Why TV Shows About Weddings are a Devious Evil
When planning your wedding you will cross paths with many and varied industry suppliers. From personal experience the overwhelming majority want to provide a service that contributes to the day’s success and happiness. Which is as it should be.
Yet, there is a fungus inching into this happy scene. It seems to delight in the day that goes astray and bask in the glory of miserable planning experiences.
I’m talking about TV shows about weddings.
Here’s why some of them are a devious evil that you should be acutely conscious of.
The history of marriage : 3 reasons why they’re busting our current high
The history of marriage (in the UK) is one of highs and lows. It is characterised by the following progressive successes:
1. The leap from property to love
Rolling back in time, the earliest form of marriage was as a useful tool for establishing peaceful trade relationships. This value exchange element became ever more aggressive. From the 11th Century marriage become a tool with which the ruling classes secured an economic or political advantage. For anyone who’s watched Game of Thrones you’ll have noted that the Bride is little more than the property of her Father : a living, breathing chattel.*
The tide turned during Victorian times. The notion of “love” as the reason for marriage gained in popularity, emulating Victoria & Albert’s happy loving union.
In present day UK, love is the overwhelming reason for marriage. This is monumental progress. Humans free to choose their partner based who makes them happiest and is most suited to sharing the rollercoaster ride of life? This should be treasured like the gold it is.
2. The slackening of the state’s tight grip
This one has come full circle. Up until the 1750s weddings were mainly a private matter. Somehow around this time the roving eye of The State, under governance of the Church noticed how marriage was going hand in hand with wealth and property and decided to get its paws on it. So, the 1753 Clandestine Marriage Act came in, enacting that only Church weddings were legal ones. **
It was nearly 100 years later and the 1836 Marriage Act before civil marriages gained recognition again. Finally, in very recent years, the 2004 Civil Partnerships Act came in and same-sex couples gained the right to enter a state recognised marriage. Marriage is back to its rightful position of a private act amongst loving partners.
3. Marriage in the UK : a declining industry
Provisional 2010 figures suggest there were 241k marriages in the UK. This represents a small rise of 3.7%, but this is a fragile green shoot in an otherwise dwindling picture. In the 1970’s there were twice the number of marriages there are today.***
For those persons still making the faithful leap we should keep the experience as positive as humanly possible.
Today in the UK we can marry who we want, how we want, for love. We should applaud ourselves for this progress.
But. Here comes that fungus.
The existence of TV shows about weddings per se is not destructive. I don’t have a problem with the concept of “weddings as entertainment.” It’s when the entertainment value comes from revelling in others misfortune / perceived idiocy that it sticks in the throat. Whether that’s snickering at extravagant travellers weddings. Or laughing as reluctant grooms fail miserably to plan the day their Bride wanted. Or, the absolute worst offender of the lot : rating each other’s weddings out of 10.
Here’s why the scorecard judgment of weddings is a devious evil.
Armchair critiquing invades your sub-conscious
Any show involving judgment turns viewers into backseat critics. Have you ever watched X Factor et al with friends and find you’ve turned into a mini Simon Cowell? Have you found yourself giving your own running commentary the contestants; their skills; their looks; their dress sense? I’ve done it – and when I make the same comment as one of the judges I congratulate myself as though I could do their job. For some odd reason we seem to idolise people who can give good critique.
The problem is, these shows can implant into your psyche. Back to weddings and have you ever found yourself quietly critiquing any elements of a wedding you’ve been to? Have you ever thought to yourself “Mmmm I wouldn’t have gone for chicken – that’s a boring choice” OR “Nice dress but I can see a tiny bit of back fat?”
If the answer is yes then voila – you have succumbed to the devious evil.
It’s killing the sisterhood
Not so long ago I read Caitlin Moran’s “How to Be a Woman.”
I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist necessarily, but women are guilty of doing things to each other that men wouldn’t.
Have you ever seen a show in which men rate each other on their success at something very personal? How do you imagine the pitch for “Rate my erection” would go down with TV execs?
So, come on ladies, wedding planning is stressful enough without turning it into a competitive sport
Finally … It’s making wedding planning stressful & creating bridezillas
These shows leave you with the idea that your day has to be gloriously original, full of time-heavy personal touches that involve sewing and ribbons.
If that’s your bag, go for it. If it’s not, don’t.
Here’s the secret. Pretty much everything has been done before. And yet, your wedding is still 100% guaranteed to be unique and original, because it is yours.
Read the magazines. Enjoy the real-life wedding inspiration on blogs. Watch the TV shows if you wish. Have fun gathering ideas and delight in what others have done. But never let petty thoughts about the little details of someone else’s wedding creep into your brain.
Remember how far we’ve come in history to get to this point. That a couple in love is choosing to get married is wonderful. If you’re at the wedding itself, then consider yourself to be lucky to be invited.
Now get on with celebrating.
***SOURCE : 3http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/marriages-in-england-and-wales–provisional-/2010/marriages-in-england-and-wales–2010.html