Weddings | David Mitchell’s Soapbox

Weddings | David Mitchell’s Soapbox

Last time I banged on about the arrogance of trying to make your stag night unique. But of course this pales into insignificance in comparison to the lengths people go to persuade you that no-one before them has ever really got married. In the old days neither weddings nor the forerunners of stag nights were expected to be unique. In fact, the opposite – they were codified and set: everyone who knew one another got married in due season at the same church or at least one of the same four churches in the area – and beforehand every groom got drunk with his friends in one of the same eight pubs. There was nothing ‘special’ about the special day, in the sense of different from all the other special days, and that was quite right. It’s supposed to be special for you not special for everyone who attends. How could it possibly be? In some of the summers of your late twenties and early thirties, you go to weddings more weekends than you don’t. Having a wedding in it practically guarantees the “unspecialness” of the day. You’re more likely to reminisce: ‘Do you remember Saturday the 12th July 2006?’ ‘No…’ ‘Yes you do, it was the weekend after Nick and Helen’s wedding and before Jim and Rachel’s wedding, when we had a bit of a lie in in and read the papers. ‘Oh yes! That was a magical day!’ The problem is that these days couples more often than not pay for, and therefore design, their own celebration; and this is bound to lead to trouble, because as with the stag nights, they begin to see it as a test of their originality and by association a yardstick for the depth of their love. This has got to the point where couples write their own vows. Marriage is becoming an umbrella term for a wide range of random and mawkish undertakings, which men and women now choose to make to each other, in the presence of catering. Whereas what it should be – and in fact is, however novel the ushers’ buttonholes – is a collection of people gathered together to make a deeply improbable promise that little bit more likely to stick. Up until a couple of decades ago, of course, the brides’ parents had to organise it. They paid for it, they chose the nature of the do, if the happy couple themselves hated it, so what? give it twenty years, and they’d have their chance to have a wedding exactly the way they wanted, when they got to impose their tastes on their own daughter. (Of course, the recent switch has created a cursed generation – they had their own wedding spoilt by the generation above, but largely aren’t allowed to ruin those of the generation below. Still, they’re basically the same guys who stiffed us on pensions, so sod them.) The beauty of the old system, though, is that no-one judged the couple for the wedding; it was understood that the blame for it rested with the bride’s mother’s terrible taste and her father’s short arms and long pockets. it said nothing about the couple themselves, or about how ‘unique’ and ‘special’ either their day or their relationship was. Indeed, they were expected to clear off from the reception as soon as possible, allowing the guests to do so also. Whereas now, having paid through the nose for a huge party with all their friends, and having long since exhausted the novelty of sex with one another, they tend to hang on till the bitter end, and do their best to make sure you do too. I suppose what I’m saying is this: In the very old days, you used to be told who you had to marry, and that was a bad thing. Now, you not only get to decide that for yourself, but you also get to pick your own do, and that’s also bad. I won’t say ‘worse’, but I will think it quite loudly. You ought to have free reign to pick your partner, but the do should be entirely out of your hands. (Which is of course still, as it always has been, the case for almost all grooms – the power of do-organising has simply passed from their parents-in-law to their fiancee, not for a moment settling upon them in its flight.)

100 Replies to “Weddings | David Mitchell’s Soapbox”

  1. TBD said nothing about restricting others from going through with a marriage ceremony, only that they didn't see the point. I don't either but, then again, I don't celebrate my birthday. I hate being the center of attention, and I hate compelling people (through ceremony) to waste their hard-earned money on me.

  2. A registry office isn't all that romantic, but I don't agree with the hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on the wedding day when really what you need is to spend it on the marriage. Have your ceremony by all means, do what you like, have the party (because I think that is the only fun bit of the day for everyone) and then use the money you saved from hideous bridesmaids dresses and stretch hummers (boke) on useful things like kettles, toasters and sofas because you will need those things.

  3. Call me crazy but going on a rant about weddings being sad and insecure on a YouTube video seems even more sad and insecure to me than making a lifelong pact between yourself, your partner and God in front of witnesses. Maybe some people who don't want to get married are too insecure about their relationship to make that next step. You see, I would never have said that before reading your comment, but surely it is a matter of perspective. It's monumenally arrogant to say that yours is 'correct'

  4. hence why he has to go abroad to get married probably to someone who barely speaks english because everyone who does hates him because he has either met them or the person he is marrying dosent understand how he is being insulting or a general 'cunt'.

  5. What a lot of romantics we have here…I bet you are all so much fun at birthday parties, christenings, Bar Mitzvahs etc! People like to celebrate good things with ceremony. Spending heaps can be very vulgar but guess what? Other cultures manage to make a lovely fuss over a wedding without feeling guilty. What annoys me is the current trend for spending beyond what you can actually afford!

  6. Absolutely, thank you. Also the people who criticize the whole concept of marriage (which is fine, if you don't want to get married, don't) actually have the choice not to. How lovely it is to be able to choose whether to get married or not. Whereas people who want to marry someone of the same sex simply aren't allowed to do so. Think about that, cynics.

  7. "It seems like a waste of money, effort and could just be done in a registry office with party afterwards" TehBuhmDiggeee clearly said that she may mark her "wedding" with just a party which would fulfil the ceremony you mentioned.

  8. I am scared that every woman I date will want to get married and have a lavish ceremony. I thought I was the only one who thought it was pointless

  9. I went to a wedding in Ukraine, and not only did the bride not plan her own wedding, she wasn't even allowed to see the hall till she was walking down the isle! I hope I can get my aunts to take up that tradition for me! Just imagine not having to worry about everything and all the decorations!

  10. Oh right because anyone that holds a difference of opinion to you must be a troll because that is how all negative terms are defined as apposed to a rational way of thinking.

  11. A differnece in opinion is fine, what makes you a troll is the fact that you keep going to gun videos over and over again fishing for hate, that much is obvious from your channel comments.

  12. How is politely leaving my opinion "fishing for hate"? Unfortunately as you just proved by hassling me on a totally different video you gun nuts obsessive and fanatical and think ifyou call a person enough names they will cease to stand their ground. You are the troll or you wouldn't have started an argument about gun control on a comedy video. Yeesh get over yourself.

  13. You dont Politely leave your opinion, you just very violently state hysterics and mistruths and get butt hurt when people post facts that dont support your opinion.

  14. David Mitchell's wedding to Victoria Coren will undoubtedly be a very sensible but altogether happy day and I wish I was friends with them so I could go 🙂

  15. I find it deeply unsettling that comments like this with valid points and relevance to the video and discussion are marked as spam simply because people who disagree have to prove the other person "wrong" on the internet.

  16. Why should comments be audited by people with conflicting opinions in the first place, it is clear that the like and dislike does have an popularity contest upon it which creates less debate rather than further since it gives the impulse not to comment in a clear and coherent way what there point even is. Also just because a majority agree with a comment does not mean that it is true or even wrong. (N:B I agree with the point being made in the comment)

  17. I think the problem lies more in weddings than marriage itself. I have heard it said that the wedding day is the most important and memorable day in the life of a woman. Not all women may see it this way. But some definitely might. The time, effort, energy and money that goes into that one day. Everything chosen with special attention to detail. All for the day a man and a woman decide to "become one" and in her mind, it is all downhill from there. Fantasies, what can you do, eh? Say no to her?

  18. "…I'm 20"
    That's why marriage seems like a waste of time. Because you're too young to make such an important decision in your life (or to not), and you lack the social maturity to accept that others think and do things differently from you. In other words, you are an insufferable and pessimistic crybaby who doesn't have anybody willing to spend the rest of their life with you.
    Your highschool sweetheart? That won't last. Your aversion to marriage is a testament to that.

  19. Of course the only way to hold down a girlfriend is to make it llegally a giant hassle for her to break up with you. Or not? People dont get married and enjoy long lasting relationships all the time. While i would like to get married i agree the whole thing is basically for show. It doesnt make any relationship stronger or mean anything more than me saying "I want to be with you forever". Does it change the truth if i say it in a church with loads of people or in our house? Nice ad hominim btw.

  20. Hear, hear! Not sure why their post has more upvotes than yours. If people wish to get married (and have fun doing so) then leave them to it. It doesn't affect anyone else.

  21. I'm supposed to be writing a Lab Report, but I seem to have spent the past two hours watching David Mitchell on YT. Oops…

  22. i'm glad he got married he seems a very lonely man in these
    as a response i personally would like to be married to my partner but i find the ritual elongated and slightly awkward

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  24. 'I won't say worse, but I will think it quite loudly'…..Dear David Mitchell, if you don't mind I am going to use this quite often.

  25. Finally happy? I doubt it. I'm going to someone's wedding today. I'm wearing my funeral gear because it is the end of someone's life.

  26. What does "do" or "due" mean in this context?  "You also get to pick your own due"  "The due should be entirely out of your hands"  "The power of due organizing…"

  27. The worse thing about weddings is that you, as a guest, have to pretend you're having an incredible fun and are expected to shower the bride with perfect banal platitudes about oh, her radiant smile, whilst all you're thinking of is scuttling discretely to the toilets to practise the healthy sport of cottaging.

  28. I wonder if i should show this video to two friends of mine which will have a their wedding this month. They will do ALL this things mentioned in here.

  29. Maybe I have not got the message correctly, but do I have to infer that marrying couples expect their wedding to be judged "original"? It can't be, can it?

  30. Ever noticed how no company says 'Pick us for your wedding and, if you divorce within 7 years, get your money back'. Theyd go bust. If I ever get marriedandIwont, theyll get it in cut-in-half-banknotes, like an assassin does before the job. Who, if Im stuck with the same woman for years, I will Also pay that way.

  31. David we are so on the same level!!  If I was on there Id put this on facebook and maybe it would ring a few bells with people.

  32. Just don't get married. That way you save yourself 40 years of torture if it doesn't work. Granted, you could get a divorce, but then you'd have to split everything you've earned with someone who probably doesn't need it or deserve it. And don't get me started on custody battles (which you'll likely lose automatically if you're male). Save all that money you would've wasted on a wedding and just buy a fucking house.

  33. Mark Zuckerberg the Facebook dude, best wedding ever. They secretly plotted a tiny civil wedding, and asked the 10 people in the world they actually cared about to come over "for a party". Boom, it's actually a wedding, local J of P set up waiting in the next room, a party photographer. Food they catered sushi from a local place, per-plate costs under $10. Now THAT is how it's done! Envious.

  34. Marriage is an antiquated notion. It is just some silly show-off event, or a way for a woman to guarantee herself a man's money for the rest of his life. Best let be.

  35. Never do a wedding the way others expect you to. Organize it in such a way that you can actually enjoy it. I did. It was a pleasant evening. My wife and I often think about this day with content.

  36. Weddings are SHIT! Real men hate them! I always find reasons to avoid going to that dull bullshit! I had to go to mine, that was enough bullshit for me, I left the silly event as soon as I could, it was all dull & just stupid & very very expensive. Utter bollocks! My wife liked it, but hated that I kept wondering off and not wanting to get involved in that silly made up shit.

  37. This is the reason why sex before marriage was forbidden in the bible. It gets stale before you actually get married. It also leads to perversion. As in, you have sex with so many different people, that it gets stale in general. So you start wearing clown suits, having barnyard animals running around, midgets in gimp suits, chins, whips and candlesticks. Then by the time you are cajoled into getting married, it's simply because you can no longer find the partners that you used to be able to find (because they are either married or have died during some kind of sexual mishap), so you "settle down" with someone who you don't completely hate……yet.
    Sex before marriage is a self-punishing sin.

  38. He didn't mention the most ridiculous part – couples spending all their savings so that they get the best of everything just for one day that no one except them and maybe their parents are going to remember in detail, and which there's a 50% chance will one day become totally meaningless

  39. I've been to less than 10 weddings, only two we're any good. I've been to dozens of stag do's, much better. It's usually the music that ruins them.

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