Documentary maker Doug Block: 11.2 things I've learnt from filming 112 weddings

When he's not making documentaries, Doug Block films weddings. Here he reveals what he has discovered

In his new film 112 Weddings, Doug Block goes back in time to meet some of the 224 people whose big days he's filmed. For many, there's been happiness; for others divorce, illness and mental health problems. Through his initial wedding films, and having revisited the couples, he's learnt as much as anyone about marriages. Here are his 11.2 lessons:

1. There are few things more fascinating than to be a fly-on-the-wall with an ordinary couple on their wedding day. Because for them it's the most extraordinary day of their lives, and how can you not be moved by that?

2. Weddings aren't just about one couple getting married, they're about two families merging, with each bringing their own complicated histories to the mix.

3. Weddings are a somewhat bittersweet experience for parents. On the one hand, they're thrilled for their sons and daughters. On the other, it's the ultimate letting go of their child. When I see buckets of tears being shed, I don't presume that they're always tears of joy.

4. There will never be a more acceptable place to fully express > your emotions publicly than at a wedding. I'll never understand why some brides and grooms seem so determined not to cry, as if it's a point of pride.

5. Most brides and grooms describe their wedding as dream-like or even surreal. I think that has to do largely with the wide-ranging mix of people who are invited. I mean, where else but in dreams do you see your childhood friends, college buddies, work colleagues and relatives all together in one place?

6. People tend to conflate weddings with marriage, so all this attention and energy goes into the wedding day with very little thought is given to what comes after. But the wedding is just Day One.

7. There's a reason Hollywood love stories always seem to end at the wedding altar. Happily-ever-after is complicated.

8. I have a wise rabbi friend who has officiated at well over 100 weddings. He maintains that weddings are easy to make happy, you just throw a bunch of money and liquor at it. Whereas marriages are hard to make happy, because if you throw a bunch of money and liquor at it, it usually makes things much worse.

Read more: Anatomy of Kate Moss's wedding dress
Kate Moss's dress takes centre stage at V&A
The first wedding dance arms race
Wedding collateral damage explained
The best make-up for brides
11.2 things I've learnt from filming 112 weddings
Busting the BritWedCom boom
Gay couples reflect on married life
Hen and stag-do strippers confess all

9. You can never tell how a marriage will work out from how 'in love' the couple appears on their wedding day. It's fun to guess but you'll be wrong a lot.

10. The wedding day isn't all about the bride; in the end, it's about the couple.

11. I used to think 'the money shot' was the bride walking down the aisle, all radiant and glowing. I've come to understand the real money shot is the recessional, when the couple walks off bravely, hand-in-hand, into the unknown future.

11.2. There's no such thing as a wedding toast that's too brief.

Doug Block's '112 Weddings' screens at the Sheffield Doc Fest tomorrow and Monday, and is on general release from 13 June. See

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas