Screenshot: Netflix / YouTube
Pop culture-themed weddings may seem cool in theory, but can be so unbearably wack in practice. Forcing your friends and family to LARP through a ceremony and reception is almost cruel, especially when you remember they’re likely already spending money just to be there on your big day. Unfortunately, there’s been a rise in these sorts of events: New data from Hitched.co.uk shows that, at least in Britain, interest in pop culture-themed weddings is rising. Per the site, searches for Bridgerton weddings, in particular, are up 31% this year, and visits to articles with Bridgerton wedding ideas are up a massive 285%.
Of course, this phenomenon isn’t new—and it isn’t exclusive to Bridgerton fans. You can find hundreds of photos of Star Trek-themed weddings with a simple Google search, for instance, and even famous people get in on the action. Frankie Grande just shared photos of his own Star Wars-themed reception, complete with lightsabers and stormtroopers.
Long-standing and celebrity-embraced though the practice may be, it must end.
Your photos will look dated almost instantly
It’s certainly true that Bridgerton, now in its second season on Netflix, has captivated viewers. But for comparison’s sake, let’s think about a few other series that captivated us not all that long ago. Breaking Bad was a runaway hit, as was The Walking Dead, and it wasn’t too far back that we were all gathering around our televisions to watch them and obsessively discuss the plot lines. Still, the world of trending entertainment moves fast. They’re all but irrelevant now—so imagine how strange photos of a Breaking Bad-themed wedding would seem, even just a few years after the show’s end. The Walking Dead is currently still on, but its cultural peak has most certainly passed. Any of-the-moment trend you might model your wedding on, it will one day seem just as passé.
Yes, the Regency-era costumes in Bridgerton lend themselves to the glitz and glam of a wedding slightly better than the costumes in, say, The Sopranos. Still, most major pop culture phenomena are flashes in the pan. They go out of style quickly, getting replaced by something newer and more interesting. The truth is that very few things age well. Consider how many people had a Game of Thrones wedding around the time the fourth season aired—and how many of them were among the hordes outraged by the final seasons. How do you think they feel about that one-night trip to Westeros now?
Worse, the key players in our beloved cultural institutions can—and frequently do—fall from grace. Imagine having had a Pirates of the Caribbean wedding when Johnny Depp was an unsullied, widely-adored icon. It might have been amazing for your hubby to dress like Captain Jack Sparrow back then, but you’ll end up having to tack on one hell of a caveat any time you show someone those pictures now that Depp has spent the past few years in court fighting against accusations of spousal abuse. And what about all those viral Harry Potter weddings now that J.K. Rowling has embroiled herself in so much controversy around her adamant trans-exclusionary feminism?
All wedding photos look dated eventually, of course. Think of your your parents’ wedding pics, in which your mom sports massive sleeves and your dad bears the thickest of mustaches. Certain things, like a dress with an A-line or ballgown silhouette, are more or less timeless, but can be easily dated by layers of tulle or an unfortunate 2010s-era statement necklace. Adding an over-the-top theme to an event that will already surely look dated in just a few short years is a bad idea.
Your guests may not quite get it
Your wedding is about you, sure, but it’s also about the people who have come together to celebrate with you. Demanding a complicated theme is an inconvenient at best, and a way to confuse or alienate your guests at worse. Some people might see the opportunity to dress outlandishly at your wedding as a blessing for themselves and their Instagram feeds, while others may just ignore your wishes altogether. Maybe you can get most of your guests to play along like it’s 1813 London, but the best man’s girlfriend would really rather wear her short hot-pink number. She doesn’t watch Bridgerton; she doesn’t care that Regé-Jean Page didn’t return for the second season.
Plus, it’s not fair to assume your guests have the perfect Klingon costume lying around—they are going to have to buy something, and the money they’ve spent on travel, lodging, and gifts already is quite enough.
There is hope for your treasured theme
But, you do not have to give up hope entirely here. If you and your betrothed bonded over, say, The Hunger Games or Twilight, you can still nod to the pop culture phenom that brought you closer. You don’t need to twirl around in a flaming dress like the Mockingjay herself—but you could incorporate a few vaguely-themed decorations (if you must).
For The Hunger Games, add some dandelions to your bouquets. For Lord of the Rings, pick up a few replicas of Arwen’s Evenstar for your bridesmaids’ necklaces. If you’re still stuck on Bridgerton, maybe you could do what the show does and hire a string quartet to cover some top 40 hits. A broad, celestial theme can work for Star Wars or Star Trek and be beautiful at the same time. These subtler options would give a nod to your mutual favorite works without overwhelming the whole event.