When being type A means being taken advantage of

It’s 2018, and technology organizes our lives. We have tampons delivered to our doors, algorithms that predict our favorite flick, custom acne cream and teeth straightening molds that don’t require stepping foot into a doctor’s office. Yet, when it comes to celebrating the hallmark events in your life — your dad’s 60th birthday party, your best friend’s bachelorette, your wedding, you’re stuck planning with tools from the ’90s: calling vendors, getting their voicemail, reviewing pdf quotes, and faxing contracts.

I hear from women who end up in this “planner” role all the time:

“I’m just Type A, so I have to plan everything.”
Type A
a personality type characterized by ambition, high energy, and competitiveness

Why does ambition mean you’re stuck as organizer?

As a woman, people assume you’re the planner. I’ve always been told I have good handwriting which is why I should take the notes, I’m organized so I end up making project management spreadsheets, and don’t I care more about the color of the flyers, so why don’t I make them? At hackathons, I spent the extra 20 hours to build way-finding signs for the venue. At work, I pointed at the clock and rushed my colleagues to close their laptops to make an 8pm reservation where they wouldn’t seat us until everyone was present because wasn’t I responsible for the hungry grumblings if we were late?

These gender role expectations follow us throughout our lives.

When my best friend got engaged a year ago, I was absorbed into her wedding planning. I went as a second opinion for venue tours and sat in on calls, mouthing advice to negotiate with DJs and photographers. I watched over and over again as people constantly assumed she was the one making the planning decisions and doing the work. It took up her evenings and weekends. She had to respond to quotes at work and line up calls with vendors in a time zone three hours ahead. She became stressed and irritable, while her fiancé barely knew what was going on.

The idea that women enjoy planning events is not reality. See, we’re tired of these tropes — little girls dreaming about their weddings since they were four à la 27 Dresses and Bride Wars. No one actually keeps scrapbooks of flower arrangements and linen colors. And when it comes to planning your wedding, there’s no good option. You can shell out $$$ for an expensive wedding planner or scour the web and DIY. Planning a wedding takes 250+ hours over the course of year. With that time, you could literally qualify to fly a commercial airplane, get that promotion you’re after, read 50 books, or launch a company.

Is planning a wedding really so hard?

If you’re asking this, you’re probably a man.

96% of people say it’s stressful to plan a wedding, and 71% say planning is worse than having bad credit, buying a home, or applying to college. The industry is opaque, and vendors don’t provide pricing or availability online. You have to call for that information (and yes, their business hours end when you get off work), and most people are making wedding related purchases for the first time without a sense for what things should cost. The result of this asymmetric information is vendors charging a wedding markup of ~20%. Vox covered this problem in 2016, but no one has bothered to solve it.

Stop being the secretary for your wedding.

Honeydew is a decision making engine for the hallmark events in your life. We built it because it’s unacceptable that this problem is still unsolved. It starts with your wedding and it continues to your honeymoon, your first anniversary celebration, birthday parties, retirement toasts, etc.

We are women who have felt marginalized into default event planners, and while we value bringing people together, we shouldn’t be expected to bear the burden of creating those experiences. There should be an affordable, honest, fast alternative — someone to serve us for once.

Lucy Zhao