A recent wedding prank has drawn criticism for being one of many instances of husbands humiliating their new wives on what is supposed to be their special day.
In the recent video of the practical joke posted by @lifecoachshawn on Monday, the groom is asked by a wedding officiant to read his vows, and he pulls out a piece of paper from his jacket and unfolds it. The piece of paper reads, “HELP ME,” eliciting laughter from the person recording the incident and anger from the bride.
@lifecoachshawn Was this a harmless prank or public humiliation? #weddingpranks #weddingvows #datingadvice #datingtips @Shawnda ♬ original sound – Shawnda
“What is it about a man who is at the altar with the woman who he has proposed to — right before he promises to love, honor, and cherish her — that makes him want to humiliate that woman?” Shawnda says.
She gives other examples of men pranking their wives on their wedding day, such as grooms smashing wedding cakes in their brides’ faces, gestures that are meant to humiliate their partner.
“I have no respect for the kind of man that takes that day, that opportunity, to get themself a cheap laugh,” Shawnda continues.
“You humiliated this person for what?!” she exclaims.
Many users in the comments agreed with Shawnda.
“The officiants face says it all. as a man he just looks so disappointed and embarrassed, and worried for the woman,” one person commented.
“Whyyyy do these people beg for a girl to go out with them, cry if she tries to leave, propose to her, spend a tons of money on a wedding then do this,” another wrote.
As Shawnda explains in her TikTok, this one prank is only one example of a trend among men on their wedding days.
A TikTok from user @ceciliaregina275 offers an explanation as to why some grooms choose to make jokes at the expense of their brides.
The video, which has 740,000 views, shows various pranks, such as a groom tricking his bride into jumping into a pool in her wedding dress, while he stays dry on land. Another clip shows a husband, seemingly drunk, being dragged down the aisle by his friends while his pregnant wife stands furious at the altar.
@ceciliaregina275 suggests that wedding pranks are an extension of the “shut-up ring,” or a marriage proposal given to make a woman “shut up” about wanting a wedding, as opposed to a genuine desire for commitment.
Rather than investing time in thoughtful gestures, she explains, these men are making women the butt of their jokes.
“Did he ever write her a love letter? Did he put that same kind of care and consideration into making the day special as he did trying to humiliate her?” @ceciliaregina275 asks.
She argues that what makes these pranks “especially insulting” is men’s deep fear of being humiliated themselves.
“It’s not news that men fear humiliation,” @ceciliaregina275 says. “We all know one guy who’s still bitter that some girl rejected his advancements in middle school.”
@ceciliaregina275 argues that if a man pranks a woman, especially on her wedding day, he is making her fear the way he fears feeling, and it shows that he truly does not care about her.
Beyond humiliation in the moment, these pranks appear to have lasting damage on relationships, with some leading to divorce.
“The way I would be calling for an annulment as soon as the ‘prank’ happens,” one user commented on @ceciliaregina275’s video.
“Annulment immediately or leave them at the [altar]. We deserve better!!!” another wrote.
@ceciliaregina275 explains that there are plenty of positive ways to orchestrate pranks on your wedding day that don’t come at the expense of a partner.
In one example, the couple appears to knock over their wedding cake, which spills on the floor. Unbeknownst to their audience, they have another real wedding cake at the ready. Another clip in the TikTok shows a husband announcing to wedding guests that he and his bride are “expecting…for everybody to have a good time tonight.”
“Look at that. Nobody’s humiliated. It’s a fun little joke. Day’s complete,” @ceciliaregina275 concludes.
The Daily Dot reached out to Shawnda via email and @ceciliaregina275 via TikTok comment.