The New Art of Capturing Love: A Book Review

Capturing LoveThe New Art of Capturing Love represents itself as The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. That is true, but the book is far more all-encompassing. Certainly, it is written, in large part, through the eyes of a wedding photographer and all interesting possibilities in LGBTQ weddings.

The Co-Authors are:

Kathryn Hamm, President of GayWeddings.com, the pioneering online wedding boutique and resource for same-sex couples. Kathryn also serves as a member of the WeddingWire Education Team.

Thea Dodds is an award-winning photographer and Founder of Authentic Eye Photography.

The overall tone of ‘Capturing Love’ is warm, thoughtful, and illuminating. While the world of heterosexual weddings, including various religions, cultures, and ethnicities, have roots and practices dating back thousands of years. The presence of same-sex marriage, from a legal standpoint (in the United States), is a product of the new millenium. In a flurry of legal proceedings during recent months,

Same-sex marriage is legal in a majority of U.S. states and recognized by the United States federal government. Same-sex marriage is legal in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and ten Native American tribal jurisdictions.”

Source: Wikipedia

Both, in words and pictures, the authors share the nuances, challenges, options, and potential land-mines faced by wedding couples and wedding professionals surrounding them. As expressed by the authors, you will feel the many points of view, converging on the event.

Assume Nothing: There is nothing boilerplate about a LGBTQ wedding. Even the most seasoned wedding professional, reading this book, will think, “Wow, I never considered that!”

Some examples cited include:

  • PDA – Public Display of Affection – Is the wedding couple comfortable with PDA? Have they ever kissed in public? Will they be comfortable with it?
  • Family Acceptance – What are the parental politics? Are they accepting or not-so-much? How about other family members?
  • Wedding Attire – These decisions are as varied as can be. Explore softly, listen intently, understand.
  • Rapport between the wedding couple and wedding professionals is paramount.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Kathryn Hamm and I are both part of the WeddingWire Education Team. As of this writing, we’ve been part of four out of five WeddingWire World conferences. Kathryn has a gentle way of addressing tricky issues, without making people feel uncomfortable.

And sometimes, she is direct. At our second WeddingWire World in Washington, D.C., Kathryn pulled me aside and said, “There’s something I need you to do for me… (without missing a beat) Stop saying Bride and Groom, and begin saying, Wedding Couple.”

The de-programming of 35+ years in the conventional wedding industry was going to take some time. I realized, immediately, this was good advice, and it wasn’t about being politically correct. It was about being inclusive. Now, when I complete a presentation, I flashback to remember how many times I got it right, self-corrected myself, or missed the brass ring. I’ve shown a lot of improvement 🙂

Understanding What is New to Us

Every wedding professional should read ‘Capturing Love’, not just for business reasons, but to see the world, more clearly, through the eyes of others. That is the meaning of empathy, and it’s a powerful thing.

I’d tell you more, but absorbing the narrative and images are a personal growth experience. Enjoy it at your own pace.

Andy Ebon

 

 

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Book more brides? MAYBE NOT… Read this post, first!

book more bridesBooking weddings is not a one-way ticket. Sometimes we forget. Invariably, the clues are there, but we choose to ignore them.

And then… we regret it…. the week leading up to the wedding (sometimes sooner), on the wedding day, and often beyond. I have learned to appreciate the post-wedding challenges experienced by videographers and photographers. Their client work seems to drag on, in perpetuity.

Some symptoms you may recognize, include:

  • Being Contrary: It comes in many forms. Bride vs. you. Bride vs. Groom/ Bride vs. Parents. Bride vs. Maid of Honor. Mind you, it’s not always the bride being contrary. One needs to analyze the bride’s personal ecosystem… or as I like to say, the immediate family, in-laws, and outlaws. When the key players are constantly at odds, eventually they’ll turn on you.
  • Throwing the fee in your face: As a measure of insecurity and buyer’s remorse, the bride keeps reminding you about what she is paying your company, and questioning whether it will be worth it. Even though you’ve been hired, you may not have fully closed the sale, emotionally. Address it, solve the issue, or send her packing, refund in hand. If you handle it, properly, she will recommit, fully.
  • Last Minute Booking: You know the phone call… the bride and groom hired some third-rate amateur who has now moved to the Island of Who-Knows-Where… and… uh, they need you for this weekend because their prior hire is MIA. Then they complain about your price; especially because they lost their deposit. That’s a THEM problem, not a YOU problem.
  • Expectation of a bad outcome: The bride or groom rattle off every bad act they’ve seen at friend’s weddings and project them onto their wedding… and YOU. This gloomy outlook morphs into a self-fulfilling prophecy. KEEP CLEAR!
  • Confusing your preparedness with failure:Oneof of the differences between and professionalcompanyandaschlockmeister is minimizing risks. Back up gear and plans (microphones, amplifiers, batteries, cameras, cables, liability insurance, etc.) are key.
    • I remember a groom taking a somewhat smart-ass pessimistic view of my extensive back-up plans and saying, “So, how often do your amplifiers fail?” Rather than respond in kind, I calmly thought loud and said, “Let’s see… our company works about 400 events a year, and the last time an amplifier failed was over two years ago. But here’s the thing, if it’s YOUR wedding or anyone’s event, if an amplifier fails, I can’t plug in the warranty. I’m sure when you start your car, you don’t expect to have a flat, but you always carry a spare. You wouldn’t take a chance on a flat tire in your own car, would you hire a limo without a spare?”   I booked that wedding… 🙂 with positive vibes, going forward.

NoI’m certain you have stories of your own… with their own set of symptoms and indicators. We need to trust our instincts, and not oversell the situation. Better not to make EVERY sale.

Feel free to contribute a story by leaving a comment.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Wedding Marketing Propaganda and Disinformation

Update, 1/21/13 – In recent days, and going forward, the Wedding Industry is dealing with public relations black eye, courtesy of ABC’s 20/20. Friday, the show aired a segment called, Wedding Confidential. As well as the series of blog post I’m writing on 20/20, I thought it would be good to share a flashback of this blog, featuring a video from Fox 5 Chicago. It, too, presents a skewed view of ‘saving money for the bride.’ It demonstrates how a single credible interview can do a lot of damage.

Update 1/28/11 – The Assets of Bella Pictures were to CPI, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart and Sears.


wedding marketing propaganda
Pinocchio Syndrome

NEWS ANALYSIS AND OPINION of The Wedding Marketing Blog

This interview starts calmly enough, with Wedding Channel Co-Founder and Bella Pictures Co-Founder and VP of Business Development, Jenny Lefcourt being interviewed by Fox 5 Chicago TV Personality, Jan Jeffcoat.

The segment is purportedly about ‘saving money on your wedding in today’s economy.‘ It quickly devolves into a badly conceived infomercial for Bella Pictures, accompanied by a hodgepodge of mostly bad advice and misinformation about a whole range of choices facing the bride.

Fox’s Jeffcoat overly credits Lefcourt’s association with the Wedding Channel. That is a past incarnation, no longer current at the time of the interview. Lefcourt never corrects her, leaving some uncertainty as to whether she is a neutral expert or representing Bella Pictures.

After this interview aired, the Wedding Channel had to issue a firm disclaimer, stating clearly that Lefcourt was no longer associated with their firm, and they were in no way endorsing her on-air comments.

After a few days and a fair amount of heat from various directions Lefcourt wrote a very soft apology letter (PDF) (Dear Wedding Industry). The retraction is never as helpful as the original sin, however. It is clear (at least to me) that the interview (like most interviews) is prepped with talking-points and planned questions by the show’s producer. That’s common practice, but it does not serve the viewer well, in this instance.

There is nothing spontaneous about the questions or answers. To suddenly have wedding industry professionals believe that, in retrospect, mistakes or misstatements were made accidentally, is pure bunk. It was not until industry forces applied pressure that Lefcourt and Bella took a small step in retreat.

Please view the video two to three times to get the full effect of it. Please share this with every wedding professional you know. It is the worst kind of propaganda and disinformation. Things like this should never go unchallenged.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

What if ‘failed weddings’ fell out of the sky?

Failed WeddingsBack in the early years of the United States space program, every step was breaking new ground. One of the strategies was creating system redundancies, in case of failures out in space. A spare-tire-strategy was utilized for virtually everything, certainly for critical systems.

From a selling situation, many brides have become incredibly over-confident about their chances of universal success. Wedding failures can occur incrementally, or happen from one simple oversight or technical failure.

“Let’s face it, when we jump in a car, we don’t expect to have a flat, but we carry a spare for the rare occasion when it becomes a critical necessity.”

That’s not a negative approach. That’s an outlook of proper preparation and advisable caution, every time.

It strikes me, from a tactical selling standpoint, that as a vendor, one would be using F.U.D. – Fear, Uncertain & Doubt. NASA would temper decisions by suggesting…

‘Are you really comfortable with THIS PARTICULAR DECISION going to the LOWEST BIDDER.’ 

The tone is yours to choose. Perhaps tongue-in-cheek. Maybe dead-serious. That depends on the prospect, and what you need to do to focus their attention on details that differentiate your company. It’s rarely one item that separates you. But build one element upon the next, and suddenly you pull away from the pack, becoming the obvious choice, in the mind of the prospect.

I argue that if a wedding professional has not made a powerful selling argument that creates separation between its company and another, they buyer defaults to a lowest bidder tendency. Amazingly, both brides and other wedding professionals vaguely expect that others will be prepared for most eventualities… As said on Hertz commercials, “Not Exactly!”

It is rare that most brides are aware of questions and issues that may cause their wedding or reception to crash and burn. Your preparation and thinking of the smallest detail and defense strategy, so that bride doesn’t have to concern herself, is a selling strategy.

“Would you risk the failure of the biggest day of your life to the lowest bidder?” 

Properly framed, it’s a question worth asking, in your own variation. The notion of PERFECT is ludicrous. The visual fear of a wedding falling out of the sky is dramatic. As it should be!!

If you are better prepared than your competition, that will be one more arrow in your sale quiver. You don’t get any points by failing to use it.

Now, go make a sale!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog