"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
Eff this obsession with completely unique weddings that are perfect reflections of us and our unique partnership and our unique love. Eff this obsession with wedding trends and worrying about whether we can really have cupcakes at our weddings because we're not sure if they're "tired or trendy". Eff these concerns about whether birdcage veils are last year's style or this year's style. If you like cupcakes, have them at your wedding. If you like the birdcage veil style, go for it. Because really, any other option you could possibly dream up has been done before by someone, somewhere getting married.
My unmarried, unengaged girlfriend recently went to a wedding and came back giddy with a-ma-zing ideas for my wedding that were just going to blow my mind. What was her I-simply-must-do-this-or-my-wedding-will-fail-brand-new-idea? A DIY photobooth. Yeah. It's been on my reception list for about a year now. Old hat. But the important part is that it wasn't old hat to her. She hasn't been mainlining wedding bullsh*t for the last year. She just went to a wedding hoping to have a blast, and she did.
It put the blogland obsession with trends in perspective. Back when bridal magazines were the go-to source for inspiration, they would recycle trend pieces each year, for the next crop of brides. Styles might shift somewhat with fashion, but the May issue would probably repeat a lot from issues the year before. If the market turns over entirely every 9-18 months (depending on the length of your engagement) there's no real need to strive for wholly original content. But, with the internet now driving the wedding industry, we've seen both an explosion in creativity from non-traditional sources and content churn as 700 blogs rush to repost, reinterpret and create the Newest Best Must Have Wedding Ideas of the Week.
Because the truth is that there's nothing new in the world that hasn't already been done. But the blogs need to breathlessly sell you on the idea of the amazing newness, or why would you bother reading their site over any of the 700 other options? And so, we end up with asinine pieces entitled "10 Wedding Ideas You've Never Seen Before" from the Knot, which is itself struggling against the inroads made by more "trendsetting" wedding blogs and communities. But, even beyond being entirely incorrect in its title (really, I've seen some of these ideas before, possibly done better) it's also ridiculously misguided and even downright awful. Because in its attempt to set new wedding trend standards, it's again selling us on unnecessary products and concepts about the meaning of weddings themselves. Let's look a bit more closely at what I mean by examining that list of "10 Ideas You've Never Seen Before: Think You've Seen It All? Here are 10 Genius Ideas Your Guests Will Never See Coming!"*
1. Stop-Motion Lego Save the Date Video (with convenient link for videographer vendors!). Ok, so I'd never seen this particular save-the-date video before receiving the Knot's list. But I've seen others elsewhere, and, while they're pretty darn rad, save the date postcards are panic inducing enough for us (design compromise, lack of time, lack of necessity, where else do we cut the budget to afford these things... arg!) For some couples, it makes sense to invest in this - it's a fun project, they both work in film, whatever. But it's a SAVE THE DATE, not even an invitation, and hardly a darn reflection on the wedding. You know what would be unique at this point? A weddingblog that advocated picking up the d*mn phone and calling your guest list to let them know the wedding date and details six months out. "Hi grandma, could you save the date? Awesome. Now I can get back to crafting garlands made out of newspaper clippings from the day we got engaged."
2. Paint can reception table lighting. Yeah, it's cool looking. And yeah, it's a larger-scale version of this idea I saw at 100 Layer Cake with tin cans. Which requires a lot of tin cans and a freaking drill. Yeah, the paint-can-lighting-scape would definitely require an army of event designers and craft elves. Which is why the Knot also offers a handy link to wedding planners. (Oh dear. I can't possibly imagine convincing Jason to help with tin can drilling night after night, week after week, or emailing Emilia Jane with my brilliant and original idea about tin can light installations)
3. Skis as your Guest Book. Yeah, have your guests sign your skis (records, hockey sticks, guitar or any other personal hobbyist item) for an keepsake-guest-book you'll display for all time! This is actually a cool idea, for people who want guest books and have a meaningful shared hobby. I saw this done recently with a surfboard and it was perfect for the couple. But for me, I can't imagine caring about a guestbook, let alone schlepping around a giant sporting good covered in signatures through our next few apartments. You know what would be unique? Admitting that most guest books are lame, primarily because we don't know what to say besides "congratulations!" Give us ideas that inspire creativity in our guests, and I'd be more impressed.
4. Custom Wedding Cake Table. Since I think $1000 cakes are silly enough already, I'm not even going to dignify this with a response.
5. Tree Planting Ceremony. "Sure, you could stick with the traditional candle or sand ceremony, but why not cap off your wedding ceremony with a tradition that really celebrates growth?" Um, Knot, the definition of tradition is that it's a belief, action or ritual that's been handed down through generations. You can create new rituals that may eventually become personal or family traditions, but you can't invent traditions. And anyhow, the candle and sand thing are pretty darn recent too (maybe back to the the 1930s for the unity candle). And the tree planting's been done before too.
6. Custom Illustrated Wedding Invitations. I agree, they're pretty awesome. But "never seen before?" Meh. If you want original, make a wedding invitation stop motion video. Since everyone's expecting paper invitations, illustrations aren't really unique unless you make them into a stop-motion animation video. Right? Isn't that what you said six unique listings ago?
7. Bathtub Reception Decor. "Reinvent the way your drinks are served." As far as I can tell, you're still putting drinks in a large ice bucket-type receptacle and not really serving them at all. No reinvention here. And if you were really unique, you'd use a urinal.
8.Phonograph Cocktail Hour. Oh eff me. Like we don't have enough on our plates with thrifting every d*mn candelabra, dish and mason jar, now you want me to thrift my MUSIC? I foresee disaster when you have a few warped Beatles records from the 70s and that new rad collector's edition hip hop sample vinyl option for the phonograph hour soundtrack as everyone hovers within two feet to properly hear it. Eff the "cool" aesthetics and go with the DJ you probably hired anyhow.
9. Big Time Branding. "Okay, it might seem a little egocentric, but today is your day, right?" No. It's really not. And it's really not the point. And your guests presumably already know your names (I hope) without them writ large in spray painted styrofoam. And your wedding isn't a brand or a marketing campaign - it's a celebration of a union and marriage. But since monograms and marketing-speak have been around a while, you're hardly the first article to sell us on the concept of "branded" weddings. Shudder.
10. A Boutonniere for Your "Trophy Groom" This "original" idea was stolen from the Postcards and Pretties blog (with a reference but without a linkback. Nice.) where it was presented as a fun DIY succulent project with succulents potted in a tiny trophy vase. But it took the Knot to make it totally hideous with the "trophy groom, ha ha" joking references. Way to play into the groom-has-no-role-besides-showing-up/she-only-got-married-for-the-party stereotypes. Disgusting and unoriginal. Nice job, Knot, as usual.
In conclusion, unique is bullsh*t. Someone's done it before anyhow. So just have fun with the choices that matter to you and shut out all the effing wedding noise.
*I think you have to be a member of the Knot to see some of these ridiculous links. But I figure some of you also-getting-marrieds have a fakey account or were too lazy to unsubscribe too. And if not, you get the picture anyhow.