What I Would Have Missed if I took this Advice

Cookie favors and DIY cake

A very talented photographer, Jonas Peterson has recently written his own “wedding-manifesto”. In it he encourages brides and industry professionals to focus on the real meaning of a wedding. He admonishes;

” You! Over there! Step away from the hay bales … No, you don’t have to put lavender on the plates, you need to wake up! We’re getting lost in details. The whole wedding industry is drifting away from what weddings are about and we’re all part of the problem – bloggers, photographers, planners and vendors – all hypocrites feeding the detail beast…

At the center of every wedding we have a girl. Who fell in love with a boy. Or a girl who fell in love with a girl. Or a boy who fell in l… you get my point.

The rest is fluff.”

Well, it got me thinking about what I would have missed had I put down the bunting, stepped away from the cake butterflies, and avoided the burlap runners – if I had skipped the DIY flowers in mason jars and ignored the impulse to make twine-wrapped favors.

Hindsight Groom sews bunting

  • I would have missed bonding with my husband over bunting. I cut and ironed while he sewed on his grandmother’s vintage singer.
  • I would have missed commiserating with my mother over Italian Cookies and recipe card favors (we each made dozens of cookies and compared notes)
  • I would have missed collaborating with my father-in-law during set-up. He arranged hundreds of Irises that he and my mother in law grew into, yup, you guessed it, mason jars and thrift store glasses
  • I would have missed the look of wonder on my guests faces as they looked at the paper flowers I crafted (they did not obsess over wedding blogs and though the flowers were delightful)
  • I would have missed honoring my grandmother, who died when I was young and who always made the most amazing and elaborate birthday cakes. I used her cake pans for my DIY wedding cake (my eyes are tearing up at this very moment thinking about it. It was such a special thing for me to do.)
  • I would have missed thinking about my guests, how to honor them, how to please them and even how to titillate them with the details– all of which I hand-picked for all of our enjoyment.
  • I would have missed feeling like a true team with my husband. I made the cake, he decorated it.
  • I would have missed my brother’s gentle teasing to not stress about the twine-tied, paper-wrapped favors. “It’s rustic,” he said of the grease spots that were seeping into the brown paper from the frosted cookies. It provided comic relief for the entire wedding party for days! What a memory!
  • I would have missed the camaraderie I enjoyed with my closest friends as we all worked together to set up the venue the morning of the ceremony.
  • Without a friend capturing video, I would have missed seeing my mom and mother-in-laws hands as each helped zip and button up my dress (I don’t have eyes in the back of my head.)
  • I would have missed the opportunity to pass my burlap onto another mountain bride, who was on a super tight budget. I met her through blogging, offered to mail her my burlap and pine cones, and forged a friendship that we both enjoy to this day!

For my family and me, we saw the wedding as a community celebration, one which we all took part. We all contributed. For us, the details were important; they brought us together in a single goal. We were able to strengthen our bond through the details.

Now of course not every bride, couple or family will feel this way. Details aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK. There really is no one-size-fits-all wedding model, whether plain or full of details.

It’s easy for industry professionals to roll their eyes at the details that fast become trends and then cliches. And I don’t expect any of us to see all of the behind-the-scenes processes that may make those details truly meaningful.  But I do remember what it was like to be a bride selecting all of those details, and the hindsight that comes from blogging about weddings every day. And looking back, I don’t regret focusing on many of those details. And I don’t believe something has to be original to be meaningful. We did the now-cliched bunting and mason jars. But even now, as I look back, they were so us. Still are. We’re both creative and thrifty. While it may seem like we were just following trends, the trends we selected were right for us. Who can judge that?

I am so grateful that we followed our hearts and made decisions that were perfect for us. And truth be told, looking back, I’m grateful to have had access to an amazingly creative industry that gave us endless ideas for our wedding, now-cliched or not.

I love my bunting




Christie Osborne
Christie Osborne has lived in or visited every mountain range in the US. Once a mountain bride herself, she's dedicated to helping mountain brides plan their weddings and find the perfect vendors. She's known in the blogging world for her no-nonsense attitude, and she loves to ski. Follow Mountainside Bride on Twitter Facebook and Pinterest.
Christie Osborne
@TheVenueAVL is one of my favorite AVL #wedding #venues. Check out my other top picks: http://t.co/g0Z55BI9kH http://t.co/uPFQ9E3bDQ - 5 hours ago
Christie Osborne


  1. says

    Nice to hear your take on Jonas Peterson’s manifesto. I read that on his blog yesterday and was like “yeah that rocks!”. Then I read this post and was like “oh, yeah good point!”. haha.

    There seems to be an odd disconnect between photographers and bloggers lately (both publicly and in private photog forums). Starting with that “dear wedding bloggers, you suck” email. At first I agreed with a lot of that, but now I can’t say that anonymous person is spot on. I keep switching “sides”. And I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that blogs and weddings are not about photographers. Most of us consider ourselves photojournalist or documentary photographers. We show up and take pictures of what happens. We don’t like to stage moments. “Can you redo that father-daughter dance? I missed it.” Nope. We don’t setup these moments, just like we don’t setup the details, light candles, fill mason jars with pinwheels, or arrange barrels of hay. That is totally up to the bride. She hires us to take pictures of what she dreamt up (whether trendy or not). We are just observers. And if a blog wants to feature the same thing over and over, that is up to them as well. Wedding blogs are research tools and inspiration for brides. For photographers, wedding blogs are advertising/marketing, press, and SEO benefits. You know what happens when a photographer tries to incorporate a detail idea into a shoot? The bride ends up holding a vintage camera in her hands and she probably isn’t even a photographer. C’mon, really, photographer? How many times have I seen that? And how does that make ANY sense? The bride might as well be holding a typewriter! Oh wait…

    Of course photographers provide the content to wedding blogs, and without our pictures blogs would not be the same. So in that regard I wish wedding bloggers would respect what we do a little more and realize a few things. Like…

    1) Give us more feedback when you don’t approve a real wedding for your blog.

    2) Don’t OVER-hpye and over-exaggerate how awesome a photographers images are. Especially when in previous posts you blogged images that were poor quality and technically off.

    3) Just because a photographer shoots with film, that does not make it automatically awesome or rad.

    4) Don’t give the impression that fashion/styled-shoots are “weddings” and are easily obtainable shots on an actual wedding day. As NYC photographer Ryan Brenizer tweeted: “A white dress doesn’t make a photo a wedding photo. The “wedding” part is kind of important.”

    There might be more. But this is getting long for a reply comment. :)


  2. says

    Love your comment and response Christie – and I just want to add that it seems everyone will have their own opinion of what blogs and photographers should be doing. {although why we’re being singled out I have no idea – magazines are as much at fault if not more. I agree that if it’s a styled shoot you must acknowledge that {which I do} and when I don’t approve a wedding, I do provide feedback. And, it’s typically because the wedding has been submitted to way to many blogs at once which isn’t the fault of the blogger and we shouldn’t be blamed for rejecting it. Photographers need to sure the blog they are submitting to fits the wedding they want to share. Ok, enough said

  3. says

    Well, bravo. As both a wedding photograph [who, unfortunately regularly gets wedding sumbissions bursting at the seams with a heck of a good story and great imagery turned away from the ‘big blogs’] and very recent DIY –to-the-max-mason-jar-mountain bride, ever since the ‘Dear Bloggers’ post I’ve sadly been feeling so wishy-washy about this whole topic…but, Christie, your most recent statement very much sums up how I feel about our very own wedding and it’s such a relief! With all this discussion as of late, I’ve been feeling a wee bit silly about our own home grown flowers, old family photos, bunting, chalkboards, vintage vases, home baking and my beloved poofy tea-length dress. But no – every last detail at our wedding was jam-packed with so much love, kindness, talent and good memories from our friends and family. Sure it may have all appeared a tad cliché to the seasoned wedding buffs out there, but we certainly put our own spin on everything. At the end of the day, all the ‘fluff’ was just that, but it certainly did add to the ambiance of our marriage celebration. More importantly though, the day was about us, our love and all the awesome people who had traveled from far and wide to be a part of the party. The party would have gone on if we were drinking out of plastic cups in a community hall decked out with supermarket florals or if we were enjoying a 7-course dinner on shiny, fancy rented chairs in a ballroom, but that’s not us. We’re much more the keg beer and homemade wine out of mason jars around the campfire kind of folks.

  4. Lisette says

    Thanks for this post! I read Jonas Peterson’s post and found it to be a bit prentious given his inferences that if you are into details, particularly popular and trendy details, you are somehow disingenuous or missing the meaning of your wedding. Given that Jonas is an artist, it is in his nature to seek out and create things that and different, avante garde if you will. On the same token, I understand that it is also his perspective to reject and spurn anything that is popular or status quo. That is his perspective as an artist and I respect that. I would just hope he remembers that he too, is part of this big wedding industry/blogosphere, and every picture he posts of a mason jar or an antique plate inspires other brides to also seek out that perfectly photographed mason jar. And there’s nothing wrong or disingenous about that.

  5. says

    You know, while your article makes a great point, I think the premise of your response to Jonah is based on a misinterpretation of what he was trying to say. It’s all about moderation and remembering the point of the wedding, which is essentially what you said as well. A wedding is best and most enjoyable when it’s about people coming together to celebrate love, however they decide to do it. If you celebrated by making things together and enjoying spending that time together, that’s a great thing. But the point he was making is that a great wedding isn’t great because of the details, it’s great because of the love people share, however they express it.

  6. says

    You are so wonderful! I love that you are posting so many view points to this issue. I remember planning my own wedding and being abuzz with thrifting canning jars and old candle sticks, and thinking how beautifully creative the whole experience was to plan and organize our little wedding. At THAT time I was “over” the big blog sites…and I certainly wasn’t looking at bridal mags anymore. I had a hellofa lot of fun planning our wedding – but – I wouldn’t have done it the same way this time – I would have made it a lot more simple.

    I like that all of your crafts and projects were personal testaments to ideas/activities you held dear. I think a lot of those sentimental notions get forgotten. Your hindsight insight is just lovely.

  7. says

    oh my goodness you are just DARLING – what special memories those photos are! Thank you, amidst all of this “what your wedding should/shouldn’t look like mayhem” for reminding us what it really is about… YOU (the bride) no matter what MEANINGFUL details you choose to incorporate into your big day. xo

    • says

      @Brit: Thx love!

      @TwoRingStudios: Yes you’re right, I feel a great sense of obligation to let each photographer know why they were “rejected.” For me it typically has to do with regional fit. I know what you mean about the hyperbolic language. Everything is so swoon-worthy. I do it too! I’ll try to work on it {wink!} The styled shoot thing is a bit different. I just published on last weekend and started the post with “this is not a real wedding,” but it’s hard to say who will and will not read that. When I was planning, I would just jump from one blog to the next, sometimes reading and sometimes not. I can;t take responsibility for those visitors who don’t read the disclaimers.

      @Brenda Sure enough, everyone does have their own opinion, and we all don’t always see eye-to-eye. I am trusting that we will be able to get through it by remaining honest, transparent, and open. So far so good for the most part. I think this is an amazing industry to be a part of in so many ways.

      @Julie I have been thinking about you for weeks now. I loved the DIY post you shared before your wedding. All of the women in your family busily helping you. Still one of my favorite posts. I am so sorry if any of my content made you or any other bride uncomfortable. It wasn’t mine or “Meg’s” intention at all.

      @lissette Regardless of my own thoughts on his post, he has so much talent, is widely published, and carries much authority in the industry. I’m thankful that he is continuing the conversation.

      @Amanda I gave it another read and felt like there were indeed lovely parts to his post. My only concern is he has implicated brides and their decisions in a debate that started among industry professional. I understand that he is encouraging us all to remember the real meaning of a wedding, and I appreciate that, but that may or may not entail placing lavender on every plate. To encourage a bride to “step away from the hay bales” seemed harsh to me. I wanted to show that sometimes those hay bales mean something to the couple, something we may or may not be privy to.

      @Jes So glad to have met you and shared an experience over burlap and pine cones

      @Erin Thank you for the encouragement!

  8. says

    I haven’t read the Jonas post and I don’t think I want to. He’s not going to get any extra traffic from ME! ;)

    I do like the comment from Two Ring Studios though.

    I will say this in response to him: I do try to share as many comments as i can with photogs who submit and are subsequently denied. In fact, there was one photog who kept submitting (at my encouragement) and FINALLY he got it, what I was looking for, what I liked to share with my readers and now he’s a “regular” on my site. Love it.

    On the other hand, there are some submissions that are just sooooo bad (flash on EVERY shot including daytime, dated poses [hands crossed with rings], or so over processed you can’t even tell what’s going on in the photo) that I hesitate to say why I won’t take it. “You suck” seems a bit much (kinda like the photog who said we suck)and telling them the truth would appear to me, kind of bitchy. On those kinds of submissions, I just say thank you, but it’s not a fit. Is there another way to communicate the truth without hurting feelings? I’d love for someone to tell me how.

    Again Christie, thanks for the forum you’ve been creating.

    • says

      @Thirty-Something Bride Luckily most of the poorer quality photography I get is outside my region. However Two Bright Lights has a checklist you can choose from that includes poor lighting and overly processed. You don’t even have to write your own message, and I hope it helps the photographer improve upon her or his craft. But like I said, luckily most of those are outside my region. Of course many of the coolest wedding are outside my region too ;-) Two Ring Studios isn’t though! If you get a chance, check out their dance floor pictures. I think they’re the best. Talk about capturing the mood! {Full disclosure: Two Ring Studios were our anniversary shoot photographers.}

  9. Kevi says

    I think Jonas should have stayed in bed, rather then buring his bridges of many future clients..Having said that, I have this feeling he is going to do a follow up post to clarify his exact thoughts! I think he may have been misunderstood..surely?

    Anyway great post Hindsightb, when you get a chance pop over to Little Gray Station to have a bit of a look.

    • says

      Interesting. I was just speaking with Todd from a Man To Fish and he suggested that Jonas might be building his brand message and making a statement about what kind of people he wants to work with. I do find it interesting that this new brand message seems to fly in the face of his previous endeavors. I have long admired Jonas’ eye for detail, as have numerous major wedding bloggers.

      However, I’m uncomfortable criticizing brides for their wedding decisions. If a bride wants lavender on every plate that’s her business and I’m frustrated that Jonas criticized brides in that way. I’m not sure it’s anybody’s business what a bride or couple chooses for their wedding. In contrast, “Meg’s” infamous letter implicated bloggers and fellow photographers. She criticized bloggers for being detail crazy, not brides.

      Of course many bloggers celebrated Jonas’ manifesto for his statement that a wedding is about the couple, and not the details. He sure let us bloggers off the hook with that one. All of the sudden it was up to the bride and the couple to focus on “what matters.” Which, i felt, Jonas fairly narrowly defined. You never know what someone’s wedding is about. For Hindsight Groom and I, it was very much about the celebration with family and friends, otherwise we would have elopes. Again, it’s not anyone’s place to judge me because my wedding was about the party with friends.

      While I disagree with “Meg” from “Dear Wedding Bloggers” I do agree with her that we should, as a whole, represent a variety of experiences and tastes. I think the blogoshpere does just that. We have hundreds of blogs for every type of bride and her experience. It pisses me ff that Jonas suggested yet another one-size-fits-all model, i.e. a detail poor wedding that focuses solely on the couple. I just don’t think that’s a productive attitude to adopt, unless of course he’s making a statement about his own brand and what type of client he wants to attract. Then I can’t argue with it; it’s his business.

  10. says

    In speaking with Christie on the matter I think a big issue here is the word “should.” Photographers think that bloggers should show a certain thing (read – should show what celebrates the photographer). Brides think bloggers should feature inspirational images/stories/ideas, but that they also should feature and celebrate (validate?) weddings like theirs.

    There is no universal “should” for all weddings. Let’s face it, no one needs to throw a wedding. You may want to be married, but you can accomplish that in many ways that don’t involve the ceremonies, favors, guests, etc. So everyone who chooses to indulge of the luxury of a wedding for various reasons. For some it is a cultural touchstone. For some it is the coming together of families. For some it is the party with close friends. For some it is a society event. For some it is an opportunity to express themselves or show off. For some it is all about 2 people. For some it is all about 200 people.

    The point is, there is no “should.”

    Scratch that, there is a should. Every wedding blog, photographer, vendor, venue, etc probably ought to commit to their own “should” and let the right people align behind it. The market craves specificity and commitment, not homogeneity and sameness.

    Thanks to Hindsight Bride for having the courage to commit to her own “should” and to raise the question in the first place.

    – trr

  11. Jillian says

    How dare you get after Jonas Peterson when just a few days ago you posted an article one of you photography friends wrote that had so many people angry and up in arms. At least Jonas Peterson’s piece was nicely written and didn’t cause anyone to re-think their wedding! You have a lot of nerve getting after him when what you posted was literally the same thing, but written a lot more aggressively and meanly. I think I’m done with Hindsight Bride.

    • says

      Sure, the tone between the two posts was different to be sure, but so were the implications. I understand if you don’t have a stomach for the intense of tone of Meg’s letter. But I made the editorial decision to post it because I felt that it would start an important conversation. And indeed it did. The great Jonas Peterson himself chose to join it, and I’m glad you got a lot out of his manifesto.

      But here on the Hindsight Bride, our policy is to let brides choose for themselves whether or not to have lots of details (that was in part why Meg chose this blog as a forum, because we respect a brides choice to have lots of details or few details.) We let brides and couple decide what’s most meaningful to them, and we honor that as we share those details and stories with the rest of the Hindsight Bride community.

      If you feel like that philosophy is not a good fit for your own, we also respect your right to be “done with Hindsight Bride.” And If Peterson has a different philosophy and feels that it’s the bride’s responsibility choosing a fewer details, more power to him. I disagree, but more power to him. I think it’s entirely appropriate for me to continue to engage in the conversation, even if I disagree with some one.

      This is how we find out which communities and blogs are the best fit for us. If you feel like this community is not a good fit for you, I wish you all the best in finding one that is.


  12. Rachel says

    Hello, Jonas criticizes the wedding industry and includes himself when saying, ” We’re getting lost in details. The whole wedding industry is drifting away from what weddings are about and we’re all part of the problem – bloggers, photographers, planners and vendors – all hypocrites feeding the detail beast.”
    His purpose was always to point out to the industry, not to brides … they are not on that list… that the focus on detail is way out of proportion with the focus on love and connection. Never does he say that details are bad, never does he say more detail = less love. Never does he say the word “should.” If you understood his message and took his advice you would never have missed any of that… because to you those details were part of the story and part of your beautiful love. That is worth blogging about, that is worth sharing … that’s the point.

  13. says

    Hmmm. Could it be that you’re BOTH right? You both seem to be saying the same thing – focus on what really matters – it’s just that everyone is getting hung up on the word “details”.