Tag Archives: A Practical Wedding sucks

Wedding makeup for a hot, humid, outside wedding

I am writing this on the day that is ONE MONTH away from my wedding. I freaked out a little when I went to google calendar the other day and noticed that my wedding day is now visible in the little calendar grid on the left. And then I wrote a list of everything wedding related I still have to do, and there were thirty things. One a day. Except that’s still not going to be enough, because really I want to be finished like at least week before. Anyway, I have now managed to cross off the line that said “figure out makeup”, so that helps.

Turns out it wasn’t as straightforward as one might think. To begin with, I’m doing it myself. Because money. Also because the physical experience of someone else putting eyeliner and eyeshadow on me makes me really on edge, and because the two or three times professional makeup artists have done my makeup, they turned me into a clown each time. Not everyone is best flattered by a solid ring of black liner, you know? Personally I look like my eyes have been punched back into my skull. A clown with their eyes punched in, that’s me.

So anyway, I have a few variables to contend with for wedding makeup.
1.Equator levels of sunshine.
2. Extremely high humidity.
3. Flash photography.

Because of 1, I normally go around with sunscreen on, which because of 2, triggers an immediate melting of  my face, which does not bode well for 3. Also not boding well for 3, is titanium oxide based sunscreen, which I choose because I also am dealing with 4, sensitive, rosasea*-ry skin.

There is a bit of a conundrum here. If you’re getting married out in the sunshine, especially if you have sensitive skin, you have to choose between protecting your face with sunscreen, or having photos where your face looks white. I think as long as there are no flashes, you won’t get the white ghost effect, so it really depends on what time of day the wedding happens, and whether or not flash photography is going to need to happen. Ours will be starting late afternoon, and definitely proceeding through many a dark hour, so I’ve decided to just go without sunscreen.

Then there’s the oiliness issue. Left to its own devices, my skin will go out of control, so I’m taking every step possible to minimise oiliness. This boils down to using a shine stopper underneath my makeup, and using a matte foundation in the form of a powder. If my nose gets too shiny, I can just pile some more of that stuff on.

It’s also recommended to go sheer with makeup if you’re getting photographed in the sunshine. Plus it just feels better in the skin. So ultimately, what is needed is a sheer, matte foundation that’s good on oily skin, has good staying power, and isn’t mineral based. Thanks to beautypedia, I compiled a shortlist:

Frugallywed’s recommended foundation options for a hot, humid summer wedding:
Liquids:
Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup
Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Maybelline New York Dream Smooth Mousse Foundation
Nars Sheer Matte Foundation
Powders:
Sephora Mattifying Compact Foundation
Body Shop All in one Face Base
Clinique Perfectly Real Compact Makeup
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
Make Up For Ever Due Mat Powder Foundation

Oh and by the way, you don’t need a primer. Primer does nothing. Here is Paula Begoun, she of evidence based skin care, which you may recall is a vision of Utopia, on the subject. Some choice excerpts: “Most primers are a blend of water and silicones and essentially function as lightweight moisturizers that make skin feel silky” and “As long as your skin-care routine is leaving your face smooth and free from the buildup of dead skin cells and excess oil, you’re not going to see much (if any) benefit from using a primer.” —> so just use your normal moisturiser, if you need it. 

BONUS: There is no sponsored content in this post, yay!

For lips, I used beautypedia again to search for sheer lipstick with good ratings, made a shortlist of options, and checked out colour swatches online, because I have very specific ideas about what kind of colour I want. Then I went to MAC and Chanel and tried a few, and ended up with Chanel Boy. Iz pretty. I’m gonna use that puppy for my cheek colour too.

Ok now eyes. Obviously a waterproof mascara is needed, and I already owned Maybelline Define-a-lash, so, done. There are heaps of good waterproof mascaras around. For eyeliner that stands up to a long, teary day, Paula Begoun says gel eyeliners are the way to go. I didn’t want black or sparkles, which are apparently the only options where I live if you look in a pharmacy, so I went with Bobbi Brown in Granite Ink.

And finally, concealer, the makeup product I am more intimate with than any other. Oh concealer, how I adore you. Thank you for stopping people from telling me I look tired. I’m not tired ok, this is how my face is! I have the kind of under eye dark circles that are caused by the physiological structure of my face. I won the lottery on that one! Basically, the lack of volume under my eyes means the muscle, along with its inherent vascular system, is visible through my skin. Actually when I am super tired and things get puffy, the dark circles improve. I think a lot about some day getting restylane injections under my eyes, but until then, nothing but heavy camouflage is going to cut it. I use a corrector followed by a concealer, both from Bobbi Brown. All the other ones I’ve tried are wimps.

Oh yeah and eyeshadow. I haven’t got my eyeshadow yet. It is now item number 31 in my to do list.

*Speaking of rosacea, an interesting paper was recently published about it. Turns out, rosacea may be caused by mite feaces in your poresWhaat? And hell yeah, I’ll link to the original paper, by Jarmuda et al (2012). If you don’t have rosacea, don’t get too smug, because those mites are in your skin too. It’s good times, being a human. This has been a public service science announcement.

$5500 Wedding budget: Photography (What to do when you have $850 or less for photos)

Enough already with the tales of my own wedding, let’s get back to general wedding theorising. I think it’s more fun. Onward with my favourite wedding topic: figuring out what a average wedding would be like if people only had weddings they could afford.

If your wedding budget is $5500, you have about $850 to spend on photography. But $5500 is just the estimate for the (New Zealand) median, which means half of all people would be working with less than that. If your wedding budget was $2500, you’d have about $380 to spend on photography.

A freaking joke, right? Check this out: the price quote for A Practical “fighting the system yet sponsored by Proctor and Gamble” Wedding’s* most recent photography advertorial. The starting rate given is $2950 for 8 hours of photography. Which translates to a total wedding budget of about 19k. Which to comfortably afford means an annual post-tax income of $190k. (APW is always looking out for the little guy!)

It all seems pretty hopeless, especially when you read blog after blog talking about how photography is the most important thing. Skimp on everything else, but for the love of cake, splurge on the photography! But I offer you salvation:

1. Stellar photos aren’t actually that important. Seriously, how often are you really going to look at these photos in the future? Daily at first, then once a year? After the first decade will you stop looking at them once a year? And will your affection for them really be dependent on the quality of the photos, or will it be dependent on the happiness of your memories from that day? Do you have any old, crappy quality pictures, from say your childhood, that you love and treasure?

2. Covering every minute of the day isn’t that important. The photographers’ unaffordable ‘basic package’ starting prices have a bad habit of including 6 or 8 hours of coverage.

I submit to you that you do not need that much time. I submit to you that endless pictures of the wedding party in different poses are redundant, not to mention a waste of everyone’s time especially if it happens during the reception, by Jove. Also, who gives a crap about immortalising the moment the bride applied her eyeliner. I submit to you that there is such a thing as enough photography, and it involves a full length shot of the couple, a face shot of the couple, some family group shots, and a picture of each partner with their wedding party. The stuff after that is gravy.

3. A lot of your guests have cameras. Just because there is no professional present, doesn’t mean moments aren’t being captured. In fact, your guests might be so busy acting like a crowd of paparazzi that you’ll need to actually tell them to stop it. You know how when you have a night out with your friends, a few photos always end up getting taken?  And, you know how you never find yourself wishing, Oh, If only there had been a professional photojournalist with us to take photos of us all at Beerfest? (Bad example?)My point is, there WILL be photos of your wedding day, and they will be good enough.

So here’s what I reckon people should do: hire a professional for the length of time your budget allows for, and get your portraits taken during that time. Get the group shots that are necessary, and then spend the rest of the time you have on couple portraits, and then some photojournalism of the ceremony and  the beginning of the reception if time allows. At the reception let your guests do what people do anyway at parties, which is take photos. Ask everyone to upload their pics to a photo sharing site somewhere, or to just send them to you. Choose your favourites to collect into your own album.

The thing about all those unaffordable photography packages is that if you break it down to an hourly rate, it suddenly becomes an option to get them for an hour or two. For the photographer listed above at 8 hours for $2950, that works out at arout $370 per hour. Not that that’s what that person would charge, but it illustrates the range you’re working with. Even on a legitimately low budget, you could still have someone relatively high end do your portraits for an hour before the ceremony.

I recommend figuring out the hourly rates of various photographers, finding ones you like, and then approaching them with your numbers and asking what they can for you. The Wedding Photojournalist Association is a good place to start – it’s international, and list prices (sometimes by the hour!) of photographers with links to their websites.

That is what I did. I found a handful of photographers that charge around $200 per hour, told them I have $450 to work with, and said, What have you got? The one I chose in the end offered me 2.5 hours photography with the ferry transport to the resort included. He’s offering me something less than his normal hourly rate because, get this, the fact that my wedding is so low budget and quirky (read: short casual dress) makes it valuable to him as a photographer! It’s a sweet sweet feeling when the industry works in your favour.

*I did manage to stay off APW for quite some time after I wrote this post, and it was awesome. And then I started hate-reading it.

Book review: Is the Offbeat Bride book worth reading?

Everyone knows the Offbeat Bride blog, one of the earliest bridal blogs and the first to glorify non-mainstream weddings. And everyone knows its central message is authenticity, as in, if you really like Doctor Who, go ahead and have a Doctor Who themed wedding. But what might have seemed a very relevant and even groundbreaking discussion at first, has become absorbed everywhere, and now even Style Me Pretty brides constantly mention that they want their wedding to “reflect our personalities”.  The whole Be True to Yourself thing is kind of yawn-inducing at this point. So when, on a bookshop shelf, I came across the book that spawned the website, I wondered if there was anything in it that we haven’t heard before.

From the tag cloud in my sidebar you can see that one of my most frequently used tags is ‘authenticity’. And if you asked OBB, they’d say, Hey, We’re all authenticity all the time too! What I mean by the word is not exactly the same thing that they mean by the word, but, in the Venn diagram of authenticities, there would be some overlap. For instance, this: “…we didn’t put ourselves in debt. Instead of paying to create a fantasy land, we picked the best things our everyday lives had to offer and crafted an extra-special everyday.” Exactly, exactly, exactly.

That said, the discussion around money issues was not a very compelling one. I’d been keen to check out what the book had to say about it ever since, way back when, Meg on A Practical Wedding let us know that she contributed a sidebar in the book on the topic. So yes, you know what’s going to happen now, brace yourself for some more of my apparently unavoidable APW headdesking…Initiate:

Inevitably, the scant few hundred words about money talk a lot about emotions, and zero about actual numbers. There are four bullet points, two of them employ the phrase “feels right to you”, one says, “You don’t have to spend money in ways that make your feel financially uncomfortable”, (Teh Wisdom flows!), and the other one says, “…there are times when you’re willing to throw money at a problem to make it go away. Do it.” Arg. I hate financial advice about emotions, because it isn’t actually financial advice, and money, perhaps unlike other wedding stuff you can talk about, lives in the world of objective truths. It’s a bad idea to go into debt, whether that feels right to you or not (and evidently, going into debt for a wedding feels right for a lot of people). *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

The most useful part of the book for me was the discussion about navigating religious differences, particularly when you want a secular wedding but some of your family members are religious. Or as in our case, they don’t necessarily know that we don’t share their beliefs. Thanks to the advice in this book, we are strongly considering incorporating an ambiguous moment of silence during the ceremony, where people can think happy thoughts, or pray, or send vibes, according to their world view. We’ll also be taking heed of the caution to not discuss our wedding’s religiosity or lack thereof ahead of time with said family members.

But ultimately, the most engrossing part of the book is the awesomeness of Ariel Stallings herself, author and founder of all the Offbeat offshoots. It didn’t take many pages of reading before I was sucked into her coolness, and the book is mostly a record of sorts of her own wedding experience. It’s like reading her personal wedding blog, except there’s chapters instead of posts and you get to read them all at once. Feeling teenagerish, when she says stuff like, “I wanted to dress for the wedding the same way I would for my faviourite kind of party, which is to say like a fairy-freakish electro forest queen”, apart from vigorously agreeing, I couldn’t help kind of wanting to be friends with her and wishing I could have been at that wedding. It sounds damn fun. Minutes after I finished the book I did the googling necessary to find her wedding pictures, and got totally adolescently inspired by this bridal portrait. She looks fierce.

She’s the cool older sister, and while reading the book I found myself constantly evaluating where my own wedding would sit on the offbeatness scale, and alternately feeling totally aligned with her, and then wondering if I was overstating my wedding’s offbeatness in an effort to be like the cool kids. But seriously, turns out my wedding is going to pretty damn offbeat, and the book provided some nice solidarity, even if she’s more extreme than me. So I’d say if you’re someone who is not having a mainstream wedding, and is looking for some like-minded reassurance, then yes, it is worth reading.

Making my peace with/getting over A Practical Wedding, Part 2

(Quick note: Sorry I took more than 24 hours to put this up. Also, the other day I looked at my blog when I was not logged in as myself and there was an advert between the post and the comments. Wtf? I didn’t put it there and had no idea it was there. Have you guys been seeing ads on my blog?? I don’t know what’s going on. Since we’re chatting, I want to also apologise and thank everyone for their patience re: my frequent spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. I read my older posts and want to punch myself in the face, as Rogue would say. Thank you for not doing that for me.)

As I mentioned yesterday, over the years, the content at A Practical Wedding has changed drastically as the site has grown from a one-woman hobby to a money making enterprise that requires several people to produce. While the readership has soared, my enjoyment of the blog has waned. The number of posts have gone up; the number of posts I enjoy reading has gone down. What used to be a diary style blog, is now…something else entirely, with lots of new types of content having been added over time, and none of it being as interesting as the original story I got invested in. This is what APW has on offer today: Wedding Grad posts, advertorials, Wordless Weddings, a Q & A advice column, intern diaries, “Lazy girl’s guide” DIY how-to posts, Reclaiming Wife posts, the occasional diary style posts from Meg, and more sporadically, posts about specific weddings that happened in a different era.

I think I’ve already made my feelings about the advertorials clear, and the Grad posts,  already filler-like in their nature from the beginning, have essentially become the backbone of the blog’s content. I suppose it’s a good model – an ever replenishing pool of readers eagerly submit their wedding for its day in the sun before they get bored with APW. And probably that is a very satisfying arrangement for readers who don’t stay on board for too long and who move on after their weddings. Like how pregnancy magazines have a constantly revolving group of readers joining and then leaving.

The Wordless Weddings are some of the most filler-like filler material I have come across. Consisting of nothing but pictures, I’m not sure what we are supposed to get out of them, because if I am online to look at pictures then that is definitely not the place I go to do it. They’re like Grad posts but easier. Maybe to encourage people who are not up for writing a whole story to still send a submission? The occasional vintage wedding post strikes me as a desperate grasping for content too, when an intern gets her parents to write about their wedding.

The Ask Team Practical advice column and the Reclaiming Wife posts are as good at it get’s on APW if you’re looking for something meaty. But as Ariella commented yesterday, I like  them much more in theory than I do in practice. The advice column has a tendency to be overwrought, and like most things on APW, too wordy. The Reclaiming Wife posts also have this way of somehow promising more substance than they contain, and can irritatingly be reliant on using a semantic argument disguised as taking  a controversial position on married relationships. Witness: “My spouse is not my best friend“, and “I keep secrets from my husband“. Some of the Reclaiming Wife posts are not about the spousal relationship itself, but about life things that happened to the couple after they got married. Again, I’ve got better places to look if I want to read one-off stories of people’s lives. Similarly, when they are actually about specifics of relationship dynamics, there’s no reason to believe writers at APW are especially qualified at this part, and I’d rather take advice from someone else.

Then there’s the intern’s planning diaries. I enjoy a good wedding planning story, and that’s what got me into APW in the first place. Unfortunately I don’t find the interns’ efforts that good a read for this. If you want entertaining, check out The Bitchy Bride and The Knotty Bride (the funniest wedding related thing on the internet), or my girls on the sidebar.

So what’s left that’s still good about APW? The message they promote. Updates about Meg’s life. The useful DIY stuff. And maybe for those living in the relevant areas, the directories. I just don’t know that all these things make for good long term blog fodder. Here is what I wish APW was really like:

  • Everything pertaining to promoting vendors to be on a separate page/site where I only see it if I have specifically chosen to see it.
  • A self-governing online community founded on the APW ethos, that is allowed to grow organically into whatever it wants to be. This would be the place for sharing stories with each other, and asking for and giving advice.
  • A personal blog by Meg about her life.

At this point, everything that is valuable about what APW promotes is distilled in the book, and a blog based on constantly rehashing the same ideas for years is always uninteresting. And of course the foundational ideas of APW are at odds with the need to have copious adverts and sponsored posts featuring services that tend to be flagrantly unaffordable. The “F*ck ’em if they don’t like chairs” catchphrase used to promote the book is cute until until APW gets sponsored by a furniture rental company (it happens).

So, ultimately, I would like APW not to be a blog. I would like it to be a community around a facebook page, or some other forum platform. I would like readers to be able to initiate conversations with each other with out relying on comments to posts. The community around APW has already shown promising hints of its potential to be great (the dress giveaways, the book club meet-ups), but the thing is, online communities don’t work when an institution is trying to maintain control of them*, and I think the way APW is run has kind stifled most the growth.

So those are my thoughts. Now, the making peace part (beware, mushiness ahead): becoming a fan of something and then watching it evolve into something you don’t like, creates a sense of resentment and yes, betrayal. The whole reason I couldn’t let this go, and wrote this, is that I was quite a big fan in the first place. I genuinely wish Meg well, and will continue to be interested in her life adventures, but I want to let APW  go now. I want to stop caring when APW does something that bothers me, and I want to stop being disappointed when I check it every day and find nothing stimulating. It is what it is. A gazillion readers love it. But it’s not for me any more. I want it out of my head space.

I still haven’t read the book, so I do plan on writing a book review on that. But in the mean time, I’m saying good bye to APW, and issuing myself a challenge to go a week without checking it.

*Dammit I had a really good link for that and now I can’t find it. I’ll keep on looking and update when I do, ok?

Making my peace with/getting over A Practical Wedding, Part 1

So. *long exhale*. Ok. You guys know I’ve criticised A Practical Wedding plenty a time already, and yet here I am, devoting another entire post to APW. I’m like a dog with a frakking bone, right? I have mixed feelings about it. I’m 100% sure that Meg is a very nice person, and I even like her, as far as I can tell. I bet we’d be friends (you know, if I wasn’t spending time criticising her work). And yet I can’t let it go, stuff niggles me, so I write. But whenever I write about APW, I find I have to remind myself over and over how much I believe in the power of critical thinking, and that critiquing ideas is a force for good in the world. Today I just want to get it all out, and then, hopefully, I can get on with thinking about stuff other than APW. Because this is not serving me any more, and reading APW is not really serving me any more at all either.

This feels tricky to write because first of all, (flattering myself that Meg would pay any attention), I don’t think she’d like it. And not just because I’m saying I don’t like her blog any more, but because direct criticism doesn’t seem to be something she is into. In a very early APW post, Meg wrote: “…you really don’t want to write a negative blog, as you will get a negative readership, and that’s a heck of a lot of energy to put into creating more negativity in the world.” Well, I disagree. Critiquing stuff is not putting more negativity into the world, it is making it better, and that includes brutally ridiculing stuff that is ridiculous. So I’m going to move on past the fact that writing these words is making me a non-friend of one of the most successful wedding bloggers around, and just say my piece.

That post I just mentioned was written back in April 2008, around the time I started reading APW. If you’re not a long time reader, you’d be amazed at the difference between APW then and how it is now. When it first started out, the blog posts tended to be pretty short, and a lot of them consisted of reblogging pictures from somewhere else, with Meg going, “You know, I like shrugs,” and a diary of her wedding planning. I got invested in her story. And she taught me something, too – before reading APW, I thought it was important to have a beautiful wedding and a perfect wedding dress. I was younger then, and also not close to planning an actual wedding, so maybe I would have realised on my own that expensive styling is not what makes a wedding good. But it was APW that opened my eyes to this for the first time.

After a while, APW started having Wedding Graduate posts. When these first started, they were written by her wedding blogging buddies (there was a posse of them that kicked off in 2008, and I was reading them all and never commenting, like some weird eavesdropper stressed out grad student). Wedding Graduate posts were sporadic, and they struck me as filler material – that day, Meg didn’t have to think of a new idea to write about.

In 2009, Meg had her wedding. You know what’s disappointing? When you read a diary-based bridal blog, which is built on getting invested in a story that’s going to culminate in a wedding, and then when the wedding happens, they don’t show you hardly any pictures. To this day, Meg has published only a handful (like four?) pictures from her wedding. I mean it’s understandable  about not wanting to show the world your personal stuff. I get it. Doesn’t make it any less tiresome for the reader though. And I was already disappointed that she refused to show any pictures of her invitations.

The content has changed a lot since those days, of course. APW has remained a daily habit this whole time that I have struggled to break, automatically typing the url into my address bar, hoping for something interesting to read, and avoiding admitting to myself that there really is no point any more. I started skipping over the Wedding Grad posts early on, with their tedious introductions (No really, this one is the best ever!) that have a tendency to give away the punch lines too early, and their sheer mass that has made them all blur into one anyway. But the increasing number of Grad posts were just the first step in APW’s path to growing gradually more and more boring. I find these days that it’s not worth taking my time to read there any more. I’ll go into specifics tomorrow.

If you’re having a wedsite, it may as well be free (plus some wedding blogdom commentary)

Wedsites have been on my mind a bit lately. As I mentioned before, the cool thing about this modern wedding necessity is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything. A recent wedding innovation that is not about increasing consumption! It’s not hard to find free wedding websites that have all the functions you need. This is one of the very best things about the internet – people put stuff out there for free, and it just makes all our lives better. Sometimes I feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about that, and it restores my faith in humanity (not joking).

Meanwhile, of course, there are plenty of people online hawking non-free wedsites. Why in the world would you possibly choose to pay for something when you can easily get a just-as-good version for nothing? The only reason I can think of is that the specific graphic design is REALLY important to you. That, and/or you are sold on the brand of the website promoting it. Or maybe you don’t know how to google the words “free wedding website”.

So let’s make clear that the graphic design of your wedsite will not affect anything about your wedding day. But maybe you’re just into that stuff anyway, and also you cannot find something from the 129 designs on weddingwire that satisfies your need for good design. Fair enough. I hope your wedding budget can take it. Except if you’re like most people, you probably can barely afford your wedding, or you’re actively not affording it (*points at self*). So I’m going to just say it: paying for the design of your wedsite is unrealistic for most people.

Of course APW have just announced a collaboration that sees APW selling wedsites. You know, for money. This has always bothered me about APW, as you guys know: the simultaneous anti-WIC preaching and advertising of expensive wedding shit. Once upon a APW comment thread, Meg explained her rationale:

Here at APW we talk a lot about making a wedding budget that is created around  what makes you happy. IE, do what you love and ditch the rest. I (to my great  surprise) cared a lot about creating custom invitations, which we did with help.  That excited me, but I was willing to totally ditch a lot of other things, (no  DJ, no florist, no favors, no night wedding, etc.) to help make that happen. I  spent on what I loved, and got rid of the other stuff all together.

Well, I’m not buying it. The idea of choosing to spend more on things that are important to you is not revolutionary, it is the everyday life of all adults. So that is really not the point. It’s also not a question of choosing which luxuries you will include: I’ve looked up the stats and run the damn numbers, and most people are struggling just to figure out how to afford the basics (venue to fit people, refreshments to give them). Does no one else get frustrated about the disconnect in APW’s messages?

Argh, I feel like I could talk in circles for hours about APW. I have mixed feelings about it, because some of the content there is actually valuable. Plenty of people see no problems at all though, and it’s interesting to watch how the brand of Meg herself is a central part of APW’s business model. The fact that a business based on weddings can write a whole slew of posts about Amtrak, and people find it relevant and interesting, is testament to the fact that for a lot of readers, APW is about Meg, and not necessarily weddings. I think this is key in the other stuff APW gets away with, like repeatedly asking people to buy the book both online on the release date as well as on the book tour.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the reaction to APW selling unnecesary wedding shit is nothing but one of support (I’m looking at you Rogue!), but I am disappointed. Anywho, here is a list of places where you can get FREE wedding websites that will do what you need, and that make me feel like the world is a wonderful place:

www.mywedding.com
www.projectwedding.com
www.bigdaypage.com
www.weddingwire.com
www.weddingannouncer.com

PS. Rogue, I still love you.

This month in wedding blogdom: Honest monetisation, and having the guts to criticise

Commentary from the frontlines of the wedding blog world

Figuring our how to monetise successful blogs in a way that doesn’t compromise their spirit is a perrenial issue. Plenty of wedding blogs that are fundementally about consumerism and selling the the WIC dream, either exist as adverts (Martha Stewert Weddings), or bring in the cash via adverts, without any moral dilemma. But what about the blogs whose entire message is that you don’t need all this stuff?

This month A Practical Wedding kicked off its money-making Vendors Directory project, where vendors will pay a fee to be listed. Shortly after, APW announced there will also be a Venue Directory, where couples who have married will submit personal reviws of the venues they used. It’s interesting that these are operating completely differently.

For instance, right in the announcement for the Venue Directory, Meg notes that it is not a revenue generating project, as if expecting kudos, and as if the benefit of user-submitted reviews doesn’t directly negate the benefit of the Vendors Directory, where vendors will just review themselves (also known as advertising).

The thing is, the nature of business is such that adverts are never trustworthy. In this case, supposedly because APW is filtering the ads (for instance, vendors must support same-sex couples), we can therefore trust these vendors a little bit more. The glaring question then is: if this is so awesome, why not incorporate the venues thing into this model? Or: if the Venue Directory is so awesome, why not have a the vendors incorporated in that model? They contradict each other.

The reason, of course, is that Meg is trying to make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does mean she doesn’t get to receive kudos for saying one the projects isn’t about making money.

But then this isn’t the first time Meg has dealt with a little controversy around monetisation. Last year, the results of an APW reader survey revealed some dislike of the ubiquitous posts-that-are-actually-ads, aka sponsored posts, that are the first thing you see 2 out of very 5 days you check APW. Meg thought the criticism was about women’s lack of support for other women making money:

I think as women we do a really good job about shaming each other about money. When was the last time you saw a guy tell another guy that because his new creative project was making money, he was a sellout? I mean, basically never, right? Guys say things like, “DUDE. That’s so awesome that you’re doing so well.” And women say things like, “Have you thought about how you’re selling out and destroying the soul of your endeavor by making this much money?” Because, you know, we’re ladies. We’re supposed to give things away for free, because we’re nurturers. Nurturers of the world, apparently, for free.  So I need to learn how to turn those voices off, and see success as an ok thing. And yes, see MONEY as an ok thing. Even for me. As a woman. As a wife.

(Read more: http://apracticalwedding.com/2011/04/reclaiming-wife-women-money-and-self-worth-part-ii/#ixzz1WaKUZNvD)

Of course, what Meg missed is that the dislike of heavy use of ads is not about anyone’s personal feelings towards her. In fact we can assume anyone who took the survey is probably a big fan. Here is what it’s really about: People look at blogs in order to read something interesting and/or entertaining. Sponsored posts are neither interesting nor entertaining, especially when they’re about a random unaffordable photographer that’s in a different country from you.

In other news, Ariel at Offbeat Bride launched a new blog under the Offbeat umbrella, and this one is about the business side of her blogs. She’s explicit that Offbeat Bride was launched as a marketing tool for her book, and I have no qualms about her use of sponsored posts and ads because a) she’s never promoted anti-consumerism as a key message, b) they’re not the first thing you see half the time, and c) she’s never begged readers for donations (*cough*). She still gets complaints though. Her take on it is ‘Read the disclaimers, people!’

Meanwhile Hindsight Bride and Rogue Bride have collaborated to produce a podcast they call the Bridal Koolaid Cocktail Hour. Among other things, they make fun of a photo in which a bride poses in the squat position, and I thought a hearty ‘hell yeah’ to myself throughout listening to it. Hindight and Rogue seem a little hesitant about the criticism they dish out, but I say screw that. For as you can see, even APW is not sacrosanct in my book 🙂