Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Open Letter to the Wedding Industry

Dear Wedding Industry Folks:
After reading various articles in magazines and on Web sites and in books (most recently The Wedding Book, which I actually returned because it stressed me out so much), I would like to address a few issues to those of you in the wedding industry who feel compelled to offer advice to those of us whose wedding is imminent. You're a frustrating bunch, and I think a few issues need to be rectified.
  1. Please don't automatically presume that all brides been planning our "dream weddings" since we were five - or at any point prior to our engagement. My fiance and I got engaged on July 16th, 2010, and that's when he and I together began planning our wedding. Aside from the necessity of being married in a Catholic Church, I had no notions or ideas of what I wanted. It's because I recognize that while getting married is one of the more important events in our life together, it is not the most important event in my life.
  2. Why do I need a theme for a wedding? I'm not planning a child's birthday party. The theme of our wedding is, "Michelle and Ed are getting married. Come hang out and get jiggy with them!" Isn't that enough?
  3. On a related note, who the heck cares if the style of the flower doesn't match anything else? It's all interchangeable, y'know. Somehow, I don't think that if I choose one specific dress, I have to eliminate a specific flower or table linen because it might not match. (Side note: This is partly why I'm refusing to wear white heels. I don't want to match.)
  4. Don't presume that we all live nearby our families, friends, or those who will be in our wedding party. Times have changed, and these days large numbers of people live far away from their families and friends. As such, not all of us go wedding gown shopping with our maids of honor, bridesmaids, or mothers. Sometimes we can only bring the groom with us because if he doesn't come with us, we go alone. It's pretty depressing going wedding gown shopping alone.
  5. Don't presume that we're planning our wedding with the help of anyone else. With the exception of my Matron of Honor, I haven't heard from any of my bridesmaids in regard to any aspect of my wedding unless I've e-mailed them first; I don't think my fiance has heard from any of our groomsmen. Your idea that the bride has gaggles of bridesmaids taking a continued interest in the wedding, or even occasionally checking up on the bride, is not always correct.
  6. Don't presume we all live in the same part of the country as our parents, extended families, friends, bridal party, etc. Why is there so little said about wedding parties that are so scattered? I have yet to encounter any really helpful advice when the bride and groom are on their own.
  7. On a related note: Stop telling me to take my bridesmaids out for lunch or a trip to the spa before the wedding as a thank you. I wish I could, but it's not feasible. My bridesmaids range in age from 8 to early 30s, and live in four states across the country, so please take into account that sometimes, we're scattered, and having lunch the week before just ain't gonna happen.
  8. On another related note: Yes, I would love to have an Engagement Shower (sans gifts) or Bachlorette Party (What's the equivalent for just having the entire Bridal Party hang out without parents or other guests?), but it doesn't look like I'd have a chance to socialize with my wedding party before getting married. Telling me the etiquette for who should be throwing me a party that can't happen isn't helpful. And how about including party ideas for a wedding party that includes folks under 21? (Five of the 11 friends and family members in our wedding party are under 21.)
  9. Don't tell us that by not serving alcohol, our guests will not have a good time. If guests can't have a good time without alcohol, that's their problem.
  10. I am not creating a minute-by-minute schedule of the wedding day itself. Lists can help some people, but many of us are capable of letting things go with the flow. It's just a day and if something goes wrong, who will care? It'll get resolved.
Please expand your thinking about weddings and loosen up. Thank you.


  1. Dear me, Michelle - what sort of "professionals" have you run into? Few that I know want to do more than listen to the bride, the groom and (to a lesser extent) their parents and try our best to facilitate their wishes. We want to help make the wedding as stress free and enjoyable as possible.

    Our motto at Practicaps Weddings (we are photographers) is "Your Wedding, Your Way".

    No this is not a pitch for business - I'm in Oz and don't plan to travel to the States for your nuptials - but I hope that you have a wonderful wedding, and more importantly, a great marriage.

  2. To the bride to be; Thank you for posing this article. I love it! People in this industry get to too caught up in little things that really don't matter that much. These vendors drill these ideas into the brains of future brides as a must have for your wedding. Ever notice how these wedding experts, bridal magazines tell you how to make your wedding beautiful, yet you never hear or see articles about how you can make your wedding
    fun. What do people remember most about a wedding years latter? "The Fun". Fun & entertainment are a second thought with very little left of the budget to invest in good entertainment when the money is spent on everything else that really won't matter after it's over.

  3. David,

    Thank you for your good wishes! We've run into many fewer problems with actual wedding vendors; aside from the occasional "You'll be the princess you've always wanted to be!" mentality, it's not been a problem. Especially because The Groom has quite a few of his own ideas (might I add, moreso than I do), whatever silly comments we get that drive me a bit batty just cause The Groom to laugh at me until I calm down.

    This attitude is much more prevalent in bridal magazines and books; I stopped buying them because of the unchanging attitude about which I've blogged (both in terms of presuming what kind of bride I am, as well as our family/bridal party situation).

    Just as a rather interesting side note, I will say that whenever both The Groom and I provide both our e-mail addresses to vendors, it is I who get the greatest majority of follow-up e-mails.


  4. Mark,

    Thank you for the comment! When The Groom and I were going through the DJ questionnaire (and I will note how much I like our DJ; he's very professional and there is absolutely no pressure to do anything we don't want to do), many questions included the typical wedding activities - like the bouquet toss, the garter thingie, and the money dance - all activities I see as varying degrees of tacky (probably because The Groom and I are in our mid-30s; we're not old, but we're not really into that scene anymore). It's true that there aren't many other activities suggested that veer away from the typical ones.

    Something for us to think about - approaching the DJ and asking if he can suggest alternative activities and games.

    Thanks for posting - cheers!


  5. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for your post. I am a wedding planner and I completely agree with you on your views. I have never agreed with putting all brides in one category. When I was a bride myself I didn't have a theme. I chose what I wanted and colors that I loved and we had a beautiful wedding. My sister for her wedding didn't even have a desire for anything really, so my mom and I planned the majority of hers. She loved her wedding.

    I just wanted to let you know that there are many of us wedding professionals that are truly on your side and that we take pride in our brides and grooms and want to make sure their weddings reflect who they are. That's how it should be. It's your wedding and it should be your way.

    I hope you have a beautiful and fun wedding and have a very loving and successful marriage.

    I am also hoping your post helps other brides as well that get overwhelmed by what they feel they are "Supposed" to do instead of what they want to do.

    Have a blessed New Year.

    Renee Krejci.

  6. Hey Michelle,

    You made some great points. You might want to look for a book titled The Best Wedding Reception...Ever! by Peter Merry. (he's a friend of mine)

    It will give you lots of ideas that you can discuss with your entertainer on how you can make your wedding more unique and FUN!

    Neal Howard

  7. I'm happy to see my colleague Neal post about Peter Merry's book. I too would like to encourage any bride to be to read this extremely helpful book. It's your wedding day, do what you want to do that will make you happy.

  8. Michelle - I agree with you regarding the books and magazines being overwhelming/stressful. And no not all brides plan their wedding when they're 5 - I sure didn't nor did I have a theme. Your wedding should be just that - YOUR wedding. Wedding planners are to guide you through the process and make sure that whatever you want done is done (hence the timeline) and that your wedding day is a fabulous day for you and your guests.

    As for the flowers, pick out what you like and in the colors you like. It'll work. The florist you have chosen will guide you through that process and help you make it what you want. That's what wedding professionals really do (or should do) - guide and advise through the process of planning.

    As for the shoes - where a funky color. The photographer will love it and so will your guests! You go girl!!!

    Enjoy the planning process!
    Eventful Happenings