The Dark Side of Wedding Reality Television

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Friday, July 25, 2014

When it comes to weddings and reality television, we’ve had some interesting experiences and have even been known to say a thing or two about them publicly. So when Salon magazine recently approached us about our opinions on the topic, we were happy to explore the subject a bit further. Among the many questions posed was: “Do you agree that the wedding complex (WIC) traffics in negative tropes about women the way reality TV does?”


Responding to that seemingly simple question actually required a bit more analysis than anticipated. First, I think it’s important to clarify the definition of WIC as, at its most literal level, Rebel Belle Weddings is part of the Wedding Industrial Complex. I make my living in the wedding industry providing a service that I certainly hope is needed and helpful and that people will want to purchase. A good portion of the wedding industry is made up of wonderful, hard-working, honest vendors who also want to provide great products or services and support themselves and their families in the process. However, the author’s definition of WIC (as I understood it) was more as a wedding culture that perpetuates pressure on brides and couples. This “Dark Side” WIC consciously exerts pressure on people to make certain choices and freely exudes judgment if an alternative path is taken.

As I pondered my response, it was the word “judgement” that jumped out at me. This is where I believe the Dark Side WIC and the Reality TV industry share common ground. This WIC traffics in judgment and wields it as a finance-generating weapon in order to make people feel compelled, even obligated, to have “the right” things, spend “the right” amount of money, etc. The reality TV industry wields that same weapon but in a bit of a different manner. Rather than use it to apply pressure, they employ it to generate spectacle and invite the masses to revel in that spectacle along with them, generating income via gawking eyes on the screen.


In the end, there are good sides and bad sides of any industry. And Rebel Belle Weddings started based on my observation of an industry telling couples what they should and shouldn’t do in a city full of creative, artistic people. I’m grateful to Salon for including some of my thoughts in their post as we continue to “fight the good fight” and help our clients create distinctly authentic, deeply personalized weddings and events.