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Hey, listeners of the Cup. I'm Rachel Thomas, CEO of Leanin. Check out our podcast till we dig into topics at the intersection of gender and culture, including how women can break the burnout cycle, why we all need to challenge binary views of gender and how we can help boys get out of the so-called sandbox. We'll be dropping episodes every other Tuesday. You can subscribe to tilt at a leanin podcast on Apple podcast Spotify or wherever you listen. The cut, the cut, cut, cut, cut, the cut.


The cut. Hannah is one of my best friends from college, and a few years after we graduated, I was going to go visit her and she was like, I have to warn you, I have this roommate I met on Craigslist and were also sort of sleeping together.


And I remember thinking, like, whoa, Hannah, this is a recipe for disaster.


It was a terrible idea. I thought she was cute. I moved in anyway. And six days later we were together.


And now, after four years of living together, Hannah and her forever roommate, Cole, have decided to officially tie the knot.


It's a little overwhelming to realize that you're in something that you don't want to ever be out of.


And I love their love. I love how they cook for each other. After a long day, even though Cole is the professional chef, I love how they care and watch out for each other. Even though Hannah is the medical professional, I love how they are endlessly generous and giving to each other and to the friends they invite to the fire pit in their front lawn. I love everything about them and I am so psyched and honored to be officiating their wedding.


Yeah, I can't believe that you are the one that talked me into getting a fancy wedding dress, but here we are. Are you going to wear what mirrors where?


I mean, you know, I want to wear the hot priest shirt, but it's fine. I don't have to. But I would love that.


Hannah and I both went to a very liberal arts school. So it's kind of funny how absolutely amped we both are about this wedding.


I think in college, I thought marriage should be a seven year agreement and should be reconsidered at regular intervals, which for the record, I still think is an interesting idea.


But now for Hannah, everything sort of takes on a different sheen, especially now that the Supreme Court is stacked the way it is.


I was like, this is an oppressive institution. We shouldn't even be doing this. And it's funny to kind of hold that alongside this real current threat of the right to marry being possibly taken away. And it's strange for my 18 year old and current self to be kind of holding both of these things of I don't even believe in marriage and do not take this away from me.


There's no denying the very real benefits that marriage affords. I want my partner to have good health insurance. I want it to be as easy as possible for her or both of us to adopt our future kids.


So Hannah and Cole were like, all right, as long as we're getting married, let's just do the damn thing.


Yeah, I think it's like if we're going to do it, let's do it up. Like a wedding is the biggest thing party.


And Hannah is currently planning her wedding, which generally is a stressful thing to do. Well, there's all these wedding planning websites. We used one of them to make our guest list. It's emailing me all the time being like, have you picked a flower vendor yet? Have you picked a band? Have you ordered your paper?


Sweet, sweet. What is it? It's it's like the invitation package and it has to match the save the day as a match. Thank you notes. So it's asking me to kind of fill in all these boxes and making me feel like I'm already behind on a checklist.


I didn't even make breaking from that package that the wedding industry is trying to sell you is difficult.


Once you're in the marriage machine, you have to really work to not have a super normal wedding. And it's not to say we're not doing some of that, but it's active work to break a tradition while holding it up and then just toss in a pandemic.


So you are holding up a tradition that you are also trying to change while making plans that you also might have to break.


We have about one hundred and eighty people on a list and we have not invited really any of them yet because we don't know how many we will be able to have. It's supposed to be next August and the place is booked. So whether or not it's thirty people or a hundred and fifty, it's happening as far as I know. And I mean, who knows what next year has in store? What if they have to get married really quickly? What if it has to be less than 30 people?


Like it could be anything.


It would definitely be hard. So we both have big families. And I am worried that people's feelings would be hurt and it would be hard to choose a small group of people.


Would you get married on Zoome? I don't I don't want to because one of the biggest one of the biggest things we talked about in terms of like planning a wedding was that we don't want it to feel like a performance and having a men's room makes it feel like a live streamed performance rather than like a gathering or a party. So it's hard to imagine wanting to do that.


No one really imagines wanting to get married on Zoome, but. Hear me out. This is the case I made to Hannah and the case I want to make to anyone proposing to anyone else this holiday season.


OK, here's my here's my pitch. OK, I have this I think that Zoome waiting for us all for you, OK?


My case isn't off to a very good start because my video connection got out when I was trying to tell Hannah that Zoome weddings will set us free, that Zoome will help everyone reconsider the way to get married and allow us to break free from the oppressive parts of a tradition while holding up the parts that are meaningful.


I think a lot of people think virtual wedding and they think solution for right now.


But I, I actually see it as this is the new way to get married.


After the break, I present my argument to Hannah, the five reasons why Zoom will liberate us from the tyranny of the wedding industrial complex, maybe even in a world without a pandemic.


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Hey everyone, this is Amanda Quileute, editor in chief of Vox Media's food publication Eater. And I want to tell you about our new wine club. It's a monthly subscription box.


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Who knows, we could all use some time and space to decompress, which is why they want to give you a free one month trial to try their full library of meditations in a year where peace can be hard to come by, it's important to find stress relief that goes beyond quick fixes. Headspaces actually helps you build a mindfulness and meditation practice that can reduce stress, improve sleep, lose focus and even increase your overall sense of well-being. Our producer Bob Parker uses Headspace.


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So head to head slashed the cut today. Long, long ago, Prie covid Caroline Kreinberg wanted to start a company, and she's like one of those business minded people who is actively looking for something to disrupt naively.


I was like, oh, like, I'm going to democratize the wedding industry. Like, let's make this more accessible for people. Let's somehow disrupt it.


And as mentioned, it's hard to upend an industry built on tradition. So Caroline started by creating a virtual wedding planning service and called it wed fully.


The first iteration of what I built was an app for wedding planners. And then when I worked with them, I was like one. I don't think I would want to work with them. Like they're very traditional. It's like, feel this fabric, look at this napkin fold. And I was over here like this is there's just something off.


And then fast forward to the pandemic and what really dramatically shifted their entire business model.


They went from being a wedding planning service to a service that offers complete weddings over Zoome And next thing I knew, we were getting like hundreds and hundreds of people wanting to get married with whitefly on Zoome.


Since March, when fully has conducted over six hundred twenty weddings, we've done weddings in England, Spain, Italy, Indian weddings.


We're doing this really cool Nigerian wedding coming up, conducting a zom wedding.


The work that would really does isn't just sending out a Zuma invitation. It's about emceeing and managing an extremely tight timeline and flow of events.


You have to make the event really structured because everyone's like trying to like, jump in and say something.


Caroline has the Zoome wedding down to a science, making sure that the guests are muted, that grandpa can forget the linked, and one family is also doing all the troubleshooting and aive and sound and switching camera angles. It's a whole lot of stuff together. It all works.


So we've been able to see like all these people's reactions and see like this isn't plan B anymore. This is like for sure, plant eight now. OK, so full disclosure, of course, I have nothing else to do. So who knows?


But seriously, I mean, Alyssa and her husband Peter got married through Medfly in May. It was just the two of them and officiant and all of their guests on Zoome.


And I feel like the thing that we keep saying that everyone is just how surprisingly awesome it was.


Another pandemic bride, Mark Penn Swan, got married last summer in a sort of hybrid half Zoome social distance wedding with a few guests in person.


So all of our families are we're overdue. We add everyone else wear a mask. We didn't wear masks. We had cake and champagne and that was it. There was like, no, no, dancing really is very strange, but weirdly enough, neck pain also loved it.


I'm not having a wedding that anyone else is going to have. Like, my wedding is going to be very unique. And I like that. And I think that if you're a creative person or if you find yourself wanting to be differentiated in any way, this is an interesting year to try to do that. And people will roll with it because, well, you're crazy enough to even have a wedding.


So and so here are five good reasons why getting married on Zoome is a great way to re-evaluate and reclaim the entire tradition of marriage and is therefore the perfect plan for my dear friend Hannah. One elope without eloping because millennials are cheap and because millennials like having unique experiences. There's already a rise in elopement planners and elopement photographers to help you bring 10 friends to Iceland for your tiny wedding.


But having a wedding over Zoome means you can have that small wedding without eloping at all.


Maybe at a place that's significant to you. That's not some random banquet hall.


I can't name multiple people who are like now we're just going to get rid of our big fancy venue.


We're going to do it in a brewery, which is almost exactly what next pended for her wedding. We had the wedding at a cafe that we own here in Harlem, which is very amazing. It's so everyone will get to see this beautiful space that we own for Peter and Alice's wedding.


They did it on the roof of their apartment and wed fully ran the show with Peter and Elisa.


Their apartment is like so important to them now. It's more than just where they live. It was where they merged their lives.


Also, it's kind of soothing to do this big life changing thing in a place where you already feel comfortable.


Everyone jokes like, oh, I just wish I could have like a backyard wedding, but I can't fit all my friends in my backyard. And it's like, well, now you can, too.


The price is right. The average wedding in America is thirty thousand dollars.


Thirty thousand dollars.


Even for people who aren't trying to spend a lot, stuff just adds up. You know, the paper sweet.


And I feel like a wedding became so much about wining and dining and flowers and napkin folds. And inherently a virtual wedding eliminates all of that.


You can focus less on what you're told to focus on and more and what you actually want the day to be about, which leads to more sort of existential question like what does this one extraordinarily expensive and weighty day come down to neck? Penn asked this question to a bunch of her married friends.


They told me, like, I spent all this money and all this effort on the day of it went by so quickly. Like all I remember was the kiss, the dance. We were like, I signed all of these bills. So that was all I remember and have is my two or three moments that I remember and then like the pictures you get from that. So don't even stress it too much.


And so with a zoom wedding, Hannah and Cole don't need to pay for the paper sweet or the chair rentals and they can put all their money into the food or a really nice custom suit. Or the flowers, the flower arches that exist in virtual wedding world are stunning because that's the only décor they have to do.


Three, the inner peace of the Internet.


So I convinced one of my best friends to get married during the pandemic and then I convinced her to do this virtual wedding. And I had never seen a bride so calm in my life, like she was just so cool, calm and collected. And she is not a cool, calm and collected person.


OK, so one of the byproducts of the wedding industrial complex is the myth of the bridezilla. And sure, there's a degree of truth in it. Some brides do get really stressed out trying to plan this one very expensive day long party for everyone you've ever known that has all these moving parts and is going to be extensively documented in the supposed to be perfect. And also it's supposed to be fun and breezy.


So can you blame them? The sexist cliche of the bridezilla insults women for the burdens that the wedding industry has marketed to them.


And a virtual wedding is a way out in the days before our wedding. And we were playing mushy love songs and it was so fun. And I kept thinking, and this was two days before one hundred person event in Brooklyn, I would be losing my mind. I would be in like back to back appointments to, like, look more perfect. I would be fielding texts from, like my out of town relatives about like, what's the cheapest way to get from JFK to Brooklyn.


A virtual wedding also means you don't have to stress out over everyone else's opinions on every aspect of the ceremony.


I'll be honest, I love my brother law and my mother's amazing. Both are super kind and generous women. But I think that that made planning this in 30 days so much more feasible.


I felt it was a blessing to not have like two moms out of every single decision made for the ceremony.


I'm not like for consider the guests. For many people who are morally opposed to the wedding industrial complex, one of the big reasons they do get married is because it's a way to bring everyone together as a community. And actually, zoom is a very considerate way to make sure it's fully accessible.


Thinking about my 90 year old grandmother, who, of course, was going to get on a plane from Florida and covering the wedding, of course, but that's a lot of stress.


You're not asking your guests to come and sit still and quiet or dance and socialize or booked plane tickets or get babysitters or buy expensive dresses. Not everyone can do all these things.


My mom wanted my sister, who has autism, wanted her to have some time and say hello because she knew she would be more still that way.


Neck Penn plans to have a big wedding party bash in Houston and the After Times, but the Zoome wedding really made her think a lot more about accessibility and how she's going to plan the Houston party.


What does it mean for me to think about it during my wedding? Should we get like a caretaker during the day so the families can let loose and enjoy? Do we want to expand our seating to allow more kids to come in the spring? These are things I hadn't thought about before when I planned the original date.


Five, the emotional depth.


Caroline says the best Zoome weddings are about the length of a movie, so there are two hours. Usually that's like the time slot we give people and most of that is not partying.


I mean, there is dancing, but it's very, very short, like less than five minutes, like one song, which is so fun because then they're like, oh my gosh. But having like a full blown like forty five minute dance party on zom.


Didn't didn't go so hot, so rather than the food or the dancing, the vows and the toasts and the speeches become the main event.


About ten years ago, Peter asked me to be the best man when he got married.


And for Peter and Alice's wedding, people put extra care into their speeches. A mother will always love her child. That's biology. But to like, admire and respect your child, that's something else.


And sure, sometimes traditional wedding speeches can be a little cranky or a little drunk. But over Zoom, it was pretty clear that everyone really thought about what they're going to say and they had less stage fright so they could say it well.


And also all the muted guests were able to react and emote in a really organic way. I sure as hell did.


I did not expect to get teary eyed watching a Zoome wedding of two people I do not know.


But there I was getting misty eyed as I watched the video of Alyssa walking slowly across her room to Taylor Swift.


It was like a love scene from the apocalypse.


I was peering through a window into their world while everyone ready. All right. Welcome, everyone.


It was genuinely moving, getting married, no matter how it happens as a wildly optimistic act.


And it's all the more so during a historically shitty time.


I felt like this would be a good thing. It would be one positive, joyful, memorable thing I wanted this year to feel like a good year. Still, I wanted to just reclaim that in some way.


And this moment has opened up a door for truly different ways to get married. And none of these new ways end up feeling any less significant. We don't feel like we need to have like a real wedding. We had a real wedding and with a fraction of the cost. So we were able to use some of that money to buy a home. Congratulations.


I'm sorry I got too excited and cut them off, but Elisa and Peter spent their wedding budget on their new house.


Maybe they'll have a housewarming party one day to celebrate their life together. Maybe Elisa will wear her wedding dress to that party. But their wedding was enough. More than enough. So, Hannah, what do you think this is why I think Zoome weddings will set us all free. I truly yes, you have a good argument.


I feel bad that I'm just like, no.


Good. Fair enough. Good enough. Fair enough. But I, I like the argument. I do think it takes it could take a lot of the expense and stress out of it for people. You know, we're lucky that we're not in a rush to get married for immigration reasons or because our families are desperate for us to or anything like that. We're doing this for fun and because we want to and it almost feels like we even have a wedding without the people.


For me these days, the ultimate fantasy fairy tale aspect of a wedding are the guests.


What I want is a party with the people I love more than I want flowers and address those people being with me. It feels like the biggest and most important reason I'm doing this.


Suddenly it's less about having the most unique, the most poetic, the most impactful wedding.


I think a lot of the stress that people have is like making sure it's all perfect.


And covid has made me feel like whatever this is, as long as it happens, it's going to be great, even if it ends up being crappy buffet chicken and cheap champagne, even if the invitations don't match the save the date, even if the flowers are from Trader Joe's. And even if I don't get to wear the high priced shirt, it's fine. It's totally fine.


The podcast is made by Bob Parker, Alison Barrenger and me, mixed and scored by Brandon McFarland. Our executive producers are still Stella Buckbee and a shot Kawa special thanks to our counters. Vivian St. Paul, Alison Barrenger, Abigail Khiel and Steve Rosenberg. Huge, huge special thanks as well. To Caitlin Menza, wedding writer for The Cut in New York magazine. Special thanks also to my dear, dear friend Hannah Cressy. I love you so much. Thank you.


Thanks as well. To Corrine's at Cárdenas, sensitising Kurts and the full staff at New York magazine. You can support their work and the show by going to the cut dot com slash subscribe. This is our last episode of Twenty Twenty.


Thank you so much for being on this ride along with us. Stay strong, stay warm, stay safe and we'll catch you in the New Year.


I'm Avery Trevillian. Thank you for listening.