Beware the Best of Lists

Just about every city or hamlet has them, blogs have them, websites have them and they all sound so good. What am I talking about? Those ubiquitous “Best Of” lists. Just how good are they? Do they really represent anything? Not really.

There are two basic types: pure numbers and private selection. The pure numbers one is the most prevalent. You know what I’m talking about; some local paper or website runs a marketing campaign to get everyone to vote for their favorite wedding vendors. Best Cake in Bugtussle, Best Photographer, Best Florist and so on. You know as well as I do these are nothing more than a giant ballot box stuffing fest devised to drive traffic to the sponsor’s website. Everyone that is nominated sends out email to their entire network saying “Vote for ME!!!” You’ve done it, so have I. I voted everyday for a friend’s bridal salon to be Best of Boston. Have I shopped there? I’ve never even been to Boston! Of course now I can’t seem to get off the lead list for whatever Boston paper it was that ran the thing.

My point is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the vendors that win, well not usually*. It has to do with how deep their network is.

Yesterday I say a new one. This one was all full of itself and set up to be different. Nomination were open, just fill out the form. Then the website owner and one other person would review the nominees and pick the top three in each category. Hahaha, ya right.

I have been in this industry in this market for over 20 years. I have been an active member of the largest regional bridal networking organization for almost that long. I work on the B2B end now and hear all the dirt from everyone. Having said that you would have to figure that I have a pretty decent handle on what’s what and who’s who around here.

As my friend, a wedding planner and I looked over the winners yesterday, we started seeing a distinct trend. All the winners were second to third tier players and interestingly enough, either advertisers on the site or had been the vendors of the bride chosen to do the review. Not one of the people places or things that always rise to the top was chosen. Not one.

What makes me sad is that there are brides that look to these lists for answers. It isn’t fair to mislead the public like this just to drive traffic to your site and your friends. Take these things with a big grain of salt and recognize them for what they are: marketing tools for the sponsor.

*I said usually because there is one that really does it right and must be honest to a fault. After all, they picked me for best dessert in Nashville 13 years in a row! LOL

Greening The Real American Wedding

A few months ago I set up a blog for a recent client/long time friend. When I went in today to tweak a thing or two I caught up on my reading.

I had always known that Kellie was one of the greenest caterers around. Still, I was tickled green to see that she is posting about it.

The Main Event Blog

The Main Event Blog

To all my about to be bride readers; take a look at some of the wonderful ways that your vendors can incorporate a green attitude into what they do for your wedding. To my readers in the industry; Kellie is a shining example of how all the little choices you make everyday, really do make a difference.

Check out Kellie’s blog for The Main Event, while you are there, check out her gorgeous cakes.

Keep up the great work Kellie.

Size Matters: The Rise of The Small Wedding

I just read an interesting press release on the annual survey, “What’s On Brides Minds’” conducted by Infosurv, Inc. for David’s Bridal. According to the survey results, 75% of brides-to-be now have to adjust their budget because of the current economic climate. One of the ways there are making that adjustment is by reducing the guest list. According to the same survey 45% are going this route.

Intimate Backyard Wedding

Intimate Backyard Wedding

For a lot of reasons, having a smaller more intimate wedding is a good thing. Rather than your wedding becoming a major production on the scale of a stage show, it becomes a small celebration with those that are closest to you. It lowers the nerve quotient and ups the meaning factor in one fell swoop.

A recent post on IntimateWeddings.com lists 10 reasons to have a smaller more intimate wedding. Every reason is a good one, but my favorite is #7

You get to spend time with your guests. How many weddings have made you feel like a stranger fulfilling a social obligation? Small weddings aren’t like that. When the guest list is small, the bride and groom can spend time with each of their guests, making them feel welcome.

Like I have been saying for a while, the weddings you see on TV aren’t the Real American Wedding, they are the anomaly. It is time that the wedding media got back to reality and started showing brides that they can have a wonderful, touching, meaning full wedding with out taking out a second mortgage.

Image courtesy of Cottages and Castles Vacation Rentals

Sign My Cast

Last Friday morning I left with camera in hand to document all the fabulous things there were to share at the largest bridal show in the southeast. With over 200 vendors representing everything from cakes to gowns to limos I knew there would be tons to share.

Well a funny thing happened. I was helping my favorite florist set up her booth and lost my balance. A rush trip to the ER, 3 hours of surgery and 4 days in hospital I missed the show, Dang. It looked like it was going to be a good one too. That silly EMT wouldn’t stop for me to take pictures as he wheeled me out. Whatever was he thinking? Maybe that cantaloupe masquerading as my knee had something to do with it.

Yes it hurt!

Yes it hurt!

Any way, it would be great if you could sign my cast. OK, so I don’t have an actual cast, just an immobilizer but if you leave me a comment that works too. Send a little love to your wedding diva to help her heal.

I promise to post pictures of the show highlights as soon as I get them.

Escort Card Alternatives

Sometimes I get tired of seeing the same old set-up for escort cards: lovely cards surrounding elaborate floral centerpiece. Why not do something a little different with either the display or the ‘card’ itself.

The first three are cards but displayed in an interesting way.

The next three are unique items used as escort cards and the last three are full on favors. I just think that idea is wicked cool.

All of them are very DIYable. OK, so maybe not that last one is a little trickier than the rest. I promise you it is doable, I did about 100 for a bride once. They were time consuming and tedious, but doable none the less.

The Real American Wedding

You see it everywhere, the average wedding in America is $28,000. Well do you know where that number came from? I do, and it’s wrong!

There are 2 entities perpetuating this myth, The Wedding Report and The Knot.com.

Here is the problem with that number. They took the total spent on weddings in America and divided it by the number of wedding. What happens is you get one or two million dollar wedding and it skews the whole number. Kind of like the old joke about Bill Gates walking into the homeless shelter and suddenly the average net worth of everyone there is over a million bucks. It just isn’t true.

I have dissected these numbers to death on Think Like A Bride and I don’t know why I never shared it with you. Here is the truth, 82% of the weddings in America fall below that $28,000 benchmark. 82%! How is that for skewing a number?

The truth is that the Average Wedding in America falls more realistically at $14,000 and below. They powers that be in the wedding industry want you to believe the higher number so you will spend more.

If you have ever read the sidebar then you know I am not a big proponent of bigger is better when it come to weddings. It’s time to end this myth.

Here are a couple of blogs to get you started on the road to not breaking the bank.

$10,000 Only

$2000 Wedding

Wedding Myths Debunked!

Back you beast!

Back you beast!

How about a little bridal humor today? I was traipsing around the internet today and ran across an entire

page of simple hilarious wedding lore on of all places Snopes.com.

One of my particular favorites is about the bride that gave her baker the wrong bible verse for her wedding cake. Rather that extolling the virtues of love it made some crack about her five husbands!

Then of course there is a page that explains where all the superstitions we hold near and dear actually came from. Did you know that brides wear veils to hide their “shattering loveliness?”

They (veils) were originally worn to conceal the beauty of the bride from both easily-tempted evil spirits and “friends” of the groom who might otherwise be moved to make off with her. It was felt that that a bride’s shatteringly loveliness put her at immediate risk of abduction.

Now aren’t you happy to know that the mere act of being a bride bestows upon you

“shattering loveliness”

Keep laughing. Especially as you walk down the aisle with that gold coin in your shoe rubbing your foot!

Bride Wars

I just ran across the trailer for the upcoming movie, Bride Wars. Oh my dear readers, I can’t wait. Starring Kate Hudson and Ann Hathaway as BFFs turned bitter rivals when their wedding are double booked at the Plaza hotel. Throw in Candice Bergen as the wedding planner and you have a festival of bridal angst!

The movie is set for theatrical release January 9, 2009. That is just too long to wait. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer