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Should older wedding experts just shut up?

It struck me as I was writing a wedding blog post the other day that perhaps my tastes aren’t the same as the average bride and groom. Perhaps I’m a little bit too old… Maybe I should stop looking at wedding blogs and read about more real weddings. Because wedding experts, the wedding industry and it’s commentators are – well – getting on a bit.

wedding experts

Photograph from Gemma and John’s brilliant pink village hall wedding by the lovely, lovely James Heffernan at funkypixel – click the image to read the feature

I’d guess the average age of the top ten UK wedding bloggers is at least 30. UK wedding magazine editors… I reckon a bit older. Wedding suppliers – a massive range, from early twenties through to retirement age in all fields. Which makes all of us wedding experts an old bunch!

Wedding experts are older than brides and grooms

The average age of UK brides and grooms? We marry at 30 these days, so at least the wedding bloggers (I’ll get my coat) are the right age… just about! (Unless you consider wedding planning will be done aged 28 & 29!)

Can we really relate to brides and grooms? When we criticise trends and new ideas, are we wrong? Should we just shut the hell up and listen a bit more?

In the last week alone I’ve read comments from wedding industry insiders who don’t like:

  • heads being chopped off in photos
  • brides and grooms in corn fields
  • outdoor weddings
  • faded, vintage processing on wedding photos
  • bridal inspiration shoots
  • photos of just wedding shoes with legs in
  • lens flare
  • vintage everything
  • traditional weddings
  • blog-influenced weddings

Which is all well and good. We’re entitled to our own opinions. But does working in the wedding industry make us experts? Do we have any right to criticise?

Or perhaps we’re older and wiser? When we choose weddings we love to feature in magazines and on blogs, has experience taught us what’s fabulous? I think we’re getting it right, and I like to think I’m choosing fantastic weddings to share on English Wedding Blog – but one of my best friends told me this week she’d like to see more normal weddings on blogs and in magazines, so real brides and grooms could relate to them more. I think she has a good point.

I think we oldies should listen a bit more often – yes, by reading what brides and grooms share on our UK wedding blogs, but also by spending a bit more time on wedding photographers’ blogs – and seeing the trends which are really happening outside of what blogs are sharing.

I’ll admit I’m playing devil’s advocate just a tad here, but might I have a point? Are wedding industry insiders and commentators too old to dictate what wedding trends should be?!

Do we listen enough to brides and grooms?

Claire, aged 36 and-a-quarter

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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11 COMMENTS
  • Amy
    7 years ago

    To be honest, Claire, I don’t think older experts should shut up! My partner and I are marrying at the tender age of 24, and so most experts are older than us which might skew my perspective a little bit, however I think that weddings are all a matter of taste. I can’t bear several of the things you mentioned in your list above – and so our wedding isn’t going to feature them. End of story. I do enjoy seeing how other people style and run their wedding days, yet I would love to find some blog posts we can relate to. At the end of the day, I like reading what everyone has to say about real weddings, the wedding industry and the issues that affect it, and finding inspiration from suppliers and their creativity. If everyone above the age of, say, 35 stopped posting/writing/blogging/sharing then the wedding world would lose a valuable range of expertise!
    Besides, as a supplier yourself, I imagine one of two things happens relating to taste and style. 1) people come to you because their tastes match yours and they want your style to add to the feel of their wedding. 2) People ask you to do your work in a particular style or to match their tastes, and you have a choice as to whether to do so or not. As long as suppliers are prepared to listen to their clients, and be aware of what’s going on outside of their comfort zone so that they can reccommend others or follow a brief, then I really don’t think there’s a problem with bloggers/editors/suppliers being older.
    Having a range of ages, and therefore tastes and styles, is an asset, so that there is something to suit everbody!

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thank you Amy – I was hoping for replies saying “no, of course not!”… and yours is really interesting and well thought out. You make a great point about people approaching suppliers and asking for certain things – my wedding doilies are new, something I’d wanted to try for ages but never got around to… then a wedding planner* got in touch and asked if I could write on doilies – and it launched a whole new product line for me 🙂

      You know what? You’ve made me realise I might have missed something really important from this blog post. Working with so many lovely brides and grooms is keeping me young – in terms of the ideas I have for my calligraphy and designs, writing tags etc… I found a little roll of jute string in Wilkinsons yesterday and almost squealed – perfect!

      So there’s another idea: working with brides and grooms is a great way to keep inspired, to stay in touch and to keep a wedding business fresh and exciting.

      Amy, you’re a genius 🙂

      *luxury wedding planner Laura Tickle. Who could resist playing with such a wonderful name?!

  • Kerry
    7 years ago

    Hi Claire,

    A thought provoking post (again!). Amy makes some great points….as wedding stylists we are often asked for our input and ideas from brides and grooms. We are happy to offer this based on our experience of what works, what doesn’t etc. However, we do often get asked to supply or style things which we sometimes find, quite frankly, awful and not to our taste! We’ve learned now, 2 years in, that it is simply a matter of taste and just because we wouldn’t have it at our weddings doesn’t mean it’s any less pretty.
    I’ve actually been quite surprised on a number of occasions now when we go to set up at a wedding with something which hasn’t been to our taste but actually, when you see the whole thing come together with all the other elements it can look quite spectacular!
    I think it’s a testament to all the brides and grooms out there who have a vision and source the right suppliers to bring it to fruition.
    I think that everyone has valuable experience and knowledge to bring to the table, regardless of age, but it’s often an open mind and the ability to listen to your client that ultimately steers things in the right direction.

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Exactly, Kerry – exactly.
      I think wedding suppliers can learn a lot from our brides and grooms 🙂
      What a lovely comment!
      C x

  • Wendy Bell
    7 years ago

    Hi Claire,

    I love this blog post. I must say that personally, my clients are my biggest source of inspiration. I have created designs that wouldn’t be my personal taste but have pushed me out of my comfort zone; I see it as a fantastic opportunity…I love a good challenge! Every enquiry that comes my way becomes a mental note as to what trends are occurring. Even if they aren’t actually a trend, the point is that someone has asked for a certain style/design/idea which means that there are people out there that are interested in it. The idea then sits on my (never ending) to do list as a new stationery range idea that will eventually come into fruition; but I put my own spin on it. As a designer I have my own personal style which can be adapted, though not entirely changed; it is my identity and that style is the reason that clients come to me to design their stationery.

    Regarding those in the industry who are well over the 30 mark, well, I completely agree with Amy. As long as they are prepared to listen to what their clients are asking of them, then I don’t see what age has to do with anything. If nothing else, it shows reliability that they’re still in the industry, as well as a wealth of experience which should help in the planning of a couples’ special day. If a supplier turns down a client due to a brief, it should be because they didn’t feel that they would be capable of doing it justice rather than the fact that they just plain didn’t like it.

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Ooh lovely point at the end there, Wendy!
      I love your blog post about the racing themed stationery – it goes to show you can put your unique stamp on a design idea and really make it work.
      Claire xx

  • Hello Claire,

    I’m a 40 something wedding business owner who has been serving couples for over a decade. I had always put the business growth down to experience; being able to do things quicker, easier and more efficiently than I did at the onset. However, I’m not convinced it is just about the experience, from my perspective it’s more the skill and the attitude of someone. I draw this conclusion having gone through the “process” for my wedding which took place in May. I was utterly shocked at some of the established companies I came into contact with; some were quite pompous and didn’t ask, but told me, what I should be having. I hate all that “you must have / be / do”, it’s very stoic. In my planning I experienced a florist who stated I NEEDED a certain bouquet, a statement based on her ‘extensive’ experience. On the other hand I was delighted by a young company who are in their first trading year, they produced a film of our wedding which is beautifully shot and I have taken to recommending them to anyone who will listen.

    I think it’s all about your approach and being open. I see a lot of older clients and I worked with a couple who were 20 the other day. It’s all good fun. I love meeting young couples; I am genuinely interested in their wedding plans and their thoughts for the future. They are interested in me, not for my age, but for my portfolio that I hope is contemporary. That’s what keeps us young!
    All the best,
    Natalie

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Natalie,
      That’s very, very interesting about the established companies who told you what you had to do for your wedding. And what a shame they’re still out there. (Are they big, big companies I could phone up, in disguise as a bride, maybe? That could be entertaining… email me if they are!)

      I think your wedding film makers deserve a mention. Let me know who they are too 🙂

      Brilliant comment, love it. Thank you.

      C xx

  • Bernadette Chapman
    7 years ago

    A great post as always Claire. I did laugh at your bullet list as yes (I know you know) I’m fed up with seeing some of those points in magazines & blogs, some of those points make me shudder!

    As I’m ssshhhhh 38 – I’ve been a planner for 10 years so have seen many trends come and go, remember how between 2003-2006 every wedding seemed to feature butterflies somehow and it was all pink or purple?

    Brides used to have to really trust me and my suppliers when we designed something trend setting because there were no images to show them what we mean. If I wanted to suggest certain colours I literally would get ribbon swatches or paint swatches to show them. Now of courses with fantastic sites like http://www.theperfectpalette.com/ you can show couples how great certain colour combinations work together.

    I love it when a client has a clear idea of what they want, bring it on I say! Couples will have pinterest boards to show ME what they want to achieve + I will create boards to show THEM, that makes our partnership far more beneficial to us both.

    Clients tend to hire me because of my experience and crazy love of all things logistical especially with marquees! If they want an uber young trendy planner who is very design led, they might hire one of the members from UKAWP instead (and we have some fabulous trendy/stylish planners here).

    So should I retire yet and hang up my clipboard or do I have a few more years left in me yet?

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Bernadette,

      I’m with you – it’s bizarre looking back at my own portfolio and even at my first blog, which is full of stationery and table plans covered in pink and purple butterflies! I briefly fell in love with rustic weddings… it seems that style is still around, strong and steady in the background while vintage fluff (which I admit to loving!) takes all the limelight. But it’s bye-bye butterflies!

      Thanks for sharing the link to the perfect palette – I hadn’t seen it before. Lovely! Will be linking to that from one of my Friday ‘best wedding blogs’ posts. 🙂

      The way you talk about sharing ideas is inspiring. And it’s interesting to think that there’s a wedding planner for everyone out there, I guess some will focus more on creating designs, while some are experts in particular areas (and all can handle the logistical side of organising a wedding).

      Keep up the good work with that clipboard of yours, Bernadette…. although thinking about it, you might want to upgrade to an iPad one day. *chuckles*

      Claire xx

      • Bernadette Chapman
        7 years ago

        Cheeky Mrs 🙂 actually the clipboard comes out strictly on the day but I totally love my IPAD for client mtgs as I can instantly go online and show them what I mean. In the ‘old’ days I would sketch my ideas and trust me when I say that wasn’t pretty or even easy to make sense of!

        B x

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