Yesterday, while reading the Facebook posts, I read a post by Marcy Blum, renowned New York planner/ designer. I was moved to respond and, obviously, so were many others! It set off a barrage of comments that just kept coming all afternoon. I have highlighted some of the best ones. First, here is Marcy's post about a magazine article she was reading:
Now, here are some of the comments:
Doesn't have to be expensive but it DOES take experience. I think it has a place- to show talent and creativity and what folks CAN do... but somewhere in the industry it gets lost. This would be a great joint blog post to put out or an article. For me as a photographer I get so frustrated when I CANT deliver the images I know people want because I am shooting a huge sterile wall behind a head table. If there was a planner who had draped it (just an example) it is suddenly beautiful. I shot a wedding recently that had a team that was solely in charge of draping the walls, lighting design and setting up lounge furniture. Aside from the planners. Brides don't realize that many times who does what and just how many people it takes to pull off certain effects. Education is never bad. Let them make informed choices. Wendy- oh I'm not sure about a reality show. Jeremie Rentas Barlow: Photographer
I am in complete agreement with you all! I am relieved to see that I am not the only one that is consistently frustrated with this. I have spoken with many professionals who shrug their shoulders and say "this is how it is"....but I think it is or job as an industry to educate these brides! Katherine Stavropoulos Lomax
Thank you Marcy,we have so many brides with high expectations , but the truth is work with a planner and your florist to give you the best with in your budget. We are professionals not magicians
Eddie Zaratsian: Couture Florals
I agree but we the industry are agreeing and promoting all of the BS every day. Pick up any bridal magazine and look at what the experts (who you and I know are well known saying things that are are not true just to get there pretty little face and company into the mag). Let's face it the blogs we all read and promote the DYI bride, the inspiration boards that have no truth behind them and are all staged. I am glad you said something but this industry has changed over then years and I have to say not in a good way. The only way to change it back is by educating the industry and the future of the industry. Courtney Kern: Events Beyond
I agree the magazines always "over play" the level of wedding you can achieve on a DIY or on a shoe-string budget. Rather than talk about the reality of what the results most likely will be, they help to create a sense of false expectations. I laugh when I see a wedding publications advertising how to achieve your wedding on a budget when the model they are showing has designer dress on, with super expensive jewelry, in an elegant setting, with $15,000 in rentals, and they are claiming it's on a $10,000 budget!:). I cringe when brides want to cut costs by having an event with no floor in the tent we are installing, or no AC in a June wedding, or no rain plan. That's why everyone should us an experienced planner if at all possible! Nate Albers: The Tent Guy
LOVE your PR, Wendy. I am a cake decorator as well as a certified planner, and I get the ol' "Aunt Judy is going to 'help' me with my wedding-I don't NEED a planner" and I respect that, if Aunt Judy knows how to do it. In some aspects, DIY is acceptable, especially in a situation where Bride's budget is truly low. But wearing at $10,000 gown, having a $6000 photographer, and spending $14,000 on a caterer, etc-then they come to me and tell me they NEED a four tier cake for their 50 guests (cause they WANT a four tier cake, not NEED) with 500 gumpaste flowers and butterflies, covered in fondant, four high end flavors...but their BUDGET is nearly depleted, and they only have $200 left. Can I do it for that???? UH, no. I will make them the most beautiful cake $200 can get, though. I can't be the bottom of the barrel and still be able to make a living at this. I know that it's not the cake that always gets this-it's the planner that they suddenly realize they need with 2 weeks to go, the photographer they want 8 hrs of shooting time with ALL the new trendy shots for the $400 they have left, or the florist with just $100 left-but they want orchids or organic roses in huge arrangements on all 25 tables-and a bouquet the size of a basket ball for themselves and all 15 bridesmaids. And they say, "PLEASE" and think it's OK. DRIVES ME NUTS!! I know I'm not alone..obviously! :) LOVE LOVE LOVE these opinions, ladies!
They want the David Turtera fantasy for $1000-TOTAL. Cake, dress, photog, venue-I don't know ANYBODY who works for free! Maybe if it is your own child, OK...I've learned the hard way, if they want to get a four tier cake with gumpaste roses, and they think Walmark can do it-MORE POWER TO THEM. I hope they like the taste of processed and freezer burn! That, my friend-is what makes you so successful! I feel like that w/my cakes, too-I give them the same attention as if they were my daughter too. It's the best customer service there is!
Julie Hatley: Creative Designs by Julie
Now, there is so much out there for brides to digest when planning their weddings. Instant answers and cost are among the top things that brides look for while surfing the web and leafing through magazines. And, lets not forget the ridiculous array of wedding "reality" shows that bombard us daily! No wonder you are confused. No wonder you think that you can have a platinum wedding at a Walmart price. As was put very eloquently by Christine Boulton of Think Like A Bride:
"We now live in a time that values self-service and self-reliance. Ask the internet any question short of brain surgery and you will find not just instructions but a video tutorial on how to do it. Your brides are well aware of this. They were also raised to believe that they could do anything they set their mind to. Forget the fact that they may have no talent whatsoever. No score soccer leagues where everyone gets a trophy ring a bell?"
She also writes:
"Transparency and the internet color their take on pricing too. Yes you may be in a very expensive market, but hey, they look at the websites of vendors in small town middle America looking for ideas and don’t understand why you are more expensive. They talk to brides all over the world in forums and see that one bride got her bouquet for $$ and don’t see why they should pay you $$$. They surf the web for the lowest price and find it, then use that to convince themselves that you are just out to scalp them. If there are photographers on Craig’s List that will do packages for $250 doesn’t that mean that the other $2750 just go in the higher priced photographers pocket?"
"In short, they have never known the service level that true wedding professionals provide on a daily basis and when they see it they are dis-trustful."
There are several things that can be gleaned from reading these excerpts. First, wedding professionals are increasingly frustrated by the glut of bad and wrong information being thrust at the bride. They are hard-pressed to find a way to educate brides on what is feasible and what is just hype. They are also tired of being left out by wannabes and second rate amateurs trying to hook a budget sensitive bride with ridiculously low prices. In addition, those of us who have paid our dues, gotten the years of experience and depend on this for our livelihood, are insulted and angry at the idea that any scam artist or hobbyist can put up a sign or a web site and pretend to be something that they are not - and THE BRIDES ARE BUYING IT! Finally, DIY is a great concept, but let's face it, Not everyone is crafty. And, even if you can make all those centerpieces and print out the invitations and place cards on the computer and wrap your own bouquets, who is going to see to those DIY details on your wedding day? Who is going to make the room look like it cost a fortune- or like David Tutera did it? If you try to do your whole wedding with no help and if you try to have a good friend take the photos- you are going to get a homemade memory. Is that what you want for your big day? Take the advice of so many people- hire professionals and get a planner. There is someone for everyone. This is insurance for the most important day of your life. You wouldn't try to stitch up a wound or defend yourself in court. When you have a leaky pipe you call a plumber. You even have someone who helps you invest for your retirement. So, why would you leave your wedding to chance?! Think about it.