UPDATE: This is reposting of the original, posted on January 20, 2013. This is in response to a second airing of the Wedding Confidential episode, this past weekend.
On Friday night, ABC News Magazine, 20/20, led by Television Journalist, Elizabeth Vargas, presented Wedding Confidential, an alleged behind-the-scenes look at the wedding industry: Brides, Grooms, the process of selling, trends, and more.
The kindest word I can use to describe Wedding Confidential is “disappointing.”
20/20 is an American television newsmagazine (similar in-depth to a print newsmagazine) that has been broadcast on ABC since June 6, 1978. Created by ABC News executive Roone Arledge, the show was designed similarly to CBS‘s 60 Minutes but focuses more on human interest stories than international and political subjects.
Source: excerpted from Wikipedia
It was part ‘reality show’, poorly researched reporting (in most cases), appeared heavily edited for emphasis, and generally unhelpful. There were only a couple of good choices within the 44 minutes of content. Notably Chris Easter (TheManRegistry.com) and Diann Valentine.
Full disclosure: I have been a presenter at conferences with both Chris Easter and Diann Valentine. We are what I would describe as professional acquaintances and ‘friends on Facebook.’
(to) Clown: as defined in the Urban Dictionary
|v. to clown, clowning, clowned. To laugh, make fun of, or find joy in a person or event. Almost always used in a derogatory or degrading fashion.|
Wedding Industry View from ‘Under The Bus’
20/20 didn’t include much credible news reporting. If it had, the show might have resulted in some worthwhile information for brides and grooms. Sadly, and for the most part, it looked a set of predisposed conclusions defined by an assortment of third-rate reality-show characters and bad actors.
With the exceptions noted above, wedding industry businesses are cast as greedy, unethical and ruthless. Brides and grooms are portrayed as unreasonable, demanding, uninformed, and foolish.
Editing sets the Tone
The trickiest part of public relations is one’s lack of ability to control the outcome. Whether it’s a magazine, website, TV or radio show, if get coverage, you don’t make the editing choices.
For example: Anyone competing in a reality show or competition show has to sign off on a contract that limits rights in highly restrictive ways. Cameras may run when a person is not performing or even aware they are being recorded. The show may use any content it chooses to portray a person, at their discretion, through editing. That’s the risk/price for one’s 15 minutes of fame. Or in this case, just a few minutes.
A participant’s best content may be left on the cutting room floor, in favor of an unrepresentative Theater of the Absurd.
The Race to the Bottom
The truly sad part is that a prestigious show, such as 20/20 does not even look as professional as week night entertainment shows. It does not inform or educate, effectively. It attempts to entertain. In the main, it fails at that, too.
Engagement is a Process
The joy of engagement can be short-lived. Today’s wedding couple is overwhelmed with information, and rarely understand the time necessary to understand the multitude of decisions in front of them, before they make them.
It helps to have sufficient resources, but that’s not the most important factor. Making great decisions, and avoiding key bad decisions is the key to a successful wedding and reception.
There is no substitute for a professional wedding planner to help a bride and groom in shaping their priorities and budget, as a precursor to making solid choices, bundled with necessary mid-course corrections.
Going to the Video
As painful as it will be to watch Wedding Confidential again (and again), I’ve decided to review the show in segments, and share my opinions about what it communicates and accomplishes – good, bad, and indifferent.
20/20 is (or was) a credible brand (to me). It is necessary for wedding professionals to understand how they are portrayed in Wedding Confidential. Engaged couples often latch on to the first information they view or read. When it’s presented by a network news magazine, credibility is often attributed, without question. It should not be, but it is.
Normally, I would be angry with such a shoddy portrayal. Actually, I’m just sorely disappointed with such a weak effort at both news stories and entertainment.
Shame on you, 20/20… This is far below the standards of a historically credible news magazine.
Voice your displeasure with the show on their ABC 20/20 Facebook Page
Watch the entire 20/20 Wedding Confidential segment on the ABC site. It’s about 40 painful minutes of programming –
UPDATE Despite the repeat airing of this show, 20/20 Wedding Confidential is no longer available for playback on its website.
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog