Although most young Argentinians aren’t even thinking about marriage these days, they seem quite fond of wedding ceremonies. So they’ve come up with a bizarre party trend of fake weddings, where groups of 20- and 30-somethings get together to attend wedding-themed parties complete with fake bride and groom.
The idea was the brainchild of 26-year-old publicist Martin Acerbi, who, a couple of years ago, organised a fake wedding with four of his friends in La Plata, about 32 miles away from Buenos Aires. “It all started two years ago with a group of friends: we realised we hadn’t been to a wedding in a long time because hardly anybody is getting married anymore,” Acerbi says.
To his surprise, the event was a huge success which got him thinking about a new business. The friends went on to found ‘Falsa Boda’, a fake wedding organising company, in November 2013. They rent out real wedding locations, hire caterers, florists, and DJs, and make everything look like a real wedding. Except, there is no ‘happily ever after’.
The bride and groom are hired too, as is a secret boyfriend or spurned lover who arrives unexpectedly to disrupt the ceremony. There’s a fair bit of drama when the bride or groom abandons the wedding and elopes with the third actor. There’s a different storyline for each event, and sometimes the ‘bride’ even throws her bouquet to the female guests.
“These wedding professionals have become our strategic allies, we organise it like it’s the real thing, except the marriage itself is fake,” Acerbi said. “Our guests get all the fun of a wedding party with none of the commitment, or the problem of finding someone who is actually getting married.”
Each fake wedding event can accommodate 600 to 700 guests, who all pay about $50 to attend. According to Acerbi, the events are mostly targeted at women, who end up buying the majority of the tickets. “The romanticism around weddings is clearly still alive, at least in that respect,” he explained.
32-year-old marketing manager Pablo Boniface, who recently attended a fake wedding, said: “The girls were euphoric, as if a cousin of theirs was really getting married, but it was just an actress. When the bride arrived, everyone went crazy, pulling out their phones and snapping pictures like she was a Hollywood star.” He agreed that the fake weddings were a big hit because hardly anyone his age ever talks about getting married. “I’m single and so are all of my friends of both sexes. Marriage is something we don’t even think about. It’s a formality that has nothing to do with love.”
There’s plenty of data to prove Boniface right. 22,000 couples tied the knot in Buenos Aires in 1990, but that number nosedived to almost half that – 11,642 – by 2013. According to government statistics, the people who do get married are much older. So people these days don’t have many opportunities to attend wedding parties, which is why Acerbi’s fake weddings are so popular.
“They are going to see something they don’t do in real life any more,” explained sociologist Victoria Mazzeo. “The fact is that very few young people get married anymore.”
And as Boniface pointed out, it’s apparently easier to meet someone at fake weddings than at real ones!
Photos: Falsa Boda/Facebook