The wedding industry has taken a beating over the last two weeks. I have read accusations that wedding industry professionals rip off brides intentionally. I have listened to features laughing at women who spend 100K on their big day on two radio stations today alone. I have read brides in Facebook groups asking for designer dresses and accessories to be re-created at a fraction of the price. I have even seen a magazine, which I respect, advising brides to grab the freebies and create fake email accounts to win at wedding fairs.
As someone immersed in the wedding industry, who works with creative, independent businesses every day, I feel that it surely is about to time to call a halt on all this negative energy and celebrate how truly awesome it is here in the UK.
It is time to say:
Couples can spend what they want on their wedding
Whether you can afford £500 or £100,000 on your wedding, it is truly up to you. It is not anyone's place to cast judgement - if you want an owl to fly in bearing your rings then do it. If you want to wear a vintage dress to save pennies as well as looking stylish then go for it. Isn't it about time that we can do what we want without fear of judgement? Channel 4 news once asked me whether it was wrong for Kanye and Kim to spend a reported 1 million dollars on their wedding to which I responded, that it was up to them. Who am I to say how much they should spend? And who are you to do the same?
We respect the creatives
There are wedding dress designers who have painstakingly created beautiful gowns using British lace or many metres of silk who need to charge what they do so that they can cover their costs, and make a sometimes small, profit. They are not ripping anyone off and would not dream of doing so. Often working from a city studio with high rents their costs are larger than you can imagine.
So, let's not try and steal their ideas. Nor question their ethos. Please.
There are stationery designers, cake makes and florists who have learnt their craft, often juggling being a parent and even working full time in another job who need our respect. Yes, it will cost more that popping down to Lidl, which of course it should. We need to respect their time, their creativity, their experience and their passion.
If budgets don't stretch that far and you need to create your own bouquets or ask your mum to bake your cake - that's OK too. Just try to buy originals rather than foreign copies and understand that copies are stealing other people's work. Which is quite frankly, illegal.
Wedding fairs are for inspiration and not for freebies
Yes, when you go to wedding fairs you will be able to try samples and so you should, but to go with the sole purpose of grabbing what you can disrespects the businesses who have spent hours preparing, creating and baking to market their business. I don't think many couples do this to be honest, but it is time for the media to understand why we have wedding fairs in the UK. It is a chance for brides to touch and feel the product, to discuss their visions with experts and to make contacts, something that can't always happen when they read magazines and blogs.
We will support British wedding businesses
I am sure most brides, if money was no option, would want to buy British but it does cost more than mass produced pieces made on the other side of the world, due to manufacturing costs. But as I say brides should be able to choose what they want and what they can afford.
But isn't it time that the press support our homegrown businesses?
Everyone is quick to jump to support the high street's new bridal range (and yes some of it is fab) but where are the articles about the newly graduated designer launching her first capsule range? Or the boutique offering something a little different? These are the ones that need to be shared and often cannot afford to advertise, but they are the ones that are ignored. Designers pushing boundaries, creating something that the free-thinking bride will love need press support otherwise they will not survive against the big players, many of whom are jumping on the bridal bandwagon.
Now is the time to stand up and support our industry and recognise what it is providing. And shout about what they do so well.
To quote Karen Whybro who owns one of the UK's leading alternative bridal boutiques, Rock The Frock:
"We work hard to bring something more than a mass produced dress for our brides, allowing them to choose individuality and quality. Providing a higher level of customer service and supporting real talent which our brides recognise is important to us all, and it's time that others recognise this."
Whether you are a DIY bride or a luxe couple with extravagant tastes, you should be offered choice, and respect. And if you are a British independent business, busting a gut to make it work in an industry you love, then keep going. We love what you do, and want you to know it.
Even if for some people, it is easier to put you down
Now is the time to stop beating up the wedding industry.
Visit my website or come along to my wedding fairs to meet some of these awesome businesses