Happy Thursday Lovely People!
Those of you who follow Festival Brides on twitter may already know that little old me, along with some amazing up and coming wedding bloggers, were featured in Wedding Magazine back in February as part of a shoot to showcase the UK’s next generation of cool, forward thinking and alternative wedding blogs!
Now, I have to point out at this stage that never in my wildest wedding blogger dreams did I ever think that Kelly and I would be asked to take part in such a shoot and I genuinely mean that. In May 2011, when Bob popped the question and I said (and I quote) ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god’ repeatedly for about 5 minutes before I actually said yes (poor man), I was working as a Sales Manager for a small IT firm. It was a good job and I was working on some exciting projects but it was incredibly stressful and deep down in my heart I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be. As soon as we got engaged and I entered the wonderful, albeit overwhelming, world of wedding planning something in me changed. It wasn’t simply the fact that I was engaged and planning a wedding that would see me marry my best friend. It was something else.
I have always been a very passionate person but in my job at the time that passion was subdued. I was a forward thinking girl with big ideas working for a small company that just didn’t have the foundations to support my constant need to grow and develop. So, I became bored. I went to work, I did my job but I didn’t feel inspired by it which meant that when it was stressful, I had nothing to get me through it. Rather than changing jobs and doing something about it, I did what I think a lot of people do out of fear of change. I stayed and as a result I started to resent my job and my situation.
When we got engaged and started to plan our festival wedding that all changed. I had something completely new and exciting to sink my teeth into and that subdued passion came back with such a force that it changed my life……..Festival Brides was born!
Kelly and I have said many times in the past that when Festival Brides started, there was nothing on the internet or in wedding magazines that just focused on festival style weddings and it was true. There was a hell of a lot of vintage and a bit of boho outdoor inspiration but not a wellington boot or tipi insight. Finding a festival venue was even more of a mission and Bob and I actually got to the stage of giving up! Pretty much every venue we visited presented a long list of restrictions which left us deflated and frustrated. We knew there was a festival wedding venue out there, we just couldn’t find it. This made me think that if we were struggling to find venues and suppliers that fell under the festival umbrella – then maybe other couples were too.
At the same time Kelly was also planning her wedding and, although she wasn’t facing the same obstacles as me, she was experiencing a similar frustration. She felt isolated and, to put it frankly, pissed off with the cookie cutter wedding industry. On top of that pretty much every venue she visited made her feel like she was on a large conveyor belt of weddings……..as 1 passes, another one comes in. There would be nothing special about her wedding, they just wanted her money. As harsh as that may sound, that is how Kelly was left feeling, time and time again.
When I told Kelly in August 2011 that I was thinking of starting a wedding blog her ears, eyes and heart lit up! Ever since we met at the tender age of 14, Kelly and I have sparked off each other. Where she is incredibly creative, I am enthusiastic, and where I hold back, she pushes forward. Starting a business together was always on the cards, we just needed a common ground we both felt passionate about – who would have thought it would have been planning our weddings!
The reason I am sharing this with you all is because asking to be a part of this shoot represents so much for Kelly and I. It represents the courage we had to make a positive change in our lives. A change that has led to so many good things. Recognition for all the hard work we have put in to creating a blog that inspires couples to celebrate their individuality and to have a wedding that represents them, and them only. Acceptance of our ideas and values on how the wedding industry should be. My marriage to my incredible and supportive husband and last but by no means least, the strength of my friendship with Kelly. Running a business with your best friend can be really hard and there have been times where we have reached breaking point with each other. The blog has been a huge test on our friendship BUT…….we are now stronger and closer than ever and have such a special bond that I know will never break. That is all because of Festival Brides.
So you see, asking to be a part of a shoot that is celebrating us as being a ‘blog to watch’ for 2014 is a big deal for us and I wanted you all to know that because, you guys are a part of this achievement too. If it wasn’t for you lovely people visiting and supporting these festival pages everyday, then we wouldn’t be where we are.
I also want to inspire those of you that are in the same position that I was in 2011. If you are feeling frustrated, unappreciated, demotivated and starved of your passion then now is the time to do something about it. You are the master of your own destiny so bring about that change. I did, it might have taken me a long time to get there but I did it and now my face is in a wedding magazine!!
You may be wondering why Kelly’s gorgeous face isn’t featured in this shoot as well. Well, she was 40 weeks pregnant at the time and was about to drop so we thought it best she stayed at home! We were both gutted that she couldn’t be there but it didn’t detract from the fact that this shoot was still just as much about Kelly as it was about me. It was just my ugly mutt that was photographed!
So without further ado – here is the shoot in all it’s glory!
The Next Generation Bloggers Shoot, put together by the lovely Nicola of Propose PR and captured by Laura Babb, took place at Churchgate Porter, a beautiful modern bridal boutique in the picturesque village of Fletching, East Sussex. Owned by Louise, the boutique’s ethos is to celebrate independent-minded, creative women and to bring fashion forward style and modern elegance to the East Sussex countryside.
As soon as I arrived I was greeted by the lovely Louise who quickly whisked me off on a guided tour of her gorgeously quaint and endearing bridal boutique. Louise, like most of the women taking part in the shoot that day, is another example of a entrepreneurial woman who brought about a positive change in her life. Before she set up Churchgate Porter, Lousie was a full time Mum who was ready to sink her teeth back into work. She saw a gap in the market for a modern and stylish bridal boutique in East Sussex and decided to fill it!
I instantly liked Louise and could tell how passionate and excited she was about Churchgate Porter and she has every right to be. Her modern take on a bridal boutique is refreshing and she has managed to juxtapose the character and charm of the listed building with the stylish and quirky modern elegance of her decor perfectly. The boutique also showcases aspects of Louise’s fantastic sense of humour with signs like ‘no jumping off and on this bride’ dotted around, making the boutique even more endearing. Of course the stunning wedding dresses from designers Delphine Manivet, Charlotte Casadéjus, Sarah Janks, Patrick Casey and Anne Bowen also help to build on the boutique’s lustrous pull.
After my tour I was led upstairs to the ‘dressing room’ which was quickly renamed as the ‘lets put the world to rights room!’ Well what do you expect when you put a load of creative women (and man – I hadn’t forgotten you Michael!) in one room! Here I was introduced to the styling team behind the shoot, the brilliant Michael of Electric Hair London, make-up artist and all round lovely person Julie Cardoza Marsh and of course the fellow wedding bloggers: Nova of Nu Bride; Marina of Style and The Bride; Sara of Wedding Sparrow and Rebecca of Urban Flip Flops.
After a quick introduction to everyone I was taken back downstairs to the changing room where I tried on 3 gorgeous dresses that Louise felt suited the festival/boho vibe of the blog as well as my body shape. I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time of the shoot so was feeling a little bit down and anxious about the new baby weight that was taking shape around my hips and stomach. Louise did a fantastic job at making me feel at ease and found a stunning Patrick Casey lace dress for me to wear which I loved and most importantly felt great in.
Next stop was hair and make-up where Michael and Julie got to work to transform me into a boho meets festival bride before I made by modelling (or tried too model more like – never did master the ‘fierce’ look Laura tried to draw out of me!) debut in front of the of very funny and very talented Laura Babb Photography.
The whole experience was fantastic and I got to meet some truly inspirational people that day. I was actually really quite nervous about attending the shoot – especially as Kelly wasn’t with me. These sort of things can be a bit ‘oh darling’ and fake and therefore don’t really suit my personality but I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised. Everyone was so incredibly lovely and genuine and I had a great time. The best thing about it was getting to meet Marina, Rebecca, Sara and the gorgeous Nova who I am pleased to say has become a very good friend. These four women all write fantastic wedding blogs that are niche, unique and inspirational and it was a pleasure getting to know them.
Marina is fabulous! That really is the best word to describe her. You only have to talk to her for 5 minutes before you find yourself admiring everything she has achieved within the wedding industry.
With over 10 years of wedding industry experience (which saw her become the editor of Cosmopolitan Bride for 5 years), Marina really does know what she is talking about when it comes to bridal fashion, style and trends.
I really enjoyed chatting away to her and now subsequently enjoy reading her fantastic blog!
Marina is pictured here channeling her inner Audrey Hepburn in a gorgeous Anne Bowen Wedding Dress.
Well what can I say about Nova. She is intelligent, passionate, inspirational, funny, interesting and just all things lovely! She’s not scared to speak her mind or tell you how it is but when she does, she is sensitive about it.
Nu Bride is the first and only UK wedding blog that focuses on black and ethnic wedding inspiration and styling ideas. After one conversation with Nova, your eyes will be opened up to a world that is still full of racial discrimination and it is quite shocking. Have you ever seen a black model on the front cover of a wedding magazine? Nova is campaigning to change this within the wedding industry and it’s about time someone did.
Nova is looking gorgeous wearing a two piece top and skirt by Festival Brides favourite Parisian designer: Delphine Manivet
The lovely Becca comes all the way from the USA and writes a fantastic blog about planning her wedding. Her personality is addictive and so is her style of writing which is fun to read and inspiring.
She is getting married this year and I can’t wait to see the pictures after hearing all about her ideas!
Becca is pictured here wearing a stunning Charlotte Casadejus dress (which she looked stunning in.)
I love Sara’s blog! It is so full of wedding pretty that I’ve lost hours reading through it.
Wedding Sparrow is the first UK wedding blog that champions film photography and fine art weddings. It is gorgeous to look at and I love the styled shoots she shares on a daily basis.
Sara is standing pretty wearing a gorgeous Sarah Janks wedding dress.
And Then There Was Me!
That middle picture is where Laura tried to get me to look fierce………..didn’t quite pull it off eh!?
Thank you so much to Nicola at Propose PR, Louise and the team at Wedding Magazine for asking Festival Brides to be a part of The Next Generation Bloggers Shoot. I had a blast! It was a pleasure working with you all and being a part of a shoot that is celebrating such a variety of inspirational wedding bogs.
The Line UpPhotography: Babb Photo Bridal Boutique: Churchgate Porter Flowers: Philippa Craddock Flowers Dress Designers :Charlotte Casadejus, Delphine Manivet , Sarah Janks, Patrick Casey, Anne Bowen Makeup: Jules Cardozo-Marsh Hair: Michael Sampson for Electric Hairdressing London Styling: Wedding Magazine PR: Nicola at Propose PR
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as I have writing it!
Festival Brides xx