I certainly haven't made my disdain for the concept of iPod weddings much of a secret - I wrote Why Using an iPod for Your Wedding is a Horrible Idea over a year ago, and it still holds true today. Last week, Andy Ebon of the Wedding Marketing Blog had an interesting post about a spot that aired on the news in the Chicagoland area last June. It caused an uproar in the DJ community, especially in Chicago, and the national leadership of the American Disc Jockey Association moved quickly and did a great job of counteracting it. At issue are the comments and advice (if you can even call it that) of Jenny Lefcourt, one of the executives at national photography provider Bella Pictures.
Ms. Lefcourt was asked to give cost-cutting advice to brides with a budget, and concluded the interview with what I believe was her very worst suggestion -- "Dump the DJ."
Obviously, as a professional disc jockey, I take offense at Ms. Lefcourt's assertion that an iPod is somehow an adequate replacement for a DJ. The truth of the matter is that iPod weddings rarely, if ever,
turn out well. I can't tell you how many wedding planners have told me about the weddings they've done where the bride insisted on using an iPod and how much of a disaster it was - it seems like I have that conversation with a planner at least twice a month. To illustrate the point, the ADJA and its president, Dr. Drax, produced an informative (and entertainingly tragic) video of an iPod wedding in action. It's real footage from a real wedding, with a real bride and groom and a real rented sound system. Enjoy:
More significantly, however, what Ms. Lefcourt has done in this interview is to demonstrate she is willing to offer disastrously poor advice -- advice that could very well ruin someone's wedding day -- in order to make more money available for her photography services. Obviously, as an accomplished executive in the wedding industry, Ms. Lefcourt should be able to distinguish the importance of utilizing professional, reputable vendors for every service category. For her to ignore that importance and potentially sabotage the success of a "budget" bride's wedding day is not only unethical, it's unthinkable.
Ms. Lefcourt is obviously entitled to her opinions. She may take issue with a company's prices, or disagree with its business model, which is certainly her right. We all have this right -- for example, I've been very clear about my thoughts on companies that ignore the significance of personal connections and instead assign photographers, or DJs, or videographers, right before the wedding. However, in spite of my feelings about any particular wedding company, I can't fathom recommending that a bride, even one on a tight budget, completely forego an entire service category. For Ms. Lefcourt to have done so speaks volumes, in my opinion, of her priorities and her concern for brides' happiness on their wedding day.
UPDATE: Apparently there have been problems internally at Bella Pictures over this (and what I can only assume are other) issues. The photography community heard today from Bob Davis, the highly talented lead photographer and founding member of Bella Pictures - announcing publicly that he has not been with Bella Pictures for several months. Addressing fellow professional photographers, Davis described this segment by Jenny Lefcourt as "disappointing" and added, "When we set forth to create Bella Pictures we came up with core values that I feel are not in practice and therefore I no longer want to [be] associated with Bella Pictures."