Friday 13 December 2019

Marriage has become a multimedia production

Weddings are becoming less about the couple and more about portraying the wedding positively on social media

I do: James and Sarah Walk
I do: James and Sarah Walk
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wed in May in Florence

Bryony Gordon

At a dinner party, at the residence of a smart friend, I found myself seated next to a recently engaged socialite, with a diamond the size of Gibraltar on her ring finger. "Where did you get married?" she asked the socialite. "We were thinking Malibu."

"A registry office," I mutter.

"And did you get sponsorship? We are looking at some drinks companies, and a jewellery firm seems interested. Did you create a special hashtag for the event or did you do a social media blackout on your wedding photos until you had released the official ones?"

I went home thinking that this kind of behaviour was the exclusive preserve of the fabulously rich and stupid (Katie Price and any of her husbands, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West).

I do: James and Sarah Walk
I do: James and Sarah Walk

But then I read about James and Sarah Walk, a very normal couple from Ohio, and their very abnormal wedding photographs. They flew themselves and a photographer to Iceland, and did the pictures in front of a series of waterfalls and mountain ranges.

The resulting images have gone ''viral'' - a term that just 10 years ago, nobody in their right minds would want associated with their wedding day. There was a time when a few pictures of them grinning like lovestruck loons outside the church was all a bride and groom needed as souvenirs from their wedding day. Now nothing short of a video, digital memory book and a photo booth picture of every single one of your guests wearing a wacky hat and playing a blow-up guitar will do.

Then there's the nice people at Illustries, who will interview a bride and groom and then write their love story up, accompanied by the wedding photos. Yes, for a small price you too can star in your very own fairy tale!

"Ever since celebrities started to flog their weddings to Hello! and OK!, normal people have wanted to emulate them," said one veteran wedding photographer who didn't want to be named for fear
 of offending his clientele.

He says that he used to have until the end of the honeymoon to have the pictures ready, but now couples want them immediately, to upload as their Facebook profile pictures.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West left it a whole week before they posted a picture of their nuptials. This was because they spent most of their honeymoon retouching the flowers in the background of the official picture. Their efforts were rewarded with over 2.5 million Instagram likes.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wed in May in Florence
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wed in May in Florence

Speaking of Instagram, several friends of mine have, as the socialite hinted, created hashtags for their lavish weddings and honeymoons. Thus, with one quick search term, you can instantly be on that island in the Maldives with them.

Another wedding photographer tells me that almost all of their clients want to know what the chances are of having their big day featured on one of the increasing number of wedding blogs. Maybe that's why I've seen a shift in what people want photographed," says Laura Babb of Babb Photography. "Sometimes there's less focus on the actual couple, more on the table settings."

Marriage, eh? To have and to hold, from this day forward, for great Instagram filters and for bad photoshopping skills…

Irish Independent

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