A Practical Wedding

(un)convention 2015 recap

Photo by Betty Clicker Early last month I had the honor of attending (un)convention Brooklyn - part business development workshop, part community-building/networking, part inspiration overload, ALL feminist bad-ass wedding vendors. As their site explains it, a "coalition of progressive, equality-minded wedding professionals, who love working with cool, creative, crazy-in-love couples." YES.

I was asked to speak on a panel about "How to be a Wedding Space Disrupter" - an overwhelming, but fab topic near and dear to my heart. I was joined by Kellee Kahlil of Loverly, photographer Oriana Koren, and blogger Kate Schaefer of H&H Weddings.


Photo by Betty Clicker

I struggle with the fact that my seemingly practical and down-to-earth way of doing things - from my website design, marketing, business practices, and actual wedding planning itself - is seen as disruptive or revolutionary. Yes, it felt that way 5 years ago. It sometimes still feels that way when I run into the odd vendor here or there who responds with a thinly veiled reason as to why they don't work with LGBTQ clients. But I couldn't help feeling disbelief that so many of us around the country still feel alone in the industry, feel odd for wanting something new to be reflected, feel scared to express our true feelings. It's like when my roommate and I were called "alternative" by a preppy douche in 2003 for having short hair. Whaaa???

So the room filled of 60 wonderful vendors both gave me hope and inspiration and also made me shake my head in disbelief that it's 2015 and we need a convention to discuss this. But we do. We so obviously do. And I was so glad to be there because it re-inspired me to do more to truly change the industry - while my blog posts and my leading by example are great, I could be doing more. I could be asking those vendors who refuse to work with LGBTQ clients - Why? I could be submitting more of my diverse weddings to blogs (blog submitting in general is something I... just don't do. But now I feel like I have more of a purpose for doing it!). I could be brainstorming and partnering with more like-minded vendors to create new content, new events, and new ideas.

Mostly, I was struck with this idea that actually hit me when I became a new mother. A couple months after having my daughter, I told someone "I could hear 'you're a good mom' every day and it still wouldn't be enough." Now, I'm not saying I actually think I'm a shitty mom. But I was talking about all of the constant jabber in our ears about being the perfect mom, and you have to do this and be this and don't do that and must do that. It's tough. I like to think of myself as a fairly strong person, and those doubts seep in on a daily basis.

Now take that and apply it to the wedding industry. Couples are hearing and seeing a barrage of must-do's, have to look like this, need to do thats. It's endless. And despite way more opportunities to feel supported than we had even five years ago (like Catalyst Wedding Co, A Practical Wedding, and Offbeat Bride, to name a few), I believe those couples need the constant reminders, much like "you're a good mom," except in the form of "you do you" - you have the wedding you want, here's what really matters, stay grounded and stay real and stay you. I used to think I could do just one blog post expressing my discontent or trying to remind couples of what their true motivation should be (um, marriage anyone? That thing that happens after a wedding?). But I'm realizing now I need to consistently disrupt. I and other wedding vendors like me need to consistently add our voices to shout through the wedding industry's incessant drone.

Trying to wrap all these ideas up into a neat little package, I find myself thinking of feminism in general. That at ALL of these big life moments - adolescence, dating, getting engaged, married, buying a house, having children (or none of the above!) - we often doubt ourselves based on what society is telling us we are supposed to do or supposed to be. The only way to combat that is to remind ourselves and each other that we have choices. That you can be childless and blissfully happy. That you can propose to your boyfriend. That you can wear a yellow wedding dress. Seeing and trusting that those choices are available and valid and real are essential to change. It's incredibly hard to trust in yourself without support. If I can help one person feel confident in their choices and supported at a very stressful time of life, I may not start a revolution, but I can at least be part of one.

Photo by Betty Clicker

Photo by J McCallum

Photo by Betty Clicker

Guest posts on A Practical Wedding

Quick blog post to update you all on a project I managed to squeeze in before Tallulah arrived. I'm super excited that I was asked to do some guest blog posts for my most favorite of favorite blogs, A Practical Wedding. I've been reading A Practical Wedding almost since it's inception years ago, back when it was on Blogger and was just Meg herself ranting about the wedding industry. It inspired my own wedding, and frankly, it inspired me to start this business. So getting to write some logistics blog posts about finding a venue and doing a venue site visit for them was a huge honor and thrill! The first one ran on February 3rd, Tallulah's birthday. So I was a little distracted and wasn't able to share in a timely manner! This post breaks down how to get started and choose a wedding venue.

The second one ran yesterday, and is all about the essential questions you should ask when doing a venue site visit

Enjoy! And big thanks again to APW for the opportunity! Now back to breastfeeding...



Friday Links: Reasons to Party

  I wanted to start this Friday off with post that I think is super essential for any engaged couple to read. It is, of course, from the always wise writers that contribute to A Practical Wedding. And it stresses that your wedding isn't your last chance to throw a party. I love this (really not very controversial or mind-blowing) notion. Frankly, I think it not only contributes to an easier wedding planning process, but also to a better, happier life. When you take a step back and realize that you can throw a big ol' party for any reason, at any time... that can be pretty powerful. It takes the pressure off, and also reminds you to find reasons to celebrate throughout your marriage and your life. So head on over, read it, enjoy, and then tell me what your next bash is going to be. Mine is February 1, 2014 (seriously. more on that later).

It's also cherry blossom season! Woot woot! I've never been in DC during the cherry blossoms so I took an afternoon off and headed over there this week to check them out. They were gorgeous and I loved it. So happy spring has sprung. What better way to celebrate the cherry blossoms than with a cherry cocktail? And my spring fever made me love this post on how to incorporate edible flowers into your wedding.

Finally, I adored this story about a VA couple that just recently got married on their 20th anniversary. Go check them out - and if you're a same sex couple in the VA area who was legally married out-of-state and are excited about the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, check out Equality Virginia's CookOUT and host a BBQ!

Happy Friday!

Friday Links: Practical Inspiration...and beer

Those of you who have clicked on my "Sanity Pledge" know that I'm officially a "sane" wedding vendor through the excellent blog, A Practical Wedding. They launched a new feature on their site this week called How We Did It. It features fab photos from a particular wedding and then instead of discussing the crafts, beauty, or decor of the wedding, it discusses the down and dirty practical stuff - how they pulled of their wedding, how much it cost, and what went into actually making the event happen. The best part is, the first one is a wonderful, local DC wedding! I love this feature and can't wait to see more of them on APW - so helpful for all engaged couples. This is a great new resource I discovered that creates custom banners. I am legitimately considering getting one that says "get sh!t done" and hanging it in my office.

This has been making the rounds, so you may have seen this already - but had to share this awesome proposal gone awry (or in my opinion, just made way more memorable!).

Sad and frustrating article about how changing your status to "engaged" on the internets can drive you crazy.

And finally, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I urge you all to drink some beer this weekend. This is a great photo essay (that made me quite homesick) of Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn. Sweet Action is my all-time favorite - I may need to grab a 4 pack in honor of my Irish heritage. That, or make one of these (which I had at a delicious beer pairing meal at The Vanderbilt back in my bklyn days).