As I’ve admitted before, I’m not a “wedding-person.” As such, I haven’t watched a lot of wedding-related reality-television. Sure, I’m familiar with it, and I know what a Bridezilla is–even though, as Alex pointed out this weekend, that term really doesn’t make any sense and we should be using “Bride-jira,” which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But, in general, wedding television just seems to be about people shopping and getting stressed out, and those are my two least-favorite things in this life. If I could never shop or be stressed-out again, I’d be too happy. I only watched an episode of David Tutera this weekend so I could lean over to my boyfriend and say things like, “See? It could be worse. Instead of being stressed out to the point of tears by just the idea of looking at any venue I could want an Indian-themed wedding without Indian food because Indian food makes me “sleepy.”"
But while wedding reality TV leaves me cold, there’s something I do love…fictional weddings.
Give me a fictional wedding any day of the week and I will watch the shit out of it. Furthermore, I’ll love every second. Cheesy wedding movies? Sure, I’ve seen 27 Dresses, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Wedding Planner, and, one of my favorite movies OF ALL TIME, The Wedding Singer. I also love non-cheesy wedding movies, like Bridesmaids or Bachelorette. And wedding sitcoms? Good Lord. There’s nothing I love more than a wedding-episode of one of my favorite shows (well, other than a Christmas episode). New Girl had a great wedding episode, The Office had a fun one, and Happy Endings has multiple great wedding episodes. Honestly, I think it’s hard to mess up a wedding episode.
But what’s with this? Why do I, someone who doesn’t particularly even like weddings, enjoy watching so many fictional weddings? And why do so many other women love wedding reality TV? What is it about this stuff that draws us in, like one of those light-up bug zappers, but one that features David Tutera instead of imminent death?
Once I thought about it for two seconds, it became pretty obvious. Because weddings are one of the few things our culture celebrates that is clearly, totally, 100% female.
You might not agree with my assertion that weddings are a female-only activity, since men are often involved. But, as we all know, men do not care about weddings. Like, at all. Even the little bit I care about weddings dwarfs the interest H. has in weddings. Weddings celebrate all the good and awful stereotypes of womanhood. And weddings are emotional.
There are very few things I love more than talking about feelings, which I realize is a cliche. I’m not saying all women enjoy talking about feelings. I have friends who don’t! But, in general, I always want to get real and start getting down to the dirt, even if I’ve just met someone. Yes, I want to hear about your family drama. Sure, I want to know why you have problems committing in a relationship. I would love nothing more than hearing about how you came out to your parents. What’s the most recent fight you had with your significant other? Oh, are you still in love with your ex? I want to hear about all of these things. And weddings share my desire to get really real.
How much more emotional can you get? You’re standing in a room full of loved ones and telling them all how you feel. I love it. You’re saying, “This is the person I plan to be with forever, and these ladies standing next to me are the women who mean the most to me.” And you’re saying vows to commit to another person forever in front of everyone you know. That’s getting real. And, let’s face it, the idea of sharing emotions is something our culture sees as “female.” I don’t think it’s inherently, biologically, female, but that’s the way we’re brought up. And weddings are one of the only times we’re encouraged to get balls-out emotionally vulnerable.
There aren’t a lot of other opportunities to have everyone you love all in one space (although Caitlin Moran says this isn’t ideal. We’ll see what my thoughts on this subject are after it happens). And I know a cynic would say women love wedding shows so much because we just like the grandiose nature of it all, the expensive parties, the white dresses, the whole princess fantasy stuff, but I don’t think that’s true. Or, more accurately, I think it’s true for some people. But not for me. Weddings are just emotionally charged events, and if someone doesn’t end up either proposing*, announcing their pregnancy**, or getting drunk and commandeering the mic to publicly declare their love for another wedding guest*** at my wedding, then I’m gonna assume it’s a failure.
*This actually happened at a wedding I went to. But, as it turns out, neither that engagement nor the marriage I was there to witness actually “took.”
**Like on Friends.
***We’re actually having our reception at a dry venue, so this can only happen if someone brings their own alcohol/emotions.