If it’s on the internet, it has to be true. Right? Please note the heavy sarcasm. Of course that first sentence is absurd, and most people know that you cannot believe everything you read on the internet. However, millions of people are misled every day by things they take as truths because some so-called “expert” posted it online. The same is true for those that are planning their weddings. A lot of false, misleading information about what is the best way to plan your pending nuptials is plastered all over the place just waiting to be consumed by smartphone wielding newly-engaged couples. Don’t be duped by wedding bloggers, a lot of whom do not have backgrounds in wedding planning, that are trying to attract people to their website by telling them what they want to hear. The more traffic they generate to their blogs, the more money they earn from advertisers. Below are six misconceptions about wedding planning that I see all the time on the internet.
1. AVERAGE COST OF WEDDINGS IS ABOUT $31,000
With a quick online search, you’ll find that the national average cost of weddings is about $31,000. However, a lot of couples fail to go beyond that number and consider all of the variables that will affect the price tag attached to their nuptials. For example, you may have to read the fine print to discover that weddings can be significantly more expensive in the metro NYC area, to the tune of about $20,000 more than average. And of course, on these websites that want to feed you sunshine and roses, your attention is distracted from such facts. Also, please take note of the word “average.” You must consider if you want the “average” wedding. What the heck is an average wedding in the first place? And how is the average cost even determined? This number is compiled from various random surveys done by magazines and on social media etc. This method leaves a lot of room for inaccuracies while figuring the average cost. Maybe you don’t want an average wedding. Maybe you can put together a nice wedding for far less than $31,000. But don’t believe the websites that tell you stories of happy couples that were able to have a grand, fairytale-esque wedding for $5. Every couple is different and the couple’s personality will be reflected in the wedding. So, don’t focus solely on that average cost number. Shop competitively and do what works best for you, not the “average” bride/groom. Who wants to be just average anyway.
2. THE “DAY OF” COORDINATOR’S ROLE BEGINS THE DAY OF THE WEDDING
Having a professional wedding planner to help guide you through the wilds of wedding planning is great, but often too expensive for couples that have to be budget-conscious. Some wedding blogs will suggests that you get a “day of” coordinator instead of a full planner in order to save money. These websites often lead you to believe that a “DOC” will just show up on the day of your wedding with all of their magical powers to make sure that everything flows smoothly and goes according to plan. Sorry to tell you, these mystical creatures do not exist. A “day of” coordinator does not literally mean she only gets involved that day. When you call a planner to inquire about his/her “day of” services, you will more than likely learn that “day of” means more like “month(s) of,” and the fees associated with this service is higher than you may have expected. A good “day of” coordinator gets involved in the wedding process at least two months before the wedding day in order to, ya know, actually coordinate a timeline with vendors and so on. If you find someone that agrees to just show up on the day of your wedding, you will do better to take that money and donate it to charity instead of blowing it on their service.
3. CREATIVE SPACES LIKE BARNS, MUSEUMS ETC. ARE CHEAPER
Barns, museums, mansions, and other creative spaces have been enormously popular in recent times for couples who want to do something aside from traditional chapels or ballrooms. Some blogs will tell you that these spaces are not only cool and beautiful, but they will save you money. However, a savvy bride/groom will consider the fact that these incredibly cool places are incredibly bare, which means you will have to bring in everything in order to decorate these raw spaces. Yup, this will cut into any savings you may have been hoping for. Tables and chairs and tablecloths and centerpieces and ceremony and reception and…and “estate fee.” Don’t forget the estate fees that are attached to some of these spaces. Your dreams of saving money while enjoying a unique space may be dashed when you see the $30,000 estate fee associated with some of these creative spaces.
4. CHOOSING IN SEASON FLOWERS AND BYOC-ING WILL SAVE MONEY
When researching flower décor for your wedding, you will probably come across the suggestion to only buy in season flowers in order to save money. In reality, instead of limiting your flower selection to what’s in season, take your ideas and a picture of what you want to a florist, and let the professional tell you what they can do to match your ideas as closely as possible based on available flowers and your budget. And just disregard the part about BYOC-ing, Bring Your Own Container to give to the florist to save money. Renting or buying your own containers will take more time and effort than what it’s worth, plus it most often won’t save you money. Trying to find the perfect look, height, width etc. could be an extra headache. Florists have relationships with wholesalers and can get containers at extremely discounted prices. So, just let them take care of that. Umm kay.
5. CANDLES AND DÉCOR ARE LESS EXPENSIVE THAN FLOWERS
Sure flowers can be expensive, but that would be like saying don’t buy shoes because shoes are expensive. Well, not all shoes are priced the same and neither are flowers. And like shoes, there are many flower options to choose from. Bottom line, if you want flowers, get flowers. Team up with an experienced florist and designer to craft a look you love and can afford. Whether you desire flowers or not, don’t be fooled into believing that candles and décor are less expensive than flowers. Two minutes in a home goods or craft store (online or physical) will dispel any myths about such items being cheap. If you compare a centerpiece using affordable flowers versus one with a vase and floating candles, you will more than likely see that they cost about the same amount of money. Also, keep in mind that you will have to house these items for all of eternity. Sure you say you will just sell your vases etc. online after the wedding to recoup some of your money, but are you really going to do that? Are you? Really?
6. THIS BIG STORE IS BEST FOR YOUR WEDDING NEEDS
We have all seen the blogs that totally overdose on banner ads and product features. However, many sites are being more discrete about their ads, and instead of flashing banner ads, they are inserting them into the article in clever ways. Many chain stores partner with wedding bloggers to get couples to buy from them. Bloggers then use tactics like slipping ads into advice and cute, inspiring, or funny wedding stories that have nothing to do with these big stores or their products. Couples may be better served dealing with smaller companies or boutique stores that specialize in weddings. Unlike big chain stores, these small businesses provide closer attention to personalized detail, and salespeople that are well-versed in the wedding industry. In this case, bigger is not better.
The vast ocean of wedding planning can be intimidating and hard to navigate. More of the wedding planning process is being done online, and there is less in-person interaction between couples and vendors. Many couples rely on online articles and information to arm themselves with knowledge about current wedding trends. However, one must stay vigilant, be mindful of hidden advertisement, and use common sense when consuming the information posted in the unregulated Wild West that is the internet. If planning a wedding was as easy as a few hours of Googling, then the hundreds of thousands of wedding planners would be out of a job.
For more information and tips on how to plan the wedding of your dreams, check out Unique Occasions byTNicole’s upcoming “From To-Do to I Do” Wedding Planning Seminar & Tea at www.weddingubydejave.eventbrite.com.