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!

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.
    bravo…

    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.

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