Dear Wedding Industry…

Dear Wedding Industry,

Hi there. I know that you and I have a weird relationship at times, so I think it’s about time to get some things out on the table with you.

First off, know that I’m not 100% against you. There are some beautiful things about you, that I admire. Some great, honest vendors that are a blast to work with – or just hang out with – who love what they do, are great at it, and take pride in making an honest living. That all is great, and I’ve never had an issue with it. So, that aspect of you.. this letter isn’t directed at you.

There’s this other part of you, the part that I don’t get along with. A big part of it is a lack of understanding. I just think we’re on totally different wavelengths. To be honest, it sometimes feels like you’re this inbred, greasy used car salesman cousin that I’m *supposed* to like/get along with, just because of some tangential, distant relationship. I’ve never subscribed to that sort of thinking even with blood relatives, so you’ll have to understand that it’s extra hard for me to relate to you in business.

We have to share the same air – and the same culture, market, contacts, etc – so I’d love to reintroduce myself, lay some ground rules, and hope that we can come to some sort of understanding going forward.

To all businesses, new and old: Realize that I’m my own person, and I do things my way. It may not be the way that anyone / everyone else does things, but that’s just how it is. Specifically:

– Understand that no, I do not exchange links with someone I have not worked with. For that matter, I don’t exchange links with someone I have worked with, unless I’m absolutely confident that they are an awesome vendor. Please realize that this is not up for debate. I really hate being made to feel like a douchebag, but I will say no to any requests from new businesses / anyone I haven’t worked with.

– Referral fees. Oh, this is a never ending source of annoyance. I don’t care how you choose to label it, I will never pay any sort of fee for a referral. I am a staunch believer in only referring the people that I trust / like to work with / do a great job / are honest / etc. As such, I would never accept payment for a referral either. I place a high value on the fact that my brides can trust that anyone I refer is *great*, and that I have no hidden motive for referring. This is something I am not willing to compromise on, period. To be quite honest, when offered the “opportunity” to pay to be on a “preferred vendor list”, I find it not only personally insulting, I see your business in a different light. I like doing business with businesses that have their brides’ best interest in mind when referring, not just “these are the vendors that have given us money”. It just smells really dishonest to me.

– If your email to me contains any “text speak” at all (unless used in a HIGHLY ironic way, intentionally), or is riddled with spelling and eye-gouging errors in basic grammar… I may not even respond to your email. Please show enough professionalism & respect to use spell check software if it’s a weakness of yours. That goes double for your website.

New Wedding Planners: Boy, you can really tell when there is an economic downturn, as the market gets flooded with wedding/event planner upstarts. Please understand this to be the (long standing!) case. You’re going to really need to work to stand out, and to earn the trust of established vendors. If you, yourself, are a newlywed, you’re going to need to work at least 2x as hard as other upstarts – if we had a dime for everytime we heard “I had so much fun planning my wedding, I decided to do it for a living”.. a lot of the wedding vendors out there could retire on the spot.

New Wedding Photographers: You have the same sort of flood working against you that the wedding planners do. Realize that many wedding vendors are totally inundated with emails from upstart photographers. It does get a bit annoying at times. If your website is professional, and your work is good, you’ll catch our eye. If you offer to work at ridiculously discounted rates (or free) to get your foot in the door, I roll my eyes and delete your email. If you want to be a pro, be a pro. If you want to be a volunteer, or to get practice.. weddings are NOT the venue to do it.

New Wedding Shows: First off, I don’t do wedding shows at all, sorry. It’s my own personal idea of hell, and really – it’s never been a good match for us. Most of our brides do not even attend shows. I do know a ton of vendors that are looking for shows to do, and would be pleased to pass your info along, if it looks like a good match. Lately, however, I’ve been getting a *ton* of promotional packages for new shows in the mail. If I’ve never heard of you, and can’t find information online… and if you obviously have very little marketing planned for, I’m not passing your info along. It’s sad, but I’ve seen a bunch of upstart shows as “a quick way to make some $”. Also, if you’re a show I’ve never heard of, and the organizer is an upstart photographer or wedding planner I’ve never heard of.. that goes double for you.

Wedding Websites: Wow, there is a new wedding website cropping up every 30 minutes these days, I’m sure of it. I could rant for days, but let’s keep this short and sweet. I straddle the line between Gen X / Gen Y, I’m a techie.. and I have a great understanding of how SEO works. The vast majority of emails I get from you are for eyesore sites, not at all that google-friendly, and feature GROSSLY inflated pricing. As an upstart, I am well aware of the fact that you need us wedding vendors *far* more than we need you, so please don’t expect us to spend hundreds of dollars on your beginner site, and please stop filling up my inbox. kthnx.

So… that’s just how it is. Those are my ground rules, take em or leave em. Ah, it felt good to get that off my chest, it all had to be said.

Truth be told, dear cousin.. I hope you clean up the aspects of yourself that I don’t like. In the meantime, I’ll be perfectly content to pick and choose, and just deal with the aspects I get along with and can enjoy.