Menu

One Topic, Three Takes: Weddings

Did you ever consider addressing a popular topic in your blog, but held yourself back, thinking there’s nothing left to…

Did you ever consider addressing a popular topic in your blog, but held yourself back, thinking there’s nothing left to say? Think again: a topic can never be exhausted as long you are passionate about it. In this series, we show how even the most well-trodden subjects feel fresh when bloggers use a creative approach. 

Now that the summer wedding season is over, nobody could blame you if you felt a bit blasé about wedding blogs, to say nothing of the events themselves. Just because many wedding celebrations share the same elements (cake? bouquet? tipsy uncles?) doesn’t mean, though, that your account of the event should follow an established form. Like the posts we highlight here, you can craft your own personal angle. After all, what makes a wedding unique is not an exotic menu or a multitiered cake; it’s the singularity of the people involved.

Wordplay: Define your own terms

When the blogger at Stretchmarklandia named a recent post “My dream wedding is not to have a wedding,” she was playing very consciously with her readers’ expectations. We think, seeing this title, that we’re about to hear a tirade by an anti-bouquet rebel. As we continue reading, however, we soon discover that a wedding did, in fact, take place; it just wasn’t a ‘wedding’ in the sense of a traditional, tulle-heavy affair.

As we follow the narrative of this non-wedding wedding, we learn about the details that made the day special — a Victorian inn on the Jersey Shore, the bride’s brother who brought “his djembe and acoustic guitar, because what could be better than some impromptu folk music on the beach?”

We also read, however, about the couple’s relationship and how it led, unexpectedly, to this almost-elopement. We hear about the specific reasons, personal and political, for the newlyweds’ wish to eschew “all the traditional princessy trappings:”

The introvert in me shudders at all that attention. The cheapskate in me doesn’t want to dump all that money into a few hours of celebration. [...] And the queer girl in me hates the heteronormativity of it all.

The wedding stops being a faded stock photo, and comes to life as an event: a coming together of specific people with a story to tell.

Zoom in: Pick the parts that matter

The details most likely to engage your readers are those that you yourself find the most compelling and moving. If that means you focus on one, seemingly peripheral aspect of the topic you’re addressing, so be it. In her post, “For my sister, on her wedding day,” the blogger at Azinser includes only the tiniest sliver of the wedding referred to in the title. The entire post, replicating the author’s speech at her sister’s wedding, focuses on the author’s struggles to choose a reading to deliver in honor of the couple. Not sure how to select the right passage, she confesses: “I did what any good scholar today would do: I Googled ‘wedding readings.’”

We leave this post knowing close to nothing about centerpieces, bridesmaid dresses, or drunken toasts. We gain, in exchange, a very nuanced understanding of the author’s concept of love — not only between the newlyweds, but also her own, for her sister:

Ultimately, though, I realized that I couldn’t choose one prewritten reading. It just felt wrong to choose a reading for [my sister and her fiance’s] wedding that has been used at countless other weddings. [My sister] and [her fiance] are originals! They deserve an original reading.

The post concludes with one final advice for the newlyweds: “Make it loving. Make it wild. Make it last.” We’re left with a snapshot that’s as vivid and sharp as any wedding photo we’ve seen, but whose subject matter is usually very hard to capture: the friendship and humility that brings people closer, whether they are spouses or siblings.

Expose: honesty, a powerful hook

In this age of constant sharing, we tend to keep private most experiences that don’t fit our friends’ definition of ‘awesome.’ When someone opens up about a painful event, and does so in an honest, engaging manner, we immediately tune in. This might be the reason we feel immediate sympathy for the author of “Post-Wedding Blues,” at Psychobabble. The author gives us a fairly standard recap of her wedding, with one major twist: it didn’t live up to her expectations. As she puts it, “I’m pretty devastated.  I feel like I have postpartum, but for weddings.”

Sometimes we don’t need stylistic fireworks (though clean, engaging prose, like in this post, is always a plus). Instead, showing our audience a moment of weakness, of anger, of frustration — of any emotion that breaks through the usual sheen we work so hard to maintain — can make our readers care enough to follow our story.

it’s the most pedestrian annoyances that expose us at our most human, and at our most interesting.

It doesn’t have to be a horrifying tragedy; it’s the most pedestrian annoyances — a bartender showing up late, a DJ not doing his homework — that expose us at our most human, and at our most interesting.

Frame: images speak, too

Just like with the written word, images, too, always benefit from a unique point of view or an unexpected composition. The photos accompanying this post, from a wedding documented by photographer Katy Weaver, make the point clearly: while weddings might be hard to reinvent, the people in them, who come together for one brief moment, inject each event with a dose of singularity. Even if you’re a word-centric author, a well-chosen image (or two) will go a long way in setting your story apart.

Have you written or encountered an unusual post about a wedding? How do you transform a generic topic and make it your own? We’d love hear your tips.

You might also enjoy:

30 Comments

  1. Thanks for the writing inspiration!! My takeaway: Putting us much of our own experience in can turn what might seem like a tired topic into an original, compelling story.

  2. Great post! I posted about wedding dress shopping, and say what most brides only think…with the help of some friends of course. A way to take a generic topic and make it unique is to put a story to it! No one story will be the same. Stay away from generalizations and make it your own!

  3. Thank you for the share! It’s interesting to read other womens’ take on weddings — it takes a lot of honesty to admit that your wedding wasn’t the best day of your life, let alone a disappointment, and I love that sister’s reading. I agree — better to be plain and honest than stuffy and anachronistic!

  4. Reblogged this on lovelylivein.wordpress.com and commented:
    Weddings are the beginning of hopeful or hopeless journey, could you believe he told her that very night that I have regretted marrying you”. Yes this of course is the beginning of a hopeless journey, but it can turn around.

  5. I recently got married and tried to blog about it afterward as if I was back in the moment. I even rewrote my speech, adding the bits I didn’t get to say.

    I always try to write a story, instead of just reporting what happened. And true stories are sometimes the best ones.

    I believe in Show, Don’t Tell. But if you do tell, at least tell it like it is.

  6. I was guilty of adding to the wedding overstock of the season (I got hitched in May), and I tried to keep mine relevant by keeping it personal. You may have seen a million “rustic weddings with burlap and chalkboards” photos, but maybe you didn’t see a million posts about “I did not get the wedding I wanted … and I’m glad” (which was my pov).

  7. I, too never blogged about my weddings. One was short lived-seven years with a big traditional wedding exactly what my mother wanted. The other one was 37 years ago. My children signed the marriage certificate. i guess, if I had to do it again, I’d go with the one which was held in a small chapter with my children and forget the other one. Although, I did get three beautiful childdren out of the first marriage. I blog about what I’m passionate about. I’m a new blogger. I still have not found my niche. I wobbling and trying to find what I should blog about. I much rather research about what I care about, and this is the unjustices that lie in the world. This is what my novel is about as well as my future novels. So, maybe I best not worry about having followers, and blog about what I care about. I think I must believe the followers will come. I need not give up if no one comments. I need to just submit a blog, and feel proud of it.

  8. I try to be a detective or a commentator when I’m at a wedding, looking for clues for what is REALLY going on. For instance: the looks on people’s faces, whether the bride cries, the crazy speeches that are inappropriate, asides you overhear when the wedding is taking place. These things are more important than the dress or the cake etc etc. Look for the small nuances that tell you so much.

  9. After forty-odd years of marital bliss, the couple discovered that, quite frankly, they had grown rather bored with this state of affairs. And since death was staring at them from around the corner, they simply decided it was time to…………….

  10. Very inspiring. I have done several shots similar to your ideas and the result is really extraordinary and amazed the the weeding couple, their families and other viewers. Thank you for your lovely post.

    1. couldn’t agree with you more. At our wedding, it was perhaps the state of the world, at the time. We opted to make it official when a rock concert to lure anti-war protestors out of town was being put on. Hey, the town was ours. Walked to the church down the street, 10 people, 10 bucks. Groovey, man.

  11. Super. There is no need to spend much more money for a wedding occasion. Same time the fund can be effectively utilized for rehabilitation, social works, relief activities. Let us change first then let us change the world………

  12. Reblogged this on ander01 and commented:
    Passion for any topic will inevitably lead you down a path of inspiration one way or the next, while sometimes we are more tired mentally than we want to admit, the thing about writing new information on the same topic is that we are mostly afraid to rewrite what we wrote before. This leads us to a place of safety where instead of pursuing new ideas we simply limit those that we have had before by not allowing a merger of the two. Eventually nothing more is written and we end up cheating ourselves and our readers of the benefits of genuine bloggers pursuit.

Comments are closed.