June 11, 2012 at 3:40 PM ET
When Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves married on Saturday, almost immediately I found myself thinking, "I love this wedding!" This is an odd thing for me to say, not only because I'm not one of those "wedding people," but because I'm not even a fan of McConaughey's. As an actor, he's never done a thing for me, I don't find him to be particularly attractive or even interesting.
But I could not get enough of the couple's Texas-size, yet subtle, declaration of love. He pitched tents for his guests! The nuptials were kept secret! The couple looked handsome/beautiful! Each detail was better than the last; I can't wait to see the photos, and pretend for a moment that I might have been a guest.
As much fun as it is to gawk at the nuptials of the famous and fame-hungry, the fact is so, so many of them are awful. Which is why McConaughey's -- which was relatively low-key, seemed personal and un-fussy -- is such a standout. If you're a celebrity and want the public to actually like your wedding, take some notes about what he and Alves did right. There are a few things to avoid. Here they are in five simple steps.
Don't be a teenager
There is a clear message for Miley Cyrus here -- wait until you're out of your teens to wed. From Drew Barrymore to Courtney Stodden, there are plenty of examples of how teen love does not a marriage make. No one is hating on young love here, but COME ON, KIDS. It's difficult enough to navigate a Hollywood marriage when you're a bona fide adult. Let's be realistic, what's the rush?
Don't rent a castle
If you're trying to prove that your wedding budget exponentially exceeds that of a non-famous person's, then go ahead, rent that castle in Italy! Yes, we're talking about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who wed Nov. 18, 2006 at Odescalchi Castle in Lake Bracciano, Italy. TomKat's love was already a divisive issue going in to the wedding, and the ultra-extravagant wedding locale did not help endear them to the public. If you insist on a castle, then there are some options for bringing it down closer to Earth. Try a castle-turned-hotel, like Ashford Castle Hotel in Ireland, where Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shay married. Or, there's Baltimore's finest castle at The Cloisters, where Will Smith and Jada Pinkett married nearly 15 years ago.
Don't do it twice
Where weddings are concerned, once is generally enough, especially to the same person. The vow-renewal craze among celebrities has gotten a little out of hand, with serial offenders Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon performing the ritual every year (just this April, the couple said "I do" yet again in Paris). Heidi Klum and Seal also had a penchant for over-the-top vow renewals, and well, that didn't work out so well. Less than a year after donning Mardi Gras-styled costumes for their annual renewal in 2011, the couple filed for divorce.
Don't wear swimwear
A white bikini will cost you far less than a traditional dress, but that doesn't make it appropriate wedding attire. Even if you're marrying on the beach, we want to see you wearing a little more than two swatches of fabric. And leave the "jaunty sailor's cap" at home. Pam Anderson, this post was for you.
Don't immediately file for divorce
That celebrity wedding elephants in the room -- Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries -- certainly loom large here. Their divorce announcement after just 72 days didn't come as much of a shock, but it still soured an already cynical public on celebrity betrothals. To be fair, Sinead O'Connor deserves a slap on the wrist, too. Marrying, splitting 18 days later, reconciling after "a beautiful evening of lovemaking," only to split again (for real)? To say this union was doomed would be an understatement.
The bottom line seems to be this: When celebrities exhibit some modicum of down-to-earthness it can be fun to share in their happy day. Reese Witherspoon got this right in her recent wedding to Jim Toth, as did Drew Barrymore. Lovely, but low-key, is the winning combination. For a culture that loves to observe the lifestyles of the famous, our breaking point appears to be when marriage becomes something of a mockery.
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