This is your last chance to run: why commitment comedy falls flat for me

*Insert sound of my soul being crushed* Product image courtesy of Bellestyles.com

Every once in a while, I peek my head out of the safe, offbeat cave I've carved for myself here in this corner of the wedding industry and I get a terrible shock. See, I spend so much time over in my little niche that I forget about the rest of the wedding world and how icky it often is.

Case in point: this HARDY HAR HAR hilarious sign that you can buy for your ring bearer and flower girl to carry down the aisle, announcing that HO HO HO, this is your last chance to run!

Now, I get it: this is comedy. It's meant to provide a little moment of levity in a serious ceremony. But it hurts my head, and it hurts my heart, and here's why…

This sign says to me, "Any commitment before marriage doesn't really count."

This sign says to me, "Commitment is terrifying and awful."

This sign says to me, "Marriage sucks."

Also, while there's nothing explicit about gender in this particular sign, in a traditional western wedding, the groom is the one who sees this coming down the aisle as he waits for the bride to make her entrance — so, you can extrapolate that this is extra HARDY HAR HAR because OH THOSE MENFOLK: THEY JUST HATE TO COMMIT. (Other versions of this "Last chance" sign concept are much more explicit in their gender-grossness.)

Ok, ok. I know I'm being a grump here, and taking this silly shit way too seriously. I'm completely confident that some of you find this sign hilarious, and that's cool: if cracking jokes about commitment tickles your funny bone, by all means keep giggling.

Far be it for me to say that weddings shouldn't be hilarious, or that we all have to put on our Somber Hats (somber-eros?) and our Very Uncomfortable Humorless Panties to talk about the sanctity of marriage. I just find comedy like this problematic because it plays into and enforces so many stereotypes and generalizations about couples and commitment and marriage. That marriage is awful. That you should run. That you've got up until the moment you say "I Do" to just be joking around, and that everything changes after you get married.

It all just reminds me of the Game Over tshirts, where it's hardy-har-larious that the groom "lost" the game by having to get married.

Again, I get it: it's comedy. We all have different tastes in HA HAs, and that's cool: there's no need to defend yourself if you think this sign is awesome. But I think I'll just stay hiding over here in my corner of the wedding world, where our comedy is stuff like this or this.

  1. Another un-funny wedding joke: "J.S., congratulations! Mary B., my condolences." WTF? This 'joke' falls in line with the stupid-husband lines for me. Arg!

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  2. [Insert irate ranting here about equality, partnership, sex, and choice.]

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    • lol, love your abbreviated way of saying it all, without having to type it!

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  3. I am so with you on this!! I really don't think that your wedding Ceremony should be a time to be cracking silly distasteful jokes! i don't see the humour in it at all!!

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  4. Me and my fiance are humorous people, its one of the biggest reasons we love each other. But this is just bad humor. I've been getting a lot of "why buy the cow…" comments since us having a son apparently makes those jokes appropriate.

    Also, it makes me sad cause those kids are cute, but that glaringly ill-humored sign just detracts from that :(

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  5. This sign keeps popping up when I'm browsing Pinterest, and I'm so glad you said all this because it is EXACTLY how I feel about it!

    I saw a Jeep today with the typical "JUST MARRIED" and "MR & MRS" and the date on the back window, and I smiled. Then I saw the "Game Over" sign on the spare tire cover, and I frowned. Then I thought, proper geeks wouldn't have one of those signs, because proper geeks are the type of people at Offbeat Bride who seem to never make terrible "marriage is awful herp derp" jokes. Then I smiled again because I love this site. :)

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    • Yeah, this post was written after this picture popped up on Pinterest and I was horrified. I normally stay in my little offbeat corner of Pinterest, but I'd wandered into the main Weddings & Events sections…and quickly ran away screaming.

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  6. Everything you said! so much! I kept seeing that photo on pinterest and it just irritated me so much every time I saw it.

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  7. This kinda "Ball and chain jokes" and possible Wedding disaster move/shows is why I'm NOT going to see certain Movies and why I stopped watching one of my fav sitcoms (the 2 main characters are getting married)! I don't think, along with all of the other "bad taste" jokes, that wedding disasters are funny. I mean, I'm already under a lot of pressure I don't need a movie making fun of some of my worst nightmares.

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    • As a random aside to your comment, The Big Bang Theory just had a really sweet marriage episode for Howard and Bernadette.

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      • And as a random aside to your comment, I hated that Bernadette glowered at Sheldon for trying to say the wedding vows in Klingon… Um… they're geeks & all & so I'm thinking that the bride should've allowed her man to have his day too…

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  8. I've made numerous snarky "oh maybe I won't have to marry you now" comments to my almost husband, but I've been cracking dumb jokes like that to him for the 10 years we've been together, so I don't feel like the prospect of marriage has changed that.
    That being said, I really hate the cake toppers where the bride is dragging the groom or he's trying to run away. Maybe I'd feel less irritated if they had gender reverse ones too. I think that's probably my biggest problem with it – the fact that it's always assumed that the groom is the one who is being somehow forced into marriage.

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  9. My husband's "hilarious" best man got him that Game Over shirt to wear on the stag. Granted, he's a giant video game geek and that's how they all keep in touch while living across the country. The gender stereotype crap is just not him at ALL though.

    Plus, I was infuriated that even my annoyance at the shirt was taken as furthering the stereotype. As if my feelings were "Oh noes, now the world knows how sad he is about getting married!" vs. actually being tired of bullshit, tired marriage tropes and gender stereotypes.

    On an awesome note, Very Uncomfortable Humourless Panties is going to make me laugh for days and days.

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  10. I would love to buy this sign and then have the groom run down the aisle – to walk me back up to the front.

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    • THAT is UHMAZING. Fake out your entire family. Not a wedding they'd easily forget!

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  11. if someone i was dating thought this was even mildly funny, i'd drop him so stinking fast. you like it so much out there? go ahead.

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    • on a related note …
      you know those couples (not the ones in open situations) who have those celeb crush freebies? kinda in the same idea. like somehow marrying the person you're marrying is settling. maybe it's a self esteem issue … like meh this is probably the best i'll get, guess i'll get married. the way my husband sees it, if i preferred so n so celeb, i would have just gone after her. same goes for me. i saw what i wanted, & i went for it, not 2nd best. why would you want to run if it's what you want. & if you do want to get outta there, why are you selling yourself short? go get the best you can!

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      • The celebrity freebie thing has always seemed pretty harmless to me, but that might be because my future wife and I have similar taste in (fantasy) women. I didn't realize until I read your comment that the freebie list concept likely works much differently for most straight couples!

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        • oh i have no idea if it's any diff. probably not. my feeling is, if you'd ideally, perfect world want anyone but me, go get her & leave me out of it. lol

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        • side note @beth
          you look almost EXACTLY like my jr-hs best friend with the same name (though she went by liz), orientation, & hair. i had to open your profile to realize you weren't her. freaked me out. lol

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      • Early-ish when my fiance and I were dating we told eachother who our celebrity crushes were. It was kind of a "he's the one" moment for me when I realized I'd rather do him than Hugh Jackman :P

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  12. ok this might seem messed up & sorry if it offends, but i kinda think this would be similar to having a coathanger theme at a baby shower. it's seriously just … awful.

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  13. I guess my main concern is who chooses the signs? If one appeared at my wedding I would be devastated if my groom had known about it. I have no problem with a Stag Night / Bachelor Party but I just don't find this image funny at all. To me it is out of keeping with the sacred vows about to be exchanged. So if my groom thought this was funny, he'd be the wrong guy for me. If we both thought it funny then guess that's OK … cringeworthy for many guests but OK for the couple!

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    • The majority of wedding products (especially in more traditional wedding purchases) are marketed to brides, and I'm betting this one is no exception.

      All the times I've seen it on Pinterest, it's been pinned by women.

      1 agrees
      • Part of that could be that the Pinterest demographic is somewhere around 70% female.
        That being said, I don't see this being marketed to men (because it's a wedding thing and why would you ever market those to MEN? it's not like it's THEIR BIG DAY too ::eyeroll::. It looks like the sort of thing they expect a bride to think will be a funny surprise for her partner or something. Frankly I think my husband would have hated it. or run away. you give him an opportunity for a joke…

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  14. Thank you for posting this and to the other comments. I knew I wasn't alone in finding this sort of humour not funny. I hate those cake toppers where it shows the bride dragging the groom away from something, or the ball 'n chain shit. I find that the people who make the jokes at us, or think this stuff is funny come from horrible relationships. Where the female is trying to change him, doesn't like him playing games, drinking beer etc.

    My fella had a guy at work basically tell him to run, took him to another guy at work who is currently going through a divorce and tried to jokingly show him what will happen. My guy and the bloke going through the divorce quite quickly told him to fuck off. Where do people get off? Anybody that knows us as a couple haven't made one single trying to be funny joke at us. It's everyone who doesn't know us very well and is in a miserable relationship. Go away!

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    • I hate those cake toppers! How is that funny?

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      • Perhaps they are serious. The woman really wants to chain her man up?

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        • BAHAHA that just put a WHOLE NEW spin on those figurines for me. No longer commitment jokes, they're bdsm-themed!

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  15. I've just been googling these signs and seen that you can buy one that says 'Last chance to run DADDY'. WTF?! If the parents are getting married, having the kids holding a sign encouraging the father to dump not just his WTB but his entire family is messed up! Or if the bride is the kids' step mother-to-be, that's just nasty! These signs are so depressing and insulting. Of course there should be fun and laughter at a wedding (and this site has loads of examples of that) but why not think of humor that's unique to the couple and doesn't make anyone feel like crap?

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  16. Not even close to funny, and such outdated phyllis dinner/rodney dangerfield type humor – and I'm OLD! My daughter's Big Event was last week and they had lots of laughter and surprises, but what pleased me so much were all the comments about how amazed people were that they looked like they were still on their honeymoon and having a ball, even though they've been married a year before their big shindig. Now that's a message sent.

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  17. god, i cant agree with you more. i hate all that stuff as well!! thats why i love this website, even though im really nowhere near my own wedding. here there is love that is just that- love. there is no tricking into love, there are no men trying to run (omg, can we talk about those TERRIBLE CAKE TOPPERS!!!!) and there are no phycho women who are the ones who are doing the holding-onto-the-neck of the men in the cake topper. this is why i love this website. thank you.

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  18. Boy do I agree! I have a good sense of humor and am planning a lot of little humorous things for my wedding, but these kind of jokes that insinuate lack of previous commitment or that a man's life ends at marriage really gets my blood going.

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    • It is a serious ceremony and a little bit of off beat humor is great, but to me these signs are in poor taste.

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  19. I must be the only one who finds this concept funny. But that said, he's the one more into the whole wedding thing than myself. Maybe its the irony I like

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  20. AMEN! I'm so excited to get married and so is my hubs to be. I don't get things like this. I get some people find it funny, but really? I love and respect all the comments here too.

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  21. I agree with everything said here with the exception of the message it supposedly sends to the kids carrying the sign. The flower girl looks too young to read, and even if the ring bearer can read he's probably too young to get the "joke."

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    • You think the kids aren't going to ask what the sign they are carrying says?

      And even if they don't get the joke now, it might well stick with them.

      Or they might just ask what it means.

      As a grade 1 teacher I gotta say, things don't go over kids heads nearly as much as people think.

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  22. My Nan is quite the funny/grouchy lady, and we are very close. I found out days after the wedding that in the moments before the ceremony she took my soon-to-be husband aside and told him that this was his 'last chance'… as in, last chance to bail. He laughed it off (she is kind of an odd duck) but WTF!? My poor guy was nervous enough, he had just met my family and was about to get married! (we both are a little nervous around lots of people… even at such a happy occasion!)I'm so glad I didn't know it happened until days later and i was even able to chuckle… but omg…out of place and a yucky thing to say! Sigh… crazy old Nan.

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  23. Before I even finished the article I was like, now if they were kids dressed as the mario bros "GAME OVER" written in a pixel font it'd still be awful like those shirts but awful with thought put into it… When I told my friend I was going to ask my girlfriend to marry me, my friend said he wanted to buy me the bride & groom game over tshirt but then he said 'but you're both women, do they make them for bride & bride?' he still doesn't get the whole trans thing but he's a nice boy, he just doesn't think… If someone had to be all 'har har weddings suck' they should do it at the bachelor party or stag & hen or whatever parties are had for 'light fun' still potentially offensive but if you're putting up a front for your dude friends that's one thing, I understand how sometimes you need to be macho to fit in, but if you continue to put on the same show in front of the brides parents and your collective families, then that's going too far and should maybe make you question your maturity? If you don't want to get married why are you? I wouldn't want to marry someone who didn't want to marry me, and vice versa. It's sad though that guys can't just be like, 'ball and chain? no she's great I like being in love and not having to wonder about awkward tension like a ticking time bomb until she passive aggressively dumps all my clothes on the lawn or if I'll die alone… I'm okay if she's the last girl I sleep with' but they have to be like 'oh I know, I hate this, I feel smothered, she likes me to text her back, what's this about?' I don't get it.

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  24. Yuck, what an awful sign.

    Then there's those awful cake toppers where the bride is dragging the groom behind her.

    I just don't get why anyone would want to use these.

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  25. actually, I love the sign! Not for humor but because of all of the reasons you mentioned (just that you got to the exact opposite conclusion than I did!). You may or may not over think this a little too much?

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    • Didn't really over-think … just instinctively cringed personally! BUT each to their own and if the bride was happy with the sign then that's fine for her.

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  26. To me, this just reinforces the stereotype that weddings are non inclusive of men. Although women 'have' to wait for his proposal, once that is done, he is no longer part of the planning and just has to show up on the day. Even then it appears he doesn't even have to do that.

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  27. Agreed. I didn't actually realize how much stuff like this bothered me until those last few weeks before getting married! People kept asking if I was nervous about being tied down ALL the time and saying it was my last weeks of freedom. Weird, since we have been together and committed for like 6 years now and I never felt like my "freedom" was being inhibited then.
    Luckily my Maids of Honor (yes I had two) were awesome and my bachelorette party was a girls night in chicago just hanging out, going to a musical and eating yummy food not shaped liked penises. My husband's bachelor party was a metal concert with his friends (male and female) and then bar hopping.
    At the rehearsal dinner though, people kept wanting to get pictures of us on our last night as single people, to which we just replied that we hadn't been single for quite some time….

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  28. I agree, I agree with this profusly. My husband agrees, we both didn't find that game over t-shirt amusing. I've given mine away. I don't think a game is over. Uck! I hate these jokes.

    So I agree. Now other people found that funny, I find it simply stupid. And I don't really go along either. I just simply stare and say "Not funny" and walk off on a good day. On a really bad day (such as the one I had when i got that shirt, planning a wedding is so stressful) I can rant for hours, and get really pathetically mad.

    Oh well. Its good to know, I'm not alone on this.

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  29. There's another thing this sign says to me that bothers me:

    "If the marriage gets bad, you can't run."

    The reason this underlying assumption disturbs me so much: U.S. society is deeply contradictory: even though such a high percentage of marriages end in divorce, talking about the possibility of divorce if you are engaged feels oddly taboo. I enter into this marriage committed to continuing a healthy, functional, happy, joyous relationship. But I make the promise to myself that if our relationship is no longer healthy, and if we cannot find a healthy path back to a strong relationship, I can and will leave it. Just as marriage is not necessary for a healthy long-term commitment, marriage does not guarantee a healthy relationship, and for me a commitment to any future has to also be a commitment to take care of myself.

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    • I agree. I'm planning my second marriage, and I learned a lot from my first, which was emotionally, mentally, and borderline physically abusive. I can not honestly promise my fiance that I will stay with him forever no matter what, because I don't believe in no matter what any more. There has to be a line. It isn't healthy not to have limits. Marriage is not awful, and if it is, fix it or get out! I am so glad you touched on this!

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  30. My husband got one of those stupid 'game over' t-shirts from a friend when we were first going out. He has never worn it. We tend to find a lot of the same things hilarious (he wears the 'firefly' inevitable betrayal t-shirt I got him all the time). When he got the game over t-shirt (in front of me) we just smiled politely. There was an embarrassed silence which continued in spite of the 'no offence, Nadia' joke that went with it. I'm usually a bit of a laugh-slut so whoever came up with it must have failed pretty badly.

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  31. Admittedly, We will probably say something 'aloof' at the wedding like 'oh gee, I guess I'm stuck with her now' or 'oh we just stay together for the pets' but really, we've been living together for 7 or 8 months and I wouldn't have it any other way. I think society almost pressures you to act reluctant like if you're truly happy it scares people so they want to scare you out of it. We're just both deeply sarcastic and kind of bitter about everything other than our relationship, but our freedom isn't over, in fact I feel like I have more freedom now. Plus she ran off with her best friend to go camping labour day weekend and I wasn't officially living here yet and I house sit, I watered plants and fed the rabbit because I wanted to stay here and experiment with if I could ever live here. I mean I'd like to take trips with her, but sometimes I think it's good to have someone here while the other runs an errand or goes on a trip too. I dunno.

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  32. Marriage is so sacred to me, I hardly find this funny. And I really hate seeing the kids carry this! It kind of goes along with those cake-toppers where the bride is dragging the groom away. I've always failed at finding those funny. Marriage is so beautiful, why even do it if you're going to feel like it's "game over", or as if there's something horrible to run from?

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  33. I'd never really noticed any of this stuff until 5 years ago when I went to buy a card to go with a wedding gift. The only options were along the lines of ball-and-chain jokes or featuring a white dress (the couple is Jain and had a Jain ceremony). I ended up getting a pretty blank card. Seriously, who thinks it's a great idea to "celebrate" someone's wedding by saying that marriage is this awful thing?

    1 agrees
  34. My EX husband wore a game over t-shirt at our wedding after-party and I hated it. I also hate those cake toppers of brides dragging grooms by the collar. Who the hell thinks these things are funny?

    1 agrees
  35. Thank you SO much for this. I truly thought I was the only one who thought this was unfunny(and borderline tasteless, IMO). And the fact that one of these had something like 105 repins is disconcerting to me. I just do not understand the humor behind it. I find it incredibly disrespectful to your future spouse. Reminds me as others have said, the cake toppers with the man being dragged or when the groomsmen write "funny" things on the soles of the groom's shoes like "Help Me". Heaven forbid a man want to marry the woman he loves.

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  36. I am SO glad that there are other people who aren't enchanted with the whole "haha commitment sucks haha" social dialogue. If my fiance and I felt this way, we probably wouldn't be getting married… And it is completely upsetting that men are stereotypically seen as phobic of commitment. I'm not sure who it's more offensive for— the men who are held to such a low standard, or the women who are essentially being told that they are not worthy of a committed partner (because everyone knows that women are just trying to woo you into marriage so that they can become nags.)

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  37. I'm a bit late to the party, but I showed this post to my Mister just now. He said he's gotten a few comments along the lines of, "I didn't know you were engaged, why would you do that?" He looked at them with the face you make to someone who asks an extremely stupid question and said, "Because I want to."
    I think I picked the right partner. :-)

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  38. I'm actually surprised, with a site name of OFFBEAT Bride, that more people can't find the humor in this.

    When I saw this, I thought about how my family would have cracked up if this came down the isle before me. I was actually ready to send it to my sister as she is considering marriage…until I actually read the post.

    Weddings don't have to be proper. I was actually the one who bought my husband the "Game Over" shirt that everyone seems to hate. He tells me that I can be replaced with a newer model. Does that make us less committed? Nope.

    Then again, I grew up in a family where the ability to laugh at things, yourself included,is valued.

    Weddings are supposed to be fun. If this sign isn't your style that's great, but don't hate on those of us who like humor like this.

    Someone said they fly into a rage when they see stuff like this. Really? It's not worth getting upset over, especially since if it's not your wedding.

    I found you through Pinterest and loved the name of the blog but, well, with this post being only the 2nd one I have read I'm not sure I want to read the rest.

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    • I completely understand. I saw that my online wedding shop was getting a great deal of traffic from Offbeat Bride. I thought how cool, maybe they've included a link to my store or wrote a blog about my custom monogrammed aisle runners, rustic burlap runners, unique parasols, or other custom wedding items. I was further encouraged when I saw the title of the Offbeat Bride website says "Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides." I love it, that's my target market! I clicked the link and whoops, my item was posted in the WTF!? section of the website, excoriated for being explicit in its gender-grossness. There is a black-eye I certainly did not see coming! Lesson learned.

      I understand not everyone would appreciate the humor of the banner. As a bride-to-be, I never would have chosen this banner for my wedding. After years of marriage, I think its hysterical, especially because the day after our wedding, my husband leaned over to me, held his left hand up, pointed to his ring and said "Its too late now, you can NEVER get rid of me." Everytime I put my hands on my hips out of frustration, he points to his ring and shrugs. We both break out in laughter. I guess we're just the type of people that find a bit of light-hearted humor in these things.

      A few hours of searching the Offbeat Bride website, and I'm beyond confused. A wedding banner teasing about "running" before the wedding is considered icky, enraging and disgusting, but a giant unicorn that pees lemonade and should menstruate soft-serve ice cream is hysterical? I shrug my shoulders and say to each his own.

      A friend in the wedding industry said it best, "What's beautiful about each wedding is that it is about two people who love each other. It is about celebrating their personalities, sense of humor, style, religion, and choices. Everything that they chose, from the colors to the venue, from the guest list to those who represent the bridal party, it is solely about reflecting the couple. Before you judge any wedding for not meeting your expectations, remember that it isn't about you, its about them." That's an attitude I expected to see more of at Offbeat Bride, again, lesson learned.

      Side note- I do love the "no drama" comment policy. It was nice to see opinions expressed that did not degenerate into name calling. More websites should adopt a similar policy.

      8 agree
      • YES to business owners who are articulate, lovely human beings expressing opinions! There are all kinds of things on this site some like and some dislike… but just remember that "any publicity is good publicity". Being in the WTF section of a site this big is better than being not on it- and I hope many of those clicks have turned into sales for you (if not of this item, of others).

        Well said, my dear.

        3 agree
  39. We were thinking of having one of these sign, until I read this, but mainly because everyone who knows us knows that it's me who was dragging her feet to get married NOT him! may have to get one saying "Here's Mummy" Jack Nicholson style ;)

    3 agree

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