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The Washington Post‘s breakout Weddings section, “OnLove,” has debuted, providing Washingtonians with another outlet for more-of-the-same coverage of the institution. You’ve got your pair of interlocked golden rings illustrating the header; your bouquet-clutching, white-veiled bride gracing the front page; and your tales of everlasting love sparked in Dewey Beach spicing up the copy.
But WaPo‘s weddings page is stepping out of the traditional mold in one way: It’s soliciting stories and photos of same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies, as well.
The OnLove “Wedding Story” submission form requests deets from two parties: “Bride” or “Partner #1” and “Groom” or “Partner #2.” Later, the form then reverts back to regular old bride-and-groom. And there’s no telling how seriously the Post will consider same-sex unions in its romanticized coverage: so far, the Post‘s wedding page appears exclusively hetero.
Even if OnLove ends up covering enough gay weddings, it will probably end up covering way too many weddings, period. Although I’m not married, I can understand why a couple’s wedding is a very important moment in their lives. What I don’t understand is why that couple’s wedding is even a vaguely interesting moment in my life, however, unless something very horrific—-death and destruction—-or awesome—-jet packs?—-went down. If it’s just the same old white dresses, flowers, rings, and vows, that’s not newsworthy—-that’s just a wedding. Happens every day.
Wedding news certainly isn’t the only fluff filling out the pages of the Washington Post. I realize that the “Arts & Living” section also devotes entire pages to glorifying our pets and critiquing celebrity fashion sense, as well. But while weddings may not be the least fit-to-print, they do manage to inspire the most predictable boilerplate feature coverage known to journalism.
Weddings, even same-sex ones, are about fulfilling tradition, after all—-the whole story depends on the dresses, flowers, rings, and vows being there. In that world, even the tiniest breakings-of-tradition qualify as enduring details. We’re talking rose-colored wedding dresses and Vegas-themed receptions here, not a jet-pack experiment gone awry.
Wedding coverage may never go away, but I like to think, at least, that the idea of wedding reporting actually equating writing “on love” is beginning to erode. Wedding coverage is all about artifice. At least fashion reporting attacks the subject with a critical eye.