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  • Alexis Alvarez

An Open Letter to Engaged Couples

Chicago Wedding Planner
Photo by: Erika Mattingly

Dear Engaged Couples,

Last week I addressed my wedding industry colleagues on some things that bother me about our part of the industry, but they are not the only ones I want to have a little chat with. Today it’s your turn for a little tough love.

Last week I talked about how I think it’s very unfair & kind of gross that the wedding industry (as a whole) intentionally gives couples FOMO & feelings that they need to compete to accomplish #weddinggoals. Now I want to talk with you about your expectations. Now, some of this is not your fault. You have never planned or paid for a wedding before & therefore, understandably, have no idea what to expect. That we can fix. We can educate ignorance. What we can’t fix is stubbornness and entitlement.

I’ll use floral as an example since I know this really rears its ugly during that part of the process. You cannot come to a floral consultation and show inspiration of $10K worth of floral with a $2K budget and expect to be delivered $10K worth of floral. I’m having trouble even wrapping up this thought because it seems so “duh” to me, but I’ve heard the conversation over and over from my floral friends. You HAVE to be flexible. Now, you can come to a floral consultation with $10K worth inspiration & once you’ve been hit with that sticker shock of the actual total of the photo you love so much, take a deep breath and pick out specifically what you love about the photo & trust your florist to deliver something beautiful in your budget.

Another note on entitlement & I’m going to use as much emphatic text as I can find to say this to you. YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY ZERO RIGHT TO BE SHITTY TO ANYONE JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED. This includes your vendors, your wedding party, your mom, your dad, your Aunt Karen who’s a little too excited about the day, your fiance… ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. Listen to me carefully, you are not the first or the last person to ever get married on this planet. You getting married is a very special day for all of us. I swear, hand on my heart, that even for us pros who do this dozens of times a year, it’s special to us too. We love you guys and are honored that you chose us to be part of your day. However, as I said, we do this dozens of times a year, which means you are not our only client & we also have lives outside of our work. Your family, wedding party, friends & fiance love you & are also excited about your wedding, but they too have lives. Let me also use this as a way to gently remind you that you also have a life outside of your wedding. Don’t forget that.

Last one, I promise. Back to realistic expectation for a minute. I want to talk about 2 phrases that are pretty commonly used in the marketing materials of wedding pros. “Your Day” & “Perfect”.

“Perfect”: I’ve been very intentional about going through all of my marketing materials & website to remove the word “perfect.” Perfection doesn’t exist. Your wedding planning process will have hiccups, as will your wedding day. As much as the Planners of the world & all of your wedding pros try very hard to give you as close to a “perfect” day as possible, it doesn’t happen. Sometimes we get incredibly close & we go home feeling fantastic about what we did & other times, we’re human. Instead of expecting perfection from people, expect integrity. Expect that when a mistake is made, that the person that made it will own up to it & make it right.

“Your Day”: I haven’t removed the phrase “your day” from my marketing, but as soon as I can figure out something that communicates what we actually mean when using that phrase, I will. What we mean when we say “your day” is that we know that this one day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but it is not YOUR day. It is also your fiance’s day, your families’ day, & your guests’ day. Your fiance is - duh - also getting married, your families are sometimes helping pay for this day, but also experiencing loss & gain all at once (trust me, I’m a mom), & your guests have often bought a new outfit, paid for a hotel room, a plane ticket, a babysitter, taken time off work, bought a gift, or at it’s most minimal - taken time out of their busy lives to celebrate with you. Respect that shit.

OK, couples. Hit the showers & remember, ILY.


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