It’s a funny old world we live in. One where nothing is private, where photos are uploaded to Facebook and Instagram with frightening ease, and where the inner musing of our minds are shared, 140 characters at a time, without a second thought. The likelihood is that you’ll still be at your own wedding while photos are uploaded and the comments from Facebook well-wishers have started to come in.
When you really think about it, this is utterly bizarre. We live in a world where we feel awkward if we have to ask someone to take down an unflattering photograph, or we want to keep certain things private and offline. The pressure that this curious need to overshare has added to couples planning their weddings is immense. Adding fuel to the fire is the wedding industry’s incessant need to talk about the latest ‘trends’ or what the ‘next big thing’ is going to be at every given opportunity.
How on Earth are you supposed to keep up? How the hell did this even happen? And why do we suddenly care so much?
I don’t think I’m reaching too far when I say that I’m certain there are people who read my blog and think “Well that’s very lovely, but my wedding is never going to be cool enough to get featured.” Similarly, over the past few years, the wedding media has put an increased emphasis on showcasing styled wedding photo shoots and unattainable wedding ‘inspiration’. While, like many blog editors, I’ve enjoyed seeing and featuring them (they are a great way to show exciting new ideas that might not yet has filtered down into real weddings) I am acutely aware of how much pressure all this gorgeous eye candy can put on those actually planning their weddings.
Recently I wrote about how I was getting bored of seeing the same old same old in said photo shoots (NOT actual weddings – there was confusion by some) but on the flipside of the coin, with wedding suppliers always wanting so showcase something that has never been done before, just how attainable and realistic are these ideas for real couples planning their very real weddings? However beautiful, what pressure do these images really put on brides and grooms-to-be?
I’ve also been hearing from many of my friends who work in the wedding industry, that some of their clients are now putting so much emphasis on wanting to get their wedding featured somewhere, that they’re adding a whole extra dollop of pre-wedding stress on themselves and their suppliers. This is complete madness. Since when was ‘getting featured on a blog’ something to add to the bottom of your ever-expanding wedding ‘to do’ list. Enjoy this time in your life. Enjoy planning for your wedding and your future. Don’t for the love of God, think that without a blog or magazine feature the wedding was a bust.
But the rumours are true. I’m just as guilty as any other wedding blogger. While the proportion of styled shoots to real weddings that I feature is minimal, I often worry about the pressure that even the real weddings might put on my readers. While I could easily just say, “Hey, if you don’t like it, don’t read it!”, I know all too well what it feels like to be on the other side, and how it is to weirdly feel the need to compete. I’ve been there, remember.
While I may not be as ‘polished’ as some of the other big blogs or magazines (more and more these days I really just want to share beautiful but attainable wedding inspiration) I do, of course, have my own personal criteria for the ones I select for publication. The photography has to be to of a certain standard and the wedding has to have cute, imitable or unique styling ideas. I wish to inspire, yes, but not at the expense of my readers’ sanity.
Honestly, this is a topic I could rage about for days. It’s a fine line between wanting to tell you, “Hey it’s OK to plan your wedding your way!” and spending 5000 words defending the fact that I really just want to feature the coolest and most alternative weddings and photo shoots. It’s honestly something I’ve battled with for a long time. I mean let’s be frank here, if the weddings I shared weren’t visually appealing or alternative in any way, what would make this blog stand out from all the others and why would anybody want to read it? To me, the key is to share a selection of weddings that tread that fine line between attainable and aspirational.
I understand the pressures that many of you might feel to compete. But you know what? Your wedding is not a competition. At the end of the day, you’re planning one day which will be the starting block for your marriage. Your wedding will not define that marriage. A few years down the line, the kind of wedding that you had won’t matter at all. You won’t care if you were featured on a blog or in a magazine and you’ll soon forget why you were so worried about having the coolest reception decorations, the most beautiful flowers or the quirkiest photo booth props going. You’ll seriously wonder what it was you were so damn stressed out about.
A blogworthy wedding does not a good marriage make. Use and abuse the blogs and magazines as they were intended: for inspiration, for ideas, to find your wedding suppliers. Just don’t go overboard and lose sight of what’s really important.
- Photography: Eliza Claire Photography