A month after announcing their engagement — which happened just seven weeks after they started dating — internet-celebrity couple Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau will walk down the aisle this weekend. The event is being held in Las Vegas at the Graffiti Mansion, a, well, mansion, that gets spray-painted with a new theme every so often. (The most recent iteration was bright red and covered in Louis Vuitton and Supreme logos.) Reception to follow at the Sugar Factory, where the couple’s menu includes chicken fingers, fettuccini alfredo, and Oreo-stuffed chocolate-chip cookies. If you didn’t get an invite, don’t worry: MTV will be there to tape the whole event.
(A brief primer in case all of the proper nouns in that paragraph have you scratching your head. Jake Paul is a Vine star turned YouTuber who runs an infamous social-media incubator called Team 10. Tana Mongeau made a name for herself in the dramatic world of vegan YouTubers. She’s got a new show out this year on MTV and is best known for her spectacular failed attempt to throw and alt-VidCon — an annual YouTube fan convention — called TanaCon.)
“Jake Paul & Tana Mongeau formally invite you plus 1 to join their Holy Cloutramony,” the invites read. “Come camera ready: What happens in Vegas will end up on YouTube.” Underneath those instructions and above the hashtag #JanaForever are the logos of the two venues as well as Team 10’s. It’s, well, a lot. Especially when you consider it’s all likely a stunt.
Paul proposed on Mongeau’s 21st birthday at a club in Las Vegas. She posted videos on Instagram of a diamond ring on her hand and a cake, also sporting a ring, that reads “will you marry me Tana?” The couple followed up with photos from a, let’s say, non-traditional engagement photoshoot. The ring, it was later revealed, reportedly cost Paul a whopping $125 dollars. It’s fake. (He later bought her a Rolex for a vlog.) Mongeau and her fiancé, however, insist their engagement — and this weekend’s nuptials — are real.
Jake’s older brother, Logan Paul, best known for that time he found an apparent suicide victim hanging from a tree in Japan and filmed the body for a YouTube vlog, prompting him to be temporarily cancelled worldwide, was initially not onboard. During a recent interview with Barstool Sports’ KFC Radio, he outright said his brother’s engagement to Mongeau is fake. “I don’t do that shit, bro. I don’t know what’s going on there, man. I had an opportunity to do the fake relationship,” Paul said, explaining that in such a setup neither party pays the other to be in a relationship, but it can still be mutually profitable. “There’s no exchange but you can make money together. Like say you make merch together you probably split like, 50-50.” Paul, according to Mongeau’s Twitter, has since been convinced that #Jana is real, a realization which Mongeau says moved her potential future brother-in-law to tears. (Paul and Mongeau have said they will sign a prenup.)
This isn’t the first time Paul has engineered a relationship. He used to date YouTuber and then-fellow Team 10 member Erika Costell. They were known to fans as #Jerika and sold merch to match. The two performed Paul’s song “Jerika” during a live show I attended in New York City in 2018. Paul called Costell “cute like a chicken wing.” The choreography mostly involved the two of them holding each other and staring lovingly. The kids in the crowd lost their dang minds. The two eventually got “married” — there was, of course, a video — and months later, after a dramatic split, Paul likened their relationship to the WWE. “People know that’s fake.”
Since the engagement, media coverage has been a flurry of headlines like “Tana and Jake Say They are FOR REAL”; “Sources Close to Influencer Couple Say Marriage Is Fake”; and “Who The Hell Are Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau Anyway?” This, of course, is exactly what Mongeau and Paul wanted to happen when they started this whole whirlwind relationship. Celebrities have been getting married for social capital and attention since the dawn of time … or at least the dawn of People magazine. It seems, maybe, that Paul and Mongeau just have — and I cannot believe I’m saying this — the good sense to avoid legal issues that will require expensive untangling down the road. Keep the party, get the sponsorships and the press attention, and avoid all the rest. (Alternatively, there’s always the “trick your partner into thinking you got legally married” option recently made famous by Andi Potamkin, an heiress to the Potamkin Auto Group.)
And really, isn’t that kind of what all weddings are about? Or at least what a certain type of wedding has devolved into culturally? Weddings make a show of flexing wealth and popularity for attention. This weekend’s event is just happening on an influencer scale. (An influencer recently pitched sponsors and brands on an elaborate and now-infamous plan for a proposal to give you a sense of the world we’re living in.)
The average American wedding in 2018 cost $33,000, according to a survey by the Knot. (This figure was not inclusive of honeymoon expenses.) Per wedding guest, that figure comes out to about $258 on each person that a couple invites to their wedding. The average headcount was 136 people. These are fancy parties thrown, hopefully, to celebrate loving and healthy partnerships. But also they are fancy parties thrown to show your guests a great time. To show your guests you have the means to show them a great time. To show the people who you didn’t invite what a great time you’re having without them. And to, in exchange for said great time, have somebody buy you some nice new towels and chip in for a vacation to Greece and gift you a damn KitchenAid stand mixer. Except Tana Mongeau and Jake Paul don’t want a mixer. They want fame.