Join 3,523 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

"We're gonna party like it's 1929!"
August 3, 2011 12:17 AM   Subscribe

Hobo Wedding : "On Memorial Day weekend 2011, my groom and I joined hands, entwined bootlaces and shared a single bean in matrimony at what very well may be the first hobo-themed wedding. We invited our friends and family to share in our happiest of days, wear their shabbiest, drink moonshine, eat their fill of BBQ and pie, dance to a live jug band and howl at the moon."
posted by Ardiril (175 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
brown bags of popcorn and burlap sacks of peanuts - What more could you want?
posted by Ardiril at 12:19 AM on August 3, 2011


As much as I like a lot of the aesthetic...this is kind of tacky, right?
posted by naoko at 12:22 AM on August 3, 2011 [37 favorites]


"a block of rooms has been reserved under the name HUNT at Great Valley Sheraton"

Freaking tourists slumming it up.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:24 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's cliche, but I saw them a week ago so I'll be the first to link Common People.

Then again, I do like the Tom Waits hobo aesthetic.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:26 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm claiming Shabbiest as my new dj name
posted by mannequito at 12:26 AM on August 3, 2011


Oh, Tom Waits, nice tie-in.
posted by Ardiril at 12:27 AM on August 3, 2011


this photo looks a bit like the semi-rockabilly, semi-punk crowd I sorta hang with. like they should be at a Social Distortion show
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:29 AM on August 3, 2011


Shomer shabbiest!
posted by lumensimus at 12:33 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Shouldn't this take place in a trainyard?
posted by Hicksu at 12:34 AM on August 3, 2011


A hobo-themed wedding? You can derelicte my balls.
posted by robcorr at 12:34 AM on August 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


I hope the invitations were symbols drawn on doors and on the sides of trains in chalk.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:34 AM on August 3, 2011 [25 favorites]


Shouldn't this take place in a trainyard?

Yes. And they should've played this at least once.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:37 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Wear their shabbiest" - My "shabbiest" consists of fifteen-year-old Old Navy pajama pants and a paint-stained t-shirt from a random lawn care company with a hole under the arm. Oh, that doesn't fit with your aesthetic? You actually mean you want me to spend a hundred dollars on some vintagey dress from Etsy? Well, there goes your wedding present.

The pictures are pretty cute, though. I'm a little turned off by the word "hobo", however, and would have probably found another way to describe the theme. I'm thinking "dust bowl", I'm thinking "Big Rock Candy Mountain".
posted by cilantro at 12:37 AM on August 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


It also sort of reminds me of when my mother played a bag lady.

It was originally for a role in a play, but she's quite funny and charming, and her character was very popular.

People started hiring her for parties, where she would beg for money and steal food from people's plates. She only did it a few times before the thought that she was mocking people who were really down got to her.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:38 AM on August 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


what kind of people hire someone to play a bag lady and steal food at their parties?
posted by mannequito at 12:42 AM on August 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


'Bag lady' is just another variation of a popular clown theme.
posted by Ardiril at 12:46 AM on August 3, 2011


It's still really distasteful when the homeless are so prevalent.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


What do you call these faux hobo poseurs? Hobeaux?
posted by xil at 12:55 AM on August 3, 2011 [45 favorites]


The aesthetic is kind of cute, but if you go to all this work to be shabby and from the heart and you still end up making kitschy party favors and having a "cocktail hour"? You're doing it wrong.
posted by impishoptimist at 12:58 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Oh, my! Homeless people had so much more style during the Depression! Let's all play dress-up and pretend to be them for our wedding!"

Sorry, I'm not usually full of the grar, but this story just irritates the hell out of me.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:01 AM on August 3, 2011 [51 favorites]


Should this annoy me more or less than the colonial themed wedding?
posted by memebake at 1:14 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


What kind of "Great Gastby" shit is this?
posted by Optamystic at 1:26 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Bet they didn't invite any *actual* hoboes or homeless people.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:26 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah I was hoping for an honestly cheap wedding, not some weird etsy vintage blah version.

I guess because my mother raised me to appreciate the art and craft of quilting, I was most offended by her offhand mention of cutting up old quilts to make decorations. Nooooo, give them to me and I will care for them!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:27 AM on August 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


What do you call these faux hobo poseurs? Hobeaux?

Fauxbos, surely?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:32 AM on August 3, 2011 [56 favorites]


Should this annoy me more or less than the colonial themed wedding?

Heh... Well at least you have to admit for the guests this one was easier in terms of spending money for clothes, and going to the trouble of finding clothes that match the "theme". Or was it? hmm...

I think that's my basic reaction to themed weddings, regardless of theme chosen - how much complicated and expensive can it get for the guests? What's the etiquette there? Shouldn't the bride and groom pay for everyone's costumes once they start going beyond a reasonable level of fancy?

I don't know, no wedding fashion expert here, but I feel no one should put too much pressure on the invites to show up in any particular dress other than the most elegant thing they can feel most comfortable in.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:33 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Retro boho hobos
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:33 AM on August 3, 2011


How about a hobo shotgun wedding?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:47 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"One-of-a-kind feed sack overalls"? Sums up the whole thing rather neatly, that.
posted by Catseye at 1:59 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The howling at the moon part makes me want to punch her.
posted by kinetic at 2:00 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


After the "colonial-themed" and "hobo-themed" weddings, how long until a happy couple comes up with a Somalia-themed wedding? BYOF: Bring Your Own Famine.

I'll never understand wedding madness. It's far more important to have a good marriage than a spectacular wedding.
posted by Skeptic at 2:04 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Hmmm, the photos are really cute, but themed weddings kind of befuddle me. I mean, it's a wedding not a party, per se; is it about you and your partner, or is it about 1930s hobos etc?

Additionally, did it have to be "hobo"? There are so many words that could describe that theme, I'm kind of bummed they went ahead and picked the loaded one. I dunno, I mean, people were dying of starvation and malnutrition because of the great depression. I don't find that very romantic; it's like having a gulag-themed wedding because you like the bare feet or something.
posted by smoke at 2:12 AM on August 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Been GISing for photos of "the" chav wedding with the fat bride and the impossibly skinny groom wearing runners. No luck.

It's arrived in my inbox a few times, always framed as "hah hah check out these fuglies," but the thing I always get from it is how much of a good time they and their bridal party are having... how happy they all look.

Peter McDermott, can you help me out with a link please. :P
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:13 AM on August 3, 2011


Additionally, did it have to be "hobo"? There are so many words that could describe that theme, I'm kind of bummed they went ahead and picked the loaded one.

Heh.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:16 AM on August 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


I doubt they meant to mock anyone who was real in their minds. If they'd thought it through, they probably wouldn't have done it. ("We are all going to dress up like poor, hungry, homeless, miserable people? And chuckle about it? Maybe not. Let's go with the hippies on the beach plan.")

And it's not as if they're unusual. The hobo costume appears to be as disconnected in people's minds from any actual poor people as the witch costume is from any actual herbalists and the like who might have been tortured and executed for supposedly practicing magic.

I will spend my indignation elsewhere.
posted by pracowity at 2:18 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll never understand wedding madness. It's far more important to have a good marriage than a spectacular wedding.

It helps more if you understand that planning a wedding is a competitive sport.
posted by emjaybee at 2:23 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Folks, I have to admit, I find this a bit off-putting. But, it did give me an idea for other wedding themes:

Medical Trauma Wedding
Psychiatric Ward Wedding
Food Stamp Wedding
The Projects Wedding
Chemotherapy Wedding
Sex Trade Wedding


Get my drift here....?
posted by tomswift at 2:36 AM on August 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


"After reading that the word 'hobo' may be a syllabic abbreviation of 'homeward bound,' we fell in love with the notion."

If they really wanted to capture that Depression-era feeling they'd have to don a 'Coonskin Coat and play crappy music on ukeleles and harmonicas while throwing back a cool, non-alcoholic O'Doul's!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:58 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bet they didn't invite any *actual* hoboes or homeless people.

Because someone would have mistaken the mayor for a homeless guy, with hilarious results.
posted by DU at 3:04 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're going to go full cartoonish hobo wedding, the cake should be pie stolen from somebody's window while cooling.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:20 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some of their hobos look more like hillbillies to me (except the ones that look more like Okies).
posted by doctor_negative at 3:40 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I would be all right with it (of course it wasn't *my* wedding--which was fabulous, inexpensive, and non-hipster/racist-themed, for starters) if they had just called it a "country wedding." Because hobos, despite the romance of it, isn't really a life one aspired to.

Unless you're my husband.
posted by Kitteh at 3:41 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Friends said I was a bum and my bride a tramp...we had no hobos though.
posted by Postroad at 3:47 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This is a great wedding...but to really get it right, you should have had a bunch of railroad-company goons show up and beat the crap out of everyone."

"Is that some kind of obnoxious joke about our wedding theme?"

"This thing had a theme?"
posted by PlusDistance at 3:50 AM on August 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


What do you call these faux hobo poseurs? Hobeaux?

Fauxbos, surely?


Why don't you two get together and go all the way to Fauxbeaux!
posted by fairmettle at 4:11 AM on August 3, 2011


I'm a bit shocked at the lack of understanding about hobos in this thread. Hobos were migratory workers, not starving homeless people. They were actually rather respected in odd ways. Probably the original counter-culture group, they had conventions starting in the 1890s, and even had a code of ethics to live by.

This wedding was probably a tacky affair which didn't truly understand hobos any better than this MetaFilter thread. But hobos as they truly were (and are) deserve more respect and better understanding than anyone here has given them so far.
posted by hippybear at 4:12 AM on August 3, 2011 [25 favorites]


Also featured, with some outrage, on Regretsy.

I'm not going to comment on the hobo theme. I'll just add that I'm already so very tired of handmade buntings. Three months ago, I didn't know those triangular-flags-on-a-string things had a name, and now they're as ubiquitous as owls (which, in turn, were the new sparrows).
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:14 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


In general, I would grumpily argue that if you or your spouse-to-be is not a member of a group, don't theme your wedding around the appearance, culture, practices, or customs of that group. Because it's kind of the definition of Cultural Appropriation.

I suppose if you want to use a group that doesn't actually exist, such as Klingons, that's at least not kind of offensive.

Yep, I'm defending Klingon weddings over Hobo weddings. How I got here, I am not sure.
posted by kyrademon at 4:20 AM on August 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


I too got married this past Memorial Day weekend. Glad I didn't spend 15 months planning some kitschy-themed hot mess... Courthouse weddings rock!
posted by lily_bart at 4:21 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is only going to encourage our vulnerable impressionable children that the hobosexual lifestyle is OK.
posted by Renoroc at 4:22 AM on August 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


David Mitchell on the urge to make your wedding 'unique'
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:24 AM on August 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


In general, I would grumpily argue that if you or your spouse-to-be is not a member of a group, don't theme your wedding around the appearance, culture, practices, or customs of that group. Because it's kind of the definition of Cultural Appropriation.

I'm all for cultural appropriation, it's generally a good thing. I think what is bothersome about playing make-believe-poverty-ha-ha for a wedding theme is not the cultural appropriation side of it.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:25 AM on August 3, 2011


I am so having a Great Leap Forward-themed wedding! Everyone in Mao jackets, and anyone who complains about the lack of food gets "struggled against" by local students!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:40 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


what kind of people hire someone to play a bag lady and steal food at their parties?

People who live in a small town where there aren't any (visible) homeless people.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:42 AM on August 3, 2011


Hobos were migratory workers, not starving homeless people.

Depending on which definition you regard as the official one to which we all must adhere, sure, maybe a 1930s hobo was a migratory worker who was neither hungry nor homeless, but was instead some noble being skipping from job to job with nature's seasons and his inclinations and developing his own respectable subculture.

But look around. There are plenty of definitions that conflate hobos, tramps, and vagrants -- as opposed to gypsies, tramps, and thieves -- and any fine distinctions drawn between one definition and another probably wouldn't stand up well to the reality of a Depression-era hobo's life.
posted by pracowity at 4:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


They should have had the wedding in Britt, Iowa. I was going to link the code of ethics, but since hippybear beat me to it, I will just mention that it is worth a read; good rules to live by and would make the basis for some good wedding vows.
posted by TedW at 4:48 AM on August 3, 2011


I don't think she understands what that time period was like at all. I did like the response to this wedding on this blog.
posted by Houstonian at 4:49 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I'm all for cultural appropriation, it's generally a good thing."

... I think we have to be operating under different definitions of the term.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was invited to a large Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic Orthodox wedding, as a result of trying to return a misdirected invitation. I was told by someone at the rather spectacular celebration that it was traditional to have one stranger at the wedding. It was also traditional to have one beggar/homeless person. That guy was Hasidic, wearing ancient clothes made mostly of holes and shreds, he had a permanent drip hanging from the tip of his gnarly nose, his eyes were rheumy and red. It's possible that he might have been playing it up, but I don't think so. Although, he may have specialized in this role at weddings.

He was treated respectfully, up to a point. He was fed with the others in the buffet line, but gently rebuffed when he went for seconds. He was offered a seat, but directed away when he got too close to the grooms party. He was in his seventies, I guess, but his clothes and demeanor looked almost medieval.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:56 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I were invited to this my date would be an actual homeless person. This is why I don't get invited to stuff like this.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:00 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cowboy used to be an epithet, an insult implying a man of rough and violent nature who lived hand-to-mouth as a professional vagrant. Let 50 years pass, and a crude and cruel lifestyle is romanticized and mythologized.

Same here. While I seriously doubt that many hobos of the "golden age of rail" were in their lifestyle by preference, they did have a subculture that is iconic of American history, and deserves more than pity or mockery.

The wedding, I think, would be how hobo society would have liked to imagine itself: simple and free and equal, living in the moment for the moment.

As such, I can't despise it too much... but I do despise it a little, as I'm not certain the wedding party fully understands what they're celebrating and why with the theme.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:01 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also featured, with some outrage, on Regretsy.

Oh why did you have to post that, why... now I'm sucked into a wormhole of facebook outrage and a twitter fight!

For all other depraved souls similarly inclined to waste the next hour or so of their day in schandefreude over someone's wedding attracting social media attention in all the wrongest ways they could not have possibly imagined, go to the Regretsy Facebook page and post with 447 comments.

Or, directly on their blog – this entry detailing the war of words between Regretsy and anti-Regretsers defending the hobo wedding – password is posted on FB page, and it's FAUXBO.

There, I know, I'm not proud of recommending this as your further reading of the day, but you started it...
posted by bitteschoen at 5:04 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hope they can avoid the hobo trial separation.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:06 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't the bride and groom pay for everyone's costumes once they start going beyond a reasonable level of fancy?

Absolutely they should, but in a wedding culture where it's expected that bridesmaids will pay for their own expensive and usually tacky dresses, good fucking luck with that.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:19 AM on August 3, 2011


Maybe I'm missing the point, but... um... I assume sometimes hobos would get married? Wouldn't the first hobo-themed wedding feature an actual hobo?
posted by muddgirl at 5:20 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't you two get together and go all the way to Fauxbeaux!

Ach, ye'll take the highbo,
And I'll take the lowbo,
And I'll be a fauxbo afore ye!
But blow me, and my Ho,
For we'll never meet again -
On the bowie, bowie banks of Loch Fauxbeaux.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:25 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


What do you call these faux hobo poseurs? Hobeaux?

Fauxbos, surely?

Why don't you two get together and go all the way to Fauxbeaux!


Clearly, this is a muddled nomenclature. Let's work this through:

Hobo: a homeless person, usually itinerant, may be utterly unemployed or engage in intermittent day labor.

Fauxbo: a person who dresses up as a hobo, for whatever reason

Hobeau: a serious boyfriend* who is a hobo. Alternatively, an itinerant boyfriend who only engages in intermittent "night labor," if you know what I mean Alternatively alternatively, a boyfriend who you have discovered is a tramp of a different sort.

Fauxbeau: a person who, out of friendship, obligation, blackmail, or financial consideration, pretends to be your boyfriend.

Hobeaux/Fauxbeaux: as above, only plural. If you have cause to use either in a true sentence pertaining to yourself, you are probably overdoing things.

*In the interests of recognizing the diversity of human experience, these terms could probably also be used for a girlfriend, assuming she is at least somewhat butch about it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:27 AM on August 3, 2011 [34 favorites]


He was treated respectfully, up to a point. He was fed with the others in the buffet line, but gently rebuffed when he went for seconds. He was offered a seat, but directed away when he got too close to the grooms party.

Yeah, idk. I think those people could use some remedial tikkun olam classes. Dancing with the bride is a mitzvah, and halfassed tzedakah is pretty tacky.

posted by elizardbits at 5:27 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


This thing cost $15,000? Oh my.
posted by item at 5:27 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fauxbos, surely?

Just as I feared...

posted by Capt. Renault at 5:41 AM on August 3, 2011


what this thread needs is more mocking, because that is always good practice.

Oh wait, the opposite of that.
posted by edgeways at 5:43 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This comment consists of some sort of joke about "hobophobia" that I just can't be bothered to make.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, after reading some of the Twitter/Facebook row over this, I am no longer sure what to think. On the one hand, the wedding 'theme' was tacky and clueless; on the other, it still seems overly mean to get all lulzy about their shocked and hurt reaction to eight hundred Regretsy commenters piling on about it; but then on the third hand, the groom getting all "we choose the hobo theme because we ARE poor!" locates him on a whole new planet of Not Getting It. Lord.
posted by Catseye at 5:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if, in a few years, their own wedding pictures are going to make them cringe with embarrassment. Can you imagine showing this to new friends or your own children and never knowing how it will go over? And the questions. "Mommy, why is Daddy dressed like a poor person?"

"Your table runners are interesting. Did you make them?"
"No, we just cut-up some old quilts."
Oh. You do know that I am a quilter and I collect heirloom quilts, right?"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:48 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone's invited to my Calcutta gutter themed wedding, rag-casual dress please.
posted by thylacine at 5:51 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do think that the colonial thing was a few shades worse because, among other things, they were actual well-off Europeans descending upon an African nation and being served by black Africans.

I'm not really against the idea of fictional romanticized versions of the Bad Old Days. We have lots of them. Are we now going to rise up and object to everybody who's ever had a pirate wedding on the grounds that there are real people being killed off the coast of Africa by real pirates? How about the fact that any given faux-medieval bride almost certainly is choosing her own husband?

When you're actually contributing to the continuing harm of people who were hurt in said Bad Old Days and ignoring the fact that they were, indeed, bad for those people, that's awful, but this... I have a hard time being outraged about this. Pretending to be the people who managed to live independent lives in the midst of poverty somehow seems less bad than pretending to be the people who orchestrated the destruction of other cultures and plundered natural resources for their own temporary gain.
posted by gracedissolved at 6:16 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


At the end of the night, the bulls came in with goon sticks and broke the whole thing up.
posted by jquinby at 6:17 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


David Mitchell on the urge to make your wedding 'unique'

Heh, I didn't *think* this would be the David Mitchell I'm familiar with.

Wouldn't the first hobo-themed wedding feature an actual hobo?

That wouldn't be "-themed" though, would it? It would just be someone's wedding, with the participants dressed as they see fit.

Also, there's the Hobo Convention's list of annual Kings and Queens, and a portrait of the 2011 King and Queen.
posted by aught at 6:21 AM on August 3, 2011


This comment consists of some sort of joke about "hobophobia" that I just can't be bothered to make.

GONNA TAKE A TRAIN DOWN TO THE ATL (NO HOBO)
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:21 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


So-So-Bordeaux-PoMo-FauxHo-Go-Slow-Joe-Doe-Beaux n., 1. A male French worker taking postmodernist industrial action by pretending to be a tramp, whose name you have forgotten but who you are sleeping with, even though you're in two minds whether or not you actually like him.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:22 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Are we now going to rise up and object to everybody who's ever had a pirate wedding on the grounds that there are real people being killed off the coast of Africa by real pirates? How about the fact that any given faux-medieval bride almost certainly is choosing her own husband?

Sweet Lord, yes, yes, a million times yes. Pirate/faerie/Star Trek weddings are all entirely objectionable.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:23 AM on August 3, 2011


How about the fact that any given faux-medieval bride almost certainly is choosing her own husband?
Given that the vast majority of medieval brides did in fact choose their husbands, this seems quite reasonable (arranged marriage was for the rich, and even then not universal).
posted by Coobeastie at 6:28 AM on August 3, 2011


It's their wedding, they paid for it and they can do it how they like. I really can't see this provoking a national hobo strike or anything. For a community which prides itself on being non-judgmental - and champions the right of anyone to get married how they like - there's an awful lot of judging going on. If only they'd pretended it was a witty post modern comment on the pauperisation of the middle classes due to, you know, haliburton and Rupert Murdoch and stuff, then the same people would strain an elbow tendon applauding.
posted by joannemullen at 6:29 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are we now going to rise up and object to everybody who's ever had a pirate wedding on the grounds that there are real people being killed off the coast of Africa by real pirates? How about the fact that any given faux-medieval bride almost certainly is choosing her own husband?

Sure, why not? Those are valid reasons to have objections to those themes; just as valid as the tasteless slumming demonstrated in this wedding's theme.

If only they'd pretended it was a witty post modern comment on the pauperisation of the middle classes due to, you know, haliburton and Rupert Murdoch and stuff, then the same people would strain an elbow tendon applauding.

Respectfully, what the hell are you going on about?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:31 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was John Hodgman alerted to the existence of this wedding?

THAT IS ALL.
posted by inturnaround at 6:36 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Ask him if he is not a hobo, then why does he have a bindle?"

"You're right Roboto - he's a hobo alright!"

posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:39 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guess what?? You guys are not invited to my Gulag wedding then.


/Already married.
posted by Tarumba at 6:39 AM on August 3, 2011


Oh God, I'm only 30 comments into that regretsy thing and my sides already hurt from the lulz. The alternating outrage and appearance of meme macros and mousepads for sale is killer.
posted by nevercalm at 6:43 AM on August 3, 2011


I have always hated all this idiotic wedding crap. Astronomical amounts of money that could be used for so many good things - say like maybe a nice, down to earth party for your friends and loved ones and a substantial donation to a homeless shelter or a food bank or a school or a health clinic, starting your new lives together off on the right foot and with some seriously good karma, or at maybe using it as part of a downpayment on owning a home or apartment or getting a graduate degree or starting your future child's college fund or any number of actually meaningful, useful, wonderful things - just thrown away because incredibly shallow people have this deep-seated need to show off to their (often equally shallow) friends and families how much money they can afford to waste on frivolous, mindless nonsense. This has nothing to do with love and celebration and everything to do with "yeahhhh, look what I got!" syndrome. It's like a Whitesnake video with extra cheese. Ugh.

If you can't throw a really fun party for a reasonable, modest amount of money where people can dress comfortably and have a good time rejoicing in and celebrating your happiness, then you are too goddamn puerile and you need to reexamine your priorities, stat.

This "hobo" theme in particular turns my stomach. It smacks of Marie Antoinetteism and makes "Zoolander" a documentary instead of a comedy. It is breathtaking in its disregard for reality and the suffering of so many of their fellow human beings. I bet a lot of actual "hobos" could have used some of that $15,000 they blew on this garbage to buy their first decent meal in days. Or weeks. Or months. Feeding a bunch of homeless folks instead of blowing that cash on this crap? Now THAT would be a reason to celebrate.

Christ, what a bunch of assholes.
posted by perilous at 6:44 AM on August 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Are we now going to rise up and object to everybody who's ever had a pirate wedding on the grounds that there are real people being killed off the coast of Africa by real pirates? How about the fact that any given faux-medieval bride almost certainly is choosing her own husband?

Well... this was a very specific wedding theme. If it was themed around the 1930s rather than around 1930s depression-era poverty, I doubt there'd anywhere near so much fuss - and if those pirate weddings were taking place 'authentically' off the coast of Somalia in a modern hijacked boat with ransom notes for placenames, people would probably get a bit annoyed too.

There's certainly a degree of historical separation beyond which things stop carrying much emotional weight to most people, so maybe it's got more to do with the couple thinking eighty years ago is fair game and their critics thinking otherwise. But, still, I can't think how far back you'd have to go before something this specific, and this associated with suffering, seemed like an awesome idea. Victorian workhouse-themed wedding, with adorable tattered clothes for the children and ushers to separate all the married couples as soon as they arrived? Highland clearances-themed wedding, where guests are driven off their tables and cute little sheep get to eat all their food? Trail of Tears? Black Death? Crusades? Still seems pretty tacky, at best.
posted by Catseye at 6:50 AM on August 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's like a Whitesnake video with extra cheese. Ugh.

I was with you until here. A BRIDGE TOO FAR.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:51 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYT Lifestyle article about this catching on in Brooklyn in 3, 2, 1 ....
posted by Happy Dave at 6:57 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


For a community which prides itself on being non-judgmental - and champions the right of anyone to get married how they like - there's an awful lot of judging going on.

You know, it may seem like a pileon of unnecessary viciousness and one may feel sorry for the couple and their guests and their uncle and their cousins and maybe even the photographers and maybe even oh the poor Etsy blogger who just thought this was really cute and really great publicity for their website...

But that's until you stop for a moment and reconsider the obvious – which is, regardless of the level of controversy or offensiveness of the chosen theme, these people weren't having a private wedding when some evil soul snapped a photo of them paparazzi style and posted it on the internet for public shaming. Nope.

They didn't even just post the photos on their own facebook page for friends only, and someone evil went and republished them elsewhere more public.

They posted all of it on the Etsy blog (or consented to Etsy reposting it and interviewing them and linking to their websites or business or whatever). They went and posted their own wedding photos on the internet complete with details and explanations of how they made "probably the first hobo-themed wedding", and how they went about it, and what decorations they used and how, and it also appears they revealed how much it all cost them.

So, they asked for the publicity of a very private event, and the basic lesson is, if you don't want to risk any unpleasant public (and forever indeletable and googlable) commentary on any very private very personal very emotional event like oh a wedding, do NOT make it public on the internet. Simple as that! Amazing how many people forget!

That's even before you get to the merits or flaws of theme weddings in general, and of "hobo-themed" weddings specifically.
posted by bitteschoen at 7:12 AM on August 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


For a community which prides itself on being non-judgmental...

You must be reading a different site than I am.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:14 AM on August 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


When I moved to New York, my dad gave me this old quilt that my grandmother had made, anticipating hideously cold winters in my near future. I always referred to that quilt as "the horse blanket" because it was hideous and scratchy, obviously made out of old farm shirts and so forth, purely utilitarian. So I didn't feel so bad about abusing it a little.

Eventually years later when it was starting to fall into disrepair I mentioned to my mom that I should probably just get rid of it. She urged me to check with my grandmother first, as apparently the item had some history. So I called grandmother, and learned that the middle layer of the quilt was made out of warm winter coats that my great-grandmother had received as wedding gifts from HER parents, who'd traded a bunch of beaver pelts for them in Canada. Peeking through the holes that had appeared in the quilt I was able to confirm this, and now I've spent years trying to undo the damage and restore the quilt.

In other words, stories like "Hobo Wedding" drive me absolutely fucking nuts.
posted by hermitosis at 7:17 AM on August 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


For a community which prides itself on being non-judgmental

When did this happen? Mefites pride themselves on their supreme levels of judginess. We consider ourselves to be the ultimate arbiters of social appropriateness, and nothing is appropriate.
posted by muddgirl at 7:18 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm annoyed how the groom presents it as that they really ARE poor, they only spent $15,000 on their wedding!

Dude, if you spent $15,000 on your wedding and think that's "poor folks' income," I just don't know about you.*

* we're scraping up to hopefully have about $5,000 to spend on our wedding, and we're middle class! Comfortable! We make more than the Chicago median income! There's no way in hell we could scrape up 15,000.
posted by Windigo at 7:19 AM on August 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


Didn't Marie Antionette get her head chopped off for exactly this kind of horseshit?
posted by saladin at 7:29 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


On preview, perilous pretty much nailed it.
posted by saladin at 7:33 AM on August 3, 2011


.....but seriously, how do people afford that sort of wedding, if they claim to be "poor." Credit cards? Don't eat dinner out for several years? Family are actually the ones footing the bills? I assume it just simply couldn't have been paid for up-front. Like I mentioned above, we make a solidly middle-class income (outside of Chicago it might even be seen as upper middle class in some states/towns).....but we couldn't even remotely afford a 15,000 wedding. The idea boggles me, actually. I don't know anyone who has spent that much on a wedding and, just like us, our social circle is made up of people doing pretty good for themselves. It seems such a waste. That's our rent for a whole year, with a bit left over! That's student loans payed way down! That's three week-long vacations overseas!

Poor my ASS!
posted by Windigo at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Via Wikipedia -

Marie Antoinette's "Hameau de la reine": "One primary purpose of the hameau was to add to the ambiance of the Petit Trianon, giving the illusion that it was deep in the countryside rather than within the confines of Versailles.". It was actually a working farm in the middle of Verailles, and its produce was served at the royal table.
The Queen sought refuge in peasant life, milking cows or sheep carefully maintained and cleaned by the servants. Dressed as a peasant in a muslin dress and straw hat, a light switch in her hand, with her ladies, she used the buckets of Sevres porcelain specially decorated his arms by the Manufacture Royale. The place was completely enclosed by fences and walls, and only intimates of the Queen were allowed to access it. During the Revolution, "a misogynistic, nationalistic and class-driven polemic swirled around the hameau, which had previously seemed a harmless agglomeration of playhouses in which to act out a Boucher pastorale."[5] The queen was accused by many of being frivolous, and found herself a target of innuendos, jealousy and gossip throughout her reign. Although for Marie Antoinette, the hameau was an escape from the regulated life of the Court at Versailles, in the eyes of French people, the queen seemed to be merely amusing herself.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:49 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


The groom said on Twitter it was "funded by little bits from our large family", so I'm guessing they didn't pay for most/any of it themselves. Still, if you're in a position to describe that kind of wedding spending as (and I quote) "frugal", you're... probably not quite as poor as you think.
posted by Catseye at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "We invited our friends and family to share in our happiest of days, wear their shabbiest, drink moonshine, eat their fill of BBQ and pie, dance to a live jug band and howl at the moon." part sounds like every summer weekend in my part of the world.
posted by maggieb at 7:53 AM on August 3, 2011


Yeah. Given that weddings rarely escape "tacky" this one is pretty high up there on the tacky scale.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:54 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the economy keeps up, we may be having real hobo weddings soon.
posted by goethean at 8:02 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Me and the missus went to Ichikawa City Hall, signed some papers and we were hitched. As is the custom there, the City of Ichikawa then presented us with a little pine tree in a pot (the pine tree being of a certain genus that is associated with Ichikawa).

The ceremony cost us precisely nothing. Which is pretty much what we could afford, so that worked out well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"After reading that the word 'hobo' may be a syllabic abbreviation of 'homeward bound,' we fell in love with the notion."

Just stopped by to mention some variation of this. Hiking culture is full of this, for example thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail are Nobos or Sobos, depending on what direction they are traveling, and they often sign the trail logs with one or the other appended to their trail name. When I did a section in Southern New England, I lived a mile from the trail so I signed as (trail name)-HOBO because I really was hiking home.

Hobo does have connotations that predate the ones most people have, is my point.
posted by rollbiz at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was thinking of building a post around this brou-ha-ha when I saw this FPP.

I just read through the comments on Etsy. At first the comments are all "So cute! So inspiring! Awesome!" and then eventually get all, "GRAR!!!!"

I'm not feeling outraged about this. I actually feel kind of bad for this couple, who put together what looks like a fun and pretty wedding and showed their guests a nice time, then shared their pictures and ideas online. Now their wedding memories will now forever be associated with hundreds of people telling them how stupid and offensive it was and they are. I think they were at worse a little insensitive. On a practical level, the actual harm they did to the poor is zero. They weren't taking food from the mouths of the poor or evicting anyone; they just got married. If they'd had almost the exact same wedding and designated it "country-themed" no one would be bothered by it.

I'm more bothered by all those who are going on in a "You spent $15K on your wedding and I don't even make that much a year!!!" vein. I've been poor — I spent half the the nineties living on $650 a month in Toronto. And I know when you're in that situation the contrast between you and others really hurts. You're always making those calculations and comparisons, how this person spends more on eating out every month than you do in rent, how that person spent more on a single designer suit or a dress than you do on a year's thrift shop clothing purchases. You wince to see people waste so much money on stupid crap when, if you'd had it, you would have spent it on rent or groceries or tuition or shoes for your kids.

I don't blame anyone who is struggling for feeling and thinking that way. But though you will inevitably feel the contrast between you and others who have more, the next step is to realize that you need to let that resentment go. Some people have less, some have more. That's just the way the world works. And nursing that resentment, let alone taking it upon yourself to chastise others for the way they spend their own money, will do you no good and win you no friends.

I think of a friend I had during my poor days who had more than twice as much income as I did at that time. She was still working class-level poor (as opposed to my "social assistance-level poor"), of course, but she had just enough to get by on if she'd been careful. But she wasn't careful, and she had the most enormous, unattractive chip on her shoulder you ever saw. Whenever we spoke on the phone during those years our entire conversation would consist of me listening to her scream about how she couldn't get by on what she had and about how other people had so much more than her. If I tried to say anything at all about my situation she'd be dismissive — I didn't have her credit card debt and anyway I was bound to find a job any minute and so it wasn't a problem. Then later when I did have a job making something like 10% more than her, I heard many a self-righteous statement on how I spent money — she wouldn't spend money on that!!! I know I was far from free from that self-righteousness myself, but I hope I was much better at putting money issues and comparisons aside and just relating more holistically to people as people. (And guess what — we're not friends anymore.)

But I see that jealousy and resentment in others who have had a hard time, or think that they they have, and it always comes across as very off-putting and petty and immature. And I think that everyone, rich and poor and all the stratums in between, has a certain obligation as an adult and citizen to cultivate a certain generosity of spirit. In the rich-to-comfortable this generosity means you have an obligation to share what you have and help others whenever you reasonably can. In the poor this means a certain mature perspective on your own situation, the realization that it's not a good idea to use self-righteousness to try to compensate for your lessened material circumstances — and a further realization that as kindness and empathy cost nothing you're not excused from trying to give your friends and families your non-financial help and support.

I don't find it outrageous that someone would spend 15K on a wedding. It's more than I think I would spend, but then that's me and what I would do is irrelevant. Some people spend tens of thousands of dollars, even 50K or 100K in some cases, and that bothers me exponentially more, and I wouldn't watch those Bridezilla shows on TV (even if I had cable and could get the channels they are on that is). And I find the idea of a relaxed barefoot "poor" wedding less offensive than the whole narcissistic Disney princess débacle; at least they put some creativity and imagination into it instead of buying into a peurile fantasy. I just feel other people have the right to spend their own money the way they want. It's my right to disagree with it, but not my right to interfere or be vocal about it, and I should be a bigger person than to cherish resentment against others for simply having greater financial resources than me.

As for the groom's racist and stupid Twitters though, I have no sympathy. Pile on as much as you like, because that shit is just unacceptable.
posted by orange swan at 8:05 AM on August 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


Y'know, I'm thinking that fun is actually generally quite tacky, and weddings should be fun.

I see people at nightclubs who don't seem to have much to do other than take pictures intended to show others - and themselves - that they lead the Hollywood party lifestyle, while nearby, there's the person dancing like a flailing idiot, and not caring, because they're having fun. The only person actually having a blast, is the one who isn't all about doing what's cool and not being tacky or foolish, but just honestly unabashedly having fun.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:09 AM on August 3, 2011


I don't find it outrageous that someone would spend 15K on a wedding.

It's not that they spent 15k on a wedding. It's that they spent 15k on a poverty-themed wedding.
posted by muddgirl at 8:13 AM on August 3, 2011 [21 favorites]


I would never even consider spending less than $100K on a wedding. But that's only because Patrick Stewart charges one hell of a speaking fee if you expect him to officiate dressed as Jean Luc Picard.
posted by griphus at 8:15 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I like WeddingPileonFilter. More, please.
posted by everichon at 8:32 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not that they spent 15k on a wedding. It's that they spent 15k on a poverty-themed wedding.

But that kind of thing happens all the time. People buy designer ripped jeans or distressed furniture to get a certain look. It's silly, it seems wasteful, but is it really any more offensive than spending the same amount on some show of extravagance?
posted by orange swan at 8:37 AM on August 3, 2011


I think what offends me about the theme is that they focused on a specific group of people who didn't have a CHOICE about their miserable living conditions and built the wedding around that. ("Oh! Parapalegics! Orphans! Widows! Starving children in Ethiopia! Murder victims! Concentration Camp inmates! HOW CUTE!")

If they had called it a an "Ol' Timey Wedding" or "Moonshine Wedding" or whatever, I don't think it would creating the same outrage and they could have used the exact same props and Hipstermatic photos. Add in the fact that she has linked it to her shop and blog and selling stuff--trying to create "BRAND HOBO!"-- that just jacks up the score on the tasteless meter a bit. Sprinkle on their apparent lack of self-awareness in their response to the criticism and attempts to scrape around and rewrite history and, well, they are really digging themselves into a hole here.

Other themed weddings ("Japan! Anime! Princess!") don't push my outrage switch because the "characters" that the wedding people want to portray are either not real or aren't defined by a lack of power/tie-in to real suffering.

So, yeah, lose the Hobo monniker.
posted by jeanmari at 8:42 AM on August 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


Ripped jeans and distressed furniture are markers of time, not poverty. One buys ripped jeans to fake having owned them for ages.

My parents are poor and don't wear ripped jeans - it's more economical to patch them because they will last longer.
posted by muddgirl at 8:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


You put it very well, jeanmari.

Fun irony: I went from this post to Facebook, where I found I've received an invitation to a friend's "Dirty Thirties" party that he is having an excuse to celebrate his recent acquisition of a sweet antique phonograph. Whatever shall I wear...
posted by orange swan at 8:47 AM on August 3, 2011


First a scavenger hunt for a forgotten man.
posted by pianomover at 8:50 AM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hobo Bill's Last Ride

Hobo, You Can't Ride This Train

Rambling Reckless Hobo

The Hobo Boogie
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:55 AM on August 3, 2011


What gets me most of all about this is that in planning this $15,000 extravaganza/frugal event, not one person said "Hey, you know what, maybe this is, well, a little bit tacky -- or could be misconstrued or could be offensive... or something..."

I can't help but think this says more about the parties involved than any lulzy comments on regretsy (which, it seems, is blocked by my employer for adult content...huh?)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:06 AM on August 3, 2011


my Gulag wedding

redundant
posted by banshee at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2011


Ripped jeans and distressed furniture are markers of time, not poverty. One buys ripped jeans to fake having owned them for ages.

Prior to the 1960s, they were markers of poverty because no one would wear ripped or patched clothes or have furniture with a cracked finish if they could afford something new. The vintage, distressed look as an accepted fashion aesthetic is a relatively recent phenomenon. And I would argue that it's a phenomenon that has been beneficial to the economically disadvantaged because they are no longer automatically marked as poor for wearing well-worn jeans as everyone does it.
posted by orange swan at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2011


This has kind of left me wondering what the most offensive theme could be, how far can you take this? Are we witnessing the start of an offensive wedding arms race?

I'm thinking I might just take the 15k or 30k or whatever and just burn it on the steps of city hall.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:16 AM on August 3, 2011


I looked at the grooms' twitter feed:

"first you elected a black president, then you turn spiderman black and hispanic, and then you kill all white people".

Um. OK.

Yeah. My opinion has gone from this couple being entitled & clueless to actually rather ugly.
posted by Windigo at 9:19 AM on August 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


from the comments of the original Etsy blog posting:

"Sarah, the only way to make your wedding about homelessness is to direct your guests to write checks to a charity instead of buying you a gift. The only time of year you get to make party favors based on human suffering is Halloween."
posted by LMGM at 9:21 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hobsters
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:29 AM on August 3, 2011


Faux-aged furniture is desireable because it is old but has survived, and old furniture that has lasted denotes quality and history. It fakes the kind of respectable family that redecorated their house when their furniture wore out, but stored the old pieces in the attic.
posted by muddgirl at 9:29 AM on August 3, 2011


This has kind of left me wondering what the most offensive theme could be, how far can you take this? Are we witnessing the start of an offensive wedding arms race?

As already noted, anything in the "Our Auschwitzy Bliss!" or "Our Long March (Down the Aisle!)" vein will win, because midcentury industrial-scale horror is always the trump card in such conversations. (See also: Godwin.)

The real contest, though, might be to come up with the most nuanced tone-deaf offensive theme. Something like "My My Lai Delight!" with a Zippo lighter torch procession, his and hers M-16s and a mist of fake blood. Or "My Darling's Sex-Enslavement!" in which groomsmen dressed like Russian mafia thugs hustle the bride to the altar in a drug-induced stupor. What about "Come Join Our Tutsi Watusi"? The groom's family members all receive little toy machetes on arrival, and to celebrate the "atrocity" of matrimony, they "slaughter" the bride's family at the end of the ceremony, with "neutral" friends of both the betrothed, in blue UN berets, attempting vainly to "intervene."

What I'm trying to say is that you have to find the kind of grotesquely inappropriate wedding theme that speaks to you, that gets your creative juices flowing, that makes you want to develop your very own Etsy brand. It's your special day, after all - you should have your very own outrage to mark it properly.
posted by gompa at 9:32 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Faux-aged furniture is desireable because it is old but has survived

Also because you can accidentally scrape a chair-leg on it, or leave a coffee mug on it, and not freak out over keeping you new-looking things new-looking.

The worn aesthetic is more durable and thus more practical than new.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:34 AM on August 3, 2011


True story: I was once at a health food store where someone was discussing a retreat they had been on where you got to be play at being homeless for a weekend. And went around begging for money and singing, the way the real homeless do! Apparently, it helped you understand the meaningless of possession.

I feel much the same way about this wedding as I did then.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:38 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this Box Brown? The artwork looks very familiar.
posted by slkinsey at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


a retreat they had been on where you got to be play at being homeless for a weekend. And went around begging for money and singing, the way the real homeless do!
I feel much the same way about this wedding as I did then.


I'm imagining the only town near the retreat being one where everyone is wise to the rotating roster of perfect-teethed weekend beggers, and so unbeknownst to the fauxbos, the only people in town who actually give them any coin are staff "plants" from the retreat, who are in fact, merely returning a set, tiny fraction the fauxbo's own money that they already paid the retreat for the privilege of getting to ask for some of it back.

At the end of each day, everyone has managed to obtain exactly $5.23 in begged change and... what hey! What luck - the cheapest item on the resort cafeteria menu is a bowl of gruel for $5.23!
posted by -harlequin- at 9:54 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Faux-aged furniture is desireable because it is old but has survived, and old furniture that has lasted denotes quality and history. It fakes the kind of respectable family that redecorated their house when their furniture wore out, but stored the old pieces in the attic.

.... and then later gave those pieces to poor relatives.

Prior to the rise of "shabby chic", the wealthy didn't use shabby furniture. Their things, even the antiques, were kept polished, and they either replaced things as they got worn-looking or had things repaired, refinished and reupholstered
posted by orange swan at 9:57 AM on August 3, 2011


Should this annoy me more or less than the colonial themed wedding?

"Why, this wedding is celebrating the oppression of the working classes by the monied interests that crashed the economy in 1929. It romanticizes the hard scrabble life faced by those displaced by the economy and forced to hit the rails to find work and food. I bet Tom Joad is rolling over in his fictional grave. I'm outraged!"

Oh, and isn't this relevant?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:07 AM on August 3, 2011


Rolled my eyes hard when I saw the wedding took place in Malvern, PA, part of the tony Philadelphia Main Line.
posted by medeine at 10:07 AM on August 3, 2011


This has kind of left me wondering what the most offensive theme could be, how far can you take this? Are we witnessing the start of an offensive wedding arms race?

I've heard of a Gone With the Wind wedding. In that case, as with the hobo chic wedding, the participants were trying to achieve a certain aesthetic and falsely romanticizing a notorious historical era and didn't clue into how insensitive it was. I'm sure they weren't actually suborning slavery anymore than this couple was glamourizing poverty. But it's better to avoid any themes that have their origins in suffering.
posted by orange swan at 10:08 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of this grar reminds me of a pirate-themed party we had back in college. It was mostly an excuse to drink rum and get girls to dress as pirate wenches, but the neighbors took offense. They called our landlord to earnestly complain about the Nazi connotations(!) of the Jolly Roger flying outside our house.

Sure, this wedding was tacky and pretentious, but most weddings are tacky and pretentious. It's celebrating the depression-era cartoon clown hobo, and I think it's possible to do that without mocking today's poor and the homeless
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:19 AM on August 3, 2011


Sheeee-it. We drank moonshine out of canning jars and ate a hog at my wedding, but not because it was "themed." It's because we're poor hill people and when we get married, dammit, it's in a barn. This is some grade A horse shit right here.
posted by Tennyson D'San at 10:19 AM on August 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


If a real live hobo showed up on Regretsy to express his or her offense at this wedding, then I can understand the furor. But most people who have time to write at length on the internet about other people's aesthetic offenses aren't really all that down on their luck, either. Maybe if they're that upset about it, they should spend their time volunteering in a soup kitchen instead of writing snarky tweets.
posted by crackingdes at 11:10 AM on August 3, 2011


Oh hey, this made it here. Figured it might. Saw this last night and couldn't believe it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:34 AM on August 3, 2011


If a real live hobo showed up on Regretsy to express his or her offense at this wedding, then I can understand the furor. But most people who have time to write at length on the internet about other people's aesthetic offenses aren't really all that down on their luck, either. Maybe if they're that upset about it, they should spend their time volunteering in a soup kitchen instead of writing snarky tweets.

That seems to me like saying people can't have or express opinions about things that don't directly affect them.
posted by cooker girl at 11:36 AM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Highland clearances-themed wedding, where guests are driven off their tables and cute little sheep get to eat all their food?

Yay! Now I have a theme for our vow renewals. Now, where can I rent some sheep ...
posted by feckless at 11:38 AM on August 3, 2011


The part that's really annoying about the story is how predictable it is that the groom got on Twitter and tried to take on all comers. When will the internet infamous learn- when attacked, SHUT DOWN YOUR COMPUTER. Go outside. You win!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:39 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's not that they spent 15k on a wedding. It's that they spent 15k on a poverty-themed wedding.

Eh. This somehow brings to mind this documentary on Valentino, the fashion stylist, I just saw bits of the other day - specifically the last bit with the preparations for the "obscenely opulent party" for his 45th anniversary/retirement. Obscenely opulent doesn't even begin to describe it - still quoting from that NYT review: It included a retrospective of his work at the Ara Pacis Museum, a celebrity-packed black-tie ball at the Villa Borghese and a Cirque du Soleil-like spectacle at the Temple of Venus overlooking the Colosseum, illuminated in his signature red, with high-wire ballerinas flying to and fro.

Why did I think of this reading these comments on the 15k for the poverty-themed wedding? I don't know, but well, while I was watching that docu, I found myself, surprisingly, admiring the shameless opulence on display - and I don't really care that much for that fashion world and celebrity world and millionaire world but it was something about it all, maybe because it was the sort of luxury that doesn't need to apologise for itself (and well, after all, it's 45 years of work that has deserved some artistic recognition beyond the commercial value of his 'empire'), maybe because it was so old style, maybe because there's a scene where Michael Caine arrives at the villa and jokes about Joan Collins being there and Joan Collins is being asked "more champagne?" and she answers "of course". I don't know. Maybe because it was a bit like his wedding party, after all, since he couldn't have one.

But to try and make this silly digression not completely useless -- I consider it an absolute given sacrosant right that anyone should be free and really even proud to spend their own money, be it big or small or medium money as the case may be, on anything they like, in the way they best see fit. No matter how many children are starving in the world right now, that right is yours and guilt about it won't do a thing to feed anyone anyway. And if it's a party, to entertain people, then there's something even nicer about it than spending it on any product, because it's going to be an experience, a special occasion that's going to be shared and remembered.

But if you have to defend 15k spent on a hobo/depression theme wedding party, and your line of defense is 'but we're also poor' and then you're caught on twitter going berserk and making racist jokes, and you forget that you started all this by going public with your wedding photos on a very well known website in the first place, well - you've got it all more than a bit wrong and it's got nothing to do with the money itself, really.
posted by bitteschoen at 11:41 AM on August 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


The comments on the Etsy blog, btw, have been cleaned up since last night. I think they cut at least 150 comments.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:42 AM on August 3, 2011


Oh, man - I spent the whole morning reading the Regresty thread and the ensuing comments and tweets. And then onto MeFi and there's an FPP... this wedding is like a gift that keeps on giving!

They spent $15K on this wedding, and NO ONE throughout the process told them it *might* be a little tacky? Wow. They're getting eviscerated all over the internet, much like the Colonial/South Africa wedding. Poor kids - errors in judgment, and now they're all shout-y and sad instead of enjoying their honeymoon, or whatever.

But still - it's fucking hilarious, from the outside looking in. That Regretsy thread is WELL WORTH READING, holy shit.
posted by polly_dactyl at 11:43 AM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If a real live hobo showed up on Regretsy to express his or her offense at this wedding, then I can understand the furor.

Because the homeless have such excellent access to the internet. And when they go online, regretsy and twitter are going to be their first stops! (And how do you know the most offended don't actually volunteer as well? I volunteer somewhere and that's why this sort of cutesy treatment of homelessness strikes me as revolting.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:43 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Her haste in declaring it "what very well may be the first hobo-themed wedding" strikes me as being pretty funny, first because of what her hubris has resulted in, and second because she obviously never stopped to think about WHY no one had ever done something like this (unless they had to).
posted by hermitosis at 11:45 AM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Maybe if they're that upset about it, they should spend their time volunteering in a soup kitchen instead of writing snarky tweets.

I can do more than one thing at once. Can't you?

Also, while I'm not clutching my pearls in offense, I do find this pretty distasteful. Members of my own family were hobos during the Depression -- their stories are not full of whimsy and "homeward bound" notions, that's for damn sure. If I were attending a friend's wedding and I knew they had spent thousands of dollars on it and then I get my invite and it's all, "depression era chic! dress as a hobo! enjoy moonshine!", I think I'd have to politely decline -- no way I'm going to dress up in my "shabbiest duds" and kick up my heels to help you mock my ancestors at your wedding.

If they'd just billed it as a 20's/30's themed thing and left out the nasty classist hobo bullshit, it would have been fine.
posted by palomar at 11:49 AM on August 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've finally figured out my theme, it is going to be "crack epidemic" theme. The caterers will all be naked so they can't steal anything. The centerpeices will be cookware and baking soda just like you use to make crack. It is going to be officiated by Pookie from New Jack City.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:00 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, point taken. I realize that it's possible to be snarking at this AND genuinely invested in helping the down-trodden. I should have clarified that my comment was not directed towards people talking about this on Metafilter, but the post detailing the saga on Regretsy, which felt really contemptuous and mean-spirited. It gave me such a bad feeling that I clicked away almost immediately.

In this case, I agree the couple was somewhat clueless, tone-deaf, sheltered and unaware of their privilege. But they still worked hard to create something that they thought would be fun for their friends and family, and a meaningful memory. I have more sympathy for them than I do with the person who's creative efforts center around writing a mean-spirited blog that makes fun of other people's failed attempts at creativity.

Then again I haven't looked at the groom's Twitter.
posted by crackingdes at 12:15 PM on August 3, 2011


I may be parsing the tweets wrong, but the so called "racist tweets" are in the voice of an imagined "Honkyman, racist superhero." (The groom is a cartoonist.) Like:

"See I told you they'd be takin' our jobs!" - Honkyman, racist superhero

-and-

"Wake up, White superheroes!" -Honkyman, racist superhero

I don't think the hobo wedding was a good idea, but I think the reaction against it is also fueling people to tar and feather these two for the wrong reasons.

This whole debacle seems a little bit of "there but for the grace of God go I." Hobo is a no-go, fo sho', and someone suggested moonshine wedding or down-home wedding above--but either one is apt to get someone in a stir for hipster cultural carpetbagging of the South.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:39 PM on August 3, 2011


On the plus side after this and the colonial themed wedding, I have now have a genius idea for a wedding: a famine themed celebration of the English ascendancy in Ireland! It would be held in an Irish poorhouse (thankfully because Ireland is so Catholic one can rely on the servers probably being Catholic, but one could make sure to stipulate religion in requirements for servers just in case.) The guests will be dressed finery but the servers in rags. And you could hire some emaciated people to stare in the windows and dance for you! There would be fiddles and fun and we'd party like about 1 million people were about to die of hunger! And then we could post pictures and wonder why people are upset over something that happened over a 150 years ago!

IT WOULD BE AWESOME. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:51 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have enjoyed several of the #tweetsfromahobowedding.
posted by vespabelle at 1:09 PM on August 3, 2011


a famine themed celebration of the English ascendancy in Ireland!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! that HAS to be the non plus ultra of "how far can you take it" with wedding themes.

There would be fiddles and fun and we'd party like about 1 million people were about to die of hunger! And then we could post pictures and wonder why people are upset over something that happened over a 150 years ago!

lesbiassparrow, you ARE an evil genius.

And, I suspect having entire generations of Irish students raised on postcolonial studies sooner or later is bound to produce at least one occurrence of that scenario, in some misguided attempt at post-modern historical irony. Just wait and see...
posted by bitteschoen at 1:21 PM on August 3, 2011


I'm reading the bride's Twitter account now, and it's sad. She obviously had no idea any of this would happen, and spent most of last night reading ALL of the coverage both on the Etsy blog and Regretsy, while her husband and friends fought about it on Twitter. I know it's like a car wreck when they're talking about you and it's hard to look away, but you really have to. You can't let the opinion of every random internet person into your head.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2011


On the one hand, I almost feel sorry for these two, because clearly, they worked really hard on their celebration.

On the other hand, my grandad who didn't have a pair of shoes till he was 15 and had to shoot rabbits to help feed his siblings during the actual Depression would be pretty disgusted. He made a lifelong practice of feeding actual hobos who would show up at his door, giving them money, and wishing them luck and a better chance. He had no illusions about the joys of their carefree lifestyle.

So yeah; bad call, kids. Poverty blows and romanticising it, especially when you clearly don't know what it's really like, makes you look like Marie Antoinette playing at milkmaid or shepherdess while the rest of France starved. That's not a category you want to be in.
posted by emjaybee at 2:32 PM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


halfassed tzedakah is pretty tacky.
posted by elizardbits at 8:27 AM on August 3 [3 favorites +] [!]

And yet Halfassed Tzedakah would be an AWESOME name for a bad Neil Sedaka cover band!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:06 PM on August 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Herb Ritts' Dust Bowl chic.
posted by squalor at 3:36 PM on August 3, 2011


[A few comments removed, take it to metatalk or don't but don't start shit in the thread.]
posted by cortex at 3:53 PM on August 3, 2011


Dear Acquaintance,

Wear your thrift store finds to my wedding.

Regards,

Guy Who Has Never Seen A Hobo
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:52 PM on August 3, 2011


All my clothes are thrift store finds.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:59 PM on August 3, 2011


All my friends are hobos.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:35 PM on August 3, 2011


The part that's really annoying about the story is how predictable it is that the groom got on Twitter and tried to take on all comers

Seems like such a waste of time... he should've hired a hobo to do his Twitter.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This comment consists of some sort of joke about "hobophobia" that I just can't be bothered to make.

Don't even get me started on hobosexuals. They like it in the bum.
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on August 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


All my clothes are thrift store finds.

No. There are thrift store "clothes" and thrift store "finds". "Clothes" are just ordinary stuff like secondhand underwear because of that one guy who died who had a similar genital configuration to you and boy it's hard to find stuff like that. "Finds" are things like porkpie hats and quirky waistcoats.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:44 PM on August 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the Etsy blog thread, I think this thoughtful comment deserves reprinting here:

rachelnyc says:

I feel bad that this unsuspecting couple has been raked over the coals for what was obviously a very happy day in their lives, but I do understand why people are upset. I think this article has ruffled so many feathers not just because it's about a hobo-themed wedding but because it's about people who seem to have spent a decent sum of money in order to play at being destitute, rather than actually being destitute themselves and finding a way to make their big day special in spite of that. I get that the couple was inspired by the idea of simplicity and thriftiness, and I don't think there would be so much outrage over the theme if they'd fully followed through on those ideas and spent very little money by, for example, only making use of clothing/decorations/antiques they or their family members already owned and/or upcycling items and clothing for the wedding. But in this day and age when so many people are losing their homes, are desperate for work and are hanging on by a thread (things might not be as bad now as they were back when people were tying their belongings in a bindle and traveling far from home in search of work, but times are still very tough for many people), I think the idea of people who can afford to spend $15k on a wedding (no matter where the money came from) throwing around phrases like "hobo chic" or "hobo casual" and mentioning how poor they themselves are, while half of the article is basically a shopping list of everything they bought from etsy for their wedding, hits a pretty deep nerve for many who either have experienced extreme poverty themselves or know someone who has. I'm not saying this couple doesn't struggle to make ends meet—times are hard for so many people right now—but it seems clear from their very lovely photos and their budget that they are many many times more fortunate than both depression-era hobos and their modern-day counterparts (the homeless, the hungry, those who don't know how they'll feed their kids dinner or make it through another week if they can't find a job ... those for whom "shabby" is a necessity, not a style choice). While I appreciate where they were coming from with their idea, the article itself reads as self-involved and unaware even if it's not meant to come across that way, and I think it was really poor judgment on Etsy's part to publish this post without realizing how many people might be hurt by it—the featured couple included.

posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:30 AM on August 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


First - I'm not bothered by the hobo theme - everyone has the right to do whatever silly/serious/etc. thing they want to at their wedding. I wore a white dress to please my mother and then had inconspicuous rubber bats in my updo. So I can't say anything. Though I'd probably find it more normal if they'd chosen to be vampires (they seem to be in all the romance novels anyhow) rather than hobos - hobos seem a lot weirder as a wedding theme. [The racism I never understand, ugh, just not going there.]

I did however want to tell a story about hobos.
People are very used to thinking of the hobo as a single guy, with the bandanna full of goods tied to a stick, hopping trains and wandering the open road, and so on. But I heard from my mother (who was passing it on from my grandmother and great grandmother) a story of what it was like during the Depression - when there were a lot of unknown people, primarily men, wandering the roads and looking for work. And if you lived in a rural area, and your husband was at work, and some of those men came to your door - you hid your children and yourself in the closet and hoped they'd leave. (Or at least that's what my grandmother's mother did.) Because you weren't sure what they wanted or what they'd do. People weren't used to that sort of thing - large numbers of unknown folk traveling, going door to door, asking for work, money or food - and you weren't sure what these strangers were capable of or how much to trust them. Even beggars weren't seen much outside of cities, and the local poor were often families that were known to you if you lived in the country. So these hobos were something different entirely, and were scary in a very real way back then. There was nothing in the story about one of the hobos actually harming anyone - this was a threat of "we don't know this person" and "what if..."

But then that's also a story told by someone who'd been a frightened child hiding in a closet.

I've always imagined those Depression-era hobos to be a lot more like Freddy Kruger or [insert your favorite movie boogieman here] since I heard that story. Doesn't seem very wedding-y, huh?
posted by batgrlHG at 2:14 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Aside: I never took that story as a "The Poor are The Other, We Should Fear Them." It was always presented as a continual movement of strangers through your area and a fear of the unknown and the crashed economy. It's kind of sad that most people don't know anyone who can tell them stories about the Depression anymore.]
posted by batgrlHG at 2:20 AM on August 4, 2011


...was I the only one wondering what Don Draper would have thought of this?

- You don't talk like a bum.
- I'm not. I'm a gentleman of the rails...

posted by bitteschoen at 6:36 AM on August 4, 2011


I wore a white dress to please my mother and then had inconspicuous rubber bats in my updo.

Awesome as hell.
posted by sweetkid at 8:44 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was ready to hate this as tacky, dehumanizing, etc.

But it was actually very sweet and well-done.
posted by _paegan_ at 1:04 PM on August 4, 2011


Offbeat Bridge: Let's talk about romanticizing problematic wedding themes
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:45 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Medieval Werewolf Wedding
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:47 AM on August 7, 2011


Medieval Werewolf Wedding

I object to the callous disregard of the real pain and suffering that victims of Medieval werewolves and their families experienced centuries ago,..., er, wait, oh, never mind.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:11 AM on August 8, 2011


I object to the callous disregard of the real pain and suffering that victims of Medieval werewolves and their families experienced centuries ago,..., er, wait, oh, never mind.

According to a Amazon.com there were a considerable number of werewolves running around Medieval England and Scotland (but not Wales), romancing the women, taking their shirts off and so on. As you did in Merry England. For japes and such.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:42 PM on August 8, 2011


« Older Okay, you're good, kid. You've got skills. But do ...  |  Princess Seraphina was an 18th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments