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Educating brides and grooms… is it patronising?

Have you ever heard a wedding supplier talk about educating brides and grooms? I have, many times. As a bride or groom, do you think you really need educating about weddings?

wedding photography credit Simon Biffen

Wedding photography credit Simon Biffen (click to Simon’s website)

Or does the notion of being educated about weddings instantly make you put your guard up? Educating brides and grooms could be all about telling you to buy more essential products and services for your big day…

Depends who’s offering you the education, I guess!

Why do we talk about educating brides and grooms?

Wedding planners often talk about educating brides: some of the wedding planners I love most in the UK are passionate about this. For most it’s simply about helping you plan your wedding. Most couples haven’t been married before: planning a wedding is a once in a lifetime experience, and it’s tricky knowing where to begin! So wedding planners will help you get started with tips about what to book first, how much to pay for key suppliers, how to manage your wedding budget etc.

So long as you find a trustworthy wedding planner, this “education” will be a lifesaver.

It’s not only wedding planners who talk about educating couples about weddings. I’ve heard the phrase from wedding photographers, from wedding venue coordinators and wedding invitation designers too. Many couples don’t know all the facts about wedding services. An example would be owning copyright on your wedding photos, or having a designer logo on the back of your wedding invitations. It’s up to your wedding suppliers to explain the finer details of their services to you.

Do couples need educating about weddings?

I have an issue with the terminology though. Educating… it sounds so patronising! It would also make me very wary. Imagine going to your bank and being offered a chat with an advisor who could “educate” you about finances. You’d expect a half-hour sales pitch, wouldn’t you?!

So no, couples don’t need educating about weddings. The very notion almost puts the wedding supplier (or whoever wants to educate you) in a position of authority. It doesn’t sound very nice!

Free advice for couples planning a wedding?

You don’t need educating about weddings or wedding services. But I think it’s true that couples can always use some free advice about wedding planning. At the very least, wedding suppliers should offer you advice – but without feeling like it’s an education!

When wedding suppliers talk about educating brides and grooms, it’s very often because we understand that all of this is new. We genuinely want to help. The very best in our industry will offer advice to you in the same way we’d advise our own friends.

Let’s not talk about educating brides and grooms any more!

A quick internet search has come up with some gems which really prove my point. “Educating” couples is patronising. It now ranks along with “bridal industry” in my list of wedding industry horrors.

Do read these:

Interestingly, all the articles I found online while searching for “educating” about weddings are about marketing and sales. It’s a term used in the industry, and excludes brides and grooms.

Brides and grooms aren’t asking to be educated. (If they were, it’d be on the internet and those links would be much nicer!) If you think of yourself as educating couples, it’s time to change your perspective.

Free wedding advice is so much nicer, don’t you think?

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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8 COMMENTS
  • Chris Seddon
    7 years ago

    I’m with you. The term ‘educating’ would make me feel a bit dim if the tables were turned. I never say to my couples ‘Right, I’m about to educate you now.’, instead I just ask them if there’s any areas they need help with, if there’s any recommendations I can make for other suppliers, and just generally talk to them like I would do to anyone.

    It’s not educating, it’s just helping 🙂

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Marvellous, Chris… and that’s why we should talk about ‘helping’ more freely within the industry, behind the scenes as wedding suppliers. Nicely put!
      C x

  • Belinda Mccarthy
    7 years ago

    Wow, I agree, what a patronising term! I’ve never used it (or actually heard it used, thankfully). We’re not in the school room. Fair enough, couples come to us for our expertise, but they want to pay for our services in order to complement their celebrations, not be lectured at (however nicely that might be packaged).

    When I talk to potential clients about the work I do and how I go about it, I always ask about their own interest (or not, as the case may be) in photography. It enables me to gauge how much technical information to mention, or indeed, not mention. For example, someone who is a keen amateur photographer may well want to hear about the L class lenses I use, or that I shoot in RAW and then edit in lossless files. Someone who just wants beautiful images isn’t going to be interested in all that stuff, and I’m certainly not going to ‘educate’ them about it, or even ‘inform’ them if it’s not of interest to them.

    Educating couples? Not for me. I want my couples to love their images and know as much, or as little, about how I’ll go about achieving that, in order to give them the confidence that they need to move forward. Weddings are happy things, let’s make sure that suppliers make purchasing wedding services equally happy!

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Belinda,

      I like how you approach talking to potential clients. (I’ve often heard that grooms can be quite technically minded about photography, is that true?) It’s good to be aware of how much couples actually need to know about wedding photography. It’s also good to hear that for those who simply aren’t interested in technical stuff, you don’t feel the need to explain about RAW files etc!

      C xx

      • Belinda Mccarthy
        7 years ago

        I do get quite a few technically minded grooms who want to hear about the ‘hardware’ aspect of wedding photography – definitely more so than brides, who seem to engage more emotionally with the subject. I know it’s a stereotype, but men often do like gadgets, and what’s a camera but a great big picture taking gadget, after all!

  • Nikki@KnotsandKisses
    7 years ago

    I totally agree with everything you say Claire … incredibly patronising term.
    By the way I laughed so much when I clicked onthe link to ‘that woman’ ! I have actually had the misfortune to meet her at two weddings that I have been to of friends and family in the midlands and she honestly ruined the whole experience of going to a wedding for me! She is exactly the sort of person who believes Brides, Grooms .. and also guests … need ‘educating’ as to how to behave at a wedding … appalling!

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Ha! Thanks Nikki, and I’m glad I made you laugh 🙂
      I’d LOVE to meet her… I’m sure she’d inspire many, many (furious) blog posts for English Wedding Blog! Hee 🙂
      Have a lovely happy Friday and a great weekend xxx

  • Amy
    7 years ago

    Well said Claire! Most people have previously attended a wedding before planning their own big day, surely that’s sufficient wedding ‘education’? If I hear a supplier use the word ‘educate’ I assume they work in a ‘one size fits all’ sort of way as it sounds like they think brides all need to same information. The best weddings are those which show the couples personality, so I much prefer to see suppliers offering ‘advice’ and ‘inspiration’, much more helpful and far less patronising!

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