I don't know how to be a wife, I'm only 16!
August 18, 2007 10:49 AM   Subscribe

The British documentary Britain's Youngest Brides follows five teen girls on their paths to the altar. My personal favorite is Catrina and her 308 pound wedding dress.
posted by miss lynnster (66 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
And all this time I thought 'white trash' was a strictly American concept.
posted by matty at 10:55 AM on August 18, 2007


Matty, not at all: Chav.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:56 AM on August 18, 2007


wow. the fact that one of the dudes helping catrina doesn't even bother to put down his beer. wow.
posted by boo_radley at 10:57 AM on August 18, 2007


Side note... I found this clip from the Catherine Tate Show sidebarring this documentary on youtube. Which actually made me laugh.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:57 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just proposed to my boyfriend solely for the opportunity to wear that dress.
posted by scody at 11:01 AM on August 18, 2007


The weird looking tan on that "bride" looked like Japanese blackface ganguro to me.
posted by MythMaker at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2007


Suddenly I'm starting to rethink the whole eugenics thing.
posted by Avenger at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, just about anything on YouTube is enough to make anybody rethink the whole eugenics thing.
posted by Avenger at 11:07 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


These marriages will wendell.
posted by brain_drain at 11:17 AM on August 18, 2007


Pikeyvision! Now with extra chav goodness.

The lovely Kayley (aged 18) and her paedophile hubby have a coffin in their front room. It goes nicely with the hearse that they use as a family runabout.
posted by veedubya at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2007


Well, this is just a little horrifying, even though I know a few too many people who get engaged very young (the ones I know all did it for shit-stupid reasons -- improve the relationship [yeah, right], buy parental approval, that sort of thing).

During part 1, in Catrina's section, they keep on talking about how "____ girls become traditional wives." I can never catch that adjective -- what is it?
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2007


Any wedding dress that makes you waddle to the altar like a pregnant wildebeest ought be given a second thought. And a third. And yet more until sense overtakes you.
posted by lekvar at 11:26 AM on August 18, 2007


I'm happy my year in the UK ended before the chav thing took off.

Chav makes American white trash style look like Brooks Brothers.
posted by dw at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2007


WTF?! After seeing this I won't merry .... evaaaar mate ...
posted by homodigitalis at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2007


During part 1, in Catrina's section, they keep on talking about how "____ girls become traditional wives." I can never catch that adjective -- what is it?

Traveller girls. Which are basically religious chavs on wheels.
posted by saturnine at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2007


YeahbutNobutYeahbutnobut.
posted by ColdChef at 11:43 AM on August 18, 2007 [8 favorites]


Travellers.

See also, Brad Pitt's character in Snatch.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:52 AM on August 18, 2007


'English Travellers' refers to a couple distinct groups, I think.
posted by unmake at 12:01 PM on August 18, 2007


Wow. The frosted pink lips, the wedding gown that won't fit in a mini-van unless you, "push 'em in!" and the little pink tarts in their bathing suits/wedding finery blew me away.

We tend to feel over here in the states that the Brits are so much more educated and refined than we are. Now, of course, the secret's out: tackiness is universal.
posted by misha at 12:05 PM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Travellers.

The Riches (starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver).
posted by ericb at 12:07 PM on August 18, 2007


YeahbutNobutYeahbutnobut.

"Oh... I can't believe you just said that"
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on August 18, 2007


> We tend to feel over here in the states that the Brits are so much more educated and refined than we are.

No we don't.

The two little girls at 1:03 made my jaws drop. In what alternate reality is this a) appropriate attire for a wedding, and b) appropriate attire for girls that age? Although, to be fair, every single stitch of clothing visible in that clip was butt-ugly.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:18 PM on August 18, 2007


I watched the Catrina video with my mouth agape the entire time.
posted by oddman at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2007


I was all set for the Little Britain reference, but ColdChef beat me to it.

I didn't realize Vicki actually existed ...
posted by aladfar at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2007


If I looked in the mirror and saw an Ooompa-Loompa looking back at me, I'd be horrified. Catrina, on the other hand, thinks she's never looked more beautiful. Summat wrong there.
posted by Liosliath at 12:41 PM on August 18, 2007


i actually quite like catrina's chav wedding. there's a hell of a lot more spirit & playfulness than you would find at a typical uptight anglo marriage. plus, you can tell that they know how to PARTY!
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:06 PM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Catrina's dress was incredible. She couldn't even walk between the pews. Also, the orange-glow tan was spectacular. Did anyone else think she looked about 30 instead of 18?
posted by heatherbeth at 1:15 PM on August 18, 2007


No, I thought she looked to be 40.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:20 PM on August 18, 2007


Help an American out here.
Did that dress weigh 308 pounds or cost 308 pounds?
posted by MtDewd at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Laughing at the working classes. A middle class pleasure.
posted by A189Nut at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2007 [9 favorites]


"Travellers" are also called "Irish gypsies" or just plain "gypsies" in places like South Carolina.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2007


Laughing at the working classes. A middle class pleasure.

Middle and upper-middle class white people love to laugh at working-class white people. It allows them to express bigotry without being "bigots" because, you know, class and cultural are things we choose. And any white people who dare to be poor are horrible people, because white people are supposed to be wealthy.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


"culture," not "cultural."
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:30 PM on August 18, 2007


love to laugh at working-class white people

I just love to laugh at tacky people.
posted by Nelson at 1:40 PM on August 18, 2007


Laughing at the working classes. A middle class pleasure.

Oh, come off it you snooty prick.
posted by puke & cry at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


The dress weighs 308 pounds - it's 22 stone, where a stone is 14 pounds.
They mentioned that the thousands of crystals on the bodice would have cost a large but unspecified amount. That and the 27 (!) underskirts.
posted by hannahkitty at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2007


Laughing at the working classes. A middle class pleasure.

Well, I grew up with two parents on the dole and I work in a McJob, does that mean it's alright for me to laugh?
posted by saturnine at 1:54 PM on August 18, 2007


Yes, you have permission. The other snobs don't.
posted by A189Nut at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2007


If you like this kind of madness, you should definitely watch "Engaged and Underage" on MTV. All episodes available on MTV.com. I cannot stop watching. Trainwreck after trainwreck.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:16 PM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Life imitates art - art imitates life ...

Catherine Tate - Lauren Cooper - Wedding
posted by homodigitalis at 2:45 PM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Good taste crosses socio-economic lines. And so does bad taste.

We laugh at these weddings just as much as we would laugh at tacky weddings of middle income or rich people.
posted by deanc at 2:54 PM on August 18, 2007


Asking those who know more about this than the one Law and Order show on the Travellers:

Are one or more of these girls Travellers?
Aren't Traveller girls often bartered off between families as part of business transactions?
..thus making Traveller weddings, however tacky, somewhat like flamboyant slave auctions?

Underage weddings skeeve me out, frankly; I can't help wondering if the parents are either pressuring them into it, or else grieving over a kid messing up their life with a bad marriage. Hard to imagine many sane parents tell their kids "Getting married at 16? Just what I've always wanted for you!"
posted by emjaybee at 2:56 PM on August 18, 2007


"We laugh at these weddings"

Nope.

Actually I found very sad. You can almost smell the divorce and disappointment.
posted by homodigitalis at 2:57 PM on August 18, 2007


I do not think this is laughing at the working class so much as laughing at people whose standards of acting and dressing are way different from mine.
I am a working class machinist and nobody I know acts/dresses like that.
posted by Iron Rat at 3:15 PM on August 18, 2007


"Engaged and Underage" on MTV. All episodes available on MTV.com

Yeah -- strangely compelling TV.

Videos available here.
posted by ericb at 3:18 PM on August 18, 2007


We laugh at these weddings just as much as we would laugh at tacky weddings of middle income or rich people.

Exactly.
posted by ob at 3:26 PM on August 18, 2007


Oh and thanks for this miss lynnster, this is compelling viewing. I'm glad you posted the Catherine Tate clip as well as that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the clip of Catrina...
posted by ob at 3:33 PM on August 18, 2007


I hate weddings. I hate standing up in them, I hate attending them, I hate the entire concept.

Not marriage; that's great. No I'm talking about the weddings themselves.

I have seen too many friends spend absurd amounts of money and time on these; ordering the cake, interviewing bands, making sure that people are seated with other people that they won't fight with, making sure the flowers are the right kind, deciding on the color of the bridesmaid dresses, the invitations, the church, the reception, the photographer, etcetera, etc, ugh.

Because the goal is to give the bride a 'perfect day', which is, quite frankly, a stupid plan. There is too much pressure to get everything right, and this leads to 'bridezillas' and other assorted stress related nonsense.

On top of that, there is this sort of brinkmanship where a bride doesn't just want her wedding to be perfect, she wants it to be better than everyone else's too. This is the mentality that leads to 300lb wedding dresses.

I suspect that weddings are a caustic, unpleasant experience for everyone involved, but no one wants to say anything because they think that they are the only ones feeling that way.

My marriage cost $50 at the local court house. Our parents and a couple of friends showed up, and we had dinner afterwards. It was nice.

My friend spent over $20,000 (about half of his pay at the time) and 8 months worth of planning. The entire time, both he and his finance seemed nearly sick from the stress. Their marriage lasted all of two years.

I wish these kids the best, but like homodigitalis, I'm betting that it will end much more sadly.
posted by quin at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


ob writes "Oh and thanks for this miss lynnster, this is compelling viewing. I'm glad you posted the Catherine Tate clip as well as that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the clip of Catrina..."

That was only a tiny piece of it though. The whole thing is worth watching.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:22 PM on August 18, 2007


Ick. For the umpteeth time, apparently.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:26 PM on August 18, 2007


britain's youngest brides ain't nuthin'. the state of arkansas inadvertently passed a law recently (leaving a "not" out of the text) permitting girls of any age to get married. special session in the works to fix that!
posted by bruce at 4:36 PM on August 18, 2007


The Catriona clip is pretty jaw dropping, but on watching the links showing the whole thing I actually thought they were all kind of endearing girls. The 50-year-old with the "I don't sell cars I sell myself" and wanting someone like "a blank hard drive" was a bit David Brent ... and despite the coffin and the age difference they met in a church. Weird.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:06 PM on August 18, 2007


I hate weddings. I hate standing up in them, I hate attending them, I hate the entire concept.

I hear ya, quin, and high-five you. I've been to many weddings, and served as bridesmaid in only one. That was enough. Eighteen months to find just the "right" dress (and it still ended up being a repulsive pastel satin confection that would be too tacky even for a high school prom), having to co-sponsor two different wedding showers (one of which was six months before the wedding, at the brides' mom insistence, since many of the relatives lived hundreds of miles away, and couldn't be expected to drive on icy roads).

Anyway, when Mr. Adams and I tied the knot, we picked a minister out of the Yellow Pages and had her and our witnesses meet us at our favorite watering hole; it was also the bar that we went to on our first date, and the one where Mr. Adams popped the question. We all crowded into a large, curved booth, and exchanged vows. The bar's owner provided free champagne, and had put "The Wedding March" on his jukebox just for us.
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:42 PM on August 18, 2007


I'm with everybody else wondering why every female guest at Katrina's wedding was dressed like a vegas showgirl, right down to the toddlers. Is that a Traveller thing? Because it sure as hell isn't an Irish thing.
posted by brain cloud at 7:09 PM on August 18, 2007


special session in the works to fix that!

Quick! Road trip!
posted by graventy at 7:20 PM on August 18, 2007


I've only just finished the first segment of the show and as strange as it might seem, they all appear to be quite sane. Or maybe I'm just as insane as them, I don't know.
posted by liquorice at 7:56 PM on August 18, 2007


I changed my mind. They're crazy. The lot of them.
posted by liquorice at 8:24 PM on August 18, 2007


My friend spent over $20,000 (about half of his pay at the time) and 8 months worth of planning. The entire time, both he and his finance seemed nearly sick from the stress. Their marriage lasted all of two years.

I wish these kids the best, but like homodigitalis, I'm betting that it will end much more sadly.


My sister spent $30,000 of my parents (meager) life savings for her wedding. It almost bankrupted my parents, and they're still recovering from it.

I was hoping someone would grab my sister by the neck and scream "DONT SPEND SO MUCH CASH ON SOMETHING THAT HAS ONLY A 50 PERCENT CHANCE OF LASTING LONGER THAN A PET TERRIER YOU LOVESICK DOLT".

But no, you can't say that, because our marriage* will be the one that lasts forever!

*statistics never apply to "our marriage", only to "other people's marriages".
posted by Avenger at 8:25 PM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Clicked on the Chav link, immediately though of Ali-G, another persona of Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat).
posted by parallax7d at 8:36 PM on August 18, 2007


Wow, I had never heard of Irish Travellers before today.
posted by oaf at 8:39 PM on August 18, 2007


Why all the contempt? So these are different cultures than yours is- what do you care? It's a party.

I bet that Traveller wedding was way more fun than the last excruiatingly "tasteful" wedding I attended.

In my opinion people should have kids at age 15 so that they're still young enough to keep up with them and to have an extended family around to help raise them. Your kids' are grown up when you're 35 and you're still young enough to have a life of your own. Just get the whole kids and marriage thing out of the way young.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:56 PM on August 18, 2007


Trouble is, people tend to stop maturing when they have kids - my pet theory is they stay the age they are when they had their first kid.

So you can raise them up to 15, but inside, you're still 15 yourself. If you want to get anywhere, you have to stay in school til at least 18.

I live in an area where five living generations are pretty common, and pretty commonly poor.
posted by lysdexic at 9:59 PM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


After finishing the whole show, I have to agree that bad American fashion can't compete for tackiness with bad British fashion.
posted by oaf at 8:35 AM on August 19, 2007


Laughing at the working classes. A middle class pleasure.
posted by A189Nut at 1:23 PM on August 18


If you can spend thirty grand on a wedding, or five thousand dollars on a wedding dress, you're not working class, asshole.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:15 AM on August 19, 2007


The day before my wedding, most of my wedding party was at a water them park, basking in the sun to cure any hangovers from the bachelor's party the day before.

I bought my dress on consignment, we didn't spend a lot on the ceremony, and the whole wedding day was just a celebration with our friends and family. We had fun, we joked before the ceremony, and spent a night in a nice hotel room as a gift from our parents before the honeymoon, complete with late-night Wendy's run because we had both been too excited to eat during the party.

When the wedding day is more pressure than final exams, when you start your life out together in debt, when your dress cost as much as a small car and you think everything is "ruined" if isn't perfect, how can your marriage ever live up to your expectations?
posted by misha at 2:01 PM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you can spend thirty grand on a wedding, or five thousand dollars on a wedding dress, you're not working class, asshole.

Unless it's all on credit, and you put in heaps of extra shifts at the factory to pay it off.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:29 PM on August 19, 2007


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