diy flowers

March 31, 2010

Don’t worry. I have definitely not decided to do my own flowers :)

There is, however, an interesting discussion going on in the comments section of a post over at 100 Layer Cake. The post itself is a “how to DIY a bouquet of flowers” but the comments have turned into a discussion about the pros and cons of DIY’ing flowers in the first place.

Most brides will agree that flowers are “expensive” and can be a big chunk of the budget, but a lot of the points made in defense of florists resonate with me more. I’ve read other posts about the cost of flowers (like this one and this one) and additional more big-picture feedback from consultants like Sean Low.

A few big names in weddings have chimed in, including Summer from Grey Likes Weddings and Nancy Liu Chin (with some more comments on her own blog). It would be a valuable read for anyone trying to stay relevant and up-to-date in the wedding industry.

My two cents? Honestly, I don’t know enough about the floral world to really give an opinion from the perspective of a vendor. However, as a bride and as a friend/coordinator to many other brides, I can say that flowers are a beautiful, inspiring part of any event–especially one as significant as a wedding. Foliage and floral arrangements add texture, color, and life to venues, outfits, entourages, and photos. I wish I could have allocated thousands more to flowers — but I restrained myself from doing so.

I’ve read (more than a few times) that the best way to control the budget is by reducing the number of invitees and guests. Don’t get me wrong, that’s totally true. The number of people at the wedding can dramatically increase the cost of … well, everything from finding a bigger venue, increased food & beverage costs, needing more centerpieces, invitations, save the dates, favors…

Although I know the principle to be true, I know me, and I know that I want my wedding to be about surrounding myself with people that I know and love — even at the cost of gorgeous flowers or creamy, letterpressed programs and menu cards. I often find myself drooling over those luxuries, but I wouldn’t trade 20 of my guests for bigger, more elaborate floral centerpieces. Nor would I trade another 20 of my guests to letterpress all of my wedding stationery. I just wouldn’t.

With that in mind, I can empathize with brides who try to DIY their flowers and/or ask their amateur friends to step in simply because they can’t afford to hire a florist. It’s a sticky situation, but setting priorities in the very beginning can be a huge help later on, as decisions like this are being made.

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White House Black Market

March 18, 2010

The other day, the ladies over at TwoBrightLights tipped me off to the official launch of AOL’s new wedding venture: Aisle Dash. Then, today, I was pleasantly surprised to see an interesting post about the White House Black Market‘s new wedding boutique. Took a quick look and they have sections for bridesmaid dresses, a gorgeous bridal gown, accessories, and more. It looks like they’re going to roll it out gradually, but their first dress (super reasonably priced at $498) is worth drawing attention to.

I immediately of the press release from URBN and Anthropologie from the other day and am becoming more and more interested in how the wedding extensions of typically non-wedding apparel companies will affect the wedding industry. As a bride, I love it! I love being able to find wearable bridesmaid dresses and getting a variety of options. From a business point of view, it’s always worth noting new trends and especially when established brands begin expanding and experimenting with new things.

If anything, I can NOT wait for these retailers to give David’s Bridal a run for it’s money.

Sage Wedding Pros

March 18, 2010

I recently stumbled upon the Sage Wedding Pros blog and they were doing a series of posts on lessons for new wedding vendors:

Totally helpful and relevant. Some of the lessons overlap, like those related to networking and being yourself/finding your voice, but others were more nuanced like finding a reliable printer (for invitation designers) and the pricing-balancing-act (for planners).

The Sage Wedding Pros blog also regularly feature easy-to-read, to-the-point “Insider to Insider” interviews with some of the top vendors in the wedding world, like Nancy Liu Chinfloral extraordinaire, Stephanie Frazier Grimm of Couture Parties who I met briefly at Wedding 360 earlier this week, Jasmine Star the brilliant photographer, Jaimi Brooks of Fiore Beauty, and more!

I love, love the business side of weddings and pouring over a year’s worth of Sage Wedding Pros archives has been educational and thought-provoking. There is so much to learn… exciting!!

anthropologie weddings!

March 5, 2010

The first “person” I thought of was J. Crew. I’m pretty sure everyone over in their offices has been buzzing and talking about this since the announcement came out yesterday. Oh, the beauty of competition!

Anthropologie (owned by Urban Outfitters, aka URBN Inc) released fourth-quarter earnings and shared with the press about an upcoming wedding brand that should be launched online by Valentines Day 2011 and then with stores to follow.

From the Reuters and others (couldn’t find it on their corporate site):

The idea for creating a brand aimed at weddings —  featuring heirloom gowns, accessories, intimate apparel, decor and gifts — grew out of the company’s existing business, which often catered to brides and their entourages, Senk said.

There’s tons of press around this- type “Urban Outfitters wedding” into Google News and read away.

Very exciting! Obviously Anthro and J. Crew have different target markets, but I’m sure everyone’s looking to J. Crew to see what their next move is. There aren’t that many successful retailers that have moved into the wedding space, but given the momentum and energy (and success) around Anthropologie, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a huge name for themselves this way.

Now I’m curious what they’re going to call the brand… any guesses?

Afterthought: Gap! where’s YOUR wedding brand?! Shoulda listened

my most famous commenter

January 8, 2010

Yesterday I got an alert from WordPress that “sloanphotographers” had left a comment on my junebug best of the best entry.  WOOHOO! That’s exciting, right?!

A close up:

Obviously the world-famous Sloan Photographers are not subscribed to my blog and I definitely don’t have a relationship with them (other than as their blog stalker), but because I included a link to their blog entry, they got an auto “comment” saying that I had linked (see below). I think the technical term for this is “ping backs” or “track backs”.

From a personal blog standpoint, that’s really cool. Every blogger dreams of comments from famous people and even though I haven’t sent this URL out to everyone I know, it would be cool to eventually build traffic and maybe even make friends with other bloggers, brides-to-be, and wedding professionals.

From a business standpoint, I think Mark & Angie Sloan’s comment on my blog is a sign that they’re actively trying to manager their brand online, even in the smallest of ways. It probably doesn’t take that much time to notice that I linked to them, click a link to see what I said, and leave a “thanks for the love! :)” comment, but at the same time, it made me, the recipient, swoon and want to may a little more attention to what they post and how they’re doing. Branding brownie points!

On the other hand, a lot of other businesses could care less who posts about them (especially the smaller, newbie bloggers without a following). But, I think this is a mistake. As a professional with a reputation to maintain, wouldn’t you want to know if someone else is talking about you, good or bad? Especially the bad. There are tons of horror stories about companies and one person’s complaint turning into a huge PR fiasco– example, Dooce and the Maytag washing machine fiasco (a hilarious read if you have a couple minutes to spare). Yelp is another great example of this. A lot of businesses will email/private message/publicly respond to any negative reviews and make sure that one angry review doesn’t ruin it for everyone else.

Caveat: Of course some people aren’t going to link to you so you can easily see what’s goin’ on, but if they’re going to link to you, might as well find out what they’re saying! Technology makes things so easy, it’s almost like there’s no excuse.

Anyway, just wanted to bring some attention to my famous (probably one-time) commenter and chew on some of the PR/branding thoughts that came with it.

Famous commenter!! Yay!!

not at my wedding

December 5, 2009

Maybe this will be first in a series of posts on things I definitely, definitely don’t want at my wedding.

Tell me what’s wrong with this picture:

There’s nothing at all wrong with the beautiful bride and her groom, the bridesmaids or the groomsmen… and even the church (despite the blah carpet and wood paneling).

But… DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?

Yep, that’s what I thought.

I’m totally serious when I say that the first thing I noticed in this picture were the OUTLETS. the OUTLETS! Who in the world would want to show off her wedding pictures and have everyone notice the stinkin’ OUTLETS?!

My friend was one of the bridesmaids in this wedding and she posted pictures on her Facebook earlier this week. I looked through them as I would any other wedding album, until I got to the aforementioned picture. I just couldn’t get over the outlets. The rest of the wedding was beautiful and the photographer (who will remain unnamed, because I’m not that cruel) took a lot of pretty shots of the couple, but seriously- the outlets.

From a more business-y perspective… I skimmed through the photographer’s blog and they’re definitely not bad. However, I did notice that they excluded this group picture from the blog post, and unfortunately, even though their blog readers will be spared from seeing the outlet-picture, many, many other people will. Especially in the age of social media where you can share hundreds of pictures with the click of a button, you can’t afford mistakes. (I mean, I don’t know the bride or groom but hello, Facebook!) The bride and groom, their bridal party, and their family members are all scrutinzing these pictures and sharing them with their friends, who very well may be potential clients. Unfortunate.

Anyway, I’d terribly disappointed if my future wedding photographer made the same mistake and as long as I have anything to do with it, outlet-pictures will NOT be at my wedding.