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I’ve seen photos of my mother and father’s wedding. They don’t have an album on Facebook, nor do they post them exclusively on Thursdays celebrating minor anniversaries. There are three photos that I can draw from memory, and that’s really it – one of my mom walking down the aisle that sits on my dad’s nightstand, one of my parents at (where I assume is) their reception, and one of my mother with her father.
In those photos, everyone looks incredibly happy. Delighted. Elated. Maybe happier than I’ve ever seen any of them look before, probably because it was the happiest day of their lives. I don’t really know how many people they invited to the reception, and I’m not sure what the place settings looked like. But what I do know based on the three photos that I’ve seen from their wedding is that it was, without a doubt, the happiest day of their lives.
Quite honestly, I’m not even positive where those photos came from. I assume they hired a photographer, but I’m not entirely sure. They could’ve been taken by one of their friends who owned the nicest camera you could buy in 1979, or it could have been a staff photographer who was hired by the venue where their reception was held.
But what I do know? They sure as shit didn’t have multiple videographers on-hand to record a choreographed dance where all of their friends half-heartedly pretended to be having a good time for the sake of not looking like a spoiled brat on YouTube because they would’ve rather mingled than looked like the von fucking Trapp family.
I don’t know when it happened, but it happened. There wasn’t an exact moment when the shoe dropped and all of the sudden everyone had a full Hollywood staff at their wedding to record the premeditated bullshit that some are referring to as ‘marryoke’ or whatever. But there was a moment in time where weddings went from being sacred events that celebrated two people being in love to being longshot attempts at going viral by dancing to a song that’s going to be irrelevant in a year. Weddings went from being exclusive to being internet-whored stunts that need to be uploaded in HD and shared on Facebook so people who the bride doesn’t even know can see the maniacal dance that table 27 had to do, which in return made the entire table regret ever RSVP’ing “yes” in the first place.
Brides became Beyonces, grooms became Justin Timberlakes, and guests became props. Bridesmaids and groomsmen became backup dancers, and the dance floor became the world’s stage where the rest of the internet could watch a flock people that they don’t know dance like they’re a bootleg version of The Osmond Family or Jackson 5.
Every wedding that I go to, I celebrate. I celebrate the bride, I celebrate the groom, and I celebrate the matrimony of the two. But now, I have to celebrate the fact that these people (who I love) aren’t making me learn some song and dance that makes me look like a failed contestant on America’s Got fucking Talent. I get to celebrate that I can meet new people at my designated table, because we aren’t taking four fucking takes for the camera crew to follow the couple around while each table does their designated dance. I get to celebrate the fact that the people we’re all celebrating aren’t complete self-absorbed psychos who would rather have a viral Facebook video than my presence at their wedding.
I’m not a performer. Most people aren’t. The idea of public speaking, let alone public dancing for the internet to see, is torturous to most. On my wedding day, if I’m lucky enough to have one, I’ll blush for photos. I’ll feel uncomfortable making my obligatory speech thanking everyone for attending, and I’ll feel thankful that everyone took time out of their busy schedules to be with us. And hopefully, that’s as uncomfortable or staged I’ll feel for that entire day.
You’re not Sonny and Cher. You’re not Siegfried and Roy. You’re not the damn Indigo Girls. You’re not J-Lo and Ja Rule. You’re two people surrounded by a bunch of other people who are there to see you smile. To see you smile not for them, not for a camera, not for YouTube, and not for Facebook – but to smile for each other, because it’s the happiest day of your fucking life.
I’m not asking much, but if you do one thing on your wedding day, do that. Smile. Just please, don’t choreograph anything that’s going to make you, or your guests, look like assholes. .