Nasty wedding prank

Ken writes:

I just read this story in the Irish Times about a couple who thought they were renewing their marriage vows on holiday in the Maldives, except the marriage celebrant conducted the ceremony in the native language and instead of a proper ceremony used the occasion to abuse the couple unbeknownst to them.

It was a pretty nasty thing to do. The celebrant privately made the couple out to be fools and belittled their special occasion. Why would they do that?

On the other hand, maybe people should think twice before expecting to get re-married in such a gimmicky way. Perhaps the victims are themselves guilty of bad taste for trying to turn such a solemn occasion as marriage into a tourist experience, like just another service you can buy on holiday. It couldn’t have been an authentic Maldive wedding because the bride and groom were Westerners, and it wasn’t an authentic European wedding either. Well, perhaps there are no rules for renewing marriage vows in the West, even so. Weren’t they taking a liberty to think they could buy their way in to a traditional ceremony? It would have been a different matter if one or other of the couple was actually from the Maldives. As it was, it seems likely to me that the couple simply got caught up in the romance and beauty of their surroundings and lost the run of themselves.


6 thoughts on “Nasty wedding prank

  1. Belle Inconnue

    surely the point is that the celebrant could have refused to do it if he didn’t agree with it? Isn’t agreeing to hold a ceremony and then mocking the ceremony and the people involved a bit like going to all the trouble of becoming a priest and then lecturing your congregation on how god doesn’t exist? Why bother?

    I agree that renewing your vows is in general tacky, though I can see why people might do it after going through a very rough patch. I also think that most weddings are pretty tacky and that most people are buying an ego trip and a ceremony that is utterly meaningless to them. besides, this sort of vow-renewal is being sold by a fancy hotel as a way of getting extra customers. It’s not the couple who think they can the ceremony – it is something that’s actually being offered to people.

    tourism itself is a strange business. lots of middle-class people are obsessed with the idea of ‘authenticity’ and feel they don’t much in their lives. They therefore try to buy ‘something real’ – a holiday ‘experience’. I’m not expressing myslef very well, but I think lots of people are specifically searching for ‘authentic experiences’, but of course they will never feel they’ve achieved that because they are too self-conscious and naval-gazing. Obviously though, all experiences are ‘authentic’ because they actually happen!

    sorry, pointless rambling.

  2. ken

    Thanks for the replies! Valid points all round. I agree that the celebrant should have declined the job if he didn’t want to do it. I guess it was thinking about why he might have done what he did that got me started down my train of thought. Perhaps he felt he couldn’t refuse because of his job but felt it was intrusive and inappropriate and resented how powerless the situation made him feel. So mocking and abusing the couple without their knowledge gave him back the feeling of being in control.

    I like the pojnts about holidays.

  3. Belle Inconnue

    yes, you could be right – perhaps the fancy hotel ropes people into this sort of thing becuase they are obliged to as part of their job or otherwise they won’t get future work. this is a sort of revenge that should properly be taken against the hotel, but there’s no way of doing that.

    I do feel sorry for the couple though, and whatever we think of the sillness of these ceremonies or the abuses of the tourist industry I don’t think they deserved it somehow. they were being offered this ceremony as if it were something legitimate, and it’s not their fault that their special occasion was then mocked and ruined for them. not that I think you were saying it was their own fault!

  4. laura

    This sort of reminds me of stories about young people who paid to have characters in Chinese tattooed on their arms, only to find later they were some curses rather than symbols for “peace” or “love”. Or was that just another urban legend?

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