If you’re a Peloton user, you’re no doubt aware of Ally Love’s wedding. For the uninitiated, she’s a popular Peloton coach, and her five-day (yes, five) wedding was played out for all to see on Instagram. Carefully. As Anne Helen Petersen writes on her Culture Study Substack, the social media rollout of the event was carefully coordinated. Each night had a theme (Welcome!, Carnival, Miami, the wedding itself, Sundays with Love), which Love posted about first. Then and only then were her guests free to share. Petersen lays up some of the obvious questions: “How did instructors know to wait for Love to post? How did they know what outfits, in what color combinations, to bring to Mexico?” She explains: For the eight weeks prior to the event, guests were sent a weekly newsletter that shared “style decks” among other things.
“Whatever you think about a five-day themed destination wedding with 200 drones spelling out ‘I love you’ and the wedding logo … that’s not the point of the piece,” explains Petersen. Rather, it’s another installment in her ongoing look at the much bigger cultural phenomena of Peloton—specifically, in this case, “how the wedding underlines the transformation of a handful of fitness instructors into celebrities.” She goes on to do a lot of unpacking, looking at how in order for people to move into the celebrity realm they have to become three-dimensional, which means “flesh[ing] out the parts that remained in shadow.” Huge stars (Beyonce, Adele, Angelina Jolie) “own their own shadows,” she explains. For those below them, there is a fragility inherent in those shadows—in what they contain, in when they’re illuminated, and, in the case of Peloton, how they jibe with the image of Peloton as a whole. (Her full exploration is worth a read and gets into how one Peloton coach made a problematic revelation on social media.)