Why you should ignore trainwreck wedding reality shows

By on Oct 20th

This is what the Canadians think of me

This is me on a Canadian talk show promoting my book

Not a week goes by that I don't get an email from a reader who's freaking out about some new awful wedding reality show. Sometimes I get whole clusters of outraged emails, imploring me "Please write about this! OMG, it makes me so angry!" Then there are the posts on the Offbeat Bride Tribe, with members confessing that they hate these shows, but they watch them, but they get so angry!, but they can't stop watching, etc.

So, what do I think of think of these shows? My answer: I don't. I know how media publicity works, so I ignore all wedding reality shows, and you should too. Here's why…

To understand these shows, you need to understand the concept of trainwreck media, which is best summed with this line recently used to advertise a new daytime reality show: "Love them or hate them, you WILL be talking about them." That's what television producers count on, because they make their living selling advertising. They don't care if people watch because they love the show or hate the show — all that matters is the eye-balls. It's the same reason some bloggers write contrarian posts that are just BEGGING to be argued with: when you go argue, you're providing eyeballs. And eyeballs sell ads.

I might sound cynical, but I used to work in PR so I know how this stuff works. Yes, positive coverage is always the ideal for any publicity campaign, but in the world of public relations, coverage is coverage. The ultimate goal is people talking, and even if you're saying "OH MY GOD, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT!?" you're essentially playing directly into the hands of the publicists and producers who make this garbage. In fact, for all I know, the emails I receive from outraged readers may be sent by publicists fishing for coverage.

So no, I don't write about wedding reality shows. I'd rather devote my energy to making an awesome alternative to the competitive, conventional, high-end wedding industry.

If you really hate those shows, the best thing you can do is stop talking about them. Don't watch them and don't spread the word about them. If someone mentions a trashy wedding reality show to you, just say "Meh, whatever: that's why I read [fill in the name of your favorite wedding blog, which may or may not be Offbeat Bride.]" Don't be a trainwreck media stooge; don't do publicists' work for them. Rather than gawk at a trainwreck, go make something awesome.

Because with media, word-of-mouth is power. And when you stop giving these trainwrecks your energy, you've got more energy to devote to spreading the word about shit you DO like.