Your Wedding is Under Attack
Sought after planner Wedding Kate’s insight on the pressures of making your wedding on brand
Written by Wedding Kate
“What will my Aunt Susan think? Her opinion has always been such a thorn in my side, and she never shies away from sharing.” A bride confided in me in 2009, Pre-Socials in a linen meeting when she decided to go off the rails on her fabric choice. You remember, the old days when the opinions of those on the guest list were not only the only opinions that mattered, but really the only people privy to the sights, sounds, taste, environment and textiles of a wedding. Now, the world is your wedding’s oyster. And yes, be prepared for attack.
This wedding season marks a new beginning that’s so different than weddings coming out of the pandemic. Everything was a “pivot” in ‘21 (micro-weddings, elopements, breaking the rules more often than not) and we finally got our sea legs in ‘22 (Okay, so my wedding is NOT going to be canceled!? Dancing is allowed, yeah?) and this year we have finally hit our stride with full blown budgets, mega guest lists and actual plan A-plans coming to fruition. With that being said, I had this dread, a feeling that no one is safe. All weddings are subject to peer review and it’s no longer Aunt Susan you’re worried about impressing. From the lighting company you hire to the photographer’s IG following, the details of your wedding are splashed across various vendor pages, guest hashtag usage, location tags, or god forbid a “wedding fails” TikTok.
Today, brides more than ever are wanting to keep up with a tone or aesthetic that they believe embodies their relationship, their story and more than all the rest: their brand. Our culture breeds connection, in a way we have never been wired to understand. Dating sites link to socials and socials give the clout to back the “personality pic.” The justifications follow with the “See, she really does love doing community outreach in Sudan.” Thanks Duchess. No sooner than someone swipes in the correct direction does the brand now need leverage and that reaches peak horsepower at the day of I Do.
How do we mitigate or manage the obsession with the brand and is it healthy? On some levels I think it can be. I think we have changed our roles as women, and as a planner I have seen this tenfold in the planning context. Men are more involved than ever, taking a meeting when the bride has a big pitch or stepping up on a timeline decision when the bride is otherwise sidelined with work commitments. I started to see this phenomenon post pandemic, as women and men began sharing roles more evenly, seemingly out of necessity. Brides explained that their groom had honed a multitude of skills in quarantine, becoming well-versed in laundry care, a wiz in curating wedding floral inspo and even picked up golf. While the groom gushed about how he’s proud that the bride has taken up weight lifting, she earned a promotion at work or flexed her creative muscles on DIY invites. At first this gave me pause, was this temporary, the fluidity of roles in the planning paradigm? How does this impact my process? Slowly and through action I saw that the shared responsibility proved to provide a deeper and more balanced emotional connection to the wedding day. Then, one Saturday in October, it all clicked. I had never had a groom hug me because of the detail on the printed menus. Or thank his vendor team in a welcome speech, or truly even knew who their vendors were. I had also never had a bride pay for the entire wedding with the fun money she earned with the IPO of her self-made business.
This brought me back to this idea, that pressure to perform, to match the bar of representing your BRAND. I thought it so unfair and unnatural. It was hard enough impressing Aunt Susan and now you are scrutinized by the whole world?! See, that’s where I was wrong. This body of work, the building of a life with someone who supports and respects your passions, the ability to create a persona that lives outside of the parameters of a screen or a day, the ability to not just take the weight of criticism but to stare it down and make it your mission to master, that is the power of today’s woman. She is ready to show up and show off. And damn, that’s a brand I can get behind.
Wedding Kate has planned over 500 weddings in California, Hawaii, Mexico, etc. over the last 17 years. She has been featured by every major publication and on many podcasts, including Betches Brides and in People Magazine, and is regarded as an expert in the wedding industry.
Her social handles are: @weddingkate on IG/TT
She can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org