational name tags that asked attendees to “Name something you are really committed to.”
In the case of real-life San Francisco couple Jessica Hische and Russ Maschmeyer, the two have been bashed in the blogosphere and aren’t even married yet. The pair’s elaborate, whimsically-lettered wedding invite, “The Story of Jess & Russ,” traced in detail their meeting in 2008, right through to the big day later this month. The invite, sent out to friends only, was shared and quickly eviscerated on Gawker, with more than 200,000 reads.
“We stand united against love that’s too precious,” one commenter announced. Author Drew Magary complained that the invite, which is the “length of a football field,” is a gross example of nuptial PDA, writing, “No one outside of your relationship could possibly care this much about the history of your relationship.” Commenting on the site, Ms. Hische’s mom fired back: “The people who know and love Jessica and Russ do indeed want to know their story ... Your words are snipey and obviously riddled with jealousy of her bottomless talent and beautiful spirit.”
“People are obsessed with weddings and simultaneously disgusted by them,” said Meghan Keane, the 32-year-old blogger who penned SayYesToTheMess, a series on TheGloss.com about the harrowing experience of planning her own wedding.
She surmised that part of this frothing irritation comes from people who’ve blown their budgets attending half a dozen weddings this summer, none of them their own: “Everyone has a different definition of cute or sweet or endearing – or awful and trite and obnoxious,” Ms. Keane said from New York.
She added: “There’s no line between public and private any more. It used to be that if you knew this couple, even if it was kind of ridiculous, you’d find some of it endearing. Now complete strangers are able to look ... and have very negative judgments.”
Ms. Baker compares this current cultural bashing of “smug marrieds” to kid-bashing: people griping about monster strollers, babies in bars – “your kid isn’t the most important thing in the world”-type stuff.
So what, exactly, will the wedding haters be doing when it’s their turn down the aisle?
“They will do the exact same thing, like people who protest getting married and then get married themselves,” said Ms. Lash.
She points out that ultimately, all brides and grooms are trying to do is conjure fun and memorable parties for their guests, which is unfortunately when some of them “go overboard.
“You have to be respectful. People forget that not everyone’s going to want to play bocce ball. Don’t make it so everybody has to ride a bike. There are people who don’t like to ride bikes.”
Especially after a few mason jar mojitos.