Stop Judging Mark Zuckerberg for His Relatively Normal Wedding

In the many phases of how to feel about Mark Zuckerberg's marriage, we have reached "wedding shaming." Is it possible for a billionaire to have a nice, relatively normal wedding without being mocked for it?

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The wedding story of last weekend that took everyone by surprise was, of course, the marriage of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan. We laughed, we cried, ladies wanted her dress, we all marveled at their ability to pull this off right after Facebook's IPO. How adorable!

But then we started to get suspicious. Was this just a way for Zuckerberg to protect his many billions of cash? How cold and calculating, not wedding-like at all! (Never mind that marriage has been an institution based on constructs like the protection of assets and "mergers and acquisitions" for long before it was anything "romantic" in nature; what we have today is an unholy obsession with the romantic always-bigger-than-the-previous-couple wedding.)

Then Facebook stock plummeted, not because of the wedding, which was actually modest and seemed quite lovely, but for, well, other reasons. Schadenfreude being what it is, we couldn't help but be secretly rather pleased about that. And then the mockery began. Let's call this "wedding shaming." Here's what we get Friday in the New York Post, for example:

It looked as if Mrs. Mark Zuckerberg had won the lottery when she married the Facebook boss last weekend — but now she appears to be the unluckiest lucky woman alive.

Oh, really? The reasons for poor Mrs. Zuckerberg nee Chan is this, writes Rita Delfiner:

  • She got an "itty bitty rock" from a man worth "$17 billion on paper." 
  • That wee gem—"a ruby bookended by two diamonds" has an estimated worth of a mere $25,000 (according to one jeweler). Even Kim Kardashian, who was married for just 72 days (not sure why that's supporting evidence of anything here) got a $2 million engagement ring, Delfiner continues. And—grosser than gross—Zuckerberg "said he made" the ring himself. What woman wants that? Plus a lot of Internet commenters, style aficionados that they are, poo-pooed the ring. Mortifying.
  • As for the ceremony, Chan got, "instead of the fairy-tale ceremony of most women's dreams" (allegedly), a backyard wedding with cheap Mexican food. 
  • And her anniversary, her anniversary is RUINED. How can she look at her friends or anyone, now? The honeymoon was postponed...possibly, of her husband's Facebook IPO fiasco. 
  • Even further: Getting her dress was hard because of Zuckerberg's "lust for privacy." She had to use a fake name and go out to Denver for her fitting!

Of course, given that desire for privacy (and you might say it's valid, given articles like this one), we actually don't know much about the realities of the situation. We can only speculate, and it's far more fun to presume that Zuckerberg is a cheap jerk who gave Chan a ring she hates than it is to think, hey, maybe this was just a sweet, not-all-that-expensive, nice wedding for a couple who've been together for a while and have decided to become husband and wife. Frankly, no one, not even billionaires, certainly not Kim Kardashian, needs a $2 million engagement ring. And Mexican food, if that is what you like, and a personally designed, still not terribly cheap ring ($25,000 is an annual salary for some) is actually sort of wonderful. Shouldn't we actually be congratulating them for their wisdom in not blowing the bank on a one-day event?

Rail on Zuckerberg all you like for the other stuff, for his hoodie and flip-flop wearing, for his corporate decisions, for Facebook itself, but to mock his wedding or say that Chan is the unluckiest "lucky woman alive" and "deserved a better ring" is demeaning and stupid. Perhaps the biggest problem is that it presumes the only thing women want in a marriage is a giant, expensive diamond and for their rich husbands to shell out for expensive, fancy foods and locations. Actually, women want a lot more, and it might be $7.50 Mexican food and a small reception with friends and a ring personally designed by the husband-to-be. Not to mention, a committed, solid relationship that can grow and develop as the couple does, too. That sounds far nicer than anything Kim Kardashian ever got.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.