Ask Una is a satire column in which we ask those burning wedding questions we know you’re thinking about but are too afraid to put in writing. So we did it for you. Seriously (we’re not serious).
I need my wedding video to go viral. I need this more than I have ever needed anything, literally, including love, money, family, two working legs, or Western medicine. I have a staff of professional filmmakers ready to shoot (stationary, handheld, and helicopter), the perfect, cocktail-length dress in which I can show off my high school gymnastics routine if necessary, and a gorgeous Southern gothic mansion that looks like the set of Beyonce’s “Formation” video. The one thing I don’t have is a unique idea that will catapult my nuptials into YouTube stardom. Help!
—Vying for a Virus
I can tell by your question that you are a dedicated type of person—more of a Tonya Harding than a Nancy Kerrigan—and that if you really apply yourself, you’ll not only get the wedding of your dreams and a partner for life, but a day or two of Buzzfeed fame to boot.
Your first step is determining why you want your video to go viral. And I don’t mean why as in: “Why do I need this kind of fleeting external validation from strangers? Maybe I should get back into therapy?” I mean it like, when you see your special day in your mind’s eye, why does it go viral? Is there an “accident,” perhaps, in which one of you steps backwards into an infinity pool, or the ring bearer stops halfway down the aisle to pee into a potted bougainvillea? Is it more emotional, in which one of you says something so touching and unexpected to the other’s ex-convict or disabled (ideally both) relative that anyone who sees it will immediately begin to weep uncontrollably, even if they are at work? Or is it a carefully orchestrated endeavor that involves professional choreography, a hidden orchestra and/or gospel choir, and the pre-licensing of a Motown classic so that you don’t get sued by Smokey Robinson?
If it’s the first category, I suggest you rethink the gothic mansion setting. Rather, consider saying “I do” on horseback, under a waterfall, or at the very edge of a (low) cliff. Location is everything when you’re hoping to fit a hilarious, non-fatal injury somewhere in between lighting the unity candle and having your pubescent cousin mutter his way through a romantic poem. (Incidentally, candle-lighting is a perfect opportunity for a well-timed misfortune, although I do NOT recommend it with a knee-length dress.)
Emotional virality is the most difficult to pull off successfully. It will help if you, your fiancé, or the person marrying you has ever been a member of a college improv troupe, or if someone at the wedding has recently undergone successful treatment for a disease. I assume that you want to be the star of the show here, so mine your past for anything shocking yet touching that you could reveal during your vows. For example: do you have a long-lost birth parent or estranged child? Send them an invitation but change the start time of the ceremony by 40 minutes, so that they make an entrance right in the middle. If you don’t have anything quite so dramatic, simply read your vows as if you are saying them at your spouse’s funeral. Imagine that s/he is Patrick Swayze from Ghost, during that scene with the penny. Try to forget that you are starting a life together, and pretend that it has already ended, tragically and much too soon.
The fact that you casually mentioned your gymnastics training (“if necessary”—don’t be coy) and have invested in aerial photography, however, suggests to me that you are looking to open Door #3, a supposedly spontaneous performance which, in reality, will take months to rehearse. My advice in this case is to avoid flash mobs (which just make people uncomfortable), cultural appropriation (ditto), and to check the medical records of everyone in the wedding party to make sure they don’t have any prohibitive knee injuries, which can really make the difference when it comes to quality synchronized kicking.
Then again, you could also simply “forget” to wear underwear, and then do a series of backflips during the recessional. It depends on how badly you want it, really.
Una LaMarche has written four young-adult novels, Five Summers, Like No Other, Don’t Fail Me Now, and You in Five Acts, as well as a comic essay collection, Unabrow. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Observer, Allure, and Parents, as well as online at the Huffington Post. The New York Times has called her writing “surprisingly seductive,” which she plans to use on her tombstone.