Cute, kitsch or cringe?

Published date: 5th June 2019

One bride’s cute is another’s cringe, and taste is a matter of, well, taste. What is an ideal for one couple could turn the next to stone. So for some what follows is for your interest and maybe amusement; for others it could just be a source of inspiration.

Let’s start with the big one – the dress. Elsewhere we have written about the physical extremes – the world’s longest wedding-dress train for example. Here we can consider some of the style extremes. Did anybody ever look good in a Little Bo Peep outfit, for example? The answer to that is probably no (except Bo Peep herself), but we can be more guarded about alternative retro looks, after all the traditional full meringue is effectively retro and it suits so many brides, and the top hat and tails look never dates for grooms.

We recently saw a bride in the most fabulous Rock and Roll era dress, lace bodice and all, her groom suitably suited but not in tasteless Teddy Boy gear. Terrific. That was cute but avoided kitsch. Or a Twenties-themed event with period tails for him and the full flapper for her. Wonderful. It would be hard to say that about the couple who themed their wedding around the movie Shrek, green make-up and all. Brave is the kindest thing to say, perhaps. And a cowboy-themed wedding?

When does a style touch become a touch too much? Somewhere between a single quirky heart decoration and every object including cake and crockery being heart-shaped. And pink. Believe us.

And talking of cakes and cuteness, what was cute and clever a year ago may not be quite so smart today: take for example the invasion of the killer cup-cakes that has probably had its day, at least as far as the cake-to-be-cut is concerned. What does one say about a dress made to look like a wedding cake? Sorry would be insufficient. The jury is out about whether grooms and best men in Converse shoes has been done too often: it’s a look that can work in the correct setting and with confident men. And though for some of us chocolate should feature at every feast, the chocolate fountain has maybe become passé.

The cake topper is another area fraught with cutesy danger: jokey can work – models made to look like the happy couple, the groom as Prince Charming or Superman, the bride as vamp or Princess – but among several things the Beckhams may regret about their big day is the naked sculpture of them atop their cake. That surely qualifies as cringe-worthy. Even as the full buttock-clench cringe (their faux thrones incredibly going beyond that point). We’ve seen worse – a topper where the bride, dress hitched up, is astride her groom.

The bouquet is an area where you can express your style, and where there are very few fails: the single giant flower; crazily coloured paper flowers; a bouquet of buttons; they’re cute, they’re different and they work. Cupcakes (again) and (what?!) cacti are for their own individual reasons hard to make romantic.

We devoted a full article to wedding vows. They too walk the scariest line between ‘loved it’ and ‘loathed every second’. Anyone plighting their troth to ‘my itsy-boo chookie-wook snugly-wugs’ should clearly be executed without delay along with the officiant who allowed it; yet ‘my snuggles’ used at a key point could work. For a trained actor, or the sincerest of lovers.

Table decorations are where many couples let their style-hair down, and as often as not it works: pictures of their past-selves, family members and places of importance look great even in the tackiest of kitsch frames – especially in them in fact. But images of long dead pets? Nope. Cards with something (not too shocking) about how the couple met, why they fell in love, it’s kitsch, it’s cute, but it doesn’t make you cringe. Cards with details of when they first had sex, and their favourite positions – cringe all day long.

Kids at weddings (another full article) can be cute almost beyond imagining, but strangely the less you try to make them cute the better they are. Not only are page boys in satin uncomfy so they may be tempted to misbehave, but they can look a bit sinister and false. But not as creepy as kids dressed exactly like the loving couple.

Taste is in the end what you have and other people lack. But just for form’s sake, if you have what you think is the cutest little idea ever, why not run it past say your mother before paying for it (in both senses of the word)?

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