You only get married two or three times in life, so you want it to be really special.
Now, Ikea has launched a new service allowing couples to get married online–what the company calls “love at its simplest.”
As the site promises:
The best sort of love is easy and effortless. And promising one another eternal devotion at a wedding should be just as simple. That’s why we’ve created a new type of wedding that’s neither expensive nor complicated. Invite your friends–as many as you like and wherever they may be–and celebrate together via a video link.
Even though I’m already in a happy marriage–love you honey!–I couldn’t help but wonder, “what if?” What if I didn’t get married in the icky analog world–the same world known for snot, farts, and toenail clippings? What if I’d gotten married in the digital world–the same world known for championing the free speech of YouTube commenters and helping militant radicals rapidly organize themselves into global meetup groups?
For Ikea, it’s a pretty spectacular marketing stunt. A footnote on the site has Pinteresty tips for planning a wedding on the cheap, full of Ikea’s own glasswares and textiles. Presumably, even those who don’t get married at Ikea’s site might still consider Ikea goods when planning their own wedding.
As for me, I couldn’t resist the prospect. What if the same mega corporation that sold me a chic particleboard coffee table for $15 threw me a wedding, for free? So without concerning myself with the trivialities of Swedish marriage laws or the sanctity of my own vows, I logged in through my Facebook account and got to work.
Step one: Choose the wedding environment.
Here, I could just click through a few images and pick the places I liked the most. For the ceremony, the first choice is an urban rooftop with what looks suspiciously like a set of REGOLIT paper lanterns ($4.99) dangling overhead. There’s a theatrical trellis, as if you’re on stage, set up in a dry harvested field (this is precisely no one’s dream wedding). There’s an all-white room complete with columns and a pyramid of champagne glasses just awaiting some French guy to walk over and do that trick where he pours into the top glass and then it spills but, oh wait, IT’S SPILLING INTO THE OTHER GLASSES AS HE PLANNED ALL ALONG! And there’s a darker, forested scene that might best be described as where Blair Witch meets Sean Parker’s Redwood Wedding.
I go Blair Witch.
For the reception, a large table of guests can dine on a beach, on a boat, or in another potentially haunted forest fantasy–none of these really appeal to me. And that’s when I see my ideal reception venue. It looks like a honky-tonk circus. It’s got a circusy tent. A horse. Bozo-style tables. And LOVE is written in big lights in case some snotty nosed kid comes walking by and confuses the scene for an actual circus.
I go honky-tonk circus.
Step two: The Formalities (Ikea’s coinage, not mine).
There’s something about Swedish taxes, the necessity of being in the same room with my fiancee and the officiant during the service, and links to actual paperwork I’m supposed to fill out. Paperwork is analog–like boogers and toenail clippings–so I just skip to the next step.
Step three: Get married!
I assume I can just load up the webcam and get married. Nope. I have to schedule a time, and everything until May 1 is booked. How could this be? Aren’t we in the digital world? You don’t wait in line in the digital world. From the fine print, it looks like Ikea actually sends an employee (one can only hope with the blue shirt and all) to watch the service and make sure the best man’s toast isn’t hijacked by spammers.
Ikea recently admitted that it had underestimated and underinvested in the Internet. I guess we can see this (half-earnest?) stunt as an early response to that shortcoming. A couple will, no doubt, really get married using this tool if they haven’t already, just as someone has already been married in a real Ikea store. Try it for yourself here.