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What I Think About “Wedding Styling”

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

What I Think About Wedding Styling | A Practical WeddingI just received an email from a graduate student in marketing (as far as I can tell) , wanting to know what I thought about wedding styling, and wedding stylists. WEDDING STYLING. You know, when you hire someone to make your wedding look like someone else’s vision of cool, or pretty, or acceptable.

Can we talk about this crap? Can we talk about this new fresh hell that the wedding industry is trying to inflict on us? Because f*ck me. Seriously. In case you’re wondering, my response was that I thought wedding styling was ‘a cynical manipulation of women’s insecurities at a vulnerable transitional state in their lives.’ Not that I’m at all, you know, opinionated on that. Or that the idea that people are now trying to sell you wedding styling makes me so enraged that I want to run around and stick scissors into peoples eyes. Or anything.

East Side has said it better that I have, so just for your reference:
Your wedding is not a photoshoot
They were just smart enough to capitalize on what the cool girls have been doing forever

So. In short. Do not let wedding blogs, wedding magazines, wedding planners, other peoples wedding pictures, wedding porn, or F*cking wedding stylists make you feel insecure about your own style and your own taste. I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE A COOL GIRL, and that your taste is always going to be infinitely cooler and more authentic then someone who makes you feel insecure about yourself so you’ll hire them to make you feel better. Period.

(Climbs off soapbox and puts it away. For now.)

Picture: This is what a cool girl looks like. The real thing. Not some fake styled B-S. (Peony::Love herself as shot by her sister on Polaroid. The whole wedding is back here.)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit

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  • east side bride

    those poor grad students won't know what hit em!

  • July

    I'm going to hang this on my fridge and point to it every time my fiancee talks about hiring someone.

  • Catherine

    Hehehe. I could not agree with you and the awesome ESB more.

  • K

    Wedding style? How about Married? Whoops, maybe I'm getting style mixed up with theme.

    Silly me.

  • Annie Nilsson

    Argh! Amen. I couldn't get over the first time I came across this. "Check out this gorgeous, vintage-chic, DIY wedding, styled by the fabulous so-and-so!"

    As if the actual COUPLE GETTING MARRIED was just some authentic, but expendable prop.

    Drives me bonkers.

  • Abby-Wan Kenobi

    Amen. At some point can't a wedding be just a wedding?

  • agirl

    I love it when you get mad.

  • Stefanie Kalem

    Thank you so much for this blog entry. We're just starting to plan in earnest and all the professionally planned, 100K "vintage-chic-styled-by" wedding blogs were beginning to get me down.

  • Mrs T

    This post is why you are a champ Meg.

  • Jen

    Exactly! This is what I think every time I see an ad for the show "My Fair Wedding." It drives me nuts! He takes the bride's wishes, flips them upside down and makes her like every other bride. The show's catchphrase is "Every Bride has a vision. He has revisions." It makes me cringe every time. They advertise him as being able to "enhance" and "upgrade" your wedding. Why does the wedding industry want us to think that our weddings aren't lovely just on their own?

  • Akron Art Museum Teen Council

    I just don't understand when wedding blogs style something as an example of how things should look. This is not a real wedding but here's a table that we arranged and some models that look pretty hip.

    I got married last week and I keep thinking that those blog photos never capture the pure bliss, happiness and crazy emotion that is part of a really great wedding. It's something you can't advise on and cupcakes, calligraphy and mismatched thrift store plates have nothing to do with creating it.

  • Eco Yogini



  • accordionsandlace

    As soon as you need someone to style you to look cool, you're not cool. Confidence is cool.

  • Bria

    thank you thank you thank you!
    we're 6 mos. away and i have been hearing the question: "what is your theme"? wtf? im pretty sure the "theme" is WE GET MARRIED

    sub theme: dance our asses off

  • Ms. Read

    I am a married lady but I came across your post and I gotta say a big huge AMEN!

  • Meg

    If you have a wedding stylist your wedding is NOT DIY.

    F* that.

  • lyn

    Yes, yes, and yes.

  • Carrie

    I know it was a typo, but "engraged" is my new favorite word.

  • Giggles

    Our style for our wedding last week was, "Us" and our theme was "inside jokes between the bride and groom" and we loved every minute of our day and everyone around us said it was a lot of fun and one of the better weddings they'd ever been to. Seems like our style worked just fine, and we didn't even have to pay ourselves to get it!

  • Peonies and Polaroids


    (I love you when you're angry)

  • One Barefoot Bride

    hmmm…. seems like one of the first tenets of marketing is: "know your audience." i hope this student is in only her/his first semester!

  • A Los Angeles Love

    Wedding styling has been my PET EFFING PEEVE since I started down this engaged path. We (of the non-stratospheric wealth) don't hire personal stylists to find our clothes, nor should we start thinking wedding stylists are required or appropriate to get married.

    Can we also discuss the wide-ranging use of benches in fields by (some) wedding stylists? WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU RAN ACROSS VINTAGE CHAIRS AND BENCHES IN A FIELD?!!! If it seemed silly the first time, before you submerged yourself in wedding blogs, it's still silly.

    Meg, please sass like this more often. I miss it.

  • Lindal

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. To you and all the the sassy, savvy bloggers out there who call it like it is and have given me the confidence to run free and true to ourselves through this wedding thing. I am off to marry the man I love – blissfully, peacefully, simply, honestly.
    Ps I rarely use the word 'wedding' these days. Saying 'marriage' instead, keeps everything in perspective and the little stuff just falls away.

  • Anonymous

    I'm more enraged at the show where David Tutera shows up to critique the wedding plans of some sweet unassuming lower-middle-class couple, and then upgrades their wedding to something they would never be able to afford even if they saved for a lifetime.

    How is this helpful to any couples who are watching who don't have access to that kind of money?

    He designs weddings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for couples where half the grooms are in dire need of dental work!

    Anyone else notice this?

    He seems like a nice enough wedding planner, but how about showing these couples how to achieve a nice wedding on their actual budget? You know, the budget they had before the show stepped in and financed the whole shebang.

  • polkadotcupcake

    hey meg,
    I have no words to express what an incredible breath of fresh air you are in the wedding blogosphere. I look at the perfectly 'styled' weddings, and I panic sometimes that mine will never be like that. And then I remember, that I don't need to be like that. My love fell for me because I'm real, I'm rumpled, I'm never perfectly styled. And as such, there is no need to hanker after a perfectly styled wedding.

    and you have just confirmed that. So thank you.

  • katk

    Thank you for this! I get so crazed about how I'm supposed to have a "theme." I was thinking of plain invitations that say across the top "A Wedding is a Theme." And leave it at that.

  • Liz

    um, meg.

    you say these things as if the wedding day is about something more important than what some stylist tells you is going to look good in photos.


  • Anonymous

    Thank you. THANK YOU. I'm getting married SATURDAY (yes I'm getting nervous – for the wedding part, not the marriage part) and the last thing I need to worry about is that my wedding vision isn't stylish enough or that people will judge it – I just want to have FUN and BE MARRIED. Stylish or not.

  • Geezees Custom Canvas Art

    Fantastic…Loved it!

  • K



    haha. i get angered just thinking about it.

    JUST GET MARRIED PEOPLE. live your wedding. stop posing for photo albums that you'll NEVER LOOK AT.

  • Marie

    Sigrid…you said it for me! I too get panic on the "perfect" wedding blogs.

    But I'm NOT PERFECT!

  • Stephanie

    Yes, thank you for posting this! I pour over these wedding blogs in my Google reader every day and start to give myself agita because I can't afford color coordinating parasols and peacock feathers for my wedding. I've already fallen for too much of the Long Island wedding hype, now I feel much better about reining it in. THANK YOU!

  • Cinara

    At first I wondered if maybe this service might be useful for someone who has no idea about visual aesthetics. But, if you are someone who knows nothing about visual aesthetics, here's what you do:

    1) Pick a venue you like, or that has particular meaning for you. Have chairs.

    2) Enough about centrepieces: put something fun or awesome in the middle of your table. Like candy, or a jigsaw or something.

    3) Have some sort of flowers if you want.

    4) Be in love with one another, and your guests will be too teary to even see your decorations.

    5) Solved.

  • Sue

    Thank you. I needed to read this and remember what’s important. Its a REVELATION!!!!!

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