Life&Style writer Olivia Platten discusses the wedding of Alex Bowen and Olivia Buckland and whether their decision to televise such a private occasion makes their romance appear fake and money-grabbing
On the 15th September 2018, Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen became the first Love Island couple to officially tie the knot. The pair have been together since 2016, and chose to post an array of various wedding and honeymoon photos across their respective social media pages, as is the norm for many celebrity couples in today’s media-based climate. But, taking it a step further, the 25th of September also saw the couple posing for a glossy spread of wedding photos in OK! Magazine, and their wedding was available for all Love Island fans to watch in Olivia And Alex Say Yes just three days later.
The Bowens are by no means the first celebrity couple to broadcast their wedding: Kim Kardashian famously made a huge display of her short-lived marriage to Kris Humphries by televising their lavish wedding in 2011, and the royal family broadcast all of their weddings, albeit not for any profit. In many ways, the Bowens are no different to any other couple (celebrity or not) wanting to share memories of perhaps the most monumental day of their relationship- it’s safe to say that most couples probably share lots of pictures of themselves together on social media to be seen and ‘liked’ by friends and family.
However, the couple have faced criticism throughout their relationship- as have many of the other Love Island stars- with fans and haters alike accusing them of ‘courting publicity,’ and sharing incredibly intimate aspects of their relationship with the public purely for money, fame and likes. With the sheer amount of content these couples already post about themselves and their significant others on Instagram alone, it is easy to question why exactly Olivia and Alex would even need to televise their wedding. It is, after all, a day that many couples choose to keep private; an event for themselves and their loved ones.
The most obvious answer is, of course, even more fame and money. Whilst the couple have been slated for milking their limited Love Island publicity beyond what some see as acceptable, they have also received thousands of messages of support from hard-core fans of the show- and many people are truly invested in the relationships of their favourite Love Island couples long after it has ended for the summer. In many ways, it is easy to understand why. Where else would we be able to hear about every holiday, every argument, every milestone in someone’s relationship- and who else would be willing to share all of these things so publicly? Make ups, break ups, joy and heartache are spread across tabloids on a daily basis purely for our entertainment, and the authenticity of these relationships is only really called into question because of the sheer number of cameras pointed in their direction.
Despite Olivia and Alex being together for less than a year when they became engaged, their marriage comes two years after they first appeared on the show together, which many see as a testament to the longevity of their star-studded relationship. They’ve outlasted the likes of Kem and Amber at least, and their ceremony certainly garnered less backlash than the largely ridiculed fake marriage of Jess and Dom on This Morning. However, whilst it’s very tempting to be optimistic and believe that they are all as deeply in love and committed to each other as they seem to be, it’s hard, having watched them on the show, not to see these relationships as at least partially contrived and based on a situation that really doesn’t reflect reality as we know it. How far have Olivia and Alex really come since then, and what has it taken for them to stay together despite barely knowing each other in any real-life situation when they left the villa in 2016?
Admittedly, I downloaded the Love Island app last season, watched religiously every night, voted for my favourite couples, and I have the branded water bottle. But even for me, a magazine spread and TV show seems a push in the wrong direction, a last-ditch grasp for fame when the hype of their season has long since died down. In an interview for the Daily Star, Alex claimed, “I married Olivia because I wanted to marry her, not for a show or anything. It didn’t enter my mind. We’ve lasted because we’re genuine.” Unfortunately- for some people at least- the frequent social media posts detailing their everyday lives as well as their choice to share this incredibly intimate milestone in their relationship seems to suggest otherwise, thus posing two inevitable questions for Love Island fans: Are the Bowens simply milking the media for as much fame and money as possible, even if it means faking a genuine relationship for potentially the rest of their lives? Or, are they truly committed for life, their chance meeting on the show setting them up with a partner forever? The only true way to know is, ironically, to continue following, liking, and hoping that they’ll continue to share all of the next steps in their new life together as husband and wife.