An Open Letter to the Wedding Industry
Dear Wedding Industry,
I considered quitting you this year. We’re known internally for our high burnout rate in the first 5 years and I almost became one of the many. I blame “Saturn’s Return” for forcing me to begin a soul level examination of what we do & wrestle with the dark underbelly of our part of the world.
The symptoms started with a light nausea every time I opened Instagram & morphed into a full on disgust of everything I saw around me. Here’s some tough love fellow wedding pros: the way we operate is a problem. We are without a doubt contributing to the toxicity of social media. Honestly, we’re like high school, but for planning your wedding. We have created a harmful & alarming culture of comparison & deficiency.
Now, before I go any further, I realize this post will likely result in me losing a few “friendors”, possibly even gaining a few enemies, being removed from some preferred vendor lists and being uninvited to some industry events, but I believe in my bones that we are wrong & someone needs to come out and say it. I hope that before you make a decision that you will hear me out & at least finish reading my heart on this screen.
We are regularly & constantly hammering impressionable, bright eyed, & eager couples with blogs, posts, stories, lives, and so on communicating themes like luxury, belonging, indulgence, and beauty that translate for couples into themes of lack and “not enoughness”. And before you tell me that I’m wrong, go ahead and think back to the last time you or a peer said the phrase “budget bride” or “budget friendly” or mentioned an inquiry with a total budget of $30K. Did you roll your eyes? Maybe scoff or even chuckle? You don’t have to tell me the answer, but be brave enough to be honest with yourself.
Here’s where I see the problem. First of all, $30K is a fuck ton of money. At least to me it is & whether or not you’d openly admit it in a high rise ballroom with your glass of “bubbles” and plate of “bites”, it likely is to you too. Secondly, I talk to so many couples every single month that come into the conversation feeling like their wedding will not be good enough. “My budget is only $30K, but it’s all we can afford.” What the actual fuck wedding idustry. How in the world are we OK with people feeling less than because they can’t “invest” the cost of a PH DAMN D into ONE day?! It’s making me sick and honestly, it probably should make you feel sick too.
We advertise how stressful the wedding planning process is and use it is as our rationale on why couples should hire us and look, I want to make money too. I want to do what I love and have the American Dream of owning my business and growing it into something successful, but not like this. Not in a way that makes good people, lot’s and lot’s of good people feel badly about themselves. And the truthful answer on why planning a wedding is so stressful is largely because of the pressure WE, as an industry, put on couples to have the best.
So, how do we fix it? Because I know the numbers. I know why we’re charging what we do. I know why weddings have the price tag that they do but let’s start having some conversations about how we can change that. Is there a way that you can restructure your business model? Can we put a bigger focus on educating couples on how to have a wedding that they’ll love at a price point that they can actually afford? Can we stop pressuring couples into feeling like they NEED to hire all of us and have everything?
Look, I love what we do and what we get to be a part of, but I think as an industry we’ve lost sight of what that actually is. We are legacy builders & memory makers. Can we please stop treating our incredible line of work like it’s a used car lot?
Owner & Lead Planner of Lillian Rose Events