Bridal Email Overload, Part 2: How David’s Bridal Can Suck Less at Email

In my last post, I wrote about the ridiculous amounts of email I was getting from David’s Bridal. Most people would just let it go, or tell me to set up an email address just for the wedding. Several people actually told me to do that. But what about the MANY email conversations with my family members about the wedding? If I get an email from a vendor we’re considering, and want to forward it to my dad or Andy, I don’t want to have to constantly go back and forth between email accounts.  Also, I’m definitely not setting up a second email account on my phone. No way. And after the wedding, I get to completely dump my old email address and use my new one with my new last name. It’s already set up, and completely empty save for a few welcome emails from Google. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just log into that account and admire how clean it is. I can’t wait to set up my crazy label system.

I’ve been working in copywriting/email marketing for about 4 years, and EXCLUSIVELY in email marketing for the last 6 months. I send between 10-20 marketing emails a week, and take a ton of precautions to make sure that I’m not sending too many emails to the same audience on any given day. I don’t want to annoy my readers and cause them to unsubscribe. There are certain ways to make your email marketing relevant, useful and timely for your customers, and it’s not even all that hard to do. And it’s REALLY easy to allow people to customize their preferences, and I really don’t understand why a company like David’s Bridal wouldn’t do such a thing.

Instead, they do this (and this is after deleting quite a few- I just did a search in my email account for David’s Bridal. The “priority” flags were added by Gmail, not me):

Here are a few recommendations I have for David’s Bridal:

1. Send a Welcome email: Out of all emails your company will send, the first one sent is the one of the most likely to be read. Make it count. It should introduce the types of emails you’ll be sending, and perhaps even give the reader an idea of what to expect from your email program. Simple.

2. Know Your Audience: So, David’s Bridal knows that I bought a dress from their store. They got that information the same day that they got my email address. So why, pray tell, did they need to send me 14 more emails over the next week with more pictures of wedding dresses? I’m not in the market for a dress anymore. I just bought one. From you. K?

3. Let me tell you what I want, what I really really want. As I learned from the barrage of emails from David’s Bridal – the company offers a lot of other wedding related products. Since the only thing I’ve done for the wedding is purchase a dress, it’s safe to say that I might be in the market for bridesmaid dresses, tux rentals, invitations, or photography (well, the first two from this particular company anyway…). Too bad I already unsubscribed from your emails because you sent me too many about something I didn’t want. Now you can’t market your other products to me as easily.

What you should do: A preference page. When you send out the Welcome email, tell me to click on “manage my preferences” at the bottom (and make that possible…), and let me tell you what products I’m interested in receiving emails about. And let me tell you if I’d rather get emails every day, or just once or twice a week. David’s Bridal’s email volume is high enough, it would be totally possible to do this.  Also, don’t send anyone four mass emails a day. OVERKILL. And don’t disguise marketing emails with subject lines like “About Your Special Reservation Layaway.” Let me pick if I only want to receive transactional emails from you.

4. Remember that brides are kind of into monogamy: I gave you my email address because I trusted your company and decided that I wanted to hear more from you. I don’t want you to pimp my information out to random other companies. Not cool. Also, when I filled out the form at the store, I wasn’t necessarily giving my consent for you to share my information. I wanted YOU to be able to contact me with information about when my dress would be ready and what I need to do for alterations. That =/= having a company call me about a “vacation” I’ve won. Jerks.

Part of why I’m so overwhelmed by planning the wedding is because of the way the wedding industry aggressively markets to brides, and how we’re told this is supposed to be the most important day of our lives, and if we don’t BUY ALL THE THINGS, it won’t (I know that’s not true, but that doesn’t make it any easier to avoid). I don’t like being told that I have to buy favors and garters and flowers, or tell other people how to dress, or care about table cloths.  I really, really, just want to someone else to do all of the research, and let me just pick between a few options for everything. (And yes, I realize that I should probably hire a planner). Until that time, I’ll just have to be mollified by Practical Ryan Gosling.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Bridal Email Overload, Part 1, aka: Why I can’t wait to change my last name and email address

I haven’t written in a while, because there hasn’t been a ton to write about, and I’ve been busy, and I’m not in the business of turning this into a wedding blog. (But if you’re looking for one, I highly recommend A Practical Wedding. It’s been the primary thing keeping me sane through this whole planning thing). I’m still going to write about wedding-related things sometimes. I guess that’s better than no blog posts at all, right? (If you started reading this blog because of all my job search posts – sorry! My next post will be about email marketing strategy. Is that better?)

So, since I last wrote, I haven’t really become any less overwhelmed with the thought of planning a wedding, but I have checked one thing off from my wedding to-do list (one thing. That’s it): I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago to do the part that I’m most excited about – dress shopping!

I met up with my mom and sister for a long weekend, and we found my dress! We went to a few smaller boutiques, but ended up purchasing the second dress I tried on (out of about 20 total) – at David’s Bridal. A lot of brides (especially in New York) tend to scoff at DB, since it’s a chain and generally has lower-priced, “off the rack” dresses. I don’t even know how many people asked me if I was going to go shopping at Kleinfeld’s simply because I live in NYC (Ballpark: everyone I’ve had a conversation with about dress shopping). I just can’t justify (or afford) spending more than a NYC months’ rent on a dress.

Anyway, so I had a lovely customer experience at David’s Bridal. My consultant was wonderful, attentive, and understanding. I’m really happy with the dress I picked out and can’t wait to wear it when I marry Andy.

However.

As part of their on-boarding process, when you walk into the store, you have to sit at a table and fill out a form about your wedding. Since most of our wedding’s still a big question mark, I left a lot of it blank. I didn’t know the date or the specific location or who would be in the bridal party and what our colors are. I did, however, know my email address, but I was kind of hesitant to write it on the form. (Why? Because I’m this person.) But I did anyway, because maybe if we throw more wedding information at me, some of it might stick and motivate me to actually plan the wedding.

I went back home from the trip the next day, and then… the emails started.

There were sometimes FOUR a day. Emails about wedding dresses, photography by David’s Bridal, invitations by David’s Bridal, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes at Men’s Wearhouse, Mother of the Bride Dresses, surveys about my customer experience… it was kind of crazy. Of course, I set up my awesome email filters and sent them all to the black hole that is my “Wedding” label in my Gmail account.

But then they started invading my inbox. Only, they weren’t just from David’s Bridal anymore. They were from random vendors in Las Vegas who clearly do not understand the CAN-SPAM act (they didn’t have any kind of unsubscribe option, and when I replied to the email asking to be taken off their list, the email bounced). Where did THEY come from?! And since it was coming from a different email address than DB, it wasn’t filtered into my Wedding Black Hole label.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I soon discovered something worse than invading my inbox: hijacking an after-ballet coffee shop outing with my friend, via my phone. Last Wednesday, I got a phone call from “Chefmaster USA” telling me that I had won a contest that I had entered during a bridal show in Las Vegas, and that I would receive a three-day honeymoon to Costa Rica, free wedding invitations, and a coupon book for more discounts. I mentioned that was odd since I hadn’t been to a bridal show at all, and definitely not in Las Vegas, but didn’t rule out the possibility that well-meaning relatives hadn’t been to one and signed me up for contests.

All I had to do was show up at their cooking show the next night…in Las Vegas. I told them I couldn’t do that because I was in NYC, but perhaps my mom or sister could stop by to pick up my prize. Nope. I was a little skeptical about the whole thing, but, like many other brides (as I found out while researching this company), I had entered a few random wedding-related contests online, so who knew?

So, the lady told me that they had a few other cooking shows in the New York area, and I could maybe go to one of them to get my prize. Okay, now we’re talking. The closest one was in Cherry Hill, NJ (two hours away by car, too many hours away by public transit…). I said sure, and they told me that my fiance and I would BOTH have to show up at 8 pm on Friday night to pick up our prize. I asked if she could email the information about where to go, and she said she couldn’t, so I wrote it down on a napkin. After I got off the phone, I told my friend (who had been sitting there the whole time) about it, and we immediately went to her apartment around the corner to research it. I was hoping I had actually won something, but still feeling skeptical.

Yeah, it turns out it’s similar to a timeshare presentation. According to several different bridal message boards (hey, I found a use for them!), David’s Bridal gives out our contact information to this company, and they contact engaged couples who shop there (so, you know, those of us who do not have a Kleinfeld budget and would likely jump at the chance for a free honeymoon), and then tries to sell them $3500 pots and pans. No joke.

Sure, it was a little disappointing, but I was more annoyed about my contact information being given out than not getting my trip to Costa Rica. From what I read about other brides’ experiences with this company, EVERYONE who gets contacted “wins,” and the people who show up actually do get the prizes. On Friday morning, I got another phone call from the company to confirm that I’d be attending the show, and I said I wouldn’t be able to because it was too far away. She then tried to get me to go to a different show, and I said, “No, we actually just bought new pots and pans, so we don’t need new ones.” And then she hung up pretty quickly.

So, I wasn’t exactly harmed by this in any way (other than annoyance), but I really don’t like that it even happens. I’m glad I didn’t actually go out to New Jersey for this. The night I got the Chefmaster phone call, I did something that, as an email marketer, is kind of like a punch in the face to a company: I not only unsubscribed from the David’s Bridal emails, I also clicked “Report as Spam.” (Note- don’t report an email as Spam unless a company truly is exhibiting sketchy behavior. It affects their ability to send legit emails. In most cases, clicking “unsubscribe” is sufficient. If it doesn’t work, THEN you can report as spam).

But really, what I wanted to do was help them. David’s Bridal has a LOT of potential to have really effective, useful email marketing. I have some suggestions for them in my next post.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Things I’ve learned in the four days I’ve been engaged

  1. My fingers are freakishly small. Confession: Andy and I looked at rings in November, and had my finger measured. (But I still didn’t know he had bought a ring, or when/how he was going to propose.) We thought I was a 4.75, so that’s what he bought. It turns out, that’s still too big. All weekend I was scared to wash my hands/do the dishes/shower etc. while wearing it. So I went to a jeweler last night to get a ring guard (a little strip of metal that wraps around the inside of the ring to make it fit my finger snugly). I’ll probably get it actually resized, but I want to see how my finger size fluctuates first.
  2. Not writing a blog post for a few months + a huge, exciting announcement = blog traffic success. Whoa.
  3. Brides are scary. Especially on The Knot’s message boards. Someone please smack me in the face if I ever act like them. I signed up for it to read the articles and access the wedding planning resources (because they force you to sign up to view those things…). I was browsing their message boards, and all of the people on them seemed really mean and quick to attack other brides who had stupid questions.  It seemed like half the people on there were 19-year-olds with stupid questions, and the rest were people who got married a long time ago, but are still obsessed with wedding planning a belittling the 19-year-olds. It’s entertaining to read, but not exactly as helpful as it could be for a wedding planning resource.
  4. Weddings are expensive and overwhelming. Like, the average cost of a wedding in the US is comparable to the average entry-level salary. (Don’t quote me on that – but I believe they’re both around $27k). I’ve only scratched the surface in this whole planning thing, and it is overwhelming. I’ve bought a wedding magazine that weighs more than my dog, and watched plenty of “Say Yes to the Dress,” but anything beyond that makes me a little panicky.
  5. People have very different ideas about when planning should start. A lot of people have been telling me to wait a while before I start planning and to just enjoy being engaged. And I am enjoying it. But a lot of other people have already been asking if we’ve set a date yet. (Which, you know, requires SOME wedding planning). And the timelines I’ve looked at online say things like “Buy your dress at least 6 months – 1 year before the big day” and “Send Save the Dates a year in advance if people will have to travel.”  I don’t want a really long engagement, which makes me feel like I need to get cracking!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

The streets are paved with diamonds and there’s just so much to see. But the best thing about New York City is you and me.

So, I had an interesting day on Friday. On the way to work, I decided to read AM NY (a free daily newspaper) instead of the book I had been reading. This is kind of  rare – I usually only read it if I’m in between books.  Anyway, so this was my horoscope:

"Enjoy mad romance; you're drawn to love like a magnet. Weave glamour into your latest project. You get more than you give. Your cards are all hearts and diamonds."

I didn’t take much stock in it, because – um, it’s a horoscope. So I went about my day at work. Since it was Friday, and kind of a slower week, I got to leave a little early. Typically on Friday nights, we watch all of our Thursday night NBC TV shows, because we’re both too busy during the week, and that’s what we had planned on doing that night. Like any day, I texted Andy to see what he wanted for dinner and if I should pick up any groceries on the way home. He said to get an onion, noodles, and wine (which are all ingredients for spaghetti carbonara, which is something we make a lot). Then he called me a few minutes later and said to call him when I was leaving the grocery store (meaning, about 10 minutes away from our apartment.) That’s when I started to wonder if something was up.

When I was at the grocery store finishing up checking out, he called me again, sounding really out of breath and saying that he forgot we also needed bacon, and that he was on his way home. (Again, kind of weird, since I had thought he was already at home…) I asked if I still needed to call him when I was leaving the store, and he said no.

So I went back into the store and found the bacon, then headed home.

I walked inside the apartment, and it was really quiet. I set the groceries down in the kitchen, and went into the living room and started taking off my coat, when I saw this on our coffee table:

On our coffee table - 30 ring boxes with googly eyes glued to them, and lots of pictures of Andy, Tinker and I from the last four years.

While I was taking in that sight, Andy walked out of the bedroom holding another googly-eyed ring box, then got down on one knee, and opened the ring box, and asked me to marry him!!!

Googly-eyed proposal!

Of course, my jaw dropped in shock, but I managed to say yes, and there was a lot of hugging and kissing involved.

Over the next hour, he told me about how/when he got the ring (in Muncie over Christmas, at a jeweler his friend had used for his wife’s ring), and he told me about how he had talked to my parents about it already (my mom over the phone, and my dad over bourbon at Christmas while my sister and I were drinking beer in the hot tub). We called our families and a few friends, and of course everyone was thrilled. When I was on my way home from work, he had been at CVS getting the pictures printed and was trying to get everything together to surprise me.

Since our coffee table is also our dining room table, and I didn’t want to remove the pictures/ring boxes yet (still don’t…and haven’t), we decided to go out to eat at Ornella Trattoria, our favorite Italian restaurant in Astoria. We’re regulars there, and the owner gave us free champagne to celebrate. We went back home and finally watched our TV shows together.

On Saturday, he had to spend the day editing a video for a UCB show that was at 6. So I was content calling more family members and going to get a manicure. I had seen a special “engagement” manicure on Pinterest and was excited to get one. The ring finger is a painted a sparkly silver, and the rest of my nails are the normal purple I’ve been getting all season. Andy kind of hates it, but he’s already agreed to marry me, so whatever. 🙂

The bling finger as silver sparkly nail polish!

Last night we went to the show that Andy had been editing the video for (which was cool, and involved puppets – I’ll post it when it’s online), and then we hung out with Kris and Erin and had another board game night. When we got home around 2 am, we decided it was finally time to make it official on Facebook (which is a pretty important part of any serious life milestone), so we did.

In case anyone was wondering about the googly eyes – yes, there is a bit of a story behind it. When we were in college and just friends, our friend Kerry DJed at a local bar on Tuesday nights after our night class. We had these dance parties every week, and they’re one of my favorite memories from college. At one of the earlier parties, Kerry told Andy that he danced like a Muppet (not knowing how he…. and I… felt about muppets). The next week, Andy showed up at the dance party with a bag of huge plastic googly eyes, and out them on his forehead and danced like …. a Muppet. We all had fun playing with the googly eyes. That night was the first time that I started to see him as more than friend potential, because I thought the lengths he would got to just make his friends laugh were really cute. And, duh, he obviously loves Muppets. Definitely a keeper.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

2011 in review- This counts as a post, right?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Remember that one time when NYC planned things just for me to enjoy?

Something I’m discovering that I love about New York City is how easy it is to find amazing, fun things to do. The last few weeks, I’ve done a lot of awesome things that are SO specifically tailored to me and what I love doing.

While most of my life has been pretty Muppet heavy, my free time during last two weeks has been deliciously filled with constant Muppet goodness. Which is exactly what I need.

Since we moved to New York, I’ve felt like people in our lives who don’t live here expect us to do all kinds of New York-y things. But not necessarily New Yorker things. For instance, Thanksgiving. Lots of people asked if we were going to go to the parade.  Because it’s HERE, right?  Same thing with New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The answer is: NO. I don’t like crowds (well, crowds of tourists anyway), especially not super early in the morning on my day off. I watched the parade on TV, just like every year.

But the night BEFORE the parade, we did what real New Yorkers do. We went to the balloon inflation on the Upper West side. It was still pretty crowded, but kind of cool and surreal to see all the balloon floats face front on the road.

And this is what kicked off our (most recent) Jim Henson extravaganza.

Yeah, that’s right. That’s us in front of Kermit. We went to the balloon inflation with our friends Brittany and Aaron after spending a dinner talking mostly about Muppets.

After the inflation, Andy and I decided we had to go see The Muppets since it was finally out for the first day. The movie was fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, please do immediately. It was the perfect balance of classic Muppets and more modern humor. There are some amazing songs (my personal favorite is “Man or Muppet), and it was really well done.

On Thanksgiving day, we watched several episodes of the Muppet Show while eating our meal (which was the first Thanksgiving meal I had ever cooked before, thankyouverymuch), and then we watched Muppet Treasure Island and Muppet Christmas Carol off and on during our turkey comas.

Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend, Brittany and I went to the Museum of the Moving Image for a special screening of Gone With the Wind, my favorite movie of all time. It actually wasn’t my first time seeing it on a big screen (because it has been re-released quite a few times, and the first time I saw it was at a movie theatre), but it was still amazing seeing it. One thing I love about the screenings at MotMI is that they’re always completely full of people who are absolutely in love with the movie that’s playing. The energy in the room during screenings like that is just amazing.

While we were purchasing our tickets for GWTW, I saw a very familiar image flash on the digital signage in the museum – the spiky blond mullet, oddly shaped eyebrows, and leather-gloved hand holding a glass ball that can only be one thing:  Labyrinth.

My second favorite movie of all time. Screening at the museum in a week. With a special Q&A panel with none other than…. Brian Henson, and Brian, Wendy, and Toby Froud! I think most people know who Brian Henson is (but if you don’t- Jim Henson’s son. He’s been involved with the Henson movies for about 25 years, and he did the voice of Hoggle for Labyrinth). The Froud family was involved with Labyrinth and Dark Crystal in a pretty amazing way. Brian Froud did the conceptual art for Labyrinth, Wendy made a lot of the puppets, and Toby starred as ….Toby (the baby in the movie).

That screening and panel was tonight, and it was amazing. We were surrounded by 148 other people who love the movie as much as I do. When we got there 45 minutes early, most of them were already waiting to go in the theatre.


We were also surrounded by people who actually MADE the movie. Karen Prell was sitting right behind us, one of Jim Henson’s daughters was sitting in front of us, and there were other people near and dear to the Henson Company sitting throughout the theatre. During the Q&A, it seemed like everyone wanted to ask a question, and not everyone got to.

But I did! I asked Toby if he remembered anything from filming and if he had been traumatized by all the goblins as a child (he was 1 when it was filmed), and his answer was that he honestly didn’t know. He’s the same age as me, and he said that he grew up watching and loving the movie, and being surrounded by all things Henson, so that any memories he thinks he may have from it may just be from being raised with it. Wendy added that he loved interacting with the Goblins and other puppets. So cool!


After the Q&A, Andy bought us tickets for another Brian Henson event for tomorrow night. (We’re becoming horribly addicted to this museum, and are very close to just becoming members so we can get into all these events without buying new tickets constantly. They have a lot of screenings of new movies with the directors answering questions afterward, and Andy went to one last week as well).

And then we talked to Brian Henson for a few minutes and got our picture taken with him. No biggie.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Apparently, I really rely on my left shoulder

I started to write a list of what’s happened since my last post, but then I realized my last post was a list of what had happened since the post before that. This isn’t a list blog.

The most exciting (?) thing in my life lately is my sexy shoulder injury. I did something weird to it while putting together the ikea furniture. I went to the doctor right away, and was told it was just a muscle strain, and was given muscle relaxers. I missed ballet for three weeks, and when I went back, I couldn’t even lift my arm long enough to hold the barre or do most arm movements that are part of a normal ballet class.

On Wednesday this week, I woke up and it suddenly hurt more than usual. I called the (general practice) doctor I had gone to earlier and got a referral for a physiatrist. I was able to get an appointment that afternoon, where I discovered that I had three major things wrong with my shoulder. Impingement, inflammation, and tendonitis? (there were much longer names that went along with them, but I don’t remember what they were).

Anyway, as I was telling the doctor about what was going on, he diagnosed it and started listing symptoms I probably (=definitely) had as soon as I said “I was putting together some Ikea furniture….” Then he said he was prescribing some pills for the inflammation, a cortisone shot, and physical therapy. Yeah, the shot was terrible, and my arm felt sore all afternoon.

I start physical therapy next week. I should have to go about twice a week for 3-4 weeks, but it should fix it enough that I can do ballet again.

In the meantime, I’m discovering how much I rely on my left shoulder. I normally sleep on my left side, and now I can’t do that (and Andy wakes me up throughout the night to make me roll over so I don’t do that). While I’ve never had any upper body strength, it’s reached a whole new low. It hurts to pick up dishes, carry my purse, and even pick up Tinker. I’m left-handed, but I don’t really write that often anyway, so that hasn’t been affected too much (and luckily I use my mouse at work and home with my right hand…).

I’ll try to write more often. Really. Karen and Jared were here last weekend, and we had a great visit. Maybe Karen can write that post. 🙂 I’ve booked my trip to go back to Indiana for Christmas, and I’m really looking forward to getting away for a week. The only thing we’re doing for Thanksgiving is seeing The Muppets, and I’m really excited about it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment