I am grateful, humbled, and so d*mn excited all at once because this little personal wedding blog won the Wedding Channel Blog Contest. A Los Angeles Love is the official 2010 Best Overall Wedding Blog. I am officially over the moon. And I am officially shocked and amazed at this outcome.
While Jason, myself, and our now slightly-less-constrained wedding budget profusely thank you all, I've also been trying to figure out how on earth this little site managed to beat all of its professional, high-traffic competition. By the end of the contest, I was neck and neck with the Wedding Chicks, which receives about 8,000 unique visitors each day. I get significantly fewer hits per day. Significantly. This little site shouldn't even register on the Wedding Chicks radar. This little site couldn't offer its readers all sorts of incentives like store discounts if I won the contest, since, well, I don't have a store. Or sponsors. Or business venture-level traffic numbers.
But what I apparently have is a small-but-powerful army of readers and friends who really really care. You cared enough to vote multiple times on multiple days and to ask your friends to do the same. All week, I've felt a groundswell of goodwill from this outpouring of support and effort. Yes, a groundswell. Because that's all I can think to call it. A from-the-ground-up push for something different in our wedding-related reading. A push for something beyond beautiful photos. A push for something beyond visual inspiration. A push for heartfelt content, ugly moments of honesty, and the triumph of silliness and joy. I think maybe this was our push to reclaim our weddings for ourselves, even just a little bit, from the business of weddings. It was our stand against the expectations of the WIC for what the Best Wedding Blog (or, by extension, the best wedding) should look like. Most of my twitter retweet "please vote" efforts came from readers (and from a few amazing photographers I now consider friends.) Most of the other contestants' twitter retweet "please vote" requests came from vendors.
This isn't to disparage what the Wedding Chicks (and other planning and resource-heavy blogs) have created. I love gorgeous photos. I like the occasional inspiration shoot because heck, they inspire me to think more creatively about our wedding (so long as I step away from my web browser before I dissolve into a can't-afford-and-can't-craft-it-and-can't-lose-enough-weight panic of tears.) I really appreciate having a curated site of vendor options that meet a specific and defined aesthetic or ethic. These sites help me plan my wedding more effectively. These sites are generally created and run by amazing women who tend to know a ton about weddings and are genuinely excited to share it. Seriously. I've emailed or met a quite a few of them. Dana at the Broke-Ass Bride is so much fun and so giving in person. Jessica at Budget Savvy Bride was so helpful when I started this blogging thing (and the budget panic thing.) Kat at Rock N' Roll Bride was so sweet when I inadvertently stirred up some boudoir shoot controversy and the internet got angry. And as for Amy at the Wedding Chicks... I bought my first dress from her, and she was the most kick-*ss awesome fun lady ever. She used to be a photographer and insisted on an impromptu photo shoot with me in the dress. I'm a huge fan.
But their blogs are a lot different than this one. I don't really do photo-heavy posts. I use gorgeous design and striking images to feed my soul, but it's not what drives this blog. I don't really do sponsored posts. I loveloveLOVE the few vendors we've selected to help with our wedding, but vendor love posts don't really drive my content (except for a few overly gushy and excited posts about how much we lovelovelove them.) Instead, this site is just about me and us and our little wedding journey. It's raw and unpolished and looks at wedding planning in the context of my life instead of defining that life as wedding planning (though sometimes it truly feels like the wedding is gobbling up all other contexts).
This isn't my business. This is my life. And I think, maybe, that's why you voted for me so continuously and that's why I won. Because this wedding planning journey I write about is a bit like your life too, and you're looking for wedding talk that's more than visually inspiring. You're looking for other people who understand that life and weddings are messy, compromised, highly imperfect, and worthwhile all the same. And maybe that's what you get here, and on each of your own personal sites (which I visit and love. Because, if you leave a comment, I'm clicking through to your site to see who you are.) And maybe your votes for me were really a vote for us: the people getting married and struggling with the complexities of this journey.
Whatever your voting motivations, thank you. And whatever route your own wedding planning journey takes, I hope that you find as much complexity and joy as I've found along mine.