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Michael Lenstra
Michael Lenstra
My daughter, Megan, got engaged in October. Her fiancé is a super guy – a former Eagle Scout, old car enthusiast, loves to cook and is a mechanical engineer. She did well. As a longtime wedding pro this gives me the opportunity to see weddings from a different perspective. Although my son got married seven years ago as parents of the groom we were not asked to be involved much. We picked up the bar tab, helped find a location for the rehearsal dinner and I was told where to go to get measured and pick up my tux. That was pretty much the extent of it. Having a daughter get married though makes it much more up close and personal, and yes, expensive.

She began her journey of course by announcing the big news to all of her family and friends, then set out to check out venues both back at home and in the city she is currently living and working. Over the holidays she did some planning and downloaded a wedding checklist on what to do and when to do it. In January she attended a pair of bridal shows.

I was content to sit back and observe just to see how a bride-to-be approaches her wedding and what the priorities are for her. Of course not everyone is the same but this is what I caught:

• The DJ is not the priority. Maybe it’s because this is my field and my daughter and fiance just assume I’ll recommend or find someone that’ll be great in this aspect. So far though not a question has been asked about this element of their wedding.

• Color scheme is a big thing. After my wife, Megan, and our youngest daughter spent well over an hour on a video call comparing colors and looking at different sites for schematic ideas I finally interjected and said “you know, no one is going to remember the colors two weeks after your wedding,” thinking this may change the perspective and make the decision much easier. To that though Megan replied, “I will Dad, when I look at the pictures years from now.” So much for the interloping dad!

• Speaking of photography, that was another top priority. Megan, along with her fiancé Nick, looked at several websites and talked with some personally at the bridal shows. Finally after choosing one my daughter texted me and explained what factors went into her decision.
“We looked at some others,” she wrote, “but they don’t compare to [Amanda’s] editing. She’s at the top of our photographer budget, but it’s worth it.”

• From there it was onto the wedding dress and after visiting four bridal shops and trying on an estimated 35-40 dresses she found the perfect fit. Next up it’s official invites to the wishful bridal party members and bridesmaid dress hunting. Still no thought or questions on emcee, entertainment and DJ,

All of this makes me question if my daughter’s approach is the norm or the exception? If it is the former, I have to wonder, have we as an industry failed to convey our value? For years we’ve been trying to educate our wedding couples on the benefits of finishing their wedding day with a great celebration led by a talented emcee and DJ with professional ethics. We’ve even gotten a boost from many of our wedding related websites and magazines on that subject. Have our efforts been futile? Has our failure to do so contributed to the fact that we are still one of the lowest paid services in the wedding industry?

There’s no doubt that digital and streaming have devalued music over the years. Has it also devalued those that use it to entertain?
Until next week,