Who Wants to be an Angry Bride?

One of the things I do in my real life is to advise wedding professionals on their branding and marketing. Some of my clients are gown manufacturers. Consequently I am always reviewing ads and I read a lot of marketing blogs. Today I ran across a post on Holly Buchanan’s blog on how angry and sullen the models in jewelry ads look. Well baby, they need to take a look at some of the ads for wedding gowns!

Commence rant!

For an industry that never fails to use the words “The happiest day of your life” to market their wares it amazes me that the models all look so sullen and pouty. In some cases they just look downright mean. What’s with that?

As a marketer I know that you should use feelings to help bring the message to life for the viewer. Do I really want to buy a gown that invokes those kinds of emotions? Show me happy, show me in love, show me relaxed, but for crying out loud don’t show me sad and angry. Why would I want to be sad or angry at my wedding? If you want to sell me a gown give me an image to which I want to relate.

In their defense, so many of these designers are only looking at how the dress shows in the photo. They’re a designer, that’s what they do. Stop taking only the advice of the photographer and stylist and listen to your marketing director once in a while.

End rant.

I would really like to know if I am alone in this. Look at the two images and tell me which bride you would rather be; the one on the steps or the one with her hands on her hips?

One of the Original Indie Brides

On one of the last nights of the cruise we dined with the most interesting couple Dave and Lyn. They were on board to renew their vows for the fifth time. I found this interesting enough to dig a little deeper.

Of course I asked about their first wedding; it seems that Lyn was one of the original indie brides. Dave and Lyn were originally married in 1982 before the hoopla surrounding Princess Diana forever changed bridal expectations. Lyn wore a Gunny Sack dress off the rack, they had 25 guests and a pot luck dinner in her parents’ backyard at a budget of just under $1000.

I was curious as to just what traditions they carried from ceremony to ceremony. Apparently none, the only thing that was alike from vows to vows were the bride and groom. On their 15th anniversary they did wear the same clothes from the first wedding just to prove that they could. Beyond that everything has been different and unique to that particular time in their lives with special vows to commemorate where they are and where they have been.

They certainly seemed to be a happy couple. Maybe they are onto something with this whole renewing every five year thing.

“we should have PARTIES for ALL our leaps of faith!”

the above headline is shamelessly stolen from a post on this blog which was pointed out to me by the wonderful blog Offbeat Bride.

Summer, the original poster was lamenting how she felt she had to feel guilty about wanting to have a beautiful wedding with all the bells and whistles. All the negativity and admonitions not to “Go Bridezilla” had her hiding her excitement at marrying the man she was so obviously head over heels in love with. How sad.

If you read the entire post you can see that Summer sums up exactly why we celebrate weddings with the people we love around us: Marriage is the ultimate leap of faith.

Sometimes I think that the media has so flooded our conscience with the stunning, the spectacular, the amazing wedding vision that much of our culture has lost sight of why we have wedding celebrations in the first place. Today brides are pressured to choose between hosting a spectacle or turning their back on everything ‘weddingish’ and going indie. That is making the entire process about the appearance, not the reason behind it.

Ultimately a wedding is a chance to celebrate your leap of faith; a time for your family and friend to gather around you and support your choice. In some small way your guests are pledging to help you both stand strong in your leap and to cheer your courage. Now if that isn’t a reason to get excited about throwing a party, I don’t know what is.

Frock Horrors

Kudos to Camilla Chafer over at Bridalwave for her Frock Horror section. I have been reading Bridalwave for a while now but had never had the time to read the entire thing. Oh my, it isn’t just the gown’s that are hysterical it is the descriptions that Camilla writes. Take a few minutes and laugh out loud. I will forgo my ususal suggestion that you pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea so you don’t risk spitting it all over your keyboard!.

What was it that made me finally take the time to read through the complete Frock Horrors? Maybe it was the evite I received this morning to the runway show and launch party for the new INAGURAL COLLECTION


Ah yes, what fun. An entire collection designed to look like the Disney Princesses; Belle, Arrielle, SnowWhite. Oh, why not?

What A Million Bucks Will Get You

Ok, you have heard me rail against the over the top excess of some weddings before, but this one takes the cake. Just what does a million dollar wedding look like? I found one for you to peek at.

Oprah Winfrey ran a ‘wedding of a lifetime’ contest, hired Colin Cowie, coughed up a fat million and picked the happy couple. Want to see it?? Look here.

There is a three page write up in Cowie’s own hyper elegant words and a fabulous slide show of the three day event.

Be sure not to miss the description of the brides attire or a peek at the menu. Don’t miss Cowie’s plug for his Holiday Collection at WalMart. (why does that strike me as hysterically funny?) And for all you dear readers struggling to afford the bouquet of you dreams, don’t miss the 5000 roses flown in from South America.

According to the description there were 130 guests. That breaks down to $7692.30 per person. Try to explain that one to your parents or fiancé or your own common sense.

Is it just me or is it time to stop the insanity?

Why You NEED A Consultant

This is so sad. I can not begin to tell you how badly I feel for this bride.

I spoke with one of my florist friends today and this is the story as she related it to me.

She is doing the flowers for the wedding of a lovely young woman who is marring the son of an old family friend. It is quite the large wedding with over 800 guests invited of which nearly 500 are expected to attend. It is being held at one of the premier hotels in the area. It is scheduled for early June, one of the busiest times of the year. The décor is extensive with draping and a full on cocktail lounge being brought in. A very hot band out of Atlanta has been booked…

As a part of finalizing the details my florist friend asked what time the venue would be available to start decorating. The bride responded that the planner at the hotel had told her she had it all day. My friend suggested she check on that since the hotel had had a turn over in staff. Long story short… the new hotel staffer told her there was a conference scheduled for that day and they could have the room at 6 PM!!!!!!!!!!

OH MY!!! With an 8PM reception that leaves a scant 2 hours to transform this room. In most circumstances that would be a stretch but doable. Not this wedding. Draping, furniture for a lounge, place settings for 500; heck, the band’s contract states they require 6 hours to set up!

I have no idea what this poor thing is going to do. At this late date there is no way she could find a new venue even if she wanted to move her wedding. I will tell you, had she had an event/wedding planner this would have never happened. Even if this girl had already booked all her vendors it is the planner’s job to stay on top of just this kind of thing. She would have communicated with the hotel the amount of set up involved in this wedding. Oh my.

If you are planning a wedding for a hundred at a local hotel or your church maybe you really can do it yourself. Please, please, if you are planning something this big, hire help.

So What Does A Wedding Planner Do?

Yesterday I staged with one of the very best wedding planners around. Do not ask me to either walk or smile today, I can do neither. I put in about four days worth in 12 hours .

The skill set needed to be a good event planner is enormous. If we took the top 20 wedding planners in America and gave them the UN I am convinced they could turn the world into the garden of eden (before that whole apple fiasco).

First you must be an organizational whiz and a logistics wizard. The planner is responsible for juggling the acquisition of goods and services from 10 or more vendors. And those are just the main ones. Yesterday there were the venue, three rental companies, the florists, the baker and the draping company; the caterer, two sets of musicians, the lighting crew, the limo, the photographer and the videographer. Just like the general contractor on a building project, the planner is responsible for ensuring that each vendor arrives in the proper order. For instance, if the baker is scheduled to arrive before the rental company had arrived to set up tables and linen, the baker would not be a happy camper. Or if the bridal party pictures are scheduled before the bouquets are slated to arrive you have an angry bride. Add to this that at least three of the vendors will call and want to change their delivery time because of other weddings. Ok, now remember that sometimes the window for all this can be as little as four hours. I have actually seen it done in less than that but IT WAS NOT PRETTY.
Also on the organizational front, is stuff. Stuff that you would never in a million years think of, but a good planner has packed in the trunk of her car. Ok, some stuff you may have thought of like extra panty hose and aspirin and a steamer for the dress. How about surgical tape for the bridesmaid that thought her boobs needed a little more lift. (could I make that up, people?) How about a cigar cutter for the two-dozen Cuban cigars the bestman wanted to pass out. I think David Copperfield lives in her trunk and just makes stuff appear as needed.
Another skill needed to be a great planner is the ability to be a time-line enforcement cop with out being a witch about it. Days before the event the planner and the bride hammer out a time-line to keep the event rolling. As you plan your wedding you will begin to notice things like overtime charges and hourly rates, that is why your planner has to be on top of it. The day of the event, the bride, the groom, the bridal party and every parent involved refuses to acknowledge that time even exists. Weddings do not come with an infinite time frame. You have given the planner a list of things you wish to take place at your wedding, let her get them done in a fashion that won’t rush either you or your guests yet doesn’t leave anything out.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Unlike other vendors, your planner is the de facto hostess of your wedding and reception. As she juggles multiple vendors and guest, smoothes out any wrinkles in the fabric of time and sees to the needs of one and all present she does it in heels with a smile on her face. NO MATTER WHAT. No matter what else happens that day, a great planner must exhibit the diplomatic skills Solomon could only hope to possess. That is a large part of the job.
There is good reason why wedding planners earn their keep. The things they do that no one sees are the little things that can make a good party great. It’s the little things that you don’t even notice unless they aren’t there.
Look for more posts about last night. There were so many great tidbits I picked up I just can’t put them all in one post.

Hiring a Wedding Consultant

Did you know that 50% of all weddings are planned from out of town? With our mobile society more and more brides are having to resort to long-distance planning. This is the where hiring a wedding consultant really comes in handy. But how do you pick one, especially if you are doing it long distance?

One of the big problems is that every day some noob hangs a shingle. You know, she planned her own wedding and now thinks she is a pro. WRONG But how can you tell from a website? You can’t. Your best bet is to get referrals. Do a little research on venues in the area that might fit your style and call them. Pick their brain a little and see who they refer. Also, go to the local forums for your target area and ask the other brides. Sort your master list down to three or four and check their website. Look at how long they have been planning weddings and how long they have been in the area. If all the pictures on their site look like they are from the same event cross them off your list. Remember, you are looking for someone that really knows the players in this market. The longer your consultant has been in the market the more leverage they have. They also have a reputation to protect. Both of these things work in your favor. You are from out of town, they aren’t. The local vendors know them and don’t want to lose their business.

Call your top three choices and see if your personality and vision are a fit. Ask them to send you pictures of several weddings they have done and testimonials. Everyone worth their salt in the wedding industry has a file full of thank you letters from happy brides. Are they someone you can trust to look after your interests while you keep tabs from afar?

Once you settle on a pro to handle your wedding, step back and let them do their job.

If they send you to specific vendors, there is a reason. They trust them, work well with them and feel they can best fit your vision and budget. Trust your consultant to do the job for which you hired them. A good consultant has a huge roster of vendors they use. It is their job to find the ones that are the best match for you. More than anything else, you are hiring an advocate.

Investing the time in finding the right wedding planner for you can save you more than money. It will save you many headaches!

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