Monday, June 4, 2012

Wedding Meets Reality TV

My mom was visiting the other day and turned on the television. Her idea of great TV is news, sports, news, talk show, news, food show, news and an occasional movie tossed in. I think on most days she still tries to catch General Hospital. She does watch Dancing With the Stars and a few other reality shows Overall, that’s the TV lineup if she’s tuning in for an hour or a day. (She’s much more current with events than I am.)

My niece is getting married in July. This has opened a whole new world of reality TV. Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings is now on her list. She tuned into the latter when she was at my house.

Wow! I have been living in a cave, no doubt about it. And after watching this show, I think I’m ready to crawl back into it. If you’re not familiar with the show, four brides go to each other’s weddings. The camera follows them so they make comments on the bride’s dress, the ceremony and every aspect of the reception. At the end of each segment, the viewers are treated to the score from each of the brides whose wedding it’s not. I learned in the end the winner gets a prize of an exotic honeymoon, so you can see that a lower score would benefit you indirectly.

I found the comments eye-opening to say the least. It was all show, and I don’t mean for the television.  The dress might not have been what they expected for that person, or they loved it; for the most part, they had difficulty with religious ceremonies for the wedding, the reception didn’t have enough personalization, or there were not enough variety of cocktails, the food wasn’t what they expected, the d├ęcor was too impersonal… These were not inexpensive little affairs. Each of the weddings were in the $50,000 to $80,000 range.

I was appalled on so many levels, I sat and watched like a zombie and wanted to reach for the barf bag. Why would anyone think it was all right to criticize the bride’s dress? BTW, in this particular episode, the brides had all chosen white wedding gowns and wore veils.

I grew up thinking weddings were special. They’re a celebration and come from the heart. You share it with family and your closest friends. Decades ago, when it was becoming more popular to have sit down weddings at country clubs and not invite children, my father-in-law would shake his head. He said ‘Whatever happened to the fire hall weddings?” He wasn’t just talking about the venue, but the whole atmosphere. (Saving that for another post.)

Without a doubt, the part I found most offensive was their take on the ceremonies.  When the camera would pan the group at the churches, I was amazed to see almost no one present. Isn’t that what a wedding is all about?  You can always have a wedding without a reception but not the other way around, yet for these girls, and the viewers, it was all about what they expected to find at the party, not what the bride thought should be there. When I commented to my mom, her take was that’s what people expect. Have I got this all wrong? I thought the idea was that I was doing something that mattered to me, and I was inviting people to share the joy and come along for the ride. What’s your take?

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