Nothing says true love like a robotic officient named I-Fairy. (AP)Weddings are getting weirder. Forget those tame bridal trends like cupcakes, honeymoon registries or 'greening your reception'. Things have gotten Clockwork Orange dystopian future weird.
Reality television may have played a part, celebrating obsessively cruel brides, over-the-top ceremonies and all the competitive aspects of walking down the aisle. And the legalities of same-sex marriage are starting to inspire new kinds of nuptial tactics. But that's just in America. Across the globe, the wedding tradition is taking on new meaning. Some are already mega-trends while others may be setting new precedents for the nuptial process. One thing is clear: weddings aren't getting any easier.
Digital officiants : With same-sex marriage laws varying from state to state, one savvy couple took a trip to the web. They enlisted a minister in Washington D.C., where it's legal for homosexual couples to wed, to oversee the ceremony in their home state of Texas via Skype. While it's not likely to hold up under Texas law which strictly bans gay marriage, the attempt to wed with a minister present (albeit on their laptop) called attention to the civil rights issue and potential capabilities of the internet. Meanwhile, in South Korea in 2007, a robotics engineer and his bride did legally tie the knot with the help of Tiro the robot. That's so crazy, it'll never happen again right? Wrong. This year, a Japanese couple got the I-Fairy, a robot adorned with a wreath of flowers, to join them in holy matrimony.
- Hiring celebrity guests: We've heard of pop stars being offered millions to perform at a billionaire's wedding. But hiring a celebrity just to show up? That's becoming the latest trend in India, where having your big day covered by tabloids is the ultimate status symbol. Wealthy wedding parties are offering Bollywood stars six figures to shake hands with the couple of the hour and pose for pictures. "The ordinary package, which costs around £7,000 for actresses like Minissha Lamba [think Nicole Ritchie], is inclusive of getting pictures with the bride and groom. In the case of high-profile actresses, it goes up to £70,000," one wedding planner to told The Guardian newspaper.
- Parental prevention tactics: With parents having less say when it comes to their child's spouse, some are taking desperate measures to reinforce their authority. One mom proposed the idea of agreeing to pay for her daughters wedding, as long as she waits till she's 25. That was generous compared to a French couple called on an obscure Napoleonic law to prevent their son's wedding. Enacted in 1803, it states that parents have the right to prevent their child's matrimony. Their son's ceremony was held, against his parent's wishes, but he wasn't legally wed to his bride.
- Bridalplasty: A new show on premiering on E! will highlight the growing trend of pre-wedding plastic surgery. The show will have contestants competing for an all-expense paid trip to the hospital, but off-camera brides are still shelling out for procedures like tummy tucks and implants and liposuction. Even some bridesmaids are being muscled into tanning booths and tooth whitening procedures by their pushy Bridezilla friends...make that, ex-friends.
- One woman wedding: Ever since Carrie Bradshaw registered for herself, the necessity of a groom has been called into interest. One Netherlands woman said 'I do' to herself in 2003. She self-proposed when she realized she was "prepared to embrace my own life and agree with responsibilities that come with that." Not exactly a surprise, but is it ever? More recently, a Taiwanese woman tied her own knot in protest of the pressures her country-women face to find a husband.
- Group grooms: In order to save money on a wedding and a traditional dowry, group weddings of up to 1600 grooms has become a new trend in Yemen . The most recent was funded by local royalty, where men wed in a giant sporting venue. Since the ceremony is traditional all male, the brides threw their own affair at home. Now local companies are offering "groupon" style opportunities for men looking to save a few bucks on love.
- Naked photos: Gifting your spouse with 'bridal boudoir' pictures--scantily-clad, professional shots-- have become a trend stateside. But that's prudish compared to the popular trend for young couples in China: taking photos in the buff together before their big day. After some shots were leaked on the internet, the Shanghai Wedding Trade Association started seeking to ban the practice.
- McDonald's weddings: In 2011, at least three of Hong Kong's McDonald's chains will double as wedding venues. For a little over $100, couples can design their McMenu for guests, cut into the chain's signature apple pie and have their first kiss joined by a French fry. It still sounds more romantic than a drive-through chapel.
- Bridal Diapers: Remember that obsessed female astronaut who reportedly wore diapers on her deranged romantic road-trip? She's kind of like a bride. The adult diaper brand Depends has a new target audience, ever since a Marie-Claire blogger revealed the secret trend among brides: lining their underpants with a pee-pad in case of emergencies. If you've got a Marie-Antoinette style mega-dress requiring a staff of four for a bathroom break, it's not the worst idea--just so long as it comes off before the honeymoon.
You in cake form: Weddings are all about making your dreams come true--even if your dream is to be reincarnated as a towering confection of icing and flour. One Texas woman fulfilled that fantasy with a life-size, edible statue of herself that she to proceeded to slice apart and feed to her groom. Hot.