Why the mason jar trend isn’t ruining the wedding industry

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Photo by Wendy Capili-Wilkie

In the latest chapter of the on-going online discussion about hating trends and trashing wedding blogs came this piece entitled, The Mason jar manifesto, wherein a photographer scolds couples, photographers, and wedding planners alike for over-emphasizing wedding details and trends like Mason jars and twinkly fairy lights. The blog post has been well-received by other photographers as well as wedding industry people, but I wasn't a fan.

I hate to be the asshole raining on your wedding-detail-trend-hating parade here, but there is NOTHING wrong with Mason jars and twinkly lights. In fact, all hail Mason jars and twinkly lights for their instant-party-making vibes. (Seriously, you can transform ANY location into a party wonderland with some twinkly-ass lighting — it's awesome.)

Maybe y'all will hate me and ride me out of the alternative wedding blogging biz on a rail when I say: details are the shit! Details make my day. Give me a great photo of some unexpected detail and I'm “dayum Ariel, did you check this out!? Let's feature this asap.” You know why?

Because I know why you come here. I was planning a wedding once, myself. I clearly already had the groom and the bride situation taken care of. We both bought our plane tickets, we were gonna be stuck on a small island together with nowhere to run, this shit was happening. What I didn't have a clue about was how to plan the party that I had invited all my guests to, how I could pull it off, and how it would all come together in the end. So I went to wedding blogs to see how other people planned their parties, how they all pulled it off, and how it all came together in the end. I didn't come to wedding blogs to see people's aunts dancing with their nephews, or see twenty photos in a row of the bride and groom with slightly different looks on their faces, or twenty different poses. Poses weren't what I was after… details were.

Oh man, those colors look RAD together, who knew? Inspiration! Oh, what? They made decor out of magazines — looks cool AND it's budget-friendly? Inspiration! Sugar skull cake toppers? I never thought about edible cake toppers. Inspiration! Twinkly lights added to a restaurant venue = instant mood-lighting! Inpsiration! Oh shit, candles or flowers inside freaking Mason jars ALWAYS look fabulous. Good to know if I don't get my DIY centerpieces to work, I just get me some freaking jars. Inspiration!

That said, you all should know by now that we love weddings with little-to-no decor details — I mean, we feature TONS of simple weddings, including reminders about the power and beauty of simple weddings, too. Simple weddings are all about the LOVE, baby. It's part of the reason I love my job so much. I'm constantly immersed in loving happy people, and that is totally the point of a wedding. But, if this blog was soley dedicated to weddings with NO details, I think we'd fall off your RSS list pretty darn fast. Can you imagine, instead of posts like alternative guest book roundups we featured this:

2 simple ways to NOT have a wedding guestbook

  1. Don't buy a guest book.
  2. Buy a guest book but don't bring it to the venue.

Oh HELL no. That's not compelling. And completely not as fun as looking at creative detail inspiration, like, oh say (*gasp*) a vintage typewriter.

I'm not saying that details are the end-all be-all of weddings, or that they're the most important thing. They're not. All you need is a willing couple and an officiant. Hell! You don't even need a photographer, or guests — those are just details as well. What I'm saying is details are not, as The Mason Jar Manifesto claims, “derailing your wedding train.”

While we celebrate simple weddings, we refuse to vilify brides who choose to go for more ornate weddings.

I believe that if you decided to have or had Mason jars, vintage typewriters, fairy lights, or hay bales at your wedding that it does NOT mean you didn't have a meaningful event, or that it was any LESS meaningful than a wedding with minimal details. It also doesn't mean that those things, although totally unnecessary, aren't FULL of meaning to you and your partner. I know my offbeat brides, and y'all had them there for specific reasons. No worries, I got your back, and so do the other brides who came here to see how you pulled off YOUR wedding details for their own inspiration.

So, should we celebrate simple wedding just as much as we celebrate detail-filled hooplas? Yes. In fact, we love them simple weddings so much that we're devoting this ENTIRE WEEK to the light-on-the-details shindigs. But while we celebrate simple weddings, should we vilify the brides who incorporate the latest wedding trends, or slave for hours over their DIY projects, and the photographers who photograph them, as being the reason the wedding industry has slid off the rails? Absolutely not.

I think I'll end my post with a quote as well. Not from a client of mine, but from a Heidi, the “Heidzillas” wedding planner who said it best when she said, “If there's going to be any anti-wedding trend movement, let's make it against the ridiculous falsely-dramatized wedding TV shows! Not the latest style.”

Amen sister, there are WAY worse things happening to the wedding industry right now than Mason jars and twinkly lights. So stay tuned later on in the week when we tackle what's wrong with wedding reality shows, and, in the meantime LEAVE MASON JARS ALONE!

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Comments on Why the mason jar trend isn’t ruining the wedding industry

  1. … I kind of feel like offbeat bride and the mason jar manifesto are saying the same thing. That details are great, but don’t forget what the wedding is about. Try to make details meaningful to you. Etc. I’m not seeing the huge conflict?

    • My biggest problem with the Manifesto is that the photographer is someone that wedded couples hired. Possibly couples who used mason jars. Couples that he is now essentially publicly slamming. Regardless of whether his manifesto is right or not, that is just unprofessional.

      • Hi Lunapuella, as a bride who has hired this photographer, and who has mason jars that I may or may not use on the big day, I do not, in any way shape or form feel “publicly slammed”, because he is not dissing the details, he is saying something so much more, something that actually moved me and made me appreciate that much more that he is going to be responsible for recording my special day. So many people really need to go back, re-read his manifesto and actually hear what it is he is saying, because I feel it/he has been so badly misunderstood by so many people.

        • Oddly enough, I was first introduced to this from an OBT journal entry from another bride who used this same photographer.

          But what REALLY bothers me about this article is that it makes me feel like I need to justify everything I want to have in my wedding. Like it all HAS to be meaningful, and I don’t think it does. The paper lanterns and fairy lights that will be at my wedding don’t really say much about me, other than that I don’t want to get married in an ugly place. And I didn’t think I had to justify that to anyone. And if he feels that way about normal weddings, what must he think of me getting weddinged 2.5 years after the legal ceremony? APW often says very similar things, but somehow Meg avoids making me feel guilty, and that’s the biggest issue with the manifesto: The assumption that the two must be mutually exclusive. “You can’t possibly have a pretty wedding and still be focusing on the meaning of the day itself.”

          Sorry to be long-winded, but this article got me so sad and angry.

          • If you’re having another wedding after the legal one, don’t post for advice on the Knot. Those Addy-lead harpies will run you out of town for daring to do things your own goddamn way.

        • I’m really glad you don’t feel that way Aimee, but the truth is, some do, and I think that, as a vendor, you should never ever make your customers feel like that.

        • Absolutely the case. What he says is beautiful and incredibly important.

          He’s not dissing mason jars and fairy lights. As a photographer, I feel I can speak for him in saying that we love mason jars and fairy lights! But he admits this himself when he says how much he loves the details. He’s simply addressing the fact that so many couples become overly obsessed with the wedding porn and the planning that they lose sight of the thing that really matters. The Love.

    • Exactly. I think that the first post you’ve linked to is just bitter b/c her work wasn’t published and others’ was, though she finds all the other work boringly similar. The second though, seems right up OBB’s alley, “Who cares about this that or the other? Underneath it all, it’s you getting married to the other b/c you love each other.” I like it. A sanity check.

  2. Mason jars and twinkly lights have been a favorite wedding trend of mine this year. Leftovers also make awesome decorations for wedding planner offices. I’m just saying.
    But seriously, all this hating is stupid. Couples should have the wedding they want. Full stop, no chaser. When you pony up the multiple k, you get to have a voice. Until then, knock it off.

    • I agree so much with THIS! I’m a florist (along with many other things) and I’ve been interviewed several times for articles regarding “trends” in the last few months. My number one answer? That the biggest “trend” right now is INDIVIDUALITY. It’s doing whatever you want to do because it is your day and as a vendor, it’s my job to dutifully make whatever you want to happen, happen. And be completely awesome and totally YOU. “Full stop, no chaser” end quote.

  3. Amen! My FH is a musician and I’m a musical theater nerd, and we’re planning something filled with details — and not simply for the eye candy, but instead because it’s us. Because we’re looking for ways to make this about us, and our details are us. 🙂

    • Exactly. My future hubby and myself are both gamers, so we’re having the event filled with gaming details that reflect both of us.

      Also, power to the mason jars! XD

      Seriously though, they’re cheap, pretty and can be used as drinking glasses after the event (at home). Totally looking forward to using these at my wedding next March.

  4. I think the point of the Mason Jar Manifesto (the way it read to me) is not that NOT having details is the point.

    It’s that details are not the point.

    Have them or don’t.

    Do what you want, not what everyone else is doing. Make your day what YOU want, because that’s what it’s about – you marrying your best friend.
    Making not having details the point is the same as making details the point.
    For some people making the details have a personal connection is what they’ll cherish looking back, others just want to look back on something pretty. So do it.

    Because you want to.

    Not because if you don’t your wedding won’t look pretty in photographs.

  5. I did a quick scan of the article, and I have a couple things to say:
    1. While I agree that the purpose of a wedding is for two people who love each other to get married in the presence of their loved and dear ones, the intention of the couple should not be questioned if they choose to have the mason jars or fairy lights or lavender on the plates.
    2. I think as a wedding photographer/coordinator/person who works A LOT of weddings in various capacities, you’re more likely to think, “Oh GOD, not THIS again.” and get all anti-(insert trend here). When you see something all the time, you tend to rail against it whether you liked it the first time or not. Everyone should do whatever the hell they want at their weddings. As a wedding vendor, you see dozens of weddings a year. As a bride/groom/partner, this is hopefully the only wedding they get to plan and be part of. Don’t hate.

    • Ooh this: “As a wedding vendor, you see dozens of weddings a year. As a bride/groom/partner, this is hopefully the only wedding they get to plan and be part of. Don’t hate.”

      Thanks for saying that Amy! I’m also a wedding photographer, so god knows I’ve seen a LOT of the same things over and over, but that doesn’t mean it’s not special in a unique way to all my clients.

      • AGREED! most weddings i’m at, i even ASK about the meanings behind their details! HELLO! They have very very unique reasons behind what they want. Some have meaning and some are just decor. 😛

    • And ^This is why wedding photographers NEED to shoot other things, and take time off from weddings to shoot things that fulfill their artistic vision and feed their souls. My FH is a photographer who shoots an occasional wedding. This works out, because if he shot nothing but weddings he would be very “oh jeez, really? Again with fairy lights and mason jars, wtf?”

      I think this perspective is a sign you have gotten “too close” to the industry that pays your bills, and you had better find a way to get your mind right before you find yourself out of business.

      Just my .02

  6. Love this and agree with every word. Sometimes I feel shame that we are having mason jars centerpieces at our wedding because it’s so overdone. But they come frickin’ FREE with our spaghetti sauce, how can I NOT use them? Should I just throw them away and buy something else for vases just so I won’t fit into a WIC worn-out mold??? Hell no. I love my free mason jars (and free iced coffee bottles and free juice bottles). Thanks for making me feel a little better about this decision.

    • Yep! That was us too. We don’t have “mason jars” in Australia that are cheap/affordable/easy to come by so I just stopped putting all the interesting shaped jars and bottles out with the recycle for a year and we ended up with more than enough coffee jars, pasta sauce jars, wine bottles and baby food jars to serve our purposes for the Australian wedding, and NOW they can go out in the recycle. Cheap, borrowed, re-purposed or recycled was the name of the game when it came to decorating for us. For our American wedding we trawled ebay for a dozen reproduction goblets which we used for our centrepieces and now we have a nifty set of goblets for Christmas feasts or Thanksgiving that will be sprinkled in the magic invisible dust of happy memory for so many of our shared moments. I’m more than good with that and I don’t care if our photographers/other vendors/guests were jaded by it. I think the article speaks buckets about the state of mind of the photographer and kudos to Megan for her more than eloquent reply. Long live whatever the hell decorating choices you make for your special day be that Mason Jars, flower pots, tin cans or nothing. There’s no RIGHT way to have a wedding, there’s just the way you do it and the way that everyone else does it. I suffered the seemingly endless hell of baby food once-were-apples on my cereal for almost 12 months for those jars! I should be given a freakin medal (I did get the purdiest, of new hubsbands! So it was worth it but we will NEVER be getting married again! LOL!) not yet another snarky comment from a photographer/vendor/opinionated bystander about what my priorities should be on my wedding day. Embrace your jars girl and power to you for your recycling efforts!

  7. ready for this one?

    if bloggers/planners/brides were to take the same “manifesto” approach, maybe we should ask for the following:

    *no more pictures of the bouquet in front of the bride with the bride blurred out in the background
    *no more shoe pics on top of books/chairs/steps
    *no more engagement pics with the couple laying on a blanket in a field, with their heads opposite each other
    *no more hand holding pics
    *no more oak tree pics in a pretty california field
    *no more lavender field pictures

    or – we can all just get along. yes, i think i like that one best 🙂

  8. Exactly. I do think that some weddings blogs can be a bit too details focused, and that emotions are also important. I think that detail after detail can make couples feel a lot of pressure to buy buy buy, but I secretly adore a wedding with some super fun details. The point is to find balance, and also the point is that there are now wedding blogs out there for everyone, and instead of demonizing the trendy blogs, take the time to find and support the blogs that feel like a good fit for your wedding ethics.

    I’m so proud of you for writing this Megan. You’re so darn smart.

  9. here here! i havent commented on any of these posts so far – the bloggers sucking or detail trashing or any of the many others that have sprung up in response to them because quite frankly i cant be arsed to get into an argument with these people or feel like i have to justify what i publish on my blog and why. but finally a blog post that says exactly what ive been thinking the whole time.

    any for the record i still quite like mason jars and twinkly lights…so shoot me!

  10. “I believe that if you decided to have or had Mason jars, vintage typewriters, fairy lights, or hay bales at your wedding that it does NOT mean you didn’t have a meaningful event, or that it was any LESS meaningful than a wedding with minimal details.”

    Way to miss the point of those articles. Honestly, this whole thing comes off as really defensive.

    • Hey Melissa! It seems that there are DEFINITELY two different ways people viewed the manifesto. We seem to both be in different camps. 😉 I was even sent the article by a number of people saying, “look how great this this!” But upon reading it, I had a VERY different reaction. Once I saw other offbeat brides not only taking the same negative view I had, but also were feeling personally offended, I definitely got all Offbeat Mama bear. In no uncertain terms, I was (am) being really defensive.

      But that’s the great thing about blogging/online discourse/the great wide interwebs: We can totally have differences of opinions, see things in different lights, and then come here to discuss!

      • I loved Jonas’ article. I think many readers missed the point- he’s basically saying you can smear dog poop and birch bark on yourplace settings- if that’s meaningful to YOU as a couple. And if Mason jars are how you celebrate your love then bloggers, magazines or the wedding machine should be fine with it.

        I am a wedding vendor. I see hundreds of trends, and when I ask the 15th couple that year why they have a cupcake tree instead of a wedding cake and they say “we go for cupcakes every sunday” I know that while that detail is incredibly overdone in MY eyes, its something meaningful to them.

        I’ve met so many brides who are not this way and pick things or include details in order to trump a previous friends wedding, or because it looks expensive , or its the trendy celebrity thing to do etc. The article is addressed to those mis-guided couples. So to the mason jar lovers, if you are entering your wedding with love in your hearts and stars in your eyes- haybale away! No one is judging you. Xxx

    • I definitely see Jonas’ point and it’s a good one. No matter what the details are, make sure your focus is teh major love. I love that point. But in defense of wedding blogs, a lot of party planning (wedding, birthday, whatever) is in thinking about the details. A lot of us just like that kind of stuff and want blogs about it. But yeah, hopefully posts like his and posts like these help people to start THINKING about that balance between having fun planning and making sure that the love part is in perspective too.

    • Yup, defensive. Defending couples’ right to use Mason jars, even if some snooty wedding site says they’re out of fashion! And, you know, not give in to everything the mainstream wedding industry tells them to do or not do. We had a simple ceremony, and our tiny little details were things that were there to make us smile, which is what you want to do on your wedding day!

    • So, so, so what Melissa said!
      HE IS NOT DISSING DETAILS. In fact, he straight up talks about how he loves details!
      And mason jars, trendy as they are, are just a stand-in for the obsession with details **at the expense** of attention to what is at the core of a wedding– a marriage.
      If people who had twinkle lights or masons at their wedding (I had both!) are offended or hurt by what Jonas wrote, then I’m sorry. (And I don’t say this sarcastically at all… I’m sorry that they feel bad about a day that meant a lot to them and into which they put a lot of work.) But that was not Jonas’ point. At all. And I do think the words he chose convey that.

      • I dunno, I figure I trust people enough generally that I believe that if they’re getting married, they’ve got the marriage part figured out, so nobody needs to worry about whether they care more about that than about mason jars.

        • Except people do! I know I got caught up with it to a certain degree, and I’m hardly the most frou-frou wedding person ever.
          But the fear that everyone has hay bales and mason jars and little mustaches and friends who are soooo talented who made their cake and played their music and took their pictures and wrote original poetry for their ceremony, whereas you’re just this ho-hum person marrying another ho-hum person can be paralyzing for some.
          And I think it’s valuable to have someone who’s in the thick of the wedding industry to tell brides (and grooms) that it’s OK if you don’t have those things or want those things or whatever. For someone who’s part of what creates these pressures to say, “Hey, these are extras. They’re fun and they’re great, but they’re superfluous. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have them. And don’t feel consumed by them if you do.”

          • Agreed! I am a mother of two planning a wedding and sometimes I see all these details–handmade bunting! photo booth props! artist-friend crafted STDs!–and have a major panic attack. I’m uber-crafty, but between work and my kids and spending some QT with my loverboy, I just think, “Screw the details!” I still look online (and Pin It whenever I can!) but I sometimes feel pressured by all the anti-WICs to do all this extra work on one day. And then pressured by the WICs to spend it all on one day. I think that talking about weddings in a non-traditional sense means trying to take it all down to the couple and building a meaningful ceremony around them. That could mean details and it could mean a rush trip to the JOP.
            I liked the Manifesto. I live my life trying to make the most of every day, not just one. And while it is a Big Day, it’s not the Biggest. Also, the couple that spurred his Manifesto had kick-ass details! Details=not the enemy. Bridezillis infectitis + WIC=the enemy.

    • “I believe that if you decided to have or had Mason jars, vintage typewriters, fairy lights, or hay bales at your wedding that it does NOT mean you didn’t have a meaningful event, or that it was any LESS meaningful than a wedding with minimal details. It also doesn’t mean that those things, although totally unnecessary, aren’t FULL of meaning to you and your partner.”

      That is not all what Jonas was saying. This article kind of misses the point of what Jonas wrote.

    • I can actually see Jonas’ point about focusing on the love behind the event rather than on details for the sake of details.

      The problem a lot of people (like Megan here) are having is his method of conveying that point. He directly calls out certain details that are often represented in a particular style of wedding (mason jars, hay bales, lavender) rather than not focusing on any subset of wedding design. For people who like the style those details represent, it feels like a personal attack.
      By including those specific details in his opening sentences and title, he throws up his own smoke screen of details that camouflage the thought behind his post.

      It’s an interesting lesson in the duality of details: They aren’t everything, but they can be very important in expressing or hiding the point of the matter.

    • Honestly, I’m not sure what Jonas’ point was. Very pretentiously he kept writing “Strip it back. Peel the layers off. And start again.” That’s good advice for his own article. It was so full of self absorbed fluff that I’m not sure what the real message was. Honestly, I’d have loved to edit it down to some solid material. Would have been 75% smaller. I don’t care that he woke up with some great epiphany when I can’t figure out what it is. Sounds like drivel to me.

      Jonas’ article said “Look away from the blogs and magazines. And look within.” Well, from my own scenario my wife-to-be and I looked within, and fell in love, and want to marry. Now we have to plan a damn wedding. We know it’s about US and not THEM, or that’s what some want us to think. Hell, I wanted to think that. But in reality it’s about EVERYONE. Like it or not I’m joining a family so I’d better include them. Hell, I just wish we could elope. At least I did at first. Now I realize that if the two of us can pull off a mostly DIY wedding on a small budget, not on credit, and with probably no outside help, and actually have it semi-decent, then we’ll be able to accomplish anything together and be stronger for it.

      And I’m sick of everyone saying they are sick of mason jars. I’ve never seen them used for decorations until now. So, it’s all new and exciting to me. If stuff is getting old and boring to your photographers, who cares. I’m a network admin. You think I’m sick of Microsoft Windows always having problems? You bet I am, but it keeps me employed. Suck it up and do your job.

      So, sorry if I’m getting lost in the details of planning a wedding, but unless you’ve got an a$$ load of money to throw at a wedding planner, you’ve got to figure out some details. At least I’m doing this with my sweetie and we are getting closer in the process.

      Pretentiously yours,

  11. Well shucks.
    I like twinkly lights…and mason jars…and I like Megan too.
    I think the moral of the story is this:
    “If it’s all tacky, then none of it is.” – AMS
    Insert whatever word you feel like instead of ‘tacky’…but the principal still applies. Feel good about your choices ladies and dudes. You won’t be the first to use whatever you choose (or not choose) to compliment your day but don’t you dare let anyone tell you it’s not the perfect choice for YOU.

  12. but but…why does it have to be one or the other?? I feel like both the bashings on details are not leaving room for both.

    I have felt bogged down by both typical industry weddings of simple and beautiful found on other sites that may have a name that implies tying rope together and I have felt overwhelmed here as well. But those are MY feelings of getting lost in my head dreaming but at least here…I do not feel like I HAVE TO HAVE A VEIL or I HAVE TO HAVE A WHITE CAKE or all those other HAVE TO things that I feel typical wedding sites make me feel I have to.

    My first wedding, I did not want a veil. In all my planning, I knew I did not want it. But after months of magazines and other sites (OBB did not exist yet) I found myself the day before my wedding, making a veil and wearing it.

    Yep…I felt pressure from typical weddings.

    So I dunno, I think we should live and let live and there are plenty of blogs for all types of brides and personalities and grooms and mothers of the brides and so on. Budget blogs, backyard blogs, city wedding blogs…they are all out there so why trash the details?? I love me some details no matter if I have them in my second wedding or not ^_^

  13. The Mason Jar Manifesto is totally condescending. Just because a couple wants details in their wedding doesn’t make them any less in love or appreciative of their family and friends. Good retort, Megan.

  14. Well, as the bride who’s wedding WAS the topmost picture representing the kick-ass – s’cuse me – the HORROR of mason jars and twinkly lights, AND, I’d like to point out, of canvas covered hay bales for people to sit on around the fire AND lavender bunches from my dad’s farm, I NEVER expected my wedding to get caught up in a crazy internet debate about what’s wrong with the wedding industry today. But now that it has, I’d like to say this:

    I was told, over and over by almost every single guest, that our wedding was one of the most love-filled, completely and obviously US events they’d ever seen. My favorite quote was that it was the most “bullshit-free wedding I’ve ever seen”.

    I think my maid-of-honor-BFF-forever put it pretty well after reading all about the mason-jar manifesto: “This was a wedding between a boy and a girl, two earthy people. An incredibly detail oriented perfectionist type A girl and a wood working, no map hiking, cooking guy. I think if you had a “simple” wedding you both would have been miserable.” And she’s right. Not that people who want to have a simple wedding shouldn’t! The whole point is to go with what’s right for you. For us? It was throwing all our canning jars (yes, we owned them ALL years before the wedding, and yes, we use them still for ACTUAL CANNING) into the back of a truck, picking piles of flowers from our friends gardens, and throwing it all out there in an exuberance of awesome.

    Was I thinking about what was “hot” in weddings? No. I got good ideas from friends and Off Beat Bride and google image searches, adapted it to what fit our energy and ethic, and went for it. Our 90 friends & family that came hadn’t been reading a million wedding blogs, or watching trends, or paging through hundreds of wedding photographer’s pictures. They were just coming to have a good time, and you know what? They had a GREAT time. Plenty of booze, s’mores to eat around a campfire, dancing way into the night under mood lighting perfect to go all romantic under? Aww yeah. Oh, and you know what? We did a photo booth too. Know why that’s such a huge wedding trend? BECAUSE IT IS SO. MUCH. FUN. Try it sometime, stuffy photography dude 😀

    • Wow, you and your now-husband sound exactly like my friends who are soon to get married… and they will be having tons of mason jars and fairy-lights! I will have to send your wedding pics her way for inspiration. It’s beautiful!

      And I totally agree that some wedding trends are just plain FUN and I don’t really care if it’s trendy or offbeat – I wanna have fun!

      • Oh man, I just realized (after flickr-stalking your wedding) that I have been loving all KINDS of details from your wedding that have been posted on OBB. Your wedding was amazing!

        • I couldn’t agree more, I have been back to drool over the photos from this wedding an embarrassing number of times! It was beautiful, and obviously represented exactly what the couple was like. (Not to mention looked like a frickin awesome party!)

  15. I am suprised that OBB didn’t like the “manifesto” since to me, both this blog post and OBB are in agreement that details do not a wedding make. As a photographer, I love that OBB posts a lot of articles about weddings and about marriage, not just inspiration (though I like that, too!) Weddings are a unique opportunity to express your personality, but the details are not the entirety of the wedding.

    Also, for the record, I love mason jars. I love twinkly lights and typewriters and hay bales. I also love DIY catered lunches with no details, and ballroom receptions with terrible walls – because when the wedding is right for the people getting married, than the wedding always looks perfect.

    • I think you’re right. That’s why we’ve dedicated our wedding profiles to simple and minimal this week. While we love those details (and Megan’s defense of them), there is a good portion of our submitters who totally embrace pared-down, detail-light weddings all about the lurrrve. We love both.

    • Yup, we STAUNCHLY believe that details do not a wedding make. But then there’s this whole party: “While we celebrate simple weddings, we refuse to vilify brides who choose to go for more ornate weddings.” We love ornate, we love simple, we just love. What we don’t want to do is make anyone feel bad about their choices.

  16. His prescription for simple, stripped-down weddings where the details aren’t the focus is romantic, but seriously…I focused on the details because I AM A DETAIL-ORIENTED PERSON. My husband focused on the details because he is detail-oriented. In our case (and I can’t believe we’re alone in this) we threw a detail-oriented wedding because having something else would have been wrong for us. We knew our friends and family love us and would focus on us and our relationship, but why NOT give them a pretty centerpiece to look at and a card game to play while waiting for food?

    • Precisely! If we HADN’T made pretty details, and put effort into our wedding, it would have meant we weren’t invested in it, because that’s the kind of people we are. And our guests would have looked around and been really confused, and would probably come to the conclusion that we weren’t serious about this marriage thing… just because that’s the kind of people we are, and we’re inviting them because they KNOW that!

  17. Has everyone lost the point? I mean come on! A wedding is to get married and to CELEBRATE the COUPLE’S joining- a new family, etc etc. Why does the decor in which they choose to do so matter? Does it make the marriage any less valid?

    • No, of course not. But just as we shouldn’t condemn those who choose not to focus on detail, let us also not condemn those who do.

  18. Wow – Obviously HE’S never planned a wedding before. The countless hours it takes in creating… trying to articulate the love you feel inside and draw it outside into a beautifully played day.

    I agree that weddings should be about the couple – but by no means it doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate decor that YOU want.

    I’ve been to a LOT of weddings and told myself I was not going to have a cookie cutter ceremony that was done in 5 minutes (or 30). It was short (enough) yet VERY personal. No “to have and to hold” this crap or “now so and so, do you take…”. No, it was 100% personalized. So was our first dance which was dedicated to my grandparents (my grandfather had passed away FOUR DAYS before our wedding).

    Did I have mason jars, yes. Lots of them. People used them to drink out of and some (along with other random glass) were used for votive holders. We had a LOT of details, ALL of which had meaning. Did this guy stop to think for once that decor is chosen because of a special influence in your life? Maybe not true for everyone, but I’m sure some of us chose things for a very particular reason (“this reminds me of my grandparents”, “that reminds me of my BFF”, “this reminds me of my trip to Italy”, etc.).

    Jeesh, Jonas. Until YOU actually plan a wedding, DIY a ton of stuff yourself, try to plan a budget wedding, etc., maybe you should think a little more before writing.

    • That’s exactly what Jonas is saying though. Picking details FOR you. “And if you want stuff, are you adding stuff that actually means something to you?”
      I think he’s giving a hoorah to couples like you, who have meaning in the little things, and telling other couples, they don’t need those just to fit in. That those couples should do what they want and like, and not make it a vintage day just because everyone else is, but to make the details a reflection of them

      • Yes, but what if those details that mean something to YOU include lavender, hay bales, and simple, easy mood lighting that happens to be white Christmas lights?

        If his point is to do things for YOU, then he’s just belittled ALL the people who chose those things he described. As if, because we had hay bales to sit on, we weren’t serious about our marriage. If his point is to be yourself, then he is hypocritical, as he is disparaging /the marital commitment/ of anybody who wants to put time and effort into details HE happens to have seen before.

  19. Thank you for posting this. When I first read the Mason Jar Manifesto, I felt deflated. I think that this photographer has missed the point. But, i then remembered why I was incorporating all of those details. While much of the vintage details that fill blogs now may seem frivolous and overdone, these features of wedding decor have become popular or a reason. In my wedding, we’re having mason jar centerpieces because I’m from the country, and I’ve canned with my grandmother for 18 summers. I’m having old, vintage books on the tables because my great-grandmother left me several 100+ year old volumes when she passed away. We’re have WWI and WWII army memorabilia because we’re both army vets. We’re using twinkly lights because we’re getting married in a barn, and oh yeah, those don’t come pre-lit. We’re having hay bales because my fiancé spent every summer for 25 years helping his father bale hay. I’m kind of disappointed now that this author was able to make me doubt–even if just for a second–the plans that my fiancé and I have enjoyed bringing to fruitionSoUnd actually, we have put forth a lot of time and effort into details because we want to make the event special for the family members who are taking ther time to share in the event. So, if you’re a photographer who has a problem with brides replicating trends, either don’t offer your services or come, smile, enjoy my family’s food, and keep your mouth shut.

    • It made me feel deflated as well. Simply put, it hurts your feelings when someone puts down something you like, wedding related or not, and we don’t need that kind of negativity.

  20. Megan, I think you hit the real problem in your opening sentence: “In the latest chapter of the ongoing online discussion about hating trends and trashing wedding blogs…”

    The wedding industry isn’t being ruined by mason jars or any other design/decor trends. It is, however, being sullied by manufactured drama, the effort to shame couples and/or bloggers for not fitting into whatever qualifier-laden, self-serving box the photographer/writer wants them to fit into.

    I don’t feel the animosity (or passive-aggressive rants) are about mason jars or twinkle lights at all. That, to me, is worrisome.

  21. HELL.
    (that is the summary of this comment)

    Details matter at every wedding, at every rite of passage. “Simple” weddings are not devoid of details – they are just different details, perhaps less material. But they still matter.

    At our wedding, the details helped us feel comfortable in sharing who we were with each other and with everyone present. I had so much personal anxiety about including things /I loved/ because I was seeing them in so many wedding blogs after two years of planning.

    That’s a problem. As much as there is pressure to have a typical “traditional” wedding, there’s just as much pressure to have “not buy into the wedding industry” through either having atypical elements, or not have anything at all (aka – “simple” wedding).

    Posts like the Mason Jar Manifesto are unwelcome anti-wedding backlash that is part of that BS pressure. I get the point he was trying to make – don’t forget what your wedding is really about. But the approach is offensive and – as Megan said – vilifying anyone for focusing on details. The Manifesto would have been more effetive by generalizing on details and raising up the ideal of having a meaningful, love-inspired event (although I doubt it would have been as popular.)

    I’m proud of my lights, my mother’s hay field, and my typewriters – they made what would have been an amazing love-filled day even more fabulous. And I’m proud of OBB for saying it like it is.


  22. When debates like this one inevitably arise on wedding blogs, I read the post, and then the comments. And every time, without fail, my response is: “Who cares?” When people start arguing about stuff like this, I think it’s a sign that we all need to step back and remember that it’s just a wedding. If you’re married at the end of the day, you’ve succeeded. Who cares if people hate your decor? Who cares if your photographer hates your decor? Who cares if people think your centerpieces are “overdone”? Who cares if you took ideas from The Knot or Offbeat Bride? Who cares what blogs, blog commenters, photographers, etc. have to say, as long as you are doing what you want? Is the world going to end tomorrow because your wedding was simple? Because it was extravagant and cost a fortune? NO.

    Seriously. Step back, take a deep breath, and remember that it’s your wedding. There will probably be even bigger days to come in your lifetime than this one day, no matter how amazing it is and how great your details were.

    And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stop feeling like you have to defend your choices. You don’t. To anyone, ever.

    • I agree 90% with everything you’ve said, but I would care if my photographer wrote a public blog post demeaning my choices after the fact.

      “Stop feeling like you have to defend your choices. You don’t. To anyone, ever.” = awesome

  23. Didn’t really read the article but we used mason jars (collected from hubby’s parent’s home) with a strip of denim (from my hubby’s old jeans) around the top and put flowers from the grocery store in them which my aunt arranged. Cost to have florist do it, $400; my cost, free! My aunt paid about $60 for the grocery store flowers. We’ve recieved many complements on our wedding and reception because it reflected us!!! So, if someone didn’t like it, they probably weren’t invited!!!

  24. We’re eloping, and even we still want details. Sure, we’re skipping the DIY hand painted card box, the home grown centerpieces and glitter sprayed everywhere, but we’re still getting married. So we cut the details down to what we can manage. We are still making our ceremony arch by hand because a bare gazebo isn’t as fun. We’re getting a cake topper, cake stand and making our own cake. We’re going crazy-over the top with our attire and sneaking in a little touch of whimsy to everything we touch. The point of my rambling is details set the mood. A wedding in general is pretty standard, yeah? We all sign the same documents. The details make it -us-.

  25. Hmmm.

    I’m sure the blogger is a lovely dude- so apologies if I offend anyone. But firstly, I found his article extremely condescending. And secondly- to echo what another commenter said, why not both?? Why do details and the love of a couple have to be mutually exclusive?

    I’m getting married in January, and the focus of our wedding will very much be A Boy Fell In Love With A Girl. That being said, I am making flowers out of sheet music as table centrepieces, table runners made from sheet music, and mobiles made from blank CDs and yarn to hang from the ceiling for our reception. Which is mainly to reflect mine and DF’s love of music- and to make our venue look pretty as a bonus. I totally believe you can still have a wedding focussed on the love and devotion of the couple, and still have lots of pretty details.

    I do get the point the blogger was trying to make; I really do. But, he addressed the issue of details in quite perjorative and negative terms (eg step away from the vintage typewriter!). And, like another commenter said, to work as a wedding photographer and to publicly shit all over the choices his clients have made is EXTREMELY unprofessional and just plain rude.

    And honestly? It’s really time everyone stopped shitting on each other’s weddings. If a couple wants mason jars or fairylights, if they want a traditional white wedding with a religious ceremony, if they want a pink flamingo sculpture and a troop of tapdancers officiating, or if they just want a registry do and go for pizza afterwards, it’s THEIR WEDDING, and no-one else’s goshdarn business.


  26. After reading the article and the comments I’m trying hard to see this thing from all angles and not be on the defensive. What I gather from the Manifesto is the message- don’t worry about trends and details, remember the wedding is about your love. That’s great, but don’t we all know that already? Isn’t that why we’re choosing to get married in the first place? The “details”, whatever details in whatever quantity you choose to include them, are what make the party fun and memorable for you and your quests. I don’t see a problem with that. Generally when throwing any sort of party from a birthday to a shower to a wedding, “details” are included. I think it is condescending for the author of the Manifesto to imply that brides are only including things like mason jars and typewriters because they feel it is a trend they need to follow and/or are too daft to think up something more original. From what I can see there is a trend toward all things vintage, handmade, DIY, reused, etc. happening in our culture anyway and things like mason jars just happen to lend themselves well toward this when it comes to our weddings. It doesn’t mean it’s insincere or contrived, nor does it lessen how meaningful the day is to us. The way I see it there are always going to be trends, and life would be boring without details. If the author wanted to simply remind us all to relax and remember why we’re getting married in the first place, and assure brides who don’t want a lot of details that that’s ok, he could have just said that, the article does come off as offensive.


      I really agree that its condescending to make the assumption that these things are being picked out for their trendiness, rather than their practicality or freeness. To me they just seem like good ideas.

      The blog post could have just as easily been written without teasing about mason jars.

  27. I read the photographer’s article and the follow-up post in which he added a video which he said illustrated his point. http://jonaspeterson.com/wedding/manifesto-schmanifesto/

    But I would put forth another point that I think many wedding blogs (not including OBB) forget: it is not just about the couple, their love OR the details they want to make their big day special. Weddings are about families too. A union of two families and often two cultures. I see a trend in wedding blogs and the industry as a whole toward a very “individual-centered” portrayal of weddings. A scenario that makes “family” and “friends” into people you have to satisfy, cater to and essentially “put up with” in order to celebrate your marriage the way you want it.

    The photographer does mention family, friends and “people” in his manifesto, but the video he posted negates that and focuses JUST on the couple. I saw 99% shots of them, and only a few lingering seconds featuring their parents and guests. (They had no wedding party.) The video was so couple-centric that they may as well have had no guests in attendance at all. I think this is taking the “focus on the couples” idea WAY too far. Granted, the video was merely a preview of wedding highlights. No doubt the full length version will be more comprehensive. But if I had a wedding video or an album just featuring myself and my husband, or even myself, my husband and our handmade details, I would feel terribly ashamed.

    I am of Japanese ancestry. The Japanese culture, like other Asian cultures, is group-oriented. Wedding invitations often come from families and heads of families rather than the couple and parents take on a more visible role in ceremonies. Where some can accuse Asian cultures of being too group-centric, their example does raise a point for the West: Weddings are NOT just about the couple and what they want. Be it mason jars, lights, vintage details etc. Weddings are also about the people who brought them together and share in their joy. The couple might be the reason these people are in the same place together, but if the celebration really was just about them, there would be no guests. And no mason jars.

  28. I understand, but 1.) the whole rustic country cute hipster wedding is sooooo overdone! It’s not offbeat anymore when everybody and Brides Magazine does it. 2.) Few people actually pay attention or really care about the details. Pick a few you really like, but let everything else be the glue that holds it together. A million details is like over accessorizing an outfit.

    • I’m uncomfortable with the assumption that any of my choices should be influenced by whether or not something is ‘overdone’. I totally agree that picking a few things is nice as a sort of glue, and frankly that over detailing things could cause more stress than its worth…

      but I’m not worried about how “offbeat” I am – and I’m bothered by the idea that it should matter.

    • Yes, it may be overdone…but the point of it is, if it’s a wedding between two people (as was stated upthread) it doesn’t matter if it’s overdone or not.
      It’s unique to the wedding because the union is unique.

  29. We’re using mason jars because they’re functional, have already been used, and will be re-used again. They prevent us from having to buy vases, and we want flowers on the tables because flowers are pretty much the only weddingish thing that interests me other than marrying my partner.

    So I’m confused: is the Mason jar manifesto suggesting that mason jars are more detail oriented than the regular capitalist wedding industry? Because that’s the read I’m getting from it: hey, let’s pick on alternative cheaper details, but leave monogramed napkins alone. I understand that its supposed to be about details not being the point of weddings… but really, the number one thing I’m sick of as a bride is wedding vendors telling me what’s important about my wedding. Sure, love is a nice message, but I’d really prefer for that to be up to me and my partner.

  30. When I first read the article in the Tribe, I felt that he was taking a stab at the bride who he just finished photographing for who had those details. Then I read it again and thought about what he was getting at. I took it like this, “A wedding should be about the couple, everything else just falls into place.” If mason jars, twinkle lights, hay bales and lavender were what they had at their disposal then by all means use them. Or if you bought mason jars, twinkle lights, hay bales and lavender because you saw it somewhere and thought “That would look awesome at my wedding!”, maybe you should step back and re-evaluate.

    To lighten the mood I’ll say this:

    Obviously… He’s never shot a Mexican wedding. Talk about unnecessary detailing no one really knows why it’s done but you better have at your wedding or you’ll be the talk of the family. And not the good kind of talk either.

  31. I think a lot of you have completely missed the point. Jonas’ manifesto was not hating on the details, he actually says he loves details if you read it.

    His message was directed at the style blogs and magazines who predominantly select their featured weddings based on the details rather than the couple.

    This process therefore limits the opportunity for weddings with fewer details but just as much love to be featured.

    I totally understand what he’s saying because I’ve held back from submitting weddings to these blogs purely because the weddings didn’t feature as many pretty details as the blogs would expect, despite the couples being absolutely gorgeous and the weddings being full of fun, laughter and tears as they should be.

    In short the details are not more important than the people.

    • “the details are not more important than the people.”

      Yep, you’re right: we’re totally in agreement, with the added caveat of people’s feelings being important, as well.

  32. It’s been a frustrating week in many ways. What I wrote was more than anything meant as a positive piece. Celebrate love, don’t worry about what others think and don’t get sidetracked by the blogs and magazines. It doesn’t matter if you have mason jars, spaceships or no decorations at all, at the end of the night you will still have married your best friend. Go all out – or don’t go out at all – but don’t worry it will all be fine.

    Of course I didn’t write it exactly like that. I wrote it in one go at 5am in the morning, posted it and had to leave for another wedding the same day. I couldn’t clarify my initial intention behind writing it. And when I got back four days later it seemed silly explaining everything in detail.

    I do think the excessive focus on details in wedding media is creating something unhealthy. I have clients who worry their wedding isn’t cool enough for me to shoot. Some get details they don’t care about “so that I will have enough things to shoot”.

    I think that’s screwed up.

    I understand that the planning process is a beautiful one for many couples. I love details and will most likely go detail crazy when I get married. But there are also a lot of people who feel overwhelmed and I was simply trying to tell them not too worry.

    I also find it interesting that the writer of this blog post interprets my post as she sees fit.

    Contacting me to ask me what I really meant would have been oh so easy.

    Kind Regards,

    Jonas Peterson

    • Thanks for chiming in, Jonas. I totally understood your intent, and in fact originally this post was going to be point-counterpoint between Megan and I… but things got busy.

      Ultimately, I think this issue is larger than the post you wrote — it’s an ongoing dynamic that couples wrestle with, struggling to find the balance between authenticity, practicality, budget, and a huge celebration. It’s not easy, and nerves get raw, as the heated response to your piece is certainly evidence of.

      Really, I think we all want the same things: to support couples celebrating their commitment in a way that feels meaningful to them.

      • Exactly. Don’t use mason jars if you’ve never seen one or used one. They are a prop not a statement.

        Live what you love. Don’t become someone different on your wedding day because that’s what you think you are meant to be.

      • Hi Jonas,

        I think the point behind your blog was great, and very valid. However, by that same point, I do think the start of the blog did have potential to be alienating, even to some of your own clients.

        As a writer, I totally get how sometimes you can mean things one way and don’t take into account other interpretations. It can be difficult, even more so at 5am!

        But at the same time, I think the point that Megan made is equally valid and important. There is so much criticism in the world, especially in the wedding world, that it can become very disheartening for couples.

        From the “YOU MUST DO/HAVE THESE THINGS OR YOU WILL DIIIIIIIEEEEE!” to “OMGEEEE, THIS DETAIL IS SOOOOO HIPSTER/OVERDONE” it sometimes feels like you just can’t do anything right.

        I can see that your intention was not to criticise those details, particularly simce you linked to a wedding that had those exact details featured. But at the same time, clearly it has come across as a criticism to some, hence why it has had such a polarising effect.

        That said, I think both your post and this one have opened a couple of important conversations that have led to some really good insight into the wedding industry as a whole.

    • I’m a fellow photog and read your original piece.

      I admit to havining, initially, a similar reaction to offbeat ride. Then I read it again. Then I thought about it a bit more. Then I thought about WHY I was thinking the way I was. What was the framework of reference through which I interpreted the post..? Then I came to my own conclusions.

      But never once did I think to email you and ask where you were coming from..? I doubt offbeat bride did either. This is not a slap on the wrist, but you didn’t invite people to Contact you about your musings.. Rightly or wrongly, your manifesto post was a statement. Not an invitation to discuss. Obviously, when people make statements (whether they be factual, opinion or deliberately inflammatory) others are going to agree, disagree or not care.

      And good on you for having the “balls” (as we say here down under) to post what you think. To be congruous with who you are and why you do what you do. I think stating your manifesto serves to better explain, to like minded individuals, WHY you do what you do -your philosophy. And that can only better place you in your niche. Which, again, can only be a good thing.

      And, much as it may seem counter intuitive, even ‘bad’ press is good press, eh? People who may never have heard of you, now are. People who ‘get’ you will always ‘get’ you -never worry about that. There will always be people who won’t. Don’t worry about that either.

      And there will always be people who look to create drama, play the devil’s advocate, or make mountains out of mole hills. Where offbeat bride stands on this continuum, I have no idea and, frankly, don’t really care. A long as you are honest about why you do what you do, and offbeat bride is similarly honest, it shouldnl’t matter whether you agree or disagree.

      Never apologies for being who you are. Never apologies for stating your self. Never apologies for giving voice to your philosophy. You don’t have to justify it.

      Or defend it.

      Just own it.

      *high fives*

      • I think, as a business person, you sort of DO owe your clients an apology if you have written something that insults their choices. If a business person wants new business, they have to be careful about what they put out there, so as not to alienate potential clients. In a perfect world it would be all great if people could just say what they think, but really, if I start telling my overseas customers (I work in industrial sales) that they are a pain in the ass, and I hate hassling with their paperwork and ridiculous standards, I’m going to lose them as customers and my company will fire my ass! Some things you keep to yourself, to make good business. Just in the same way you don’t tell your brother that you think his new girlfriend is a cow, because it would be….uh, well, RUDE. Basically Jonas posted something that bad for business, and rude. Hey, it’s a free country, and all, but, as a business person, I’d counsel him much differently.

  33. But I think you honestly agree with what Jonas is saying… yeah, he used the mason jar as a symbol. Not because he has some personal vendetta against mason jars, but because many wedding blogs (and thus brides) start qualifying what makes a wedding “feature-worthy” based on how many details it has. His point was that details are great if they mean something to you. There’s nothing wrong with picking something out because you like it, or it’s pretty. The problem comes when you let it run your day.

    I think it’s a valid manifesto, and that it’s being taken out of context left and right.

  34. I’m sorry to say it but I think that people here including the writer, Megan, are totally misunderstanding the point that Jonas was trying to make. He wasn’t bagging mason jars or any other details that a couple want to incorporate. It’s about taking a step back and really thinking about what’s important to you as a couple.

    As a wedding photographer I’ve seen couples get so bogged down on what they think makes a good wedding and seeing them stress so much about things that aren’t actually important to them just because they feel like it won’t be a success unless they have all the amazing details they have seen on the web.

    Personally, I have felt (as have many photographers) that the only way to be published is to spend the extra time to take the decoration detail shots and this can at times mean missing some special moments of the day. It’s the moments between the kiss, between the putting on the dress, between the speeches that are magical.

    Receiving an email from a blog submission stating “we love your submission but we need more details” is so frustrating. Even more so when you have sent in all the shots of all the details from the wedding.

    The point is that the industry as a whole is forcing this pressure on us all, brides, grooms, photographer’s etc.
    It’s not about trends here. It’s about being true to yourself regardless of what you think a wedding should be.

    Wether you realise it or not, Megan and Jonas have the same views here. For some reason perhaps Jonas’ point has been missed.

  35. it’s too bad ya’ll read what he wrote with what you thought he meant rather than what was said. what you wrote was right, but also nothing at ALL what Jonas wrote or intended.

    • if this many people thought that is what he meant, and it isn’t then he didn’t write it properly. If you have to go back and read something more than once to be sure you understood it, the writer didn’t do a good job writing it (unless it is a technical piece outside your realm, as the reader, then perhaps…) The point of writing non-fiction is to be clearly understood. If you aren’t clear, or are consistently misunderstood, it’s not the reader’s fault…it’s the writer’s

      • Yeah, but that’s the problem with blogs and such. He wrote it at 5 in the morning, on a personal blog. Why should we expect it to be perfectly written? Why attack him for that? Obviously it was misunderstood, but man, so is a lot. It’s ridiculous how big of a deal this is. I hope most brides don’t feel down because they happened to read some blog some stranger wrote, and now feel like their wedding is ruined because he MAY (depending on how you read it) have disliked their choices….

  36. I think you and the mason jar manifesto are saying similar things which you haven’t realized. The original authors main point wasn’t to have a simple wedding. His point was to not have a cookie cutter wedding. He was saying have a wedding that is to you and your husbands tastes. Not do the same as everyone else. Don’t have flesh coloured neutral toned bridesmaid dressed just cause everyone is doing it. Make the wedding your own, find some originality. That mean something to you and your style. Have as many details as you want but as a future bride planning a wedding don’t just focus on every minor detail, think about your future lives together and plan for that as well. Have you been to pre marital counseling etc.

  37. I think a lot of you have missed the point.


    And I also think this is a good discussion to be having for the whole industry.

    I also think that if you followed Jonas’ blogs, his love for storytelling and for his couples, regardless of their decor, is something that most of you would regard in the highest manner.

    He admittedly loves details, and wasn’t knocking his clients or anyone else’s for having them at all. Look through his work, he has documented some of the most detail heavy, beautifully planned weddings I’ve ever seen.

    He simply expressed his opinion. He shared his feelings and wanted to reassure all of you, all of us, that its great if you have details, especially personal ones, but that we’ve all gone detail crazy.

    Blogs, magazines, the whole industry. Weddings are not about just details, they are about love and emotion.

    They aren’t mutually exclusive, everyone’s wedding can be both beautifully planned and a beautiful love story. But its the latter part that matters most.

    I don’t want to speak for him, but that’s what I took from his words. And I think a lot of blogs have overreacted and so have a lot of people here, even ones who admitted they did not read his post.

    So relax, have lots of details at your wedding, but remember its still about two people in love.

  38. You’re awesome Jonas!!! Totally get where your coming from & what your saying!!

  39. I think it’s really interesting that the two wedding blogs I follow the most OBB and apracticalwedding both took this post on in posts recently. But two blogs that I feel like have very similar world views took the post two totally different ways. It’s a fun conversation to have. I love watching this get hashed out on both blogs.

  40. This post completely misunderstood what Jonas was saying. I think perhaps a few people felt personally attacked because of his mention of specific details, but properly reading the article would have made it clear that he was only deriding those who choose details simply out of a “look how cool our wedding is, we have THIS” mindset rather than it displaying who they are or anything to do with them.

  41. just because everyone is doing something, does not make it BAD. that is why hipsters get made fun of, people.

    Just because a band becomes popular does not automatically make them a sell-out, and just because a lot of brides are opting for mason jars as their choice wedding decor does not make them anything less “Ohhh, unique and fun” than they were a year ago. Leave it alone.

  42. As I said in a reply above…I generally trust people, even if I don’t know them. I trust that two people – people I know or some wedding profiled on the Internet – if they’ve chosen to get married, they know that a wedding is about a marriage and not about mason jars. I trust that they’ve figured all of that out and are in a good place to get married or working towards it (if they’re in premarital counseling). I trust that they already know that a wedding is about celebrating the marriage of two people in love.

    And whether or not they have mason jars or Navajo rugs or whatever doesn’t change that – it doesn’t mean they’re any less committed to a marriage.

    Saying that people need to be careful to stop thinking of the details and celebrate because a marriage is starting, well, that implies that you didn’t think they were doing so before.

    And I just don’t think that’s correct.

  43. I am using mason jars because they are cost effective and I love the look of them. Something soo small shpuldnt make a difference in the wedding industry! Everyones wedding should be their own! Most weddings look the same and its nice to have people who have soo many different things going on that it personal. 🙂

  44. I just had a re-read of Jonas’ article, and I think I have a clearer understanding of what he meant. However, there was this bit:

    “But if you visit many of the blogs today, you’d think it’s about other things. Heck, there are even themed shoots with no people. As if candles and old LP players on a blanket in a clearing in a forest make a wedding. Just add people. And maybe a groom. Or actually don’t, the wedding is about the details, remember? Details, details, details.”

    I think that’s at all true of blogs like Offbeat Bride. I think OBB has a huge focus on couples in love, just as much if not more than on the funky little details. And, like Megan says, a lot of people come to this site to get some help and ideas about the planning process (which includes the little details).

    Yet, this blog is much deeper than that- it’s offered so much fantastic advice on both the wedding and relationship side of things, and it’s been a absolute joy to visit in the wedding planning process. So, you can’t tar all wedding blogs with the same brush.

    So, yes, I know what Jonas means. Although, I do have a problem with some of the language used though. “This is an intervention”, for example. Seriously, brides don’t need any more voices telling them they’re failing, and are focussing too heavily on the details and not enough of the marriage, and therefore need an intervention. I dunno, it was probably meant to be tongue-in-cheek…but, for me, it didn’t come off well.

    *shrug* All just my thoughts, of course.

  45. You all do realize that it’s titled the “mason jar manifesto” ironically, right? Because the sentiment isn’t at all about the jars, but that’s what everyone immediately clinged to, so Jonas changed the title to poke fun at himself and those among us who missed the big picture and instead clung to the tiny thing he said about mason jars. I repeat, it’s not about the jars, it’s about the love.

  46. You know, I have been reading OBB and APW for so long, ironically I think I forgot that it’s okay to just like the way something looks and it doesn’t HAVE to have meaning. I definitely plan on having meaningful details at my wedding, but I have been feeling guilty for having a pre-engaged Pinterest board. This post sort of assuages my guilt a bit. Thanks.

  47. Not the point of this article, but I’m annoyed when people mason jars just to achieve the “rustic look”, and you KNOW they had their coordinator go out and buy them. I’m going to use mason jars but because I CAN, and currently have 120 pints of tomatoes put away. Because I already had them, and by the time my wedding rolls around, they will be empty. Then I will reuse them to can the following year!

    • I don’t agree with the judgment expressed here. I feel that it takes a play from the “authenticity” book of the bride-on-bride snark that has led to a lot of the tension that is being addressed throughout this comment thread. If you do your own canning and use jars for your wedding – fine. That’s happening. If someone else who does not do their own canning chooses the same (in the name of “rustic” or “memory” or “cost-effectiveness” or really, any reason at all) – then fine, as well. There’s just no need to one-up this.

  48. Wait until they see my beer bottle vases. No will ever have issues with jars again.

  49. I’m having my Mason jars & anyone who doesn’t like it can GTFO…It’s meaningful to me & my fiance because of what’s going into those jars:

    1) honey James & I hand-spun with my beekeeping future father-in-law, and
    2) muscadine jelly – made by my future mother-in-law, from grapes grown by my future brother-in-law, on vines James & I tended by hand this summer.

    No twinkly lights, though…the downside of a 10 am ceremony.

  50. I think everyone was totally missing the point on what Jonas was saying. If you go to wedding blogs these days, they’re all about the details. They’re all vintage inspired, mason-jars, twine, retro flatware, etc. I’ve been to 10+ wedding blogs today and it’s the same story with each one. Jonas was just saying that the real focus of wedding photography should be to capture the moments and the emotion. That’s why people hire wedding photographers…to tell the story of their wedding day. Sure the details are a part of the wedding day, but not the biggest part…that’s the people.

    • If he wanted to address the blogs’ focus on details, he should have called out the blogs, and then added the brides in to the audience, not started by calling out fictional brides who are using those “trendy” details.
      It makes it a more personal jab at brides who honestly want those details in their weddings and that jab is why people are responding so emotionally.

  51. Details are what make your wedding truly yours. I am all for the details that have meaning to you. if you love mason jars then go crazy. if you don’t, then don’t do it cause its trendy. do what you love, but don’t be afraid of the details!

  52. Unfortunately no photographer could capture the love between my husband and I for the 6 hours paid to cover the ceremony and party, together known as the wedding.
    My reception had canning jars that are now currently holding apples, applesauce, and tomatoes and our wedding was featured on OBB. Because of our details? Maybe. Because of the love in our eyes? Eh, 99% those poses where we are looking deeply at each other were unnatural poses for us. We don’t look like that.
    So unless our photographer could somehow capture the years we spent connecting, supporting, and being there for each other in the 6 hours we paid for, you’re gonna get mason jars.
    Some of my favorite photos of our wedding, are of our guests, friends and family from different parts of our lives chatting it up or dancing with each other. However, I know that’s never going to make it into anyone’s feature, even my feature on OBB, because they are strangers to the rest of the world. And that’s ok. I hate looking at photos of fundraising galas featuring page after page of people I don’t know, obviously having a good time. But it is more fun to look at page after page of strangers when there are interesting features and details that I may want to steal for a party.
    My point is “the love”, can’t always be captured in a visual format that would make sense to other people. The deeply meaningful pictures of your 60 yr old 2nd grade teacher chatting (who unknown to you will die in 3 months) with your best friend at work in the twinkly lighted VFW isn’t gonna make the bridal websites or magazines, and doesn’t further your photog’s portfolio, but then again, that’s not what you’re paying him for.

  53. I have question for the photographers out there.

    I am very surprised to see a photographer get sick of wedding details. I would have guessed that details made a wedding photographer’s job easier : props! gadgets! shiny stuff! And if any of it’s DIY, surely that would something the couple would love to have a picture of?

    But I’m not a photographer and I don’t know. Maybe it makes everything more time-consuming? Maybe it’s that much harder to catch the bride and groom as “happy” if they’re counting mason jars?

    I’m not really commenting on the tone of the manifesto. I can fully see how it can be read 2 ways. I’m just curious if the photographers out there in Offbeat Bride-land find details oppressive and distracting or delightful and worthwhile.

  54. Don’t get me wrong, Megan, I love you and your website – I really do. I’ve literally read almost every post on here and I love everything you write about and how you write it. But I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. I’ve read the Mason Jar Manifesto and at first I was offended (like you) because my wedding is going to have mason jars and fairy lights and – yes – even a vintage typewriter, but I don’t think the purpose of his manifesto is to rag on people’s weddings, however over-detailed they may be. I think his point is to simply say not to plan this huge over-detailed monster of a wedding and then say “Hmm…what am I missing? Oh yeah – a groom!” You need to focus on the love between you and your future husband and build a celebration off that. Not to focus so much on the STUFF that can blind you from a wedding’s real purpose. Maybe he went about it the wrong way, but his message seems innocent enough in my eyes.

  55. I read the Manifesto, and I read APW and this blog and I took something different from it. I didn’t see it as an attack on weddings, but on the WIC. Hell, have details, don’t have details, have meaningless details (not sure they are meaningless if you choose to have them), have whatever you want. Just don’t feel like you HAVE to have one or the other.
    Do what you want, and more power to you.

  56. Lets not miss the point here guys. It is about love and lots of it! Details are great maybe even crucial but the emotional attachment to them needs to be left at the door. What I think Jonas was trying to say is that he and many other wedding photographers (myself included) are more interested in you, your feelings about the day and the nerves you feel. You stressing about the placement of the mason jars will not result in better photos only a stressful bride.

    When the details are set forget about them and concentrate on you!

    Much love


  57. Amen, Megan!!! I had a very detail oriented wedding and told my photographers specifically to get plenty of pictures of the little details (along with plenty of pictures of people and special moments) because I worked so damn hard on getting all the details right!

  58. I think we can sum up the whole argument thusly:

    Haters gonna hate.


    Haters to the left.

  59. I went and read the blog posts, pre-determined to hate them. But I kind of liked the Mason Jar Manifesto:

    “Strip it back.
    Peel the layers off.
    And start again.
    …If you read magazines and wedding blogs today, you’d think it’s all about the dress, the decorations, invitations or a million other things.
    It’s not.
    It’s about celebrating love, a manifestation of commitment, a gathering of friends and family.
    Because you’re in love.”

    And I kind of like the Hindsight Bride post, too:

    “I’ve even had brides apologize to me! They say, ‘I’m sorry, our wedding is very plain. We didn’t have the time to make a lot of decorations.’ ‘This is probably a really boring wedding for you to photograph, I’m sorry.’ Where are they getting this negative self-image of their wedding? Glad you asked, because I’ll tell you. They get it from the same place that gave women a negative self-image of their bodies: the Media. It used to be that the Media consisted largely of magazines and newspapers. But now you bloggers are a part of the Media, albeit the so-called ‘new media.'”

  60. I think the crux of all this is that the couples aren’t to blame, it’s squarely with the wedding blogs. What they demand drives the choices that the couples and the photographers make.

    • But…I stumbled on Offbeat Bride while looking for completely-not-wedding-related decor ideas, and stuck around for the pretty pictures. Later, the essays became my favorite part. But if Offbeat Bride had been filled with “my cousin took this snapshot at the community hall”, I probably wouldn’t have been hooked.

      It’s all very circular. Consumers demand pretty pictures, which the media supplies, which consumers use to judge themselves. The blogs are strong link in the chain, but as a consumer, I do have responsibility for what I consume; I am not some mindless blog-puppet.

  61. I honestly think a lot of people are having knee-jerk reactions to this. You’re all actually on the same page, but you’re talking past each other rather than TO each other.

    The author of the Mason Jar Manifesto even says, and I quote, “I love me some details.”

    Ultimately, his post is not about mason jars. The mason jars are a metaphor. Read it again and substitute something completely unrelated to your decor. Pink flamingos. Rocket ships. Something else. Does it offend you as much now?

    What I read was a post about making sure that you still see the forest through the trees. It’s about trying to remind people about what’s ACTUALLY important on a wedding day.

    And if you think that’s unnecessary… I’d like to point you toward Bridezillas, Bridalplasty, and all of those other horrendous reality shows that prove that the obsession with the event of the wedding can and often does overshadow what the wedding is actually about.

  62. The beauty of working in the wedding industry (and being a photographer) is that every wedding is different. Whether the wedding is a simple event with a very plain theme or a lavish affair with fairy lights and tables decked with favours, a wedding day is special and is made the way the couple want it to be made. It’s a special day. For a photographer to complain about detail is in my eyes complete insanity. My moto is “capture everything”. Surely the job of a photographer is not just to capture the happiness of the couple, recording their emotions, but also to look at the detail.
    Sure, every so often I’ll attend a wedding and think “Really???!” when I see something that I think looks a bit “odd” BUT I’m there not to judge the couple’s choices but to help them remember their amazing day! Keep the lights, keep the vintage….it’s variety! Everyone is different. It’s what makes life and the industry interesting!

  63. I’ve read through so many perspectives on the Mason Jar Manifesto and Megan’s response, and the feeling I’m left with is that it really comes down to one thing.
    People don’t feel good in being told what they should/shouldn’t feel, and should/shouldn’t do. I get that sometimes the advice comes from a really good place, and is often great advice to follow. But it shouldn’t come down to what is right or what isn’t. It comes down to everyone doing it their own way. And if it’s because you’re living up to a family tradition, or because it feels true to you, or because it’s out of respect to your guests… it’s still your choice in the end. We won’t all agree on whether the motivation behind certain actions are the right one.
    And it’s ok to write an article defending and/or promoting any choice… but specifically calling out certain details and saying “don’t do this- do that” is bound to ruffle feathers.
    I very much agree with Jonas’ intended message, but can absolutely see why it caused upset to some. It’s wonderful that those who were hurt by some of the content of his article found support here on OBB with Megan’s response.
    What I try to remember is that no one is forcing me to read a blog. If they say something I find offensive or upsetting – they weren’t pointedly trying to hurt me. We merely disagree, and as long as I have the ability to do things the way I want to – I will choose to do so.
    The only thing that’s left for anyone that isn’t me, is that if you wouldn’t have chosen the same thing- do it your way when it’s your turn.

    To the individual whose wedding was pictured – it looks absolutly lovely to me. I’m glad you thought it was lovely too – because that’s all that counts, really. 🙂

  64. I agree with you. There is nothing wrong with mason jar. In fact I just used them in the last wedding I did. They are budget friendly and they add a particular feel to the wedding. For god sakes it’s your wedding and you can do whatever you want! Especially if you are paying for it.

  65. Omg, I LOVE YOU! Bf (foolish man) just shared me this site, and your article was the first one I’m reading. Caught my eye because, as an Etsy-er, I see these mason jar set-ups all over the place, and I do think they make for a really cool lighting addition, and if they fit my theme, totally using them in the future, so the topic related.

    …and then I started reading it. This was like Cracked.com for bridal blogs! I LOVE IT! I hope the rest of the site is as awesome, because you just got yourself a fan in me, sweetie!

  66. THANK YOU for this post.

    After reading all the recent ‘mason hate’ online I was starting to wonder if I had simply become victim to blog-propaganda in term of incorporating twinkly lights and mason jars into my upcoming nuptials…the same way the media once upon a time told us that skinny jeans were the sh*t, or that being so tanned you look orange is f*cking awesome.

    I live near Toronto, Canada and our ‘wedding scene’ here is extremely unoriginal [for the most part]. Every (7) wedding I went to this past year was in the same cookie-cutter banquet hall with the same 4 course meal and chocolate fountain, and stretch hummer limos, and dj straight out of a nightclub playing the YMCA. Really?! To me THIS gets much older than DIY details. The wedding scene up here is a little more lackluster than our American friends (in my neighbourhood anyhow) so I always looked to the blogs for fun, fresh ideas for a diy/rustic chic affair. Blogs taught me I do NOT have to rent out the “Bellagio banquet hall” and have a 6 foot tall calla lilly centrepiece. I CAN transform a rustic barn into a lavish soiree, complete with hand-sewn bunting and table runners, and cut my own flowers for centrepieces…and I can save a WHOLE lot of money in the process. But, if stretch hummer limo’s and 6 foot centrepieces are YOUR thing, all the power to you! The planning and details are all a labour of love, and making this day (and of course the vows&family&friends) a special day to remember all their lives… mason jars & all.

  67. I think there is a great misconception of the term “simple”. I think my wedding is going to be simple because it goes like this. Family & friends + vows + food + party and all in my parent’s garden.

    My idea of simple is that you focus on the love you share, the commitment you are about to make, and the family and friends that are there to support and celebrate with you.

    Now, this idea of “simple” has nothing to do with details. Nothing included in our wedding is there without a reason. Everything from sepia toned family wedding photos, to a Japanese inspired wish tree (ancient myth – I love history).

    My decor is crafty, yarn ball lanterns since I love to knit, mason jars cause I love to make fresh jam and memories of grandma’s farm. Handmade lace and crocheted items made by family members past and present. My wedding cake will be one tier and in a glass dome just for us, and the guests will feast upon desserts made from family recipes.

    Simple is not without details. Details are those little things that help you remember the moments of the day and night. I will remember the glow of the lanterns every time I see a ball of yarn, I will remember the beautiful flowers on the table every time I grab a jar of jam, and I will remember every time I prepare our family recipes. The details are what makes the wedding.

    I hear often that the day will just fly by, so I’m creating memories before they happen with the details. Visual cues that allow me to process the moments and emotions of the day, every day.

    Keep the DIY and thoughtful details, but don’t get sucked in to the billion dollar wedding industry hype.

    Happy Planning!

  68. It wasn’t about the details, and it’s unfortunate that Jonas singled out mason jars, because it’s obscuring the larger point.

    His piece was about that too many brides think the wedding is about the details, and seem to forget the sacredness of two people committing to spending their lives together.

    For example, WeddingWire just did a Facebook survey asking what’s the one thing at your wedding that you can’t live without? And while a good many people chose their fiance, a good many people didn’t.

    It’s that second category that Jonas was talking about. If your cake or your dress or your table decor is what’s most important, then maybe you’re not ready to get married.

  69. Honestly, if this person was my photographer, I’d find a new one. It’s not his/her place to comment on the decor, just as it’s not my place to comment on/criticize an book I am editing. Your job is to capture the love the couple shares and the meaning of the event, and if that meaning is displayed through a mason jar explosion because it’s cheap and looks pretty, so be it.

    I really think you may need some time off if you have lost the ability to connect with your couples and have turned to ridiculing their wedding decor.

  70. I think many of us are really missing Jonas’ point completely. He makes no err to say that details are enemy or that trendy things are enemy, but to keep focus on the meaning of the day and not get wrapped up in your surroundings being something which would rival the pages of a wedding magazine, because it isn’t important. In the end, what’s important is the couple, not the fact that you had the rarest sea bird flown in to be flambéd for your 200 guests or that you have vintage ribbon from India tying the favor boxes. Those things, while nice, are not paramount.

  71. What if I want mason jars because they are cheap and I dont want to spend money on vases that I will never use again. What if mason jars – or anything “trendy” – is just a means to an end so the couple can focus on other, more important things. I feel like I am planning my wedding around things that are important to me but also things that are jist fun. In the end – it’s the wedding for the couple and no one should made to be felt like they have to validate ANY choice – ever.

  72. really good that the two wedding blogs I’ve just follow the OBB and apractical wedding both took this post on in posts recently. But two blogs that I feel like have very similar world views took the post two totally different ways. It’s a fun conversation to have. I love watching this get hashed out on both blogs.

  73. My two cents. People in the southern states use them for EVERYTHING! I don’t judge people for using them. I’m just not going to do it. My fiance and I aren’t very southern, I guess. We grew up in Mississippi, but we’re not going for a “country” vibe.

    • Yeah, that’s another thing – to me, as someone from the South getting married not-in-the-south, it was an easy, stylish, vintage country touch. Not that we should have to defend mason jars (??)- I just fucking love them!

  74. I think any time a dude comes out and starts pooping on creative wedding choices typically made by the femme side of the wedding party-it’s someone who’s missing the point. It’s not his wedding. IF someone wants to festoon their wedding day with stuff from Dollar General and Wal Mart so they can hire a great photographer-keep your mouth shut and take amazing pictures and tell their story. If someone wants to spend $500 on mason jars then have their mom and wedding planner personally label them with artisan raw hand pressed paper-that’s her bliss and her creativity. If someone wants giant foam numbers covered in spray paint and glitter to signify table numbers, whatever whackateria. Someone picks you to take pictures because of the way you shoot events and weddings. It’s not up to anyone to fill their wedding up with every notion, idea, goof and whimsy except the two folks getting married. THe mason jar manifesto may state what the author wants for his wedding but he’s not being hired to shoot his own wedding. Sometimes couples really don’t know what to do and they are offered options and they pick one of those options. Sometimes an engaged person has a scrapbook they’ve been keeping and corrupting since high school. It’s as individual as the dress. It’s not anyone’s job to advise on that stuff except the person the bride and groom pay to do that-whether it’s your taste or not. It’s not like someone who uses mason jars at their reception is going to say, ‘i always use mason jars when i get married!’ they’re doing it once. Hopefully. If they do it again, they probably aren’t going to repeat themselves.

  75. Yeah, anytime you are “shaming” anyone’s anything, I just think it’s distasteful and mean. Don’t be a wedding bully. We’re having mason jars at our wedding- why? because they are SO EASY and effortlessly cute and vintage looking. I have always loved the look of them as vases. I’m a lazy-girl bride and to me flowers in mason jars are equally easy as they are stylish = yay.

  76. It’s interesting, I don’t think I’ve replied to this post before. I find it interesting how so many people can completely misunderstand the core message and I guess I’m to blame for that.

    What I wrote has nothing to do with mason jars. Not a single thing. It’s about the stress of organising a wedding and getting caught up in the hysteria of it all. I love details, but I see so many brides stressing out about having this or that, not because they want to, but because they think they have to. If you love bunting and mason jars, go for it, the same goes for everything else, but I just wanted to remind people that we’re getting married because we’re in love. The details are nice, but relax about organising the perfect event with all what that means. Get married, have fun and remember the day for the right reasons.

    And have some mason jars if you want.

    Heck, have a bunch.

    They’re pretty cool.

  77. Just saying… since when is having alternative lighting, seating and centerpieces a trend? I for one want to do them at my wedding not because I’m following a trend but because they can be beautiful and cheap! Emphasis on cheap!!! If i was getting married in 20 years I would want the same things. I’ve never been a girly girl and I think they add class without being overly girly and considering I would love a lace dress, mason jars are great because you can accessorize however you’d like.

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