Culture

People can’t stop roasting the NYT for suggesting virtual weddings are new

A recent New York Times profile seems to suggest Metaverse weddings are a completely new thing. The internet disagrees.

Traci Gagnon / NYT

As much as Mark Zuckerberg would like you to believe otherwise, the metaverse is still a very abstract concept.

“Metaverse” has quickly become an umbrella term to encompass all virtual worlds, whether or not they’re linked together.

While the term itself has only recently been popularized, virtual worlds have actually been around for many years.

So when The New York Times published an article this week making virtual marriage ceremonies seem like a new and exciting concept, the internet was ready to roast the publication.

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“The possibilities of having an event unfettered by the bounds of reality are interesting enough to consider.”

Steven Kurutz in The New York Times, stating the obvious

Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Traci and Dave Gagnon held a virtual wedding ceremony in Virbela’s proprietary metaverse. Every detail was customized for the Gagnons’ event, right down to the clothing and flowers.

They also held an IRL wedding ceremony, because actually getting married in the metaverse isn’t legal yet.

$30K

Estimated price of the virtual wedding, if it hadn't been gifted by Virbela

Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

But there’s nothing new about getting married in a virtual environment. The only thing that’s new here is calling those environments “the metaverse.”

Second Life's "Evergreen Valley" wedding venue

Second Life, the popular life simulator released in 2003, has been referenced most in bashing the NYT piece.

And for good reason: holding weddings in Second Life has been an integral part of the game for nearly two decades. There’s even an extensive list of virtual venues — free ones! — on the game’s website.

Second Life's JuVa venue

Plenty of other massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) include marriage systems, too. In The Elder Scrolls Online, for example, you can not only get married but also co-own a house. Married players even get a point boost when they’re both online.

The Elder Scrolls Online

The NYT report wasn’t all bad, to be fair. The expansion of the “metaverse” as a concept is ushering in a whole new era of virtual events.

Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.