When Weddings Become Competitions

Imagine being in the middle of your vows on your wedding day as three of your guests spend the entire wedding critiquing your gown and ceremony.

"It looks like it’s off the rack."

"I don’t like the color."

"I can’t believe they didn’t write their own vows."

"OMG. Why is she wearing those shoes!"

On a day that is supposed to be your happiest, three other brides are not only discussing your dress, but they are also rating your venue, your food, and their overall experience at your wedding to compete for a honeymoon vacation.  Welcome to TLC’s show known as Four Weddings.

One particular couple on the show was renewing their vows. They were celebrating twenty-five years of marriage and their love for each other was overwhelming. You could definitely feel it in the way they looked at each other. When the husband nearly broke down into tears during his vows, I was close to tears myself.

But during the ceremony, the other three women openly talked about what they did or didn’t like. That was the moment when I realized that TLC had figured out a way to capitalize on turning women into competitors and weddings into competitions.

Weddings are supposed to be about two people who are madly in love with each other, celebrating and expressing their love in front of their friends and family. They are not intended to be a day for women to tear each other down with comments like, “Her dress totally did nothing for her” and “I think buffets at weddings are so tacky.”

In my parent’s day, it was common and acceptable for women to have a gold band as their wedding ring and to celebrate their marriage with punch and finger sandwiches. Marketing, advertising, Hollywood, and reality shows have caused weddings to morph into an event where people and their families spend thousands and sometimes millions of dollars for what amounts to a few hours of time. (Did you know the De Beers company literally paid Hollywood actresses to wear diamond rings at a time when gold rings were the standard?)

Televised celebrity weddings, extravagant magazine spreads, and bridal shows fool us into wanting to spend money that we do not have to copy the lifestyles of people we have never met.

I can count the number of weddings on one hand that I have attended where the couples were head over heels in love with each other. The others turned out to be expensive events for couples who are no longer together. Everyone has the right to have a day that reflects whatever they want, but I just wish that couples would spend more time discussing their marriage than the time they spend planning a wedding.

I would love for us to remember that weddings should be about love instead of feeding into the billion dollar wedding industry or into a cable network’s standard of what a wedding should look like.