The realization that personal data is being used in unimaginable ways may have finally awoken a sleeping giant, namely the gazillions of people who have compromised privacy for a sort of celebrification (not a real word but it works) of the important but fairly standard stages of their lives. Social media has raised the stakes on personal and family rituals and traditions like weddings, births, coming of age, and even vacations. With the ratcheting up has come a crazy and exponential expenditure of dollars against all these commonplace activities. People have got married for centuries and only the very rich would typically pour money into the venture, mostly as a means to display the combined wealth (and power) of the families coming together. In the post social media world of today, average people with average earnings are required to achieve a celebrity-level status of excess so that their Instagram will not look impoverished beside say, Prince Harry’s.
Becoming enslaved to social media personas is dramatically affecting the financial basis upon which couples typically rely to build their family’s financial stability. It starts early, folks, and if you don’t think it does then you’ve missed one of the most important life lessons. When I hear about engaged couples planning a getaway wedding that requires wedding guests to donate not just a week of their limited vacation time (and in North America that can be as little as two weeks per year for a very long time), but the full payment of the flight and hotel, add to that a wedding present, plus whatever you have to wear (bridesmaids are particularly on the hook) and you have a significant contribution to a downpayment on a home, investment in a start-up, or contribution to a retirement savings plan.
I would like to see a return to normalcy in all things private and personal – forget the engagement photos – no one cares what you looked like when you got engaged. We want to see your kids playing and screaming and filthy – not posed and perched with an outfit no self-respecting 8 month old would choose for themselves.
My hope is that the revelations around privacy will bring a collective return to some appreciation of celebrations that are human-scaled and special because they are not the privy to the circumspection of the masses.
And so with that scolding (apologies since it likely came off as just that) here are the 5 things NOT to do when planning your wedding:
- Engagement photos – these are so artificial and useless I can’t imagine why they’ve caught on.
- Destination weddings – it’s your honeymoon not your family and friends, so get married where it is most convenient for others.
- Multiple course meals – everyone just wants to dance so cut the multi-course meal, set-up a buffet and get to the fun.
- Receiving lines – these are truly awful! The wedding couple should make the rounds and say hello and thank you. People waiting in line to shake your hand and say you look great is just a huge waste of time. Remember, it’s all about the dancing.
- Weddings – forget the wedding and just have the party. If you’re not religious then what really is the point?
While I am anti-wedding I am not anti-romance. Let’s not confuse the two.