Dealing with your Worst Critics

Let’s face it- when you put yourself in the position of offering a wedding service or product for someone’s best day in their whole life, you’re asking for trouble. Emotions are always high, even when simply picking out the silverware. You, my friends, are in the direct line of fire until Last Call, and possibly far after that time.

In my chosen career, I have always put myself out there. If I wasn’t planning the very best day of someone’s life, then I was managing a bridal association, or sitting on a Board. I’ve written articles that have received the proverbial thumbs down from readers and sometimes, Illuminate doesn’t knock it out of the ballpark in every category for 100% of the attendees. The good news? The constructive criticism makes me better at what I do. It taught me that my get ’em done and wildly efficient tastings didn’t always bode well with the bride who wanted her hand held. It’s taught me that I speak too quickly sometimes when presenting and that street parking is by far the worst option you can offer seminar attendees. And that I’m terrible at writing my own out of office email when I’m tired.

When it comes to feedback- negative, positive or somewhere in between, I have three rules- take a moment (ever so briefly) to either celebrate it or host a mini pity party, learn from it and move on.  In that order, always.

I learned quickly, however, that given the nature of the business, that you needed to make a rule for certain exceptions- that is, when there is no reason involved within the argument. I’ve assisted with picture perfect weddings only to come in Monday morning to a jaw dropping email from an attendee, making me seriously question whether we had been at the same event.

My rule? Skip #1 and #2 and just move on. The fact is this- it’s important to take criticism to heart and learn from your mistakes, but as soon as the feedback has crossed the line of reasonable, it is no longer valid in my book.

Just this past morning, I realized that I hadn’t yet read the reviews from my semester of teaching, which could essentially be described as three parts invigorating and enriching and ten parts challenging. The feedback was as expected for each section until I came across a review so scathing that I literally had to sit back and ask myself if I had robbed this student’s grandmother at some point, or stolen their high school sweetheart in another lifetime*.  I couldn’t help but smile when I read it because all I could think about was the one time I had been unhappy with a professor at JMU and how easy I had been on her to spare her feelings. But perhaps, I hope, that speaks to my character.

So I took my own advice today- I donated my pity party time to my blogging time and moved on without giving it another thought.  There should be no room in anyone’s  life for that sort of thing- it’s unproductive and it probably causes wrinkles.

So how do you deal with the worst of your critics? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.

*For those who don’t know me, neither of those scenarios are plausible

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Meghan Ely

Regarded as one of the leading wedding publicists in the US, Meghan Ely combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR. She has earned coverage for her clients with the New York Times, People, Brides, Bridal Guide, The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, CNN Money, and more. She is a WeddingPro Expert and long-time contributor to and