JAY TALKING

Uniquely my wedding: 'Creative' bridal couples have photo shoots in supermarkets

Bridal couples try so hard to be creative that some have photo shoots in FairPrice supermarkets

By the time you reach the end of this column - if you make it to the end - you may get the impression that I am making fun of people who take their pre-wedding photos at a FairPrice supermarket.

But let me assure you that I have no intention of mocking people for commemorating their special bond at a place other people associate as their key source of affordable toilet paper.

I am going to stay above the fray, making sure to steer well clear of any puns about fondling melons in the fruit aisle or literally adding spice (MasterFoods brand) to a relationship. I certainly won't be reminding anyone thinking of doing the same thing to make sure the kangkong hasn't gone limp.

As far as I am concerned, it's your wedding and you are free to do what you want.

Having had one personal experience with weddings, I am painfully cognisant of the fact that the process of planning to tie the knot can cause significant, albeit temporary, brain damage.

You take a PhD scholar researching quantum mechanics and subject him to the forces of wedding planning and suddenly he is saying things like: "Sure! Let's ride in on llamas. What a great idea! It will be unique. I'm sure the restaurant won't mind."

And the wedding brain forces are so potent that the bride or groom will never ever realise that the llamas were a bad idea. The llama may have tried to bite one of the children and the restaurant may have slapped on a $4,000 animal waste handling fee and the blissful couple would say: "It was totally worth it."

As I was planning my own wedding, my addled brain somehow decided that it was a stroke of genius to hold it on top of a small hill, never mind the elderly relatives that are wheelchair-bound. "Some of the family members will be more than happy to hoist them up the steep stairway," the brain waves said.

An early sign of the wedding logical thinking inhibitors starting to kick in is often at the pre-wedding photo shoot. Prior to a wedding, many people will make bold proclamations about the futility of a pricey wedding photo shoot that does not technically help you remember the actual wedding. Yet, a few months into it, and there they are wearing a suit to a supermarket.

It's not as if, years from now, you will sit down with your children and go through this big photo album dressed with lace reminiscing about your wedding.

Mother: "See boy, this was mummy and daddy's big wedding celebration."

Boy: "You got married in the homeware aisle of FairPrice?"

Mother: "No, no. This wasn't the actual wedding day, this was a few months before. We chose the supermarket because it was a significant part of our lives and this picture will always remind us of that... I just remembered we are out of toilet paper."

Now while I refer to the brain forces wreaking havoc on human cognitive ability, I must explain that they are actually made of many component forces. Among them are money, tradition, in-laws and the most powerful of them all, the relentless pursuit of uniqueness.

I'm going to let all you single people on a secret. No couple getting married will ever openly admit to this, but nothing scares them more than having a wedding gimmick that someone they know has used before.

You can really mess up a bride's day by just saying: "Didn't Joe and Sandy also ride in on camels?"

A lot of this stems from the belief that a couple's wedding is a reflection of who they are and there is nothing more insulting than having people think who you are was plagiarised from someone else.

When people say they weren't trying to be particularly creative or unique about their wedding, I can assure you they are lying. They are just saying it so they don't sound like petty try-hards.

I should know, I went through a petty try-hard phase as well.

The problem is, the unique wedding gimmick arms race is a very competitive one and winning it is getting harder and harder with each passing wedding.

Nearly any idea you can come up with has probably already been done dozens and dozens of times before. As it turns out, about 40 people have had their pre-wedding photo shoot in a FairPrice supermarket.

If you search for it on the Internet and don't find any evidence of it having been done before, it is generally not a sign of your sharp, creative mind. It is a sign that somebody already tried it and failed or that you have stumbled upon an incredibly stupid idea.

Consider the cautionary tale of Ms Shona Carter-Brooks of Jacksonville, Tennessee in the United States. She has the distinction of having a wedding gimmick so unique that it made the news last week.

She attached her one-month-old baby to the train of her Vera Wang wedding gown and dragged the poor baby down the aisle of the church. There is no better example of the dangerous power of the relentless pursuit of uniqueness.

But here's the thing. Once the fog of the wedding has cleared, you will realise that you didn't really need to try that hard to be different.

People are just different and it will come through whether you try and highlight it or not. Even if you copied everything from a wedding you saw online, I can guarantee you that your wedding will turn out to be unique.

It's counter-intuitive but the harder you try to do something different, the less authentic it all becomes.

jeremyau@sph.com.sg

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments