Why Wedding Blogs Suck, and How I Would Avoid It

Posted on Mar 25, 2013

Why Wedding Blogs Suck, and How I Would Avoid It

A quick Google for wedding blogs brings up over 475 million results.  Let that sink in for a minute. that’s more than the entire population of the United States, and granted, it’s not like each result equals a wedding blog, but I think we can all agree that there’s a lot of them.  There are as many different kinds of wedding blogs as there are weddings, basically meaning they’re infinite, and regardless of what kind of wedding you want to have, you’ll find a blog that caters to you.

Funny thing is, even though the wedding blog pool is insanely varied, they usually have quite a few things in common, that they all do, and personally, I hate it.  I don’t hate it in a hipster, non-conformist special snowflake way, I hate it because I think it’s counter productive, and adds to the duress couples go through during the planning process.  They’re one of those things that if it just shifted, the entire industry would change.  But they won’t because it’s not profitable.  Well, they think it’s not profitable, but it totally can be if done the right way.

So while I have absolutely no intention of ever having an actual “Wedding Blog” here, I do have some opinions on how the blogs out there can do it “right”

#1 – Unrealistic Expectations

You’re really supposed to close with your biggest issue, but this one irks me so much I can’t wait.  Because of the stigmas attached to weddings, that they’re happy and wonderful and perfect magical days, they get framed in that light on blogs. Collage of photos of a bride in her dress, flowers, a groom in plaid shirt suspenders and bow tie, as well as decorative elements like textiles, shoes and candles So anyone who goes to a wedding blog to get inspiration only sees the happy perfect aspects.  They see a beautiful “budget” vineyard wedding filled with flowers and personal details, a happy gorgeous couple in designer outfits, or an amazing dance party that looks like one of the hottest clubs.  Then the viewer gets depressed because they can’t have these things, or they don’t look like that, but if that’s what weddings are supposed to be, then they HAVE to find a way to make that happen, whether it’s take out a second mortgage, or get in debt up to your eyeballs, or go on a dangerous crash diet.

But often, the weddings in question are fraught with problems of their own, just like every wedding.  There needs to be a policy of full disclosure; ie: best friend of the couple owned said vineyard, the bride rented her designer dress, and for the love of God, wedding blogs need to say in BIG HUGE LETTERS when the post in question is a styled shoot.  A styled shoot is when a planner, or a florist, or a dress designer, whoever, wants to show off some ideas, but doesn’t have a couple who’s suited for them.  So they stage a fake wedding on a small scale.  They hire models to portray the couple, and by teaming up with other vendors to promote their vision, their costs are much lower than having to actually do a wedding.  They only have one table to set, they don’t need to multiply decor, no food costs, no concern for size of the venue, etc.  The problem comes in when well meaning engaged people come across these inspiration shoots, that have been cross posted into oblivion, and there’s no mention of the fact it is indeed fake. Kind of like the teenage girl who hates herself for not having Jennifer Lawrence’s arms and flawless skin, and Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t even have those arms and skin.

Image from Wedding 101, click for a more detailed description of what goes on behind the scenes.

It just perpetuates the fear and insecurities that already surround the wedding industry.  “My wedding will never be good enough, because it’s never going to compare to these weddings.”  Or it feeds their sense of entitlement, “Look at what they got, and they’re just teachers, I’m a bio-physicist, I deserve that wedding way more than they do.”  Way to create a breeding ground for crankiness wedding industry.  Instead, cut down on the number of photos, there is NO reason for a blog post to take almost a minute to load in this day and age, meaning you do NOT need 50 photos.  No one needs to see the shoes from 4 different angles.  I know you think if you don’t make couples go all Pavlovian over these posts, that then you won’t sell all those Louboutins.  Gonna tell you something.  The people who want Louboutins, are going to buy them regardless, and if you force someone to buy them when they can’t afford it, you’re just taking that money away from something else they were going to spend it on, which makes them freak out, causing them to mistrust the wedding process even more.

#2 – DIY Tutorials

The Do It Yourself trend isn’t going away any time soon, but seriously we need to stop being so obsessed with it.  Want to know why DIY was so novel a few years ago?  Because no one did it, because it is a LOT of work!  Now it’s become some sort of expectation, where if you don’t have at least one made with your own hands element, you’ve failed at wedding.  This comes into play two ways, one, with people taking on projects they don’t have the time or skillset to do, just because they feel they have to, and two, the promotion of really awful DIY tutorials, because if you DO a DIY project, regardless of how it comes out, you are awesome and wonderful and a special special snowflake.

Woman with wine bottle, obviously stressed, chaos of unfinished projects laying around herI know DIY.  I grew up poor, so DIY was the only way we got stuff, back before it had a cool acronym, and came attached with elementary school kids sneering when they say “Homemade?!?!?!”  I am no stranger to it’s wiles, I was even the DIY editor on a large alternative wedding site.  But DIY can suck.  It doesn’t always turn out how you want, and when you’re already stressed out, the blow of a planned project failing can completely destroy you.  THAT IS STUPID.  WHY are we putting so much importance on this?  I spent over eighty man hours making my wedding invitations.  Looking back on it, my invitations were awesome, but I’d rather have the eighty hours of my life back.  It wasn’t worth it, just for the ego boost of “OMG you made these yourself?  They’re amazing!”, right before all my hard work gets thrown in the trash.

DIY has to stop being considered a necessity, and we, as an industry, need to stop promoting that it’s essential.  That means cutting back on the tutorials, especially for really (in my opinion) stupid things like “Cut out paper and glue ribbon to it, YAY, now you’re an artist.”  Give the public a little more credit than that.  Do we honestly need a step by step multi photo tutorial that amounts to “Design something awesome, print it on sticky paper, now you have custom DIY bottle labels!”  No.  Do we need eight million different versions of paper flower tutorials?  No.  Just because you used sheet music doesn’t mean you have to create a whole new tutorial about it.  I’m also seeing a ton of really involved “DIY” tutorials that require an almost expert knowledge of the skill in question.  Honestly, if you’re going to need an expert, lets cut out all the drama and costs that are going to be associated with failure and just have an expert do it in the first place.  Stop trying to turn people into something they’re not and they’ll love you all the more for it.

#3 – Round Ups

For those unfamiliar with the term, a blog “round up”, is basically like a Pinterest board.  A conglomeration of images or links or videos or MP3s all focused around a central theme.  Like “Downton Abbey inspired wedding gowns” or “Best choreographed wedding dances”.  My issue with these comes back, yet again, to my main issue in the wedding industry, telling people what they’re supposed to do, instead of giving them the tools to find them on their own.  While it might work for people who want to check off a list of things that will get their wedding on the major blogs, it doesn’t help with keeping down the stress or empowering couples to embrace who they are and expound on it.

Instead, how about a few, seriously, like five, images or songs or whatever, and then list how to find stuff similar to it.  Keywords to use, good resource sites, Facebook pages that share this kind of information.  Say you want to do an indie wedding playlist, instead of a long series of songs, link to some podcasts that feature indie artists, or a radio channel on Spotify.  Include some of the industry magazines, or urge couples to check out clubs and coffee houses in their area, or push them to a tastemaker’s site.  Don’t give them fish, teach them how.  Yes, this cuts down on immediate profitability, but it builds trust, a far better investment.

That’s what this is all about really.  Building enough trust with someone that they want to share an important life event with you, a total stranger.  It’s not something I take lightly, and I think the wedding world as a whole would be a much better place if no one else did either.

So tell me, what do you love/hate about wedding blogs?  Is there anything you’d love to change?

5 comments on “Why Wedding Blogs Suck, and How I Would Avoid It

  1. Sarah Kohl on said:

    Well said, the mismatch between the reality in which we (I) live and the expectations marketed by the wedding industry are just a recipe for angst. I would welcome someone who would work with me to find out something special/unique about me (us) and use that to help create a party for our wedding guests — a party they enjoy! And stay within my budget please. Afterall it’s supposed to be a celebration of commitment between two people (two unique people) –not just another event about keeping up with the expectations of others.

  2. Nick Armstrong on said:

    I’m totally with you on the subject of unrealistic expectations and round-ups (in marketing: list posts, anyone?), though I have to say my wedding was pretty DIY.

    My wife makes cards – that’s what she does. Think scrapbooking on steroids. She’s wicked talented, and I’m wicked creative. We ended up growing our own wheat grass, creating our own invitations, doing our own table settings, everyone had hand-wrapped boxes of nerds… it turned out to be a very “us” wedding. And everybody who helped us also made it partly their own, too – which was great, because all our family had some bit in helping.

    Because it was DIY, we didn’t expect or want super crazy quality, we wanted personalization. So it doesn’t work for bridezilla, but it did work for us :-D

    However, half the crap on Pinterest is NOT POSSIBLE. I know that from first-hand experience.

    Anyway, just my two cents.

  3. Oh. my. god. Someone who thinks like me. I thought I was alone, glad to see someone else with similar perspective. Keep doing your thing, making your clients happy. Nothing else matters.

    • The only thing I would add is that I don’t see all these blogs as being very different from one another at all. They all look very much the same to me, just somewhat different blog designs, but the weddings features are all very similar. What do we see..beautiful outdoor vineyard or barn, mostly white, under age 35, and straight couples. If you’re in a suburban box banquet hall, and god forbid a place of worship…forget it. You won’t see actual diversity of weddings represented on blogs or magazines, not by far.

  4. LauraJean on said:

    Omg, I couldn’t agree with you more on the DIY Ang! There are so so many things we could all DIY, but over committing your time and complicating your life prior to your wedding and even the day of your wedding, just doesn’t ever seem worth it to me. I try to remind my clients and friends- ‘yes, that is a really amazing and beautiful (_______) you made, now imagine how you are going to feel towards (______) after making 150 of them.’

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