As we slowly step out of spring, with all the magnolias, cherry blossoms and wysteria strewing nature's very own confetti across our streets, we're hot footing into summer, aka WEDDING SEASON! The best things I like about weddings are:
1) Canape Hour - MY FAVOURITE BITE-SIZED morsels. They don't even have to taste good. By the time they're served I've been so starved being on whatever trendy-juice diet for days to try and squeeze into my outfit and survived through however long the commute to the venue was. I am literally chasing the server around with the platter and fighting off everyone else before permanently parking myself outside the kitchen door.
2) The Ceremonial Vows - I don't know why, I get well emosh when I listen to the vows being exchanged, especially between friends. Gets me proper teary. Maybe it's a heady combination of all the adrenaline of getting to the ceremony on time and the abject hunger. Maybe it's because it's genuinely lovely to watch and hear two people surrounded by their nearest and dearest publicly acknowledge their lifelong commitments to each other. Aww.
3) The Guests - here's the thing, they don't even have to be people I would get along like a house on fire with or necessarily like. I also love meeting absolute weirdos and douchebags because they give me SO MUCH banter-content for later in life. Who doesn't like to giggle about THAT douchy best man who starts over-sharing cringe-worthy anecdotes during the speech??
4) WEDDING CAKES - But of course. This is typically our busiest time with enquiries and orders of large, lovely tiered wedding cakes. We've even got a few Horn of the Unicorn croquembouche orders for this season and I'm so excited! Plus I'm baking for a few dear friends' and family's weddings as well which is like adding up EVERYTHING I love about weddings all in one!
But as we all know, weddings are pretty stressful, hence why normal, lovely people turn into Bridezillas/Groomzillas. This is all part and parcel of the cottage "wedding industry" but, surprisingly, is not the bit I hate the most about the "industry" as such. What I do hate about it is the following myth that starts rearing its ugly head and crops up everywhere like clockwork, from mainstream media to blogs and forums and everyday idle chat and enquiries -
Wedding Vendors and Suppliers are Grabby Rip Offs
In the past week alone I've seen a blog post describing wedding vendors in a sweeping generalisation as "craven rip off merchants", a video by Stylist magazine about how to win at wedding fairs by scoring lots of freebies by providing fake email addresses in return (it's since been deleted after a massive backlash), another big wedding blog claiming they were "SO OVER over-priced florists" and the Daily Mail chiming in with similar comparing Lidl flowers to professional florists work for comment bait (let's face it...anyone who heads to the Mail is going for the comments!). That's just the tip of the iceberg in what seems like a wide-spreading sentiment of distrust and resent on...well...wedding suppliers.
The greatest injustice in this unfair misconception is in the fact that wedding vendors on the whole would give their arm and leg in exchange of getting paid what they actually deserve. Very few other industries require so much attention, hand-holding and human hours even BEFORE the sale has been made. Come to think of it...the only other ones I can think of are luxury yachts, housing and car manufacturing?! Most people don't consider budgeting as much as they would on a yacht or a house as they would on a cake, as much as I'd love them to...
Saying that...this croquembouche is one of the most expensive items to order from us...and STILL much cheaper than that yacht ;)
From the stages of even getting the enquiry through the door/inbox by maintaining their websites, spending ££££s on exhibiting at wedding fairs (where...ahem...brides are being advised to give out fake email addresses for freebies...cough cough) and marketing their products and services, to responding to demanding enquiries (because every bride is special, every wedding is unique and it is the most important day of their lives), the design/consultation phase, and THEN being extremely conscious of pricing and quotes so as to beat the incredibly stiff competition. This is ALL before any sale has even been made, and often goes unnoticed in terms of time value when it comes to getting paid, especially when it's a bespoke/creative product or service such as floristry, dress designing, catering, stationery, photography, hair and make-up artists, planning etc and duh, wedding cakes which is what the industry is largely made up of.
To add much needed colour to this myth, it's worth mentioning that most vendors are independent small businesses, often self employed without a regular paycheck. They all have bills, they all have families and mouths to feed, and they are all working extremely hard long hours, weekends, evenings, early mornings (florists are up at 3am and sometimes are at venues till midnight to clear up!) to do what they are passionate about while trying to make a modest and fair living. You will rarely hear of anyone in this industry with an extravagant fleet of sports cars, a private jet, offshore accounts, non-domiciled and living it large in Monaco with holiday homes in St Barts. And it makes NO SENSE for ANY OF THEM to deliberately out-price themselves and their product or service just to rip people off and to insinuate such is insulting and tedious because it.just.ain't.true.
Of course, sadly there are cases where there HAVE been rip-offs. Being a cottage industry, made up of many unregulated suppliers, you do have to do your research before parting with your hard earned dosh - there have been stories of photographers not showing up on the day, dress shops closing down and making off with deposits etc Do your research and go with your gut people! Read the reviews, follow them on social media from the time you've found them on google or at that wedding fair, interact with them and remember - pay for peanuts, get monkeys. Contrary to what the magazines and blogs say about haggling and bargaining, JUST DON'T DO IT. Unless you have massive purchasing power, you'll actually be de-incentivising the supplier to give you their best work possible because you've beaten them into a lower quote for not much reason other than just to give them your business instead of a competitor when they could have taken the business from another couple who values them equally.
All said and done, wedding vendors are human and love to whistle while they work doing what they love doing. And isn't it nice to have your suppliers be happy to serve you? Be happy that you value them enough to be involved in one of the happiest occasions of your life?? So even if some media journos want to paint wedding vendors as Rumplestiltskin-like cretins laughing all the way to the bank I hope my post has helped to debunk this awful myth.
Lots of warm wedding fuzzy feelings,