In the wake of my last discussion post, I found myself reading through some of the comments with a heavy heart. And then Annabel wrote this post on Wednesday.  The idea that our readers might feel pressured or intimidated by what they see on Love My Dress, or any other wedding blog for that matter, saddened me.

Around the same time I stumbled across an article by Marta Segal Block of imploring women to STOP reading wedding blogs all together, that is if they wanted to 'pull off a fabulous wedding on a budget'.

Although she makes a number of good points, Block's appraisal of wedding blogs is ultimately pretty scathing. I have to admit, after some serious pondering, I felt, well… a little incensed. Interestingly, it  wasn't what she said about blogs, or the people who write them that riled me, but the image she created of readers.

How to Use a Blog to Plan Your Wedding ~ Being an 'Active' Reader... (Wedding Talk )

How about wedding blog readers that actively engage with what they see online? These women do not sit passively at their computers lapping up whatever bloggers tell them. Instead they are able to think for themselves. They're not driven purely by a desire to consume, or conform. They are astute and wise to the ways of the media – alternative, mainstream or otherwise.

You see, long before I wrote for a wedding blog, I was a reader just like you. And you know what? That's kind of how I like to think of myself.

As such, I feel more than qualified to put forward my guide to using a wedding blog to plan your wedding. I mean, that is why we're all here isn't it?!


1. Accept your wedding budget…

In my humble opinion, this is one of the most important parts of the whole wedding planning process. Not to be confused with figuring out how much you have to spend on your wedding day, what I'm talking about is making peace with that figure.

You need to accept the constraints of your budget, learn to be OK with any perceived limitations, and move forward with realistic expectations. Only then can you read blogs, flick through magazines, or chat with other engaged friends without coveting that which you can't afford.

Remember that beautiful weddings, the like of which are featured on blogs, are not simply an act of spending money, but an expression of one person's love for another. If you're going to lust after anything, make it that.

How to Use a Blog to Plan Your Wedding ~ Being an 'Active' Reader... (Wedding Talk )

Image Source: A L'Amour's Bridal Blog


2. Understand the different types of inspiration…

To my mind, there are two main types of inspiration featured on wedding blogs. For the purposes of this discussion we'll call them 'practical' and 'fanciful'.

Let's pretend your wedding is a cake. I like a good analogy, and baking is a world I'm very familiar with. Just go with me on this one…

So, you want to make a cake. You turn to your most trusted recipe book {for me it has to be Nigella, always}. You open it at the relevant page and are presented with two things – a recipe and a picture.

The recipe is your 'practical' inspiration. It tells you what to do and, to some extent, how to do it. You still need to figure out a few of the details yourself, like turning the oven on or creaming the sugar and butter till it's just the right side of fluffy and pale. For the most part though, it is inspiration you can apply directly, and with relative ease, to the task at hand.

On a wedding blog, the 'recipe' is the kind of inspiration which helps you find suppliers and source items for your wedding. It's the words and images that help you cement your ideas and aspirations for the day, while still leaving you responsible for the bulk of the 'work'. In short, practical inspiration can be the building blocks of your wedding day.

You turn to the facing page of your recipe book and begin to drool over the exquisite imagery. Nigella's cake is perfect. The sponge is plump, its delectable moistness obvious. The confection is beautifully adorned with frosting, not a drop is out of place. It is certainly something to aspire to.

You are wise though. You know all about food photography and the lengths they'll have gone to get the cake looking so good. You know it isn't real. Your cake won't look like that. Not even Nigella's does really. Yours will be beautiful, sure, but a little rougher round the edges, less 'staged'. What matters most is that it tastes good, that you enjoy it and it makes you happy.

This, in case it isn't obvious, is your 'fanciful' inspiration. On a wedding blog, this is the styled shoots and the perfectly polished images of dreamy weddings in far flung places. These things aren't always entirely unobtainable, but they aren't usually intended to be replicated identically either. 

Remember this as you devour your daily quota of wedding pretty and as you pin to your Pinterest boards in breathless anticipation of your own wedding.

How to Use a Blog to Plan Your Wedding ~ Being an 'Active' Reader... (Wedding Talk )

Image Source: Groovy Foody


3.  Be active, be realistic, but never be defeatist…

Let me tell
you about how I planned our wedding.

So much of what was included in our
day had its beginnings in something I saw or read about on a blog. I
remember one jokey email exchange with Annabel where I claimed I'd have
to credit Love My Dress on the Order of Service; such was its influence
over our celebration.

The key to reading wedding blogs for me was
to take what I saw on screen and find a way to make it happen in real
life in a way that worked for our wedding. Often it was as simple as
clicking a link to a supplier's website and making an enquiry, but
sometimes I had to think outside the box a little or put my own spin on
things to make them work. 

For me, this is what
being an 'active' blog reader is all about. By all means, be realistic.
If you've booked a village hall for your reception then the chances of
making it look like the impressively regal Fetcham Park are slim to
none. But there's no need to be defeatist. With a little bit of
imagination and lots of tenacity, I truly believe most of the things you
see on these very pages can be incorporated into your day in some way.

like to think any brides reading Love My Dress are intelligent,
stylish, and resourceful women with a strong sense of self. Why not plough these traits into your wedding planning?!

Follow links to other websites. Get
lost in our archives for a bit. Read our discussion posts. Comment. Share them with your friends.

Type things into Ebay in a bid to find them at half the price. Come up with a way to DIY it, or find someone on Etsy who'll DIY
it for you. Believe in your ability to 'style' your wedding, safe in
the knowledge that 'styling' can be just a fancy way to say 'hanging

Ask other brides how they did it. Ask us how we did it.

Engage with the Love My Dress community {facebook and twitter are great for that} and use this wonderful spot on the internet as a tool for planning your wedding day, rather than as a source of anxiety or feelings of inadequacy.

How to Use a Blog to Plan Your Wedding ~ Being an 'Active' Reader... (Wedding Talk )

Image Source:  Ello Lovey on Etsy

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

How do you use wedding blogs? Has this post made you think differently about the way you engage with them?

Are you, or would you like to be, an 'active' reader? {Leaving a comment could be your first step towards achieving that by the way!} 


How to Use a Blog to Plan Your Wedding ~ Being an 'Active' Reader... (Wedding Talk )


From now until Monday 3rd September 2012, Love My Dress will deliver a lighter, but just as
beautiful set of content – whilst Summer breaks are taken.  Thank you so much for your patience during this time.

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20 thoughts on How to Use a Blog to Plan Your Wedding ~ Being an ‘Active’ Reader…

  1. Hi there! I hope my comment on the discussion post that you referred to in the beginning didn’t contribute to your heavy heart. I didn’t mean it in that way at all! I LOVE your blog and I definitely have never gotten a bad message from it. I’m not engaged, I just like visiting your site to see the beautiful photos and read the stories and get inspiration for other things. And that’s what I think wedding blogs would be good for if I was getting married. It gives you cool ideas and tips about different ways of doing things. Have a lovely day!

  2. Oh Catharine, it wasn’t anyone comment in particular, it was a series of things that made me stop and think about the way we engage with blogs. It’s quite an old debate really, and can be applied to all kinds of media, from magazines to films to tv.
    I’m so glad you enjoy reading Love My Dress and I think it will be useful when the time comes for you to plan your own day :)

  3. Ahaha, I’m not engaged either but checking Love My Dress is the first thing I do every morning. It’s always lovely to start the day with a coffee, gazing at a beautifully photographed, beautifully put-together wedding. I’m under no illusion that when the time comes I’ll be able to afford Jenny Packham dresses and Laboutain shoes, but I’m pretty damn sure I’ll have a flower garland headpiece. Because I saw one on LMD and it took my breath away.
    And thanks to the internet, and the hundreds of tutorials out there, I’ll make it myself ;)

  4. Good morning Franky,
    We’re getting married next May and must say, Love My Dress has been a source of inspiration to me!
    We have a Teeny, tiny budget, and yet with a little forward thinking and practicality, we are going to have a beautiful day:)
    I lust over the Jenny Packham dresses, knowing I couldn’t afford one in a month of Sunday’s, plus I’d look silly as I’m hobbit sized!, I dream of having bespoke stationary and PREY that the day will run, fairly, smoothly!
    But I’m probably going to have my dress made by a friend, or buy the cute bargain I spied on etsy last night, we’re making our own stationary,that’s cost a grand total of £30!, and I’m under no illusions that something, inevitably!, WILL go wrong on the day, we have 8 children coming, one can only imagine!:/
    Love My Dress, Annabel, your lovely self and all of the beautiful brides and grooms, features and tutorials are a wonderful source of information!
    I have tried reading wedding magazine’s, they tick me off!!!, I HAVEN’T tried on any wedding dresses and we’re so laid back about it all, it’s slightly scary!
    What I’m trying to say, is that I agree with you, as a baker myself:), the recipe and the end result ARE two different thing’s, it’s the fun and effort you put in and have doing it that counts, no matter WHERE your inspiration comes from, but from the day we got engaged and I typed “vintage weddings” into the search engine and stumbled upon this blog, I have been safe in the knowledge that while we may not have millions to spend, like many of the B&G’s on here, a beautiful wedding can be achieved.
    Keep on blogging!

  5. Hello!
    I love browsing wedding blogs! My faves all have a wonderful mixture of featured weddings in terms of budget, style, setting etc. Seeing how people create their weddings with the little details and make them beautiful whether at a village hall or a mansion house is very inspring. We are getting married next May and our reception is at a village hall, I am under no illusion we can make it into a grand setting but seeing other weddings helps with the conviction that making our day reflect us, with lots of little details and fun will make our day perfect!
    Also as someone who is struggling to find ‘the’ dress, its brilliant to see brides of all shapes and sizes rocking their chosen ones :-)
    Basically you’re brill!
    Lizzy x

  6. Hiya! I am a self confessed wedding blog addict and I have recently become a ‘real bride’ blogger on another site. I LOVE all things wedding, in fact, I eat sleep and breathe it… much to my partners dismay. What I am really scared about is what do I do afterwards? When the wedding is over, I am going to be lost. Truthfully I think I will still read wedding blogs, they are just so pretty! I enjoy them so much it’s almost made me wish I work in the wedding industry so I can bathe in prettiness all day haha.
    At first I was quite overwhelmed by all the different ideas, but once I had sat down and decided exactly what the theme and feel of my day was going to be (and stuck to it), I could then look at wedding blogs and take from them what I needed without feeling too pressured. I love reading the stories and seeing the different brides interpretations of their big days. Wedding blogs are a daily routine for me now, I make sure I catch up with all the posts if I miss any. I don’t think I could of planned my wedding as ‘pretty’ without them. Sometimes we need a little inspiration to bring our own ideas to life.
    Love wedding blogs me! :-) xx

  7. What I find interesting and rather confusing, is the idea that wedding blogs ‘make’ people think they have to spend a lot of money, or have the grandest affair ever… I would say Bridal magazines do that far more than blogs (although to be fair they are changing their tune slightly…), which tend to feature a much wider range of weddings, quite often done on a budget, or with lots of DIY details, or with more alternative choices. Or perhaps that’s just the ones I choose to read.
    As you say Frankie, the idea that we all sit here glazed eyed, going ‘Right, I simply must have ever single detail from all these weddings and spend a fortune and have the PERFECT day, is greatly insulting! Like Sam B, I confess that when I first started looking at Love my Dress, plus a few other blogs, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the ideas out there, but at the same time greatly inspired- for such a long time I’d said I didn’t want to have a wedding, largely because I had a set idea of what a wedding was in my head (thinking tacky decorations, OTT dress and the birdy song) but it made me realise that it could be so much more than that and could really represent me and my fiance, that there really was a way of making it to our style.
    These days I do as Sam said, ohh and ah over the pretty weddings, but now I know what style and theme I’m after for my own day I – take inspriation where I find it and just admire the rest. I used to save almost every picture I saw but now I filter a lot more.
    Love my Dress and similar blogs helped me realise what I wanted from my day and that there was something to suit me. We discuss serious issues like what marriage actually means, how children should, or shouldn’t be involved and how family dynamics work. Its not just a case of ‘Look a very expensive and beautiful frock, buy it, buy it now!’ – its about making the one day we’re allowed to have what we want, how we want it, and thinking about the things surrounding our lives.
    Sorry for the length of that!

  8. I don’t feel that weddings blogs “make” us want to spend money, if anything they make me focus on what “we” want as a couple rather than what a wedding blogger says I absolutely “must” have to be an amazing bride.
    My issue with wedding blogs (and magazines) for that matter focus on “the pretty” and come out with ridiculous statements like “its all about the pretty”. I find that hugely insulting to the institution of marriage. If I wanted a really pretty party I would have a 30th. I’m not saying that we want a ceremony and no party but I think there really is a balance to be had which isn’t struck at the moment.
    For a start…Its not “all about the pretty” its about two people making a promise until death parts them and how they will love each other in sickness and in health and for richer for poorer. It has NAFF ALL to do with stripey straws or moustache sticks.
    I understand that some couples will want to personalise their big day and I do not have a problem with that AT ALL but really….do you need chalkboards AND stripey straws AND cupcake flags AND signs with arrows AND a photobooth AND dogs in bow ties (actually…yes to the last one!) AND different coloured umbrellas AND a sweetie table AND a feathery headpiece…do you need it ALL?
    No. You absolutely do not.
    I must make clear that this blog is not like others who you know “are all about the pretty” but I would like to see some more information about what MATTERS. PolkaDotBride is probably the best for this but they will tell you what readings the couple had, the vows the couple chose, what she walked down the aisle to, the feelings she had as she walked down the aisle. Rather than focussing on the style or the colour of the napkins.
    So if this is read by other bloggers, on behalf of brides everywhere can we PLEASE have some more information about the vows, the ceremony, the readings….the bits that matter?

  9. I love this blog. I browse others, but this is my staple one. Very quickly into wedding planning I just became fed up of the magazines, all promoting the same, standard-issue weddings.
    I consider myself an active reader. I like the beautiful photos and it’s helped me visualising what a wedding can be. I’ve been to too many ‘out of the box’ weddings in my life that felt impersonal and I didn’t want that.
    It’s opened my eyes to venues that weren’t hotels and how to bring personality to your day. Yes, I love the vintage style of it and although I would’ve loved a vintage style dress, 1. they don’t suit my figure, and 2. I didn’t have the budget. I did however find a dress that suits my figure, and still has a touch of vintage glamour.
    But most importantly it made me realise you don’t have to go to big, ‘commercial’ suppliers to create your wedding day, like a lot of the magazines will tell you. My dress is ‘mainstream’, it’s an Amanda Wyatt, as it suited me and my budget. All my other vendors are independents and the stationary I made myself, printed through a company I use at work. It’s made the journey so far very personal, and without a blog I probably wouldn’t have had that.
    Yes, I do get a wee bit down when I see the lovely vintage-inspired shoots, with dresses like sheaths, in expensive locations. But hey, once I’ve remembered that my wedding day is the day I planned and is the way I want it, it’s lovely to just look at the pictures and take them for what they are.

  10. “On a wedding blog, this is the styled shoots and the perfectly polished images of dreamy weddings in far flung places”
    It’s these^^ kinds of posts that I tend to flick past, disinterestedly. I devour every detail and word of the real weddings featured. I know I may be in the minority but I find styled shoots rather dull and irrelevant. Beautiful and fantastical, no doubt, but in the main they strike me as more for the indulgence of the talents involved rather than for any kind of real benefit to me as a reader looking for inspiration I can relate to.
    I agree with comments above that its the wedding magazines, not blogs (well at least not the blogs I frequent, this one included) that perpetuate outmoded ideas of what makes a wedding. They are more commercially focussed by their very nature, and this is glaringly obvious. The kind of reader of a blog like LMD will take all that with a pinch of salt, preferring a more community-led rounded source of inspiration such as this.
    What I’ve found hardest in my wedding planning is the nitty-gritty, distinctly UNglamorous matters such as the practicalities and various options of how to serve drinks at a dry-hire venue… or what the flip is going on with the marriage laws in England and how does humanism fit in (I know LMD has covered this to some extent previously)… or how on earth are we going to cover up that godawful gloss-varnished pine tongue and groove in our ceremony room? I know I’m getting a bit specific there, but you get my point. A bit of practical step-by-step would be welcome, for example the process of contacting and dealing with caterers for example, beyond the obvious ‘what questions to ask’ that get reeled off on every wedding website. Seemingly boring stuff like linen hire, glass hire etc, how venues get transformed etc etc. Amid the pretty, of course!!

  11. Oh yes, this. I’ve felt a bit all at sea at points, with ‘what do I do now?’. I’ve been very lucky and have a super flexible venue, and my events person has been hugely helpful, but not everyone has that.
    I think also, some guidance for the last few weeks leading up to the wedding. I’m there now, and I’m at a point where I think I’m going to forget stuff. I’m making endless lists, which is helping. But I feel so clueless at the moment. It’d be nice to get some hand-holding for that. I’m currently trying to work out what’d be good to have at hand on the wedding day. I’ve been told a crochet hook by my dress lady as my dress has a gazillion buttons at the back…

  12. As a newly wed I genuinely would say that our big day would not have been what it was without wedding blogs! Obviously the amazing outcome would have been the same and I am sure we would have loved it no matter what, but the confidence to do everything exactly our way would not have been the same. And obviously I am still coming back to these pages :-)
    I agree with other peoples comments regarding wedding magazines, I was given a couple in early engagement and they scared the hell out of me with 100’s of pages of glossy wedding dress adverts and nothing that reflected ‘me’. Wedding blogs opened up a new world where anything was possible and you could choose to do anything you wished to reflect yourselves. It’s what weddings should be a celebration of who you are as a couple!
    Particularly if you are on a tight budget, as we were, what better than to scour wedding blogs for ideas of how you can make or source things on the cheap. For me I would look at other peoples ideas and think ‘how could I make that’ or ‘how could I make that my own’. Although all of us avid wedding blog readers are used to seeing all this ‘alternative’ wedding pretty alot of people aren’t, and you would be surprised at how many people still think what a wedding should be. I had one florist tell me that my plan to have moss and tree stump centre pieces with wilflowers would look ‘a bit of a mess'(they turned out beautifully, exactly how I’d imagined). My mum has even had a colleague since our wedding see our photos and comment, ‘oh that’s a lovely dress, but my niece is having a proper wedding dress’. Wedding blogs I believe help you stick to your guns, as you think ‘no I have seen weddings done in 100’s of different ways!’
    I would have to say however that some american wedding blogs are a little bit intimidating, and probably a reason why I didn’t continue to read them much as they weren’t as relatable, but the british wedding blogs that I read and continue to read have actual heart behind them and you really get a feel for the authors/bloggers passion to promote a whole variety of looks/themes/religions etc.
    On a more practical note – most the wedding blogs I read I believe now function as a business and someone’s living, therefore I guess that it is a bit of a case that they need to blog ‘what sells’ and I know for one that I am guilty of wanting to see ‘the pretty’! I love seeing new updates on my Facebook page! But I also whilst looking at the pretty I am a sucker for a love story, and have many a time shed a tear whilst reading a post!
    Sorry for the long comment – weddings and all that surround are an emotive subject. But I for one would like to say thank you to wedding blogs for making my planning, my wedding, and now each day after so completely enjoyable!!

  13. “and you would be surprised at how many people still think what a wedding should be”
    It’s funny isn’t it when you’re talking about something that you’ve seen on so many blogs it feels almost too mainstream, only for people to think you’ve grown a second head for suggesting something they find wildly ‘alternative’

  14. I love browsing wedding blogs, I find them inspiring and have definitely taken some ideas from them for my own wedding but I take it all with a pinch of salt too. I’m not that daft to think I have to have everything a wedding blog tells me and if this is what this woman thinks of blog readers then I’d like to tell her what I think of her ;) I tend to focus on the SWD wedding forum a lot more than blogs. It’s full of brides bouncing ideas off each other to develop their wedding plans. It’s a lot more realistically helpful and you get so many ideas, that might not be ‘pretty’ enough for wedding blogs but they are quirky little gems of inspiration that are invaluable to me.

  15. I feel like loads of the other brides to be do – blogs help me figure out how to have a lovely day on my budget. I’ve already noticed a lot of the ten tips type articles in magazines are thinly disguised adverts for products (well, some of the time).
    I love Love My Dress – there are venues I’ve considered cos of the blog, a photographer I’d spotted via other sources that I have the confidence to approach after seein their work on here.. And the discussion posts and wisdom from brides helps me step back and think about what *really* matters. One girl said her theory was “be myself, but 10% more” or something like that and its stayed with me! It is easy to get caught up in the pretty like Becca said, but that is part of the fun of getting married!
    I’m finding it hard to wrap this comment up, but basically were not mindless consumers, were people who want to find creative and personal ways to share our love with the world, if reading a blog or 2 helps us, where’s the harm?

  16. I didn’t even read all of this post – I had to stop so I could comment instead! Honestly, we would not have had the wedding we did without Love My Dress and other wedding blogs I read! For me, reading blogs (and I actually continue to do so, even though the day is over!) was a way of seeing just how many different styles of wedding you can have and also how to get creative so that budget can stretch as far as possible. I loved the fact that some weddings are grand and all white – but the weddings I loved the most were smaller, more intimate and had very personal (often DIY touches). I bought quite a few bridal magazines too and just didn’t find the range of weddings featured in their pages that you are exposed to via blogs.
    What I took away from my so-called ‘blog addiction’ is that just as there are lots of different people in life, so are there lots of different weddings. So I set out to create a day that reflected our love and our personalities and because I saw that others had done that, I felt OK with it rather than forced into a corner to follow a pack (which can be the way at first, I was worried too much individualism at a wedding would become my regret in later years). I’m not saying our wedding was weird and wacky – it was actually pretty normal but I felt confident to make some choices that go against the grain – a simple dress but a huge necklace, a groom in a shirt and no tie, a ‘stand in’ wedding ring because I couldn’t (and still haven’t 3 months later!) found the right ring for me. I had red nails and bright blue flowers (sounds horrendous but the photos are incredible) and followed my instincts about what would look good in the setting we had.
    And all thanks to wedding blogs, I didn’t spend money that I didn’t have.
    You are doing a WONDERFUL job with Love My Dress, don’t let people who can’t think for themselves tell you otherwise.
    Oh, and I’m planning a party next (our actual wedding was very small and intimate) and I am still picking up fantastic money-saving, DIY and add your own personal touches ideas.
    Esther xx

  17. As the post said one of the most important parts of wedding planning is to accept your budget. You would be surprised what you can get now a days on a small budget if you go looking.

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