Why does the internet love snarking about weddings so much?

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Photo courtesy of Post Secret's Sunday Secrets
Photo courtesy of Post Secret‘s Sunday Secrets

Can we talk about this for a second: why does the internet love snarking about weddings? I mean yes: the internet loves snarking in general, but there seems to be something particularly digitally delectable about making fun of weddings online. Sometimes it feels like nontraditional weddings get snarked on the most (and certainly we've seen our share of Offbeat Brides get mocked on sites like Jezebel and Wedinator), but these days it seems just as likely to hear people bitching about how Pinterest has made all weddings look the same and all the wedding trends are played out, blah blah blah.

As someone who's been on the internet for 20 years, it's no surprise for me to hear that you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. If your wedding is weird, you get mocked. If your wedding is on-trend, you get mocked. Basically, the internet is for mocking. What I want to explore is WHY? Why does everyone love getting bitchy about weddings? I'm going to put on my sociologist/media studies hat and share a few theories…

Aesthetic differences = HO HO HO

Obvious statement is obvious: we all have different tastes when it comes to event design. Some of us think “This is your last chance to run” signs are hilarious, others of us get skeeved out by commitment comedy. Some of us think global meats sound delicious, others find the idea nauseating.

So, no shit: we all have different tastes. What's different about weddings is that they're a more visible expression of those tastes. (Especially if your wedding is on the internet.) More visibility means more opportunity for snark, and more opportunity for communal snark, where we all gather together and one-up each other's mocking.

Financial investment = HAR HAR

Anything more than a courthouse wedding is going to cost a bit of cash. So, when people see a wedding that's not to their liking, and then they imagine someone spending a chunk of money on that!? The money component raises the stakes from “Meh, that's not my jam, but whatever” to “Oooh shit, how much did they spend on this hot mess?!” Suddenly, everyone's fingers are tingling with the snark urge.

Hypothetical lifetime commitment = SNARF

The snark factor goes up even more when people see something they don't like, and imagine that this is the celebration of a lifetime (…or not) of commitment. The gallows humorists start snarfing to themselves, “Oh ho ho, I wonder how long THESE two will last?” This is one place where snark is equal opportunity — lavish luxury weddings are just as likely to be skewered as weirdo weddings.

A brief aside here: As someone who's been publishing a wedding blog for almost 7 years, I can tell you based on my extremely anecdotal evidence that wedding style has almost zero impact on marriage longevity. We get an email every month or two from a previously featured couple who's now separated, and they've run the gamut — older lesbians who'd been together for a decade before getting married, young hipster hets who had adorable quirky/cute outdoor weddings, academics who had thoughtful ceremonies full of literary quotes… from what I can see, there's no predictor for marriage longevity.

Bridal hubris = BWAHAHAHA

I can attest to this first-hand: when we edit our wedding profiles, one of the things we're diligent about is making sure the tone of the profiles doesn't feel too, well, for lack of a better word, braggy. It makes sense of course: couples have invested a huge amount time, money, and emotions into their weddings… but sometimes that pride can translate into a tone that comes off as boastful. We all know the internet loves nothing more than popping boastful balloons — it's like we see it as our collective responsibility to bring everyone and everything down to earth.

After editing literally hundreds of wedding profiles, I can say that there's definitely a difference between the usual excitement and pride (“I'm really proud of this thing I did! Let me share it with you!”) and a difficult boastful tone (“Everyone told me it was the BEST WEDDING EVER. There was literally not a dry eye in the house during our vows. It was all about us and what special snowflakes we are!”).

There are a some common red flags:

Again, this kind of stuff is pretty common and completely understandable. My editors just lovingly tone it down as they're editing the posts… Mostly just because it doesn't make for very good reading. Toning down boastful vibes is just one of a lot of different kinds of edits we make on bride profiles, including stuff like lifting out people bitching about family members (inevitably, the family member finds the post and we get an email asking us to remove the snarking), and rambles about minutia that feel hugely important at the time, but don't make for great reading. When it comes to protecting our couples from getting attacked online, however, it's the most important.

So WTF can you do about it?

Ok, so there are my three theories on why the internet loves mocking weddings, but this raises the question: as someone who's getting married, what can you do about the snark?

Also related: If I submit a guestpost to you, do I risk getting attacked by other bloggers?

So, what are YOUR theories on why the internet loves to hate weddings?

Comments on Why does the internet love snarking about weddings so much?

  1. I admit that I am guilty of snarking on one wedding pretty heavily. And the reason is that the bride ran it as a fundraiser, with no regard for her guests whatsoever. It was literally painful. It wasn’t because she didn’t have the money to host us in at least a minimally comfortable way (and my standards for this are really low–blankets and burgers at the park, or a well-thought-out and thoughtfully organized cake-and-punch ‘do at the local church) … but she chose not to. She also chose to invite every one of her Facebook friends, while pointing them in the direction of her registry. And then with the multiple showers hosted by herself, with gift requests sent out….obliging her bridesmaids to buy the soda for the party….a bachelorette with a lingerie gift requirement, and dollar trees everywhere with signs indicating to “donate” to their honeymoon (this AFTER most everyone had brought something from the registry). Then there was nothing but Kool-Aid, which ran out, and food that ran out as well. The cake, at least, wasn’t bad, but she had someone else buy that for her as well!

    The fact that she wore a bright blue dress? Totally cool with that. Super Mario cake? Aces in my book. The reason I snark on this wedding is the fact that I left feeling like a walking dollar sign. And unfortunately, this happens to more than a few brides/mothers/MIL/bridal party members. People see things like this, and they start thinking “Brides are so ____” or “Brides just want _____” when really, the people who get ugly about weddings are very much in the minority. But people ALWAYS remember those experiences, because they spent time and money earnestly and feel taken advantage of when _____ turns out to be a gimme pig. Or when so-and-so gets stressed and has a meltdown, or when whatsherface obsesses on Facebook for ten weeks about tablecloth choices.

    I think a lot of it is that the internet has a snark problem, but I think at least a small part is that a very tiny (but incredibly memorable) minority of brides have selfishness/greediness/thoughtlessness/anger problems, therefore brides in general have a PR problem. For example, a close acquaintance of mine went to the wedding mentioned above, and it was such a tasteless debacle he now has a policy of not attending weddings at all.

    It had nothing at all to do with the offbeat choices, and everything to do with the off-color behavior.

  2. Great post.

    I think weddings get so much snark because they are Such A Big Deal. They combine ultimate self-centered-ness with a huge budget and a gross time spent obsessing over trifling details. Plus gift registry.

    Too often, a couple gets obsessed with having “the best day of their life.” (Doesn’t that imply that the rest of the marriage is going downhill? Yikes!) They spend an entire year (or more) obsessing over this one day. Every little detail is of the utmost importance. The emphasis becomes “I’m spending so much time and money on this, it better be perfect.”

    Think about it – how many birthday parties have you thrown for yourself? Did you spend $30k on any one of them?! Did you spend a year telling all your friend about how important it is that this be the Best Day of Your Life, and the napkins Must Represent ME! ahem I mean us?

    To me, a wedding should be about a community of friends and family getting together to help a couple embark on a new phase of life. Yes a wedding is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime event that should be fun and representative of the couple. But how unique should it be? To people who like tradition, they don’t like their conformity to pointed out so they snark on the “wierd” weddings. Meanwhile the non-conformists love to snark on the Norms and their “stupid, boring, catered weddings.”

    I rarely read comments anymore because of all the assholes on the net, but this is a good conversation and I’m glad I jumped in. OBB is such a breath of fresh air! 🙂

  3. I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying the OBB community. I have certainly privately been guilty of making snarky remarks at weddings but in general I really try to keep those comments quiet and really enjoy the general positive vibe I’ve been reading here.

  4. I must have got really lucky in my years of looking at weddings. I saw hardly any bitching or snarkyness.
    I found one wedding blog in the early days of planning that seemed to be centred on snark. I even asked them why and the author said it was their thing if you don’t like it don’t read it. (Which I think is a ridiculous excuse for being a bitch) but I chose not to read it ever again. Now I can’t even remember what it was called. Life is far to short for filling my head with another persons issues.

    None of the blogs I chose to frequent when wedding planning are snarky or their comments (or maybe i got lucky and just didn’t read the snarky ones) I rarely used Pinterest to search and just used one private album for pining so I didn’t see snark there either.

    I’ve had one picture from our wedding get shared about so far and all the comments have been super positive.

    Maybe I got lucky when I was planning but it seems pretty easy to avoid the bitchiness if you want to.

  5. Nice article, although I do have a quibble that the ‘Internet’ snarks at things. The Internet doesn’t do anything – PEOPLE do. Every single last one of us is responsible for our actions to others. By saying ‘the Internet made me do it’ it’s giving those people an excuse for being vile. I would never put anything on the Internet that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face and if I can’t think of anything nice to say, then I say nothing. It’s easy enough to do.

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