What Brides Need to Know

This is an article I published today on my website for wedding professionals, Think Like A Bride. I wanted brides to see it too. You as brides have the power and right to have the wedding you want. I encourage you to weigh in by leaving a comment. Tell the wedding industry what you think. I’ll make sure they hear it!

Who Is Your Customer?

I got to thinking about this today as I was following a fairly heated conversation on a couple of wedding blogs.

By and large, the customer base of wedding blogs and the wedding print media is wedding vendors, not the bride & groom.

Now think about that for a minute. Any information based business is going to advocate for their customer base. They are going to speak in such a way and feed their readers information that is going to enhance the position of their customers. Again, please remember, their customer is the wedding vendor.

What does this mean for the bride and our industry?

It means that today’s bride is being fed a steady diet that is not always in her best interest. She is being told what to do and what is hot based on what the wedding industrial complex wants to sell. Just take a look at the dramatic rise in staged photo shoots on wedding blogs. Yes, they are gorgeous, I won’t argue that. The problem is they aren’t reality, although they are often presented as such. Most are unreachable by the average bride. I hate to tell you, but not every couple is hipster or shabby chic. don’t even get me started on the wedding gowns shown in the major magazines editorial. I have ranted on that until I am blue in the face.

It is no wonder that today’s bride is turning to alternatives to wedding professionals. As heavily exposed as brides are to over the top weddings they are beginning to believe that they both will not be able to afford a “wedding” professional and that even if they could, said “professional”  wouldn’t listen to them anyway. It isn’t that they are exploring using professionals and deciding against it, they are looking for alternatives first.

Is there an answer? Maybe.

I think that every wedding professional out there has a blog, why not start using it to really advocate for the bride. There is this little thing called Karma. If you as wedding professionals start telling the truth, being an advocate for the bride, showing them that you do offer alternatives  they will come back. Not only that, they will see you as a savior, a bright light in the darkness and they will be your evangelists.

 

 

Disclaimer, the ads at the side of this blog are through an affiliate service. I don’t sell ads to individual wedding vendors. I probably should, but then I couldn’t be this honest with you. Karma, baby, karma.

Indian Influenced Weddings

One of the best parts of designing websites for wedding professionals is all the gorgoeus images I get to see. Lately I have found myself immersed in the culture of South Asain Weddings.

One of my photographers has one on her front page, a planner friend just completed a huge one this fall, a floral designer friend and client has one coming up in the spring. Plus I just finished a site for the grand master of the style, Anais Events.

While a full on Asian wedding may not be in the cards for everyone, they are certainly a place to find some fabulous touches to inspire your own wedding.

Please enjoy these bright,bold bursts of color in the cold, gray month of January. All images courtesy of the lovely and talented Amrit Dhillion-Bains,  Anais Event Design.

Holiday Weddings

At first it sounds like a great idea; you have a long weekend or a special meaning and everyone is already in a celebratory mood. Let’s get married on(fill in your favorite holiday weekend here). Maybe your friends will have an extra day to travel and your hubs won’t forget you anniversary. There may even be the the added perk of things already being decorated.

That all sounds good but you may pay for your cleverness in the most time honored way: higher prices.

I was talking with a floral designer yesterday that was putting together a bid for a 4th of July wedding. No, her flowers weren’t going Wedding+Fireworks+1to cost more but a lot of costs were. First off, the rental companies were charging a premium for delivery and breakdown on a holiday because they had to pay their staff holiday pay. The same held true for the floral design staff. The venue the bride chose is notoriously packed on the 4th because of the fireworks display they host, so that required her to hire a valet parking company to handle the additional cars. Do you see where I am going with this?

Let’s look at Memorial Day. This is one of the most sought after dates for wedding in my area. You may not have the same problem of higher staff costs, but you won’t be getting any deals either. Your wedding professionals will likely be booked to capacity if not beyond. This may translate to more crowded venues, things you wanted to rent being already booked and limited choices on people like photographers, DJs or bands.

You know what happen on Valentine’s Day right? The price of flowers goes through the roof. You can ditto that for New Year’s Eve when a little thing called the Rose Bowl Parade sucks just about every flower produced.

I am not trying to rain on your parade, really I’m not. I just don’t want you to be blindsided when you start trying to book your goods and services.

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Will Blog for Wedding Gown

Mon Cheri Bridal GownMon Cheri Bridal, one of my favorite bridal fashion houses is launching a new blog, ItsABridesLife.com and they want you to be a part of it. Cindy Horne called me the other day to tell me all about it. Cindy is looking for brides across the spectrum, from DIY to platinum princesses, that want to get involved and share their story.

To sweeten the deal, the brides chosen to be bloggers on ItsABridesLife.com will receive a bridal gown from one of the six Mon Cheri Collections. They will hook you up with a local salon that handles the Mon Cheri lines so this won’t just be a ‘gown in a box’ type of giveaway. Part of their reasoning is that they want brides to see the difference that having a really good, full service salon in your corner can make.

About the blog:

ItsABridesLife.com will include daily blog entries from a diverse group of brides from engagement until they return from their honeymoon, covering the entire wedding planning process from beginning to end. Each blogger’s biography will be provided on the site. (Other features: Photo/Video galleries, Advice from experts, Where they are Now, and more)

You can read the full details here.

Looking for a Few Good Brides 3-12-10

On another note, if you are a wedding professional and want to be considered as a contributor of expert advice, you can contact Cindy too. Here contact details are in the attached pdf.

Funny Photos

As I travel around the internet I run across photos that, gosh I don’t know, I guess are just wrong. You have to wonder what these people were thinking.


First up, Bad Bouquet.bad bouquet
Sadly this came from a Martha Stewart post. I’m sorry but just ripping a bit of shrubbery out of the garden is not a suitable substitute for a bouquet.

Giant Bride.IMG_0383
I ran across this one while setting up a site for a bridal salon. This was actually on the gown manufacturer’s website. Take a good look. How tall is this bride? 14’ or 15’ tall? Or is it just a miniature landscape.


bride torso  from Cake WrecksBad Cake
This was sent to me by a fellow cake designer. Click through the photo to read the comments they really are the best part. Just be sure to put your coffee down first or you risk spitting all over your monitor from laughing so hard.

Negotiating With Wedding Vendors

You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.


I work with some of the best wedding professionals in the world and most are more than willing to bend over backwards to ensure your day is all you dreamed. However, there comes time when even they lose patience. By holding strictly to the letter of the contract, a wedding professional can step back and let you suffer the consequences.

Such was the case recently. This bride was doing anything and everything to cut cost, understandably. The problem was the way she was going about it. Rather than working with her vendors to find alternatives and solutions, she brow beat and demanded. At one point she actually said, “I know I have pissed off every one of my vendors.” By the end of the day, even her sister wasn’t speaking to her.

Take for instance the florist. She had been so nickel and dimed, browbeat and berated by this bride that there was no way she would do anything extra for this woman. When the bride realized that she had neglected to have the friend that was making the bouquet put together anything for the mothers the bride told her sister to go get any leftover flowers and make something. Now anytime a florist is doing anything on site there are always extra flowers hanging around. Guess what? Awww all the left over roses had been beheaded and put on the cake table. Sorry. But the cake table looked great.

Florists charge for candles and for rentals. This bride didn’t want to pay for either so she borrowed candelabrum from a friend and bought her own candles. The bad news is that the first time the florist got to see the candelabrum was on site at the event. Great. The flowers barely fit and the candles not at all. If we had used the candles provided the whole thing would have gone up in flames. Did we or the hotel have taller candles or another option available? Of course we did. Did we tell her? Nope. The hotel (which had been pushed around enough that the head of sales came into handle the event personally) simple said Sorry, no open flames. Do without.


There were just a million and one little things that went on like this throughout the entire day. No one did anything wrong or unethical; all they did was hold the bride to the letter of the contract.  I don’t know how to convince you that you will get more flies with honey than with vinegar.


Thanks to Foxy Wedding for the heads up on this video.

Great Caterers Are So Much More Than Their Food

I just had to share a little local talent today. Jim and Cheryl Hagy at Chef’s Market & Take Away have to be some of the most creative caterers I have ever met. Their culinary creations are out of this world, but it’s not just the food that makes them so special. Nobody in Nash/Vegas can bring a room and a look together like this team!


The first time I encountered this talented staff was many years ago, I was still doing cakes so it had to have been bask in the dark ages. I was doing a cake for a wedding at, of all places, the church I attended and the reception was in the parish hall/ cafeteria where my kidlets went. I won’t say the room was ugly, it just had to be one of the coldest places ever. Not sleek and modern, just cold, too high ceilings, too much glass and too much neutral tile, even the wood trim seemed cold.


When I went to install the cake I was amazed, that cold space had been transformed into slice of New Orleans! Over the years, Jim & Cheryl have just gotten better and better. Their work still amazes me.


Since I can’t give you a taste of their marvelous food, enjoy the pictures in their gallery and check out their blog, Chef’s Dish (Love that name, 😉 ) Shannon Bate, Catering Director does a wonderful job a sharing her inspiration.
I love finding spectacular talent in my own back yard. Sometimes you need to look closer to home.

Real Brides Come in All Sizes

I just read a blog post that kind of ticked me off. It had to do with Plus Size Bridal.
It said that wedding gown manufacturers are creating sample gowns in sizes 14 and larger, so you can actually get a good sense of how you’d look headed down the aisle.

Well here is the dirty little truth. Salons can order their sample in whatever size they want. They buy those samples you see in the salons at the same price they do when they order your gown. Most shops buy only one size and hope that works.

Not any more. Every single shop that has contacted me to do marketing work for them in the last year has said that they want to put more emphasis of their “Plus Size Collections.” Hurrah!!

It is a fact that outside of the New York fashion and publishing bubble and LA, very few women in American have the bodies of heroin addicted waifs. We are real women and we are built like real women. The wonderful news is that more and more salons are getting hip to the fact that brides want to try on gowns, not just hold them up in front of them; and they are ordering accordingly. Even better, is that they aren’t ordering gowns “designed for the plus size bride” they are ordering the same gowns that they order in an 8 in an 18. I mean, just because you are built like a real woman doesn’t mean you want to dress like a dowdy matron.

The point is, the salons are hearing you and they are moving in the right direction. I recommend that you call around to the salons in your area and find out how deep their samples go in this size range. Find a salon that gets it. They are going to have the expertise to help you find the perfect gown to flatter your body type; no matter what it is.

While we are on the topic of Plus Size; why on earth do they call it that?

 Strapless Plus Size Bridal Gown with Pick ups

First off, the sizing on wedding gowns is ridiculous to begin with, most women are looking at ordering a size about 3 to 4 numbers higher than their normal street size. Double that if the have any boobs AT ALL. Why is that? It’s because most designers, especially couture, design for their models. Have you seen their models? Please God, someone feed these children. Where is Sally Struthers when you really need her?

Second, over the last fifty years, the sizing on street clothes has been gradually increasing. Hey, it’s a marketing move. If you find that in a particular line you routinely wear a size smaller you are going to love that line, right? Right! The problem is bridal has steadfastly refused to keep up.

You add those two up and what you end up with is a woman that wears a street 10 (Average in America) with a bit of a bust (You do realize that Breast Augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery in America) that is buying a size 18 – 20 gown in order to fit all her parts in it. WTF???

Of course they also charge you more for a “Plus-Size.” That you can blame on the manufacturers and the factories, not the salons.