I'm a huge proponent of trying anything once. Will I eat a grasshopper? Bring it on. Get on an ATV and pretend to know what I'm doing? Sure! Bungee jump? I'll get there. Apparently watching strangers' wedding videos online is a thing, so I thought to myself "I wonder if I could get into that too?" As a semi-cynical woman who's nowhere near getting engaged, I actually get very emotional when attending a wedding. Wedding videos, however, can be extremely cheesy. When I sat down to watch the best wedding videos for two hours straight, I had little to no idea what I was in for.
First, I set some controls on my experiment. So as not to torture myself with randomly Googled wedding videos on YouTube, I decided to limit my watching to the website Love Stories TV, an online collection of modern wedding videos. Founder Rachel Jo Silver created the site after noticing how many wedding videos are shot by professional filmmakers, and thought a collection of videos in one place would be useful and enjoyable to engaged couples. Funny enough, many of her site's viewers are actually non-engaged people like me who are curious about random strangers' weddings (hashtag generation of creeps). I also decided that I needed to sit and watch for two hours straight, no breaks. (I'm a bit of a masochist.)
As for my hypothesis? I predicted that by the end of the two-hour window, I would have a headache, a hankering for a cocktail, and a whole new set of eye rolls to add to my repertoire. I got comfy and hit play, starting with the most highly recommended videos first. Here's a play-by-play of my embarrassingly Millennial, completely non-scientific experiment.
3:52 P.M.: The Starting Line
I'm officially settled at my desk with a fresh iced coffee, a notepad, and my coziest sweatshirt. (I don't know why I thought that an old crew neck was a good fashion choice before embarking on a visual tour de fancy dresses, but at least I was warm.) As I peruse the videos in order to figure out where to start, I'm already wishing my coffee was a glass of champagne. Champagne is great and everyone in these videos seems to be holding a flute or two. Where's mine?
3:55 P.M.: The First One
I start with a highly recommended video titled "Jordyn + Steven" because the description says that the pair met on an elevator and that is such a rom-com meet-cute situation that I almost don't believe it. I quickly remind myself not to be such a skeptic and hit play. My initial thought is that both of these people look like they belong on The Bachelor. My next thought is that the cinematography is rather impressive, and much better than that on The Bachelor. My third thought: "I need veneers."
As I watch the footage of the actual ceremony, my judgmental side chimes right in. I realize that I dislike "write-your-own" vows because they can feel sentimental and cheesy. I also find it weird that the bride calls her husband her "mentor." There's a lot of religion happening, which isn't exactly my jam, but her eyelashes look excellent and this wedding looks like a blast. Onto the next one...
4:06 P.M.: I'm Crying
After watching a few videos that don't make me eye roll, but don't make me tear up either, suddenly I'm crying... 11 minutes in. The documentary style of "Jeff + Todd" feels appropriate because Jeff and Todd were the first gay couple to be legally married in Florida. I am completely on board with their sweet and genuine reminder that love is love, fam. I wipe my tears on my sweatshirt sleeve to find that I do indeed have mascara on today.
4:36 P.M.: Getting Into It
I've now watched what feels like one million more videos, and I've found that my favorite part is not necessarily the couples' love (oops) but instead, I enjoy seeing the details of the venue and decor. Videos almost seem like a better way to get the feel of a wedding's design than photos. But I'm not extremely moved by the weddings I'm watching at the moment, and I think that maybe I'm just numb to feels after overindulging on so much footage. Alas, it's not even halftime, so I must march on.
5:07 P.M.: Getting Tired, But Also Crying Again
I'm crying a lot, and it's not just because this is one of the most beautifully shot videos I've seen. "Danielle + Richard" is a story about a couple that was together for 17 years (they even have three kids). When the groom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, the couple decided to get married and vendors gave them the wedding of their dreams. The groom's brother's speech made me take my only break of the entire watch session — snot landing on my laptop is not exactly my jam, so I snagged some tissues. According to a representative from Love Stories TV, the groom has since passed, and I remember this and really start sobbing. The video captures the family's immense love for one another and celebration of life. Oh fudge, I am crying again...
5:18 P.M.: Existential Crisis
Now I'm watching another beautiful union between two wedding planners and childhood friends, one of whom happens to have been a Survivor contestant — and I'm stressed. Their wedding is gorgeous, but I'm suddenly struck with how large of a commitment marriage is. Will I ever feel these crazy love vibes for someone who feels them back for me too? (My timing thus far has been sh*t.) Will I ever be emotionally available enough to celebrate my love in front of all of my family and friends? Picking one person forever is a major decision for someone who can't even decide what she wants for dinner. Why is marriage so deeply terrifying to me?! HELP!
5:52 P.M.: The Finish Line
I don't even notice that it is the end of my two-hour time limit because I'm a bad "scientist" and I'm deeply entrenched in searching through more and more wedding videos...
6:17 P.M.: I'm Done
I realize that it's time to wrap up while I'm watching "Zoe + Toby." Their adorable baby's involvement in the wedding really seals the deal for me: wedding videos are fun to watch. While I might never want to watch two hours worth of wedding videos again, weddings truly are beautiful occasions filled with love. If you have one, you should hire a really great cinematographer to capture your special day.
In the end, the two hours of watching proved my hypothesis mostly wrong. Yes, I definitely do have the desire to have a cocktail or glass of Champagne right now, but I have no headache and only ended up indulging in a few eye rolls. Instead, I found that watching strangers' wedding videos is actually a whole lot more fun than watching wedding videos of people whose weddings you attended.