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Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Always Cry at Weddings

People who are new to Second Life may be surprised to learn that there are weddings here.  No, of course they aren't "real" weddings!  Getting "married" in SL has no legal or religious standing, it is simply another form of roleplay.  Except that, it really isn't -- read on to find out more!

In Second Life you can "partner" somebody else.  That is, you can send them a "partnership request" and pay a small fee ($L10).  They receive an email giving them a link where they can accept your request.  If they do, then your name appears in their Profile in the "Partner" slot, and their name appears in yours.  You are now partners...which is SL's version of "being married".  For details on this procedure, see: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Friends-and-partnering/ta-p/700067#Section_.3

This partnership thing is treated very differently by different people.  Some people use it merely to express a platonic relationship, or a business partnership.  Some use it to designate a dominant/submissive bond.  Some partner but do not feel bound by it, and "cheat" on their partner with any number of other avatars (hey, much like Real Life!)  Some completely ignore the institution of formal "partnership" but have a strong and monogamous relationship with another avatar.

But however you view "partnership", many people have actual weddings.  These events can be simple and private, or elaborate.  There are merchants in SL who support all the trappings of a wedding celebration...you can rent a venue, find an officiant, send out invitations to all your friends.  You can arrive at the wedding in style, in a horse-drawn white carriage.  You can walk down the aisle in a gorgeous designer wedding dress, recite vows and exchange rings.  You can throw a huge reception for everyone afterwards with dancing, a cake, custom table settings and everything else.  You can commemorate the event by hiring a photographer and a videographer to create a custom wedding album or a video.  You can spend a lot of money...some of these events cost more than $L20,000!

The preparations for these events sometimes become so complex that you may even hire a wedding planner to arrange all the details.

There is a category in the Destinations Guide that covers all this.  For a list of wedding venues and other merchants, see http://secondlife.com/destinations/romance/wedding

I have been to a number of these elaborate events, and each time I am invited to one, I shudder in horrified anticipation.  First of all, I know there will be lag, and lots of it.  Just getting that many people together in one region is a lag nightmare, and since everyone will be dressed in elaborate costumes, the script lag is going to be horrible.  But that is not the worst of it.

I have developed an informal Rule:  the more elaborate the SL wedding, the shorter the partnership.  It's not always true, but I have found that those who put the most emphasis on the trappings of a marriage are those who will put the least emphasis on the relationship itself.  Partnerships that begin with a huge wedding are often dissolved in a couple of months, or even weeks.  The shortest one I can remember is the one where the couple divorced the very next day...because she caught her new husband cheating with one of her bridesmaids!

So, if you want a big wedding...go ahead, indulge yourselves.  But remember that it is not a big wedding that makes a lasting marriage, it's the people and their commitment to each other.  And keep back $L25 to pay the un-partnering fee.

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