Whenever I give advice on how to pull off a fabulous wedding on a budget I always include a strange tip: STOP reading wedding blogs. The tip is strange because of course, I write a wedding blog, and usually I'm giving this advice on other wedding blogs. My rationale though is that once you have your wedding planned, you need to stop coming up with new ideas for it. Those new ideas cost money and scrapping your old ideas costs money.
I'm starting to wonder though if I should begin to add that advice to all wedding planning. I'm beginning to worry that rather than help brides and grooms in their planning, the huge amount of wedding planning advice and photographs available on blogs is actually hurting couples trying to make realistic and thoughtful decisions.
For starters, there's the "advice." Wedding blogs are written by a variety of people from current and recent brides to professionals in the industry to people who simply REALLY love weddings. Although most writers are well-meaning, their experience and points of view vary wildly, as does their advice. Research any subject from tipping etiquette to groom's fashions and you'll find conflicting advice.
Then, there are the photographs. You've probably heard that every picture tells a story, but what you haven't heard is that there's an untold story behind every picture. That gorgeous tablescape you're looking at and wondering how to copy for your own wedding? It's not real. It's part of a styled "inspirational" photo shoot. Those bouquets are real, but they cost $500 each and were created in a totally different climate from the one in which you're getting married.
The subject of the photos can also be damaging. With every real wedding (and yes, they're all real weddings on my blog) I publish on the GigMasters Wedding Blog I almost always include photos of the bride's dress, the shoes, the rings, and the flowers. I love these photos. They're fun to look at and I hope they give brides ideas for their own accessories and flowers. But, I also worry that they're giving brides and grooms the wrong idea, the idea that the accessories or objects of your wedding are more important than the people. I worry that somewhere there's a couple who spent so much time on wedding blogs that they have a wedding album filled with pictures of things, not people.
I'm also starting to worry about the mental health of some of these wedding bloggers. Bloggers are always looking for the "something new" and so they begin to encourage less and less realistic ideas. From buying more than one multi-thousand dollar wedding dress for the day to trashing the dress you have after the wedding, to renting living room furniture and a game station for a "groom's room," what are these bloggers thinking? Let's not forget about the well-known blog that advised brides not to choose an "unfortunate looking bridal party" if you want your wedding published on a blog. When did seeing your wedding online become the point of getting married?
So how do you know if blogs are helping or hurting you? Ask yourself some questions:
1. How do I feel after I look at this blog; energized to start planning or depressed?
2. Is this blog trying to help me or sell me something?
3. Are there a variety of budgets and ethnicities represented on this blog? Do they show anything that resembles what I want, what I can afford, or what I look like?
4. Am I starting to think more about the "things" associated with my wedding and less about the people?
5. Am I ignoring the advice of my wedding vendors in favor of wedding advice given by an anonymous blogger?
Answering these five questions should help you decide if it's time to step away from the computer, or if you're getting the help you need from blogs.
If you visit my blog and don't like the answers to any of these questions, make sure to let me know!
Follow Marta Segal Block on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@martasadvice