The BBC’s Ultimate Wedding Planner shows that people only care about image - Sarah Todd

Getting a new photograph taken for this weekly column is on the ‘to do’ list as the current one doesn’t do this correspondent any favours.

Our children have been downright rude about the way the attached image is far from flattering. Somehow, the cut-out style doesn’t work very well with yours truly’s unruly mane.

These days looks are everything and it’s a worrying truth that our world seems to increasingly prioritise style over substance.

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Back in the Dark Ages, well certainly over 25 years ago, when this writer said “I do” the wedding photographer was somebody to be tolerated. A chap in a suit and tie with a tripod, working away in the background, grabbing grannies and gathering together family groups before making a meal out of the cake cutting. Nowadays it seems like weddings have been sacrificed at the altar of social media; dedicated to securing the perfect Instagram shot.

Ultimate Wedding Planner judges Raj Somaiya, Sara Davies and Fred Sirieix. PIC: BBCS Production/Graeme HunterUltimate Wedding Planner judges Raj Somaiya, Sara Davies and Fred Sirieix. PIC: BBCS Production/Graeme Hunter
Ultimate Wedding Planner judges Raj Somaiya, Sara Davies and Fred Sirieix. PIC: BBCS Production/Graeme Hunter

Before The Husband and I got married it was part of the deal that we went to classes with the vicar. They were a series of pleasant chats and the odd glass of claret, chatting through potential pitfalls such as falling on hard times, or one of you being hit by ill health, that sort of thing. Mind you, this was way back pre-pandemic when vicaring was still a proper vocation and involved working outside normal office hours.

Now, if watching the new BBC show Ultimate Wedding Planner is anything to go by, nobody even pretends to give two hoots about anything other than what the images and video footage will look like.

In a kind of cross between Bake Off and The Apprentice competitors keep agonising about ‘the guest experience’ as if they were touting for restaurant reviews or were running a children’s holiday camp.

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It made me think of my late grandmother, who would have sensibly dismissed (as only that generation could), the whole sorry show of modern weddings as all fur coats and no knickers. Top show.

Nobody seems to bat a (false) eyelash that costs of a wedding have this year spiralled by 15 per cent to an all-time high of £19,184. Add on the ring and the honeymoon and the bill comes in at just over £24,000.

Even in the farming press, which is where this reporter does her bread and butter writing, the odd photo of a bonny farmer’s daughter standing in her wedding dress and wellies has been superseded with ever more over-the-top backdrops.

The groom arriving at church on his favourite old tractor has long been relegated as not photogenic enough and replaced with enough horsepower to harvest all the acres in the barley basket of Cambridgeshire.

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What a misery guts. But so much focus on the aesthetics of an event must surely be an enormous pressure that must detract from the actual meaning and enjoyment of the day.

Every dance or do these days seems to have a dreaded photo booth or special selfie station. Nowadays having a dance at a party runs the risk of some young oik recording your every dodgy move and posting it on SnapChat or their social media outlet of choice.

If this party pooper was getting married in this day and age the guests would be made to leave their mobile phones under lock and key at the entrance. It would be an interesting social experiment to see if they missed them or actually relaxed, free from the pressure of living their best lives in front of the cameras.

We have had some cracking parties over the years but have very few photographs.

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If you’re continually policing yourself based on how other people see your life, you aren’t living it for yourself. Comparing our lives to those of everyone around us is all too easy in our online world and must have its part to play in the fact so many young people have poor mental health.

Does it really matter if nobody sees the beautiful places visited on holiday or an encounter with a celebrity?

People post photographs of their children competing in sporting activities and if only they would sit back and live in the moment. Enjoy them win - or lose - but don’t feel obliged to keep the rest of us mere mortals updated. If we want to know; we’ll ask.

As the cost of living crisis tightens its grip the current levels of conspicuous consumerism seem in such stark contrast and are frankly vulgar.

When some people are wondering where their family’s next meal is coming from, it doesn’t seem right to be buying eleven bridesmaid dresses that would give Barbie herself a run for her money.