Fuck Weddings? Why we have confusing feels about wedding snark

January 27 | offbeatbride
Screengrab courtesy of fuckweddings.tumblr.com
Screengrab courtesy of fuckweddings.tumblr.com

We recently got an email from a reader about her website, called Fuck Weddings. Here's how she describes it:

I got engaged this past summer, and I started Fuck Weddings to give voice to everyone who's thought "what the fuck is this nonsense?" while planning a wedding. Readers have called it "cathartic" and "a public service." I take a critical, feminist, comedic look at contemporary wedding trends, archaic traditions, and Pinterest horrors, with some original satirical pieces thrown in.

This feels like something we should like! We have a good sense of humor about ourselves and about weddings. All of us planning weddings need a bit more humor and lols in our lives, right? A good skewering can be good for everyone!

fuck weddings tumblr

At the same time, we're a bit torn about comedy that feels mean-spirited. Is it possible to make fun of weddings without making fun of the people planning those weddings? Is wedding comedy by its very nature just sorta cruel?

This is also a great example of how the more things change, the more things stay the same. Way back in 2007, we interviewed the author of a blog called Godawful Wedding Crap.

Godawful Wedding Crap featured "the worst of the wedding industry," mocking stuff like this:

pasted_image_at_2015_10_29_11_25_am

In fact, amusingly, Godawful Wedding Crap and Fuck Weddings take on literally the exact same topics:

(Aside: we totally see the value of boudoir shots — but to each her own!)

Ok, so clearly frustrations with weddings are the same, whether it's the mid-'00s or mid-teens. But we can't help but recognize that our celebration of Godawful Wedding Crap is from a different era of Offbeat Bride… an era when we defined "offbeat" as a reaction against "mainstream." A time when the subtitle of the first edition of the Offbeat Bride book was "Taffeta-free alternatives for independent brides," before we realized that some people LIKE taffeta, thank you very much. (The subtitle of the second edition was "Creative alternatives for independent brides," because really, we have nothing against taffeta.)

2007 was a time before we realized that planning a wedding is not a contest, nor is "offbeatness" an either/or thing, and that we're all along a spectrum and there's no need to diss a wedding choice just because it's different than the choice that you might make.

…But maybe 2007 was also a time where things were just plain old funnier? Maybe we've just gotten sensitive about our feels in our old age. I swear we still believe that there can be a release-valve value in snark. As we said way back in 2007:

Offbeat Brides need their snark — sometimes it's the only thing that will protect you from the creeping "white blindness" of wedding-planning dementia.

There's a place for voicing frustrations with an industry that sometimes works to exploit your insecurities. Recognizing the ridiculousness of the entire wedding planning process can be cathartic! But is there a way to do it that doesn't feel mean-spirited?

  1. I think it's possible to have good-natured snark. But I think it's really difficult and even if you start it correctly, when others pick up on the "theme", it generally runs out of control. So your post is perfectly balanced but the comments are a war zone.

    Also when I do want a little bit of snark, I want it to be strong : bitter, sarcastic, funny, dark. This is especially true when I need to "vent". The good-natured variety really doesn't cut it. Even when the non-snarky website manages to pull it off, it doesn't really satisfy.

    So for me the answer is no.

    3 agree
  2. Snarky wedding stuff can be great–like, this is genuinely hilarious: http://itheedread.jezebel.com/five-godawful-wedding-diy-ideas-from-pinterest-1716487200. But they do need to be FUNNY to work, I think, or they just come across as kind of cruel and elitist. Everyone has a different sense of humor, but this blog strikes me as just one "look at this f***** thing" after another, and mean-spirited rather than clever.

    Also, currently, the second post from the top is a long rant about why it's "unspeakably rude" to not invite long-term partners or spouses to weddings. Which, you know…kind of seems like the same ol' etiquette policing/shaming…

    7 agree
    • So… I get what you're saying about etiquette-policing, but I can't think of any way it's not insulting to only invite half of a married or engaged couple. You can definitely go down the rabbit hole on what constitutes an "established" couple, if you're trying to cut down on +1s, but engaged/married is pretty solidly "both or none." I'm having trouble picturing any situation, outside of something abusive or the like, where only half of an engaged or married couple would be invited.

      4 agree
      • In response to your last sentence: We did have one instance at our wedding where we asked one half of an engaged couple to attend. We knew we were going to have to keep things tight, so I sat down with my little knot of girlfriends and warned them we weren't going to be able to offer +1s. Two friends had boyfriends and one was recently engaged, but we didn't know the guys at all, and that was FH's and my criterion for invites. I specifically asked my recently engaged friend if she would be willing to make it a girls' weekend instead of bringing her fiancé (our wedding was 2k miles from them), and to her endless credit she agreed enthusiastically.

        Was it tacky of me to ask her to do that? Yes. Would I have done so if I hadn't known her extremely well and the rest of our girlfriends weren't single? No. Would I have added her fiancé if she had been upset? Yes. But she came without him and had a blast with the rest of our girlfriends, so it worked out. 🙂

        5 agree
      • I'm also quite firmly in the all spouses/significant others need to be invited. The best way I've heard it explained is it's very rude to expect people to come and celebrate your relationship if you even don't recognize theirs.

        5 agree
        • I don't think couples who don't invite significant others aren't recognizing the relationships. There are a ton of reasons why a couple might choose to leave a significant other off a guest list. The first one that pops into my mind is an intimate destination wedding. A couple I know did that with just their parents and respective best friends. I believe both best friends were married but their spouses were not invited because of the nature of the wedding the couple was choosing to have. I believe as long as people are honest and choices are made and communicated in a thoughtful and respectful manner each couple has the right to tailor their guest list to fit their day.

          2 agree
      • I hear what you're saying, but my comment was in part driven by the tone of the actual blog post I was referring to. The tone wasn't "hey, this is an issue you should consider, and you might offend someone"; it was "this is super f***** rude, and even if you're only inviting 10 people, that's your fault and it's too bad."

        Personally, I wouldn't be happy if my spouse wasn't invited to a wedding with a reasonable number of guests. But if it were a tiny intimate ceremony, or a family-only affair in which I was just one of a few friends invited, I would be understanding. The latter case happened to me, and I didn't go, because my partner was my only transportation. But it didn't strike me as rude. I think it all really depends on the circumstances and the intention.

        1 agrees
  3. I wanted to give it a chance so I just went and pursued the site and I am completely and utterly turned off and slightly offended. To me, snark CAN be funny. For example, a friend and I who are not into the burlap trend were joking about different uses of burlap at a wedding. This culminated with us deciding that filling a burlap sack with potatoes for centerpieces and then having mini burlap sacks as favors so guests could take a potato or two home was just about the funniest thing ever!! (Disclaimer I think this is a you had to be there kind of funny). Anyway, the point is we were joking about a trend we personally dislike but we think it's great if people DO like and DO want to incorporate it in their wedding. Hell, our silly idea would be perfect if two potato farmers tied the knot, and if I were a guest at a wedding with this I'd cram as many potatoes into my favor sack as I could. I LOVE potatoes. We would never say "Look at those ugly burlap table runners, they're so 2003!" because that's insulting. That's how "Fuck Weddings" came off to me. Insulting, rude, and not actually helpful to wedding planning.

    14 agree
  4. In comedy, the rule is to "punch up." Make fun of the society and its norms, not the individuals within the society. Make fun of wedding media and their seemingly endless ways to get you to part with your money (one of my first posts on the Tribe was about a display I saw in The Knot magazine where they were charging $3 a piece for "hand-carved water diamonds", aka ice cubes). The wedding industry has no face, and even if it did, your snark's probably not going to reach them and, in the words of Liberace, they're "crying all the way to the bank."

    Punching out or down is where it gets mean-spirited. You don't know why an individual made the wedding decision they did, and they don't owe you an explanation (though they'll probably offer one up, as wedding decisions are often steeped in meaning to the couple). So the author of the blog succeeds when she's punching up–yeah, I've also thought some of the things sold on the BHLDN website are ridiculous–but when she punches out or down like "I can't believe ANYONE would spend money on this!" she loses me. Laugh with, not at.

    25 agree
    • Totally agree with this! While I did find some comments humorous, like the imagery of that ring holder being surrounded by lasers for example, there were other attempts at humor that to me were just mean and generalizing.
      Like the generalization about holiday proposals. It's okay to personally not like them but it's not okay to lump them all together as "overdone" or any other negative adjective.

      2 agree
  5. There's a difference between making fun of the wedding industry and individual weddings. The industry is fair game. By that I mean the vendors and media that says you MUST do xyz or you don't have a REAL wedding: Spend a ton. Lose weight. Wear white. Have matching stationary.

    What's not ok is to make fun of individual choices. It can be a fine line. Rant about plastic surgeons trying to convince brides to go under the knife for their big day, but don't bash anyone who makes that choice for themselves.

    For many people a wedding is deeply personal and possibly deeply expensive. They've imagined this day their entire life, planned for it a year or more, and will remember and talk about it for the rest of their lives. They are under pressure for it all to be perfect. Now imagine waking up to find some Internet stranger got ahold of your memories and are trashing them. I can't imagine how horrifying that would be.

    Or even if it wasn't your wedding in particular, but the snark was about a decoration you're using and loving and have paid for and can't afford to replace before your big day. That may be just so upsetting.

    Weddings are personal and we're all very different. Who cares if someone decorates with fruit? Who does that hurt? When will we as women or even just humans decide that as long so other people's choices don't harm anyone, let them do it. Mean Girls should not extend to adulthood.

    16 agree
    • And this is really what it boils down to for me. I like the posts about ridiculous things the wedding industry tries to get away with (e.g. that company that funds your wedding but makes you pay it back if you get divorced?! Because it's not hard enough already?) and privately I agree with some of their opinions that certain wedding decorations are ugly. However, this blog (like most that engage in this kind of humor) used people's actual wedding photos. I hate to be a party pooper, but I would personally feel so hurt if someone publicly mocked such a personal and emotional moment in my life.

      5 agree
  6. Cheryl Texiera has some great snark in "Confessions of a Bride-to-Be" (https://www.youtube.com/user/MsLilTex/videos), and I agree with the above commenters. Making fun of stuff is funny. Making fun of traditions is funny. Making fun of caricatures is funny. Making fun of real people (especially people you don't know) isn't funny.

    3 agree
  7. I laughed, but I looked at this blog as one individual person venting on tumblr, not as a publication due to the single digits worth of notes on most of the posts. This kind of thing isn't a good thing for publications to be putting out there, since people's sense of humor varies so wildly, and because of the directional punching theory mentioned in earlier comments here. For an individual's tumblr though? "That's like, your opinion, man," as the Dude says. Carry on.

    3 agree
    • Agreed, and I wouldn't even know about the site, except for the author contacted me trying to spread the word… Which suggests trying to reach a larger audience.

      1 agrees
  8. If I'm gonna do something different and unorthodox at my wedding, and expect no one to make fun of me, I'm certainly not going to make fun of the girl who wants a traditional (or otherwise!) wedding. People (especially women) should just support each other. Also- those flashing bridesmaids are awesome!

    3 agree
  9. I was right on-board with the snark until I started scrolling, and it seemed less like snark and more mean-spirited. I finally stopped when I saw the post about the Santa wedding proposals. At that point, to me, you aren't making fun of WIC, or even DIY culture, you're making fun of ~people~. Individual people who have interests outside of your own, not a faceless entity.

    Idk. That whole blog seems like the sort of thing I come to OBB to avoid. That's just my opinion, though. I really don't mind snark, like the link Kim posted above was hilarious to me (even when they make fun of non-flower bouquets, which I'm doing!!) because there are jokes about the IDEA, not the people choosing to go with that idea. I think that's the difference to me? If I had to put my finger on it, that's what I'd say.

    3 agree

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