This blog post has been sitting in my drafts for two years.
I have felt this way for over two years, and have been too afraid to hit publish because of some preconceived backlash. But I feel the need to get this off my chest. Maybe I'm being judgmental to everyone and I should take a dose of my own cynical medicine. Maybe I'm being hypocritical by writing it in the first place. In which case, you are free to disagree with me accordingly.
There is a certain tension between brides and the wedding industry. Or maybe I should say between engaged couples and literally everyone else involved in the wedding. But for the sake of this post, I’m calling out the wedding vendors specifically.
On one side, you have a couple who has never planned a party on this level before and suddenly realizes that planning a wedding is really expensive. The sticker shock is real, I know. It caused many stressful days while I planned my own wedding and forced me to get creative with my vision for the perfect day.
On the other side, you have people who charge these prices because owning a small business is f*cking expensive and they want to sustain themselves and pay their taxes and feed their family and do all the things that go along with the freedom of being your own boss.
Both sides are stressed and both are passionate and when you have the added pressure of needing to be unique in a saturated market and the feeling of pleasing your guests or making a statement or being creative mixed into an event that is so deeply personal, naturally, opinions are going to fly and frustrations will be had on all sides.
So it shouldn't surprise me that I often see dumb articles like this or I hear a vendor complain about a certain trend they see over and over, or see an entitled rant on social media about using someone else’s wedding or work to further their own business. People will use any excuse to complain about anything at a wedding in general. It might be my biggest pet peeve of the industry as a whole.
we all need to calm down and realize: it's not about us.
Let's start with the article. What exactly is the benefit of telling couples that whatever idea they want to include in their own wedding is a fad, tacky, or a "mistake"? Why, year after year, do publications like Vogue and every other wedding blog on the planet feel the need to focus on the negative and ridicule someone's style choice? Why can't we simply focus on the positive, and instead of writing articles about "passé" trends, wedding day don't's, and "mistakes" brides make we write about things that aren't superficial and highlight the do's, the positives, and the direction we want to see from the industry as a whole?
The damage happens when someone puts a year into planning one day, then halfway through the process, after signing contracts and spending time and money on a certain aspects of their wedding, they read some BS article like this and suddenly feel judged, shamed, or unoriginal. Brides are made to feel bad about a choice they have made that makes them happy. And these people they interview are literally complaining about the presence of a donut wall. It’s a freaking wall of donuts!
Leave it to industry professionals to find a reason to hate on donuts.
Who are we (as anyone who is not the couple making the decisions and writing the checks) to say what is a mistake for someone else's wedding? Just because we have seen it before doesn't mean we should discourage it. If I have to read one more article from some random person complaining about a damn donut wall or a photo booth being at someone's wedding, I'm going to scream. Or write an angry, ranty article like I'm doing now.
Now, on to the vendors. We love our job. Many even use the hashtag #lovemyjob on a regular basis. Some days we say it like a mantra to remind ourselves that it's worth it. Some days we are able to put things in perspective and realize that there is a reason we're doing it. We, for the most part, genuinely do love our jobs.
But like any job, we get tired of routine. We get tired of being undercut. We get tired of seeing the same thing over and over. Sometimes we just want to shake our clients and let them trust our visions and do something -- anything -- they haven't already seen on Pinterest.
It comes from a place of love, it really does. But it's also the thing I dislike most about our industry.
It all started over burlap.
You guys, when you are planning a wedding, you get unusually attached to anything that is affordable and multi functional. So when I found some amazing gray burlap runners on Amazon for CHEAP, I got them to use at my wedding. My guests loved them and they are still used by multiple family members for their dining room. I may venture to go so far as to say that those damned runners were the best investment I made at my wedding.
About a week after I had purchased these runners, after meticulously pricing out alternative table decor and planning how I wanted to present my tables to my guests and the neutral palette I wanted to have, I checked Facebook and came across something I wish I had never seen as a burlap-using bride-to-be.
A wedding planner posted an update in a Facebook group complaining about a client's choice to use burlap in her wedding; it wasn't her ideal style and she didn't want to waste time planning the wedding if it wouldn't fit in her portfolio. She also complained that the bride wanted baby's breath and mason jars. She asked if there was a way to tell the bride her ideas were tacky and overdone.
Maybe I took her post a little too personally. She awoke the Bridezilla within. I probably started writing this post because of her post. But I see it over and over, vendors getting upset because someone else paid for something that didn’t serve their business in the way they expect them to. Caterers who get angry over a photographer not taking enough photos of their food. Florists who demand the photos weeks before a gallery is set to deliver to the clients, just so they can submit them for publication. A photographer who refuses to work with a couple because their “look” or vision for their wedding doesn’t fit what they want to put on Instagram.
But, whether an opinion about burlap hit a nerve with me or not, it doesn't change my opinion. If you're in the wedding industry you are going to see trends come and go. If you want to see something different or be creative, the best solution is to coordinate a styled shoot of your own to execute your own ideas or do whatever the hell you want. You can't rely on someone else to spend their hard earned money on your perfect ideal vision. When it's your dime, your project, your event, you can be picky and tell people what they can or can't do. But if you're being paid handsomely to execute another person's vision, it is not your place to complain or mock them for their choices.
If something makes you that unhappy, don't do it.
Vendors are constantly after the "ideal client" yet no one can grasp exactly what that means to them. Vendors can spend their careers chasing an ideal for bragging rights, instead of appreciating the ability to do the work itself.
I realized early on that not every wedding is going to grace the pages of a magazine. Not every client is "ideal." Weddings are inherently unique and cliche all at the same time. It's the paradox of partaking in a social tradition that has gone on for centuries. Ultimately weddings are all the same: someone gets married.
some people don't care that burlap is trendy. Some people just want to have a party and get married and not be in debt afterwards.
It is the vendor's job, after all, to guide and execute a client's vision for their wedding instead of tear it down. If one didn't want another wedding featuring mason jars and burlap, one should present an alternative with a similar budget (because let's face it, most of the reason to use burlap and mason jars is because they are perfectly rustic and affordable) or turn it down altogether.
No bride wants to work with someone who isn't excited to be there.
Your clients aren't your pawns to fill up a portfolio. Stop thinking of them this way, or you'll never be happy.
And finally, I want to talk to the guests. Yes, the people who are neither the bride or groom nor being paid to attend the event. These are people who (in theory) love the couple who are graciously hosting them, feeding them, and entertaining them for the day. It's not about you, either.
It is not your place to complain about the food, or the music, or the signature drink the couple chose to serve. Yet I know it happens at almost every wedding. It isn't your place to roll your eyes at anything you see. All you have to do is be grateful that you have people who love you enough to buy you dinner and drinks and want your company on the best day of their life.
Is it so much to ask that you keep your opinions to yourself if they are negative? You literally have an out when they send you the invitation. If you are the type of person who will complain or is never happy, do everyone a favor and check the "no" box on your RSVP.
There should be no place for negativity at a wedding.
OK, now to myself: I recognize that people will always have opinions and there is no amount of sass in a single article that will change the industry as a whole. But, my God, it feels good to release this tension. Two years of holding this in and F*CK it feels good to release it.
To my clients and anyone who is planning their wedding: keep doing you. Make your wedding day the way YOU want it. Don’t listen to the magazines or the vendors or the guests or Pinterest. Do what makes you happy.
And to all the articles and opinions (including mine), this is the best way to handle negativity: