GMA on Saving Money on Weddings: Ministers of Misinforma​tion

An Open Letter To Good Morning America:

saving moneyLast year it was 20/20; this year it’s Good Morning America. What do they have in common? A lack of research or understanding of weddings, and absolute trivialization and over simplification of the planning or execution of the event.

My name is Andy Ebon. I publish the Wedding Marketing Blog, targeted to wedding business professionals, and speak to the same audiences at seminars, conferences and conventions throughout the year, across North America and beyond. Prior to my marketing and speaking career, I spent 26 years in DJ Entertainment. Suffice it to say, I have enough direct wedding experience with brides, grooms, and wedding industry to qualify my comments.

Rather than refute the advice outlined in your series, I prefer to take a different approach. The most misused term in wedding planning is the word budget. Without the services of a professional wedding planner, it is the rare bride that has itemized a realistic budget.

When bride refers to a ‘budget’, she really means the amount of money she has set aside for the wedding an reception or funds ‘at her disposal’. What different levels of service cost and their relative impact is an item by item decision. If the overarching goal is to ‘SAVE MONEY… as much as humanly possible, on all fronts’, there will be failures and lots of them.

I take no condescending view of couples with limited funds. My wife and I paid for our own wedding, and experienced many of the same difficult choices. And indeed, there are a few things I would do differently, in retrospect.

In making wedding decisions, the reality is: The choices may have disproportionate impact on the overall event. These decisions may have no relationship to the money saved or spent.

Selecting an officiant is not a big-dollar expense, but if they call the bride the wrong name or forget that her father passed away and are somehow expecting him to walk her down the aisle, it’s a painful experience. The money saved is no longer the issue. The ceremony and reception are tainted at the outset.

In the digital world of the last 20-30 years, virtually everyone has music, photos, and video at their fingertips. That does not make anyone who owns a smart phone a professional disc jockey, photographer or videographer. The knowledge, professionalism, and decision making is born of training, continuing education, and years of experience. It is the height arrogance and ignorance to suggest that anyone could be both bride or groom and simultaneously and DJ their own wedding.

It is just as unrealistic to be so overconfident as to expect that one might make hundreds of correct decisions on the first try, rather than look to professionals for their collective wisdom.

Whether it’s the nuances of decor and floral design, catering or baking, among so many others, it’s important to know the limits of one’s own expertise. In the end, a wedding experience can succeed at any price point, provided a bride and groom understand the important questions to ask, what the answers mean, and the interrelated importance of each decision.

Most people will tell you experience of their wedding day is second, only to the birth of their first child.

It is a shame that GMA has provided little quality information to help brides and grooms make superior decisions in planning their wedding.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon

Wedding Marketing Expert

The Wedding Marketing Blog

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