weddzilla

I Quit, I Quit, I Quit, I Quit!

Two weeks ago I did something I’ve been wanting to do for at least a month. I quit blogging for Weddzilla. I went back and forth on it for weeks. I didn’t want to quit since I had made a commitment and felt bad backing out. Their editor Heather had been really supportive and nice and had had trouble with bloggers being unreliable and I didn’t want to let her down.

Originally I started blogging for Weddzilla for purely selfish reasons (but then again it was unpaid so it was a mutual selfish arrangement). I saw wedding blogging as a way to blog for a legitimate site and get some experience for my portfolio as well as hopefully gain some readers for my personal blog. This may have worked with another blog, but Weddzilla was not the right blog for this.

The first problem I had with Weddzilla was that they refused to share information with me. It’s very easy to track readers on blogs (I use Google analytics on this one). It helps you see what entries are popular, what city/state/country your readers are in, and how many visits you’re getting on a daily basis. I wanted my numbers from Weddzilla so I could see what entries did well and also be able to use in a future resume/portfolio (posts are kind of useless if you can’t also share metrics). They refused to share this with me which irked me since I was providing content to them for free and really not getting anything in return. They told me maybe later so I kept going in hopes that day would arrive (it didn’t).

The next problem I had with them was that they didn’t allow linking out from posts. I’m a big believer in citing sources and in blogging I think if you’re using someone’s work or mentioning it you should link to it. It’s super easy and just plain polite. They later loosened up on this, but still not enough for me to feel like it was following common blog courtesy. They also wouldn’t allow us to sign off with links to our own blogs or twitter so it allowed for very limited conversion. If this were a paid gig, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but again, it’s not.

I also didn’t get the community that I was looking for. The only people commenting were other bloggers for the site, so I felt like I never got honest feedback or interaction. I want people to read my blog posts because they’re interested, not because they’re repeatedly asked/required to by the site I’m posting for. There were also a lot of venders posting who tended to post very biased posts. The wedding coordinator would post why you absolutely need a wedding coordinator, the DJ would post about how you should spend more money on music, etc. Wedding planning is frustrating because everyone is always trying to sell you something or make you pay more, I felt uncomfortable writing for a site that was supporting this so heavily. I want my wedding blog to be helpful to brides, not be part of the scamming. I also had a florist freak out at one of my posts on why I’m not using a florist and not doing flower centerpieces.

The final straw for me is this asshole. I didn’t always agree with my fellow bloggers in their posts, but I respect their opinions. This guy went too far for me. He’s such a egotistical, misogynistic, asshole that I don’t want to write for the same site that has him posting. They have him posting because his fiancé is a “celebrity” (LA DJ with a few thousand twitter followers) and they’re hoping to use that to get more readers for the site. Super classy.

I can’t control who they let post on Weddzilla and frankly, it’s their site, they run it. I can control who I post for though and when I got an email from Heather telling me she was resigning I let out a sigh of relief and told her I was too.

Advertisements

How I Chose My Save-the-Dates

Once you have a date, venue and guest list, it’s time to send your save-the-date. Be prepared to be overwhelmed (in a good way) with choices. Unlike venues, with which you can be majorly held back by budget, it’s easy to find a ton of options in your price range for these.

If all else fails, you can do a postcard and have it printed at a local printer. There’s actually several free/cheap online sites that will help you design so you don’t have to be an artist to do something cute.

I spent a lot of time pouring over etsy.com and looking at all the wonderful pieces on there.

These are two of my favorites:

The first is a filmstrip-style magnet. I loved the playfulness and thought it would be a really fun way to spread the good news. It’s by loniann18.

Courtesy of loniann18

The other one I really liked was sent to me by my boss. She knows that A. and I have a scooter, and thought this would be perfect for us. I think this one is really classic-looking and stylish. It had a personal touch of the scooter and just was a really nice design. It’s by jackandjillwedding.

Courtesy of jackandjillwedding

I ended up going with this design, which I got through Costco.

Personal Library

Yes. I said Costco.

Costco has a wide selection of wedding invitations and save-the-dates, and you can order samples very cheaply.

I realized while I wanted something cute, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the save-the-date, because I felt that it would be better spent in other areas, like rings, invitations, etc. I was able to do something personal that was nicely designed while spending about $90 for 75 magnets (they ended up giving us additional ones for free), magnet card holders and envelopes. They also had spectacular service. The order went on sale shortly after I ordered, and I was able to get them to honor that. I also realized I should include location and our wedding website, and they let me cancel and redo it. They also called me when the image quality wasn’t going to print well and formatted the higher res image I sent them (they’ve since revamped their online proofing). Budget conscious and excellent customer service? What else are you looking for?

My save-the-dates won’t match my invitations, but that wasn’t important to me. I’m really happy with the finished product and definitely recommend checking Costco out.

DIY Wedding Venues: Pros & Cons

When we decided to get married in Vermont, I really wanted to have our wedding at a DIY location — somewhere we’d bring everything in. My hope was that we’d be able to save money through having it on someone’s land, where they’d let us have the location for free. Vermont is such a beautiful location, where you can get married in the middle of nowhere pretty easily and have all the decoration you need.

A. and I visited over Thanksgiving and were shown a few locations we could use for the wedding. We settled on this one, which was right up the road from my parent’s house, so it was really convenient, as well as beautiful.

Photos Courtesy of Susan Pelletier

There was a perfect place to set up a tent next to the pond, and the driveway was fairly long, so the road wasn’t visible. I was so excited to have such a major decision made, and such a gorgeous location to tie the knot in.

Then came the reality check. Having your wedding at a DIY location means you really have to Do It Yourself, all of it. As I said in a previous blog, I wasn’t able to get a wedding coordinator, so it’s all me. The costs and tasks started to really add up.

You need to bring in bathrooms if you’re having a wedding of more than just a few people (we’re planning on around 100 guests). You probably don’t want the standard blue port-a-pottys  for your event, and the nice ones were about 1k. Then you need a tent (in case it rains, is windy, etc.), tables, chairs (for ceremony and reception), tablecloths, silverware, glasses, plates, lighting, power, etc. With so many pieces that need to come together, it felt like it was going to be as expensive as going to an actual place that does weddings, and also, we’d need someone to coordinate the day before and the day of to make sure everything was set up.

With the majority of our guests coming in from out of town, I wanted to make sure they weren’t being asked to do too much to help the wedding take place. I wanted to be appreciative that they have to spend time and money coming to the wedding by keeping our requests for help to the minimum. I also didn’t want my Dad or Mom stuck with coordinating setup and takedown.  Looking at all the logistics and cost, I realized that while a DIY Vermont wedding would have been beautiful, it just wasn’t practical for us.

Take a Break!

Wedding planning can be exhausting for you both, so don’t forget to take a break. Sometimes I feel like I can’t go a day without talking about the upcoming wedding (6 months away) and it makes me feel like a crazy person. It’s a mix between being excited, having a lot to do, and having a lot of people ask about it.

Make sure you take a break.

When you find yourself dreading going home and getting back on the computer, or you see your honey start to wince when you mention color schemes again, it’s time to take a break.

I’ve had a few friends talk about the come down after the wedding, where they found themselves at a loss as to how to spend all the free time they had now. I thought they were crazy, but now I find myself thinking about that scenario and how it will be weird not to be planning/worrying all the time. Don’t get so wrapped up in wedding that the rest of your life starts to get neglected.

One of the ways to prevent becoming “bridezilla” is to maintain your grip on reality (the non-wedding reality). Go away for the weekend or have a night/day where you don’t talk about anything wedding related. If you find that you’re spending a lot of that time worrying about wedding stuff, take more breaks, because sanity is a good thing. Do something that is relaxing and takes your mind off planning, like read a guilty pleasure book (fantasy books are my favorite), watch a movie, watch terrible TV (I find myself watching more and more Jersey Shore as I get closer to the date).

Do something that takes your mind away that’s relaxing, but try and avoid signing up for any classes. Do we really need more commitments right now? Sometimes our brains just need a vacation from all the wedding planning. It’ll be there in the morning.

Why I’m My Own Wedding Planner

I had always planned on being my own wedding planner. I had talked with my other marketing friends about how we’re all too controlling to trust someone with our vision, how we’d love all the details too much to give it up to someone else. Right.

Fast forward to when I actually got engaged and my wedding is on the other side of the country, while I work 50-60 hour work weeks regularly. Suddenly, being able to hand stuff off to a seasoned professional looks like how I imagine heaven.

When my parents let us know they were planning on helping contribute, I heaved a sigh of relief. The anxiety I’d been feeling about our budget receded and I had a little more breathing room. With that breathing room, I started to wonder if I could have a coordinator help me. One of my former coworkers started a wedding planning business and offers month-of packages at $900 and a la carte options for the day of, as well.

Unfortunately, she’s in the Bay Area, so I can’t use her in Vermont (Va De Vie Events for any of you lucky brides in the area). I began looking online for local wedding coordinators. I was really disappointed to see that they were all playing “the wedding game” (as I like to think of it) and not providing any pricing on their websites.

I reached out to them, and the emails started to pour in. I was told it is impossible to plan a wedding for 10k, that their rates were thousands of dollars, that I can’t rely on any help from friends or family. It was quite the positive experience, obviously.

None of them gave any indication they would be able to help save me money in my planning or had any vender relationships that I’d be able to benefit from (I asked).

(image from Hasboro games)

I was really disappointed that this was my experience with wedding planners in my home state, but it didn’t affect how I feel about the wedding.

I believe I will be able to plan this with my budget (or come close enough that I’m happy). I’m not interested in paying any individual person thousands of dollars for services I can’t eat or drink. I also do believe that my friends and family are going to come through for me and help me in this momentous task.

Don’t allow venders of any kind to intimidate you in your wedding talks. It’s their loss. Make sure you’re working with supportive people who you feel you can trust and have a beneficial relationship with.

Are you working with a wedding coordinator?

Dealing With ‘Mother-of-the-Bridezilla’

 

My Mom has always been a strong force in my life. From her encouragement, I brought home good grades, did a lot of extra curriculars, and graduated from Dartmouth. She also tended to have a heavy hand in events: she chose all 4 of my prom dresses and chose every college I applied to except for Dartmouth. After college, I moved to San Francisco and the space really gave me an opportunity to learn how to say “no” and take the driver’s seat when I made life decisions. However, while I was gaining my independence, my Mom was still Queen of the castle when it came to my Dad and my 5 year younger brother.

When I got engaged, she once again tried to take control. It was natural for her, because it’s always been her role with the big family events.

Having lived in my grown up life for 4 years now, this didn’t go over well with me. She felt so strongly that she knew best that she refused to listen. I found myself stressed out and upset about an event that I didn’t even have a date for. She was pushing (with a bulldozer) for us to get married in Vermont, and I was afraid that would mean I wouldn’t have any control since I’m so far away.

The more she asserted herself, the more I distanced her from the decisions. I talk to my Mom probably every other day, and having this stress and conflict around such a happy event was really hard. I finally blew up and told her how upset I was that she wasn’t listening and how she was the only source of stress and frustration around this, and that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I told her that I wanted her to be part of this and that she had to let me come to her with requests for help. I reminded her that I was waiting to try on a wedding dress until she could visit and what a big deal that was.

We didn’t talk for three days, and at the end of that three days, I received a card with an apology from her. Ever since then, it’s been much better. We’re working together. Every now and then I still have to remind her that I have thought of the “what ifs” and the coordination pieces (it’s pretty much what I do for a living), but we’re getting there.

It’s hard for Moms to snap out of the “Mother Knows Best” mentality sometimes. Often, they feel like they’ve been looking forward/working toward this event just as much as you have. Sometimes, their focus on the decisions they want to make leaves them missing the decisions you’re trying to make them a part of. Make sure that you communicate when it gets to be too much. You don’t need further stress on your day, and it’s important that she understands her role in your wedding. A big deal for me is that I don’t want my wedding to be a family reunion. Our friends are just as important to being there as our family to me. I also know what A. and I want more than anyone else. It can be hard to tell people “no,” but remember, you only get to do this once (if all goes as planned), so make sure it’s what you want.

Remember, if anyone goes to the wedding and is disappointed about something not being done the way they wanted it, they’re missing the point!

Why I’m My Own Wedding Planner

I had always planned on being my own wedding planner. I had talked with my other marketing friends about how we’re all too controlling to trust someone with our vision, how we’d love all the details too much to give it up to someone else. Right.

Fast forward to when I actually got engaged and my wedding is on the other side of the country, while I work 50-60 hour work weeks regularly. Suddenly, being able to hand stuff off to a seasoned professional looks like how I imagine heaven. **READ MORE**