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.

Bridal Buyer’s Wedding Gown of the Year 2010

One of these dresses will collect the Wedding Gown of the Year title in the Bridal Buyer  Awards 2010

I want to know what my readers think. Who do you think should win? Vote in the poll below.

Bridal Buyer Wedding Gown of the Year for 2010

At a glittering black-tie event, the Bridal Buyer Awards 2010 (March 15, Harrogate Exhibition Center)will highlight the individuals and companies who have been judged the best by their peers in the bridal industry.

One of the most coveted of all the 16 awards is the Wedding Dress of the Year, which is voted on by thousands of brides -to -be who visited the London and Birmingham National Wedding Shows.

I want to know what my readers think. Who do you think should win?

[memedex: pollid#491654]

What Brides Should Know: Photography

I started a rather interesting thread on the Wedding Dish group page on Facebook last week. I asked wedding professionals what they thought brides should know about what they do. Well…they sure did let me know. So in the interest of all my brides getting the best wedding ever I want to share with you the things you don’t know in the hopes we will all better understand each other.

First up in this series are the photographers. It seems that the top issue they keep running into over and over is time. Time to capture your beautiful day, time to process and edit your images, time to design a fabulous album for you. Today’s professional photographers do more than just capture a moment in time. They create art.

As wedding photographers, something that is always on their mind is that unlike other types of photography, there are no do-overs. This is one day, one time that their work must be perfect. As professionals, they know that. That is why they want the time needed on your wedding day to make doubly sure it is a perfect as they can make it. This unique understanding of what you have entrusted them with is but one of the many reason why you owe it to your memories to hire the best professional photographer you can.

Here are just a few of the comments from the thread. You can read all of it be joining the group; Wedding Dish on Facebook.

As a photographer, I wish that the bride understood that photography is not simply ‘click/download/print’. Capturing images and portraits is a creative process, and it takes time. Also, after a wedding is over, at least 40hrs of post processing is required until final delivery. So, a bride should understand that amazing images can be taken when they allot the time for them. The 2nd thing I want brides to understand is that when they wonder why we charge what we do, it is because on a wdg day, we serve as a portrait/fashion/architectural/food/floral/product photog, as well as a photojournalist, and, on top of it, because it’s a wedding, we don’t have the luxury of a repeat (unlike a fashion photog or other), as well as post process/album design, corrections for enlargements etc. Time is money 🙂
–Aali Qureshi

I wish brides could see exactly what goes into their photos.
I also wish that they would allow time for their photos, for groups and for themselves alone away from everyone else. If they do not understand they need time away from everyone for their photos they will not get the photos that they see when they look at photographers work.
I wish they could see the whole process they will then see we don’t just point click take to the supermarket and print. I spend a lot of time processing the photos, and even longer on album layouts, and understand they they will not have their pictures the next day!.
I want brides to understand, that if they turn up over an hour late for the wedding and we loose over 2 hours time for photographs and she would rather spend all her time talking to her friends rather than having the photos done, she is not going to get as many pictures as she wants. And if she asks me to so her photos at 10pm as I am packing up and leaving I will not be a happy person. (speaking from experience!)

¬¬–Theresa  Mount

Me it is simple, as a bride, better customer service and communication. I am having a hard time getting calls back and questions answered!
As a professional photographer, pretty much ditto what was said above. I would like brides to realize that wedding photography, now, is not just one day of work on the day of the wedding. It is at least two weeks worth of full time hours!
When I shot film, it was one day of shooting and then about two hours of work after that. Shoot, drop of film, fill an album. Order came in it was mark negatives, drop off film, fill an album. Nothing more because the lab did all the colour correcting and brides didn’t want to be thinned down, pimples and wrinkles removed, exit sign taken out, change my brothers face, open my husbands eyes etc…

–Jolene Mills

This is also something you may want to think about when you are deciding on whether you need to hire a coordinator.

As a photographer, I want to be able to focus on taking pictures. Therefore it’s nice when brides realize that getting someone to help to round up people for the group photos is going to mean I can take more photos, instead of trying to find Auntie Clara, who I wouldn’t even recognize if I saw her! My request for help isn’t because I think that herding people is beneath me; it’s because it’s not the best use of my time.
Steve Roberts

Next up is what the wedding planners had to say. I think you will find that interesting.

So Why Did You Hire A Wedding Professional?

A giant shout out to Saundra over at {planning …forever events blog} for her post today, Don’t Box In Your Wedding DJ. Here is the line that really got me thinking, “You’re hiring a professional, let them do their job.”  Dang right, girl!

It too often happens that brides, in their quest to create the wedding they have been dreaming about forget that the professionals that they hired may have just a touch more experience at this stuff than they do. OK, more than a touch.

I am not saying that you should let the people you have hired run rough shod over your dreams, I am saying listen to them and don’t try to micromanage them. You hired them for a reason. If all you wanted was a laborer, you would have gone to Craig’s List.

The smartest thing you can do is to give your ideas to your vendors and ask how best to execute it. Let them use their, talent, experience and expertise to make it work for your unique situation.  Would you like some examples?

o    If your baker tells you that you really don’t want whipped cream icing on a wedding cake for your outdoor August wedding, believe them.

o    If your alteration expert tells you that a 2 point bustle will not hold up your cathedral train, believe them.

o    If your wedding planner tells you that you had better have a rain plan, believe them.

o    If your florist tells you that there is no way candles will stay lit for your event on a windy hillside, believe them.

o    If your florist tells you your venue won’t allow rose petals on the aisle, believe them.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. Listen and take their advice. Isn’t that why you hired a professional in the first place?

Stay tuned to Saundra’s blog; she is promising a series on this.

The above examples are all true stories.

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.

Best Place to Get Married!

Last night, here is sunny NashVegas the best of the best gathered at the Country Music Hall of Fame for the readers choice awards hosted by The Tennessean.

The Toast of Music City as they are called polled reader in about a bazillion different categories to see who would come out on top. I am pleased to say that I had three dear friends of the Dish take home honors.

The top winner of the night was Cheekwood; chosen as “Best Place to Get Married.” Well gee, I already knew that! Glad to see that every one agrees.

Also bringing home metal last night were Branching Out in the floral category and Michael B’s Music for DJs.

Congrats to all of last night winners, you are The Toast of Music City!

Note to Brides

I had a wonderful time last week connecting with a group of fellow wedding professionals. As always, the conversation turned to work and you my dear brides were high on the agenda.

My friend Peter, denizen of all things rental, got off on a riff about phone messages.

“Please Christine” he said “remind them to leave me more then their first name and a convoluted message about their event”

Peter is right. It used to happen to me all the time. I used to get messages like this.

“Hi Christine. This is Sarah and I wanted to let you know that we wanted the first tier to have the raspberry filling on the lower and uppers spaces and the orange/apricot in the middle space and please make the top tier in chocolate only but if you could put a bit of amaretto in the soak the would be perfect.”

Great. No problem. Be happy to oblige. But which freakin’ Sarah are you and when are you getting married???? Yes I know, just use caller ID to call her back. Great plan if I knew what time she called. I can get a bunch of calls in one day and isolating the right one can be a trick.

As much as we like you to feel that you are the only bride we have, it simply isn’t true. If you are calling your wedding planner you can probably get away with the above message, but any other vendor is likely to have multiple wedding on any given weekend. Add to that the reality that we will be working with a bride for sometimes up to a year and you can see that we are often juggling 50 or more brides at one time.

Any time you must leave a message on voice mail for one of your vendors, please help them out by leaving a last name and a WEDDING DATE. Most of us file things by wedding date so that will help a lot. Also leave your last name. I clearly remember one weekend that I had three Ashleys. Unbelievably two of their cakes were almost the same. It tended to get a bit confusing.

We want to do the best job possible for every one of our brides, sometimes a bit of clarity helps.

Thank you Miss Peacock for Speaking Up.

I found the following comment from Miss Peacock over at Wedding Bee this morning.

”Since the VW salon would not allow me to take pictures, I asked these very unhappy 14 year old girls to model the dresses for me. They all showed up without washing their hair or putting on make-up, but since I was on a time crunch, I let it slide. They were also so hungry that I was worried they would eat me.”

Boy did she nail it! I have to tell you that seeing these models in person is sometimes pretty startling. While Miss. P’s comment is directed at the runway models for Vera Wang; the ones that have always disturbed me the most are the ones that Monique Lhullier uses. One season I sat in her runway show thinking that if these young ladies are that damn miserable why didn’t they just quit. Are they some kind of indentured servants? What are the designers trying to achieve with this undernourished junkie look?

In defense of Miss Wang, the models I see at her salon runway show don’t have that heroin junkie look. They also however, don’t have boobs either. I have sat at table in her showroom with both buyers and other members of the press and the comment always goes something like this:

“Pretty but can that gown even be cut to accommodate real breasts?”

It is a sad commentary that so many of the couture gowns are designed for the models rather than real American women.

At the same time that these designers are cutting for an almost boyish figure the popularity of breast augmentation surgery is on the rise. The result of these two distinctly opposite trends is that more and more brides that wear something like a size 2 in street clothes are having to order their gown in a size 12 or 14 to accommodate their bust. There is no way under the sun that these gowns can then be altered that much with out losing precious details.

I have said it before and I will keep saying until the WIC gets it. Stop designing for your models and take a look at the real women all around you. Climb down out of your atelier and go for a walk. One more thing, while you’re out there…eat a freaking sandwich, you could use it!!!!

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