Friday, 14 October 2011

dear wedding bloggers: carry on, nothing to see here

If you read wedding blogs, or you're on Twitter, then you'll probably have seen this over the past couple of days.

It's a post by an anonymous photographer about how, in a nutshell, wedding blogs and their detail-orientation bias are stressing out brides and making them feel inferior. It's a plea for more of a focus on 'normal' weddings. And by that, they mean ones that are plainer.

I don't know if anyone has noticed this (the photographer perhaps hasn't) but actually, there are already blogs that feature weddings from the entire spectrum - from four people in a register office (or for our American friends, the courthouse) with no moustaches on sticks to ginormous traditional weddings with 500 people. From plain to elaborate. From handmade to out-of-the-box. And yes, some of them have had mason jars and bunting. Trends come, trends go. People like trends because they are exposed to them.

Of course, some blogs only feature thin, model-like brides. C'est la vie. Or rather, c'est la media in general. But if that's all you can find then you're not looking hard enough. I've seen weddings featuring people of all religions and no religion. Of all shapes, sizes and colours. In this wonderful world of acceptance, I've read about Pagan weddings, elopements, weddings that happened on the spur of the moment, second weddings, weddings abroad, weddings on farms, weddings in back gardens. Every single one of these has been celebrated.

Look at A Practical Wedding, Offbeat Bride, Any Other Wedding, Love My Dress and so many more (and people are setting them up as we speak) - and if you check out the comments on these blogs, you will find they link to personal blogs from thousands of brides (and some grooms too) who run their own corner of the internet, mulling these issues daily.

They curate their own idea of what's important, and if they care to do so, they can define what they find attractive. They can control the pretty, redefine it and call bullshit.

Blogs - in all their guises, whether they focus on the pretty, the dress, the groom, whatever - are what has given the confident voices to all of these women (and men). Blogs and the blogging world reinforces the idea that they can make up their own rules, and they can do whatever the hell they like for their wedding. Remember - just a few short years ago, all weddings largely looked one way. That they now very much do not all look one way - despite the fashion for mason jars and dressing up boxes, these sort of weddings are still a minority - is because of the popularity of the blog and the confidence it has given people.

(If you want to see how things have changed in three short years, its worth reading a little about Rock n Roll Bride's own wedding, as she explains how different the options available were in 2008.)

People who get stressed out because their wedding is "too plain" would find something to get stressed out about if there were no blogs. Because some people are just like that.

In short. Bloggers: as you were. Keep up the good work, team.


  1. I think the media does put on pressure. I don't feel it but it is nice to see someone speaking out against the idea that they need to be that way or the other more mainstream way.

    I don't think that people who worry about plain weddings would worry anyway. I've seen some photographers quote very high prices (much higher than your photographer quotes) but say they would be cheaper for the kinds of weddings that are mentioned by that blog post. That is annoying for the bride on a budget who cannot and does not want that.

    I love that so many aspects of your wedding were handmade. I think that is amazing. I love A Practical Wedding. Really love it. But I think that as so many people face wedding planning and find so many decisions to make and so many options, they can feel that pressure to conform and to perform.

    The wedding magazines and blogs and media can feed someone ideas of how and what their wedding should look like. Some people when planning their wedding may never even have been to a wedding. So they do look at both sets of images that are commonly found (and yes, praise be for there being two main types of image) and they get caught up in it.

    I think my favourite post on it might be this

    I think some trends happen because they are cheap, or cool. I think some crafty weddings are beautiful because they represent the couple getting married, but I do worry about people who think they need to learn to be crafty for their weddings. I'm good with not being that. I'm good with it being our day. I also read very few wedding blogs now as I have all the inspiration I need as it comes from us from now on. But then I am comfortable with that. Others don't have that and I think they can find it overwhelming.

  2. Some good points, Siobhan.

    For me, the moment at which I stopped reading wedding blogs was when one blogger called upon her readers to go away and come up with something more interesting and different, more "them" than what they were already doing for their wedding. It hit me that actually it was all such nonsense. I'm not interesting or different - what's "me" is actually probably quite similar to what's "everyone else". And despite what some UK wedding blogs might try to tell you, that's ok.

    Wedding blogs are magazines, no matter how indie and grass-roots they may claim to be, and they have to sell an image. Unfortunately, as with glossy magazines, the image is always going to be exclusivity, whether it's money, time, crafting skills, looks or just how achingly-hip they are. As an average person, you can either recognise that it's fine to be average, feel completely inadequate, or just opt out altogether.

    We're a naturally aspirational species. There's nothing wrong with thinking "is what I'm doing good enough?" in any area of life. It doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you if you do compare yourself to others and feel disappointed at falling short.

  3. I of course, think this is spot on, and totally what I thought when I read the original piece. There are enough blogs not doing what the photographer was complaining about, I wondered why she was choosing to play ball with the blogs that were, as you can now build a business elsewhere.

    As for what Becca said, blogs are magazines, and I don't think those of us running them are pretending any differently. That said, they are NOT glossy magazines. You can't pretend that there is nothing different between me working at my kitchen table, with a few part time freelancers and Conde Naste. I've worked in the Conde Naste building and more recently worked with Conde Naste. And you would be hard pressed to find two business that are more night and day... in size, in content, in message, in money, and in business practices. So am I running a magazine on blogging software? You bet your ass I am. Am I indie? Um, yes, in the most literal way possible.

    ALL that said (and I think it needs to be talked about more, perhaps I will post on it), just because I'm running a blog/magazine that's a business, does not mean I have to sell exclusivity or aspiration. Medium is not the message. And the minute we give up and think, "well, this is just always going to be the message," is the second that we're settling for some total, total bullshit. Because no, you shouldn't have to ask yourself if you're doing your wedding well enough. You are, if you're marrying the right person.

    Rant over.

  4. Meg - while I agree that the practicalities of a blog are different to a magazine, there are definitely those who seek to create the same message.

    I appreciate what you're saying about not just accepting. I tend to vote with my feet, but that's all. There's more to do, but I don't really have the skill or the inclination to adequately maintain my own blog, let alone to start something bigger.

    What you've achieved with APW is brilliant - and you're absolutely right that the medium does not need be the message. It's just such a shame that so many people use the internet as an opportunity to create a new clique.

  5. You can vote with you feet just fine without starting something ;)