The revolution begins with you.
Being a wedding planner, I get so bummed out when I see people trashing the wedding industry online. But hear me out, because I also totally get it. The industry as a whole has a lot to answer for. Over the last 30 years, the expectations around weddings have skyrocketed, and who is to blame for that? Some of the blame definitely belongs with Hollywood. Portraying massive, over-the-top weddings in film after film all through the eighties, nineties, and aughts. But it isn’t the movie producers, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Lopez drawing so much ire on the internet. It is the wedding industry vendors. Those damn, greedy, wedding vendors… tricking us into spending as much on our wedding as we would on a new car, or down payment on a house.
The Wedding Industry exists FOR you.
Celebrity weddings and reality TV shows are almost as bad as Hollywood when it comes to inflating our wedding related expectations. I sure do love watching some David Tutera and the larger than life, albeit campy weddings he designs. These shows might give you the idea that wedding vendors live glamorous lifestyles surrounded by only the fanciest people and things. The actual reality is much different. Wedding work is HARD work, and it isn’t all perfect and luxurious, no matter what our Instagram grids may imply (that itself is an issue for another day).
Wedding vendors are most often small businesses with predominantly female owners. Most are in the business because they LOVE weddings. They are not trying to scam you, they don’t simply charge more just because it’s a wedding. Believe it or not, they are here to help you, because throwing a huge, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime party IS NOT EASY.
I am not trying to say everyone should go out and spend 30 grand on their wedding though! I totally understand that couples have a budget and I believe strongly in helping them stick to the budget that they are comfortable with, both financially and emotionally.
If someone tells you “that’s just how it’s done,” you ask “but why?” And if someone says you are doing it wrong, you say “no, we are doing it our way.”
What I propose is that we reclaim weddings and the wedding industry for ourselves. Take it back from Hollywood. Take it back from Pinterest. Really own our weddings and the wedding planning process. If someone tells you “that’s just how it’s done,” you ask “but why?” And if someone says you are doing it wrong, you say “no, we are doing it our way.”
Take a moment to step back and look at what you like and don’t like about weddings, examine why you are getting married, and what parts of a wedding are most important to you. Make a list of priorities before you talk to a single vendor. Make a budget. If you go in blind and then get handed a $20,000 quote for catering, it will probably feel like the wedding industry is out to get you. But I can assure you of this, you can throw a wedding of any size on any budget, it just takes work and research.
The wedding industry, in general, exists because of you and all the other couples before you. We are here to help you create the event YOU want. Sure, there are absolutely vendors who will push a certain look, or who only work with huge budgets, or have exclusive vendor partnerships… but they do not have to be YOUR vendor.
The perfect wedding vendors are the ones who share your own aesthetic and values.
What it ultimately comes down to is your values. The perfect wedding vendors are the ones who share your own aesthetic and values. By reclaiming weddings and infusing them with critical thinking, reason, and rationality, we change the dialogue and shine a light on what couples really want.
If you choose to keep doing things the way they have always been done, you aren’t allowed to complain about the cost or pressures of the industry. If you want change, you have to be it. You have to say no to the things you couldn’t care less about. You have to stop bringing photos and Pinterest boards to your vendors and asking them to replicate the work of other artists. You have to hire vendors who you trust will bring your vision to life without micro-management. You have to pay them what their services are worth, and understand that what you can afford and what you want may not always align, but there are usually ways to compromise.
Be the change.
Let’s take back the wedding industry. Let’s reclaim it for real couples. Let’s make it more inclusive, accessible, and authentic. Let’s stop doing things just because it’s how they have always been done. And finally, let’s stop putting the blame on the hardworking vendors who are simply responding to the demands of the market and change those demands! Tell us what you really want!
If what you really want is the traditional fairy-tale wedding, great! Get it! Know it will likely cost buckets of money. And if what you want is more low-key and intimate, do it up! Maybe you want something somewhere in the middle, and that is perfectly fine!
Only you and your partner know what you want for your wedding. Own it. Do it. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.