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On independence

A new year really makes you think, doesn’t it? It helps you reflect on what you should be doing better, and plan for the next twelve months. And I’ve been pondering the big things – well, for me. Here’s one I had to get off my chest!

rainbow at a creative wedding

Photo credit: Mark Carey

English Wedding – an independent blog

Independence is massively important to me, and to my wedding businesses as well – and you might think that’s not the wisest business choice. It’s not the biggest earner for my blog. But is English Wedding Blog a business? I’m not even sure I want it to be.

It’s a passion – my blog exists because I love writing it. I love meeting all of you and hearing what you have to say about all things wedding. It’s a responsibility as well – I’m driven to get as much exposure as I can for my blog sponsors. But it’s not my day job – I love being a calligrapher too much to ever consider giving it up. The blog is something that keeps my inner workaholic very happy indeed!

I like to compare my independence to an independent record shop or label. I grew up on indie music when bands were battling furiously against the likes of EMI; listening to my idols talk about not selling out, keeping their principles. And that stuck with me: my ambition isn’t to get rich or famous. For me success means creating something that I can feel proud of – and knowing you’re reading what I write is pretty damn amazing. Being able to share real weddings, inspire brides and help promote good wedding suppliers really does make me proud.

But inside, I really don’t see my blog as a business. It’s not for money. My ambition isn’t to compete with Love My Dress and Rock n Roll Bride. I’m here simply to keep doing what I love. Maybe to watch that change and see where life and the blog takes me. But it’s so important to me to do that my own way. I could try to be a big blog – but I’d rather be an independent wedding blog. And that also means saying a bit more about what I really think. I want to be nice, but I want to be honest about bad things! Is that wrong?

I don’t like everything about weddings

For me, a big part (advantage? disadvantage?) of my independence is having little to do with wedding magazines. I understand why other bloggers are writing for them, being featured – but (as many of you know!) I have a few personal ‘issues’ with wedding mags. And it’s a conscious decision to avoid any involvement with them. I’ve never tried to write columns or features for the magazines – it could double my readership and more… but it would feel wrong.

The same goes for wedding fairs. While most of the big blogs have a presence at big shows – Rock My Wedding and Staggered went on a bus tour this year I believe – it’s not for me. Wedding fairs are big business. I’ve been bitten, as a wedding business: taken my calligraphy and paid hundreds for the privilege. Been promised the world and gone home with nothing but sore feet. So English Wedding Blog isn’t going to wedding shows any more either. It’s just not me!

Am I shooting myself in the foot?! Not really. If I wanted this blog to be read by millions, I’d try and ingratiate myself with the right people. But English Wedding has to feel right for me. I’m not into big business, networking, or the whole cycle where advertisers pay a fortune and get nothing back for it. (Yes, I have sponsors on my blog. They get a hell of a lot more than just an ad. Showcase link)

wedding campfire

Photo credit: Mark Carey

Independence, freedom and saying no

My independence is really precious to me. Leaving my old marketing job (7 years ago now) and being self employed means the world. Freedom is everything. Choosing who I work for, what I do on a day to day basis, saying no to the wedding tv companies who try to get a freebie plug on here for the latest horrific wedding programme – it’s more important than I can say.

Is there a conclusion to this blog post? Not particularly – it’s just something I feel defines English Wedding. It’s something I strive for; and I don’t always get it right – but it’s becoming a clearer focus in my mind.

English Wedding won’t change. Independence drives me, and I admire anyone who has that independent streak inside them too: whether it’s in planning a wedding your way, or in running a business and striking out bravely on your own. Be proud of yourself, stick to your principles and love what you do.

I’ve met some very inspiring people over the past year. You have opinions and you’re not afraid to say what you really think. As a wedding blogger I think it’s about time I got mine out, don’t you? I have a mega blog post coming up about the wedding industry. Watch this space.

Claire x

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in 2011 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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6 COMMENTS
  • Nicky Chadwick
    6 years ago

    Thank you for writing this post and for being so honest – as a wedding photographer I too have been promised the world with wedding fairs and advertising – only to be disappointed and with one exception (The Wedding Affair) I am not planning to be involved with many more! Sometimes it is easy to be swept along by what might be “the current trend” or “politically correct” but ultimately it’s about the Bride and Groom and what they want. Everyone’s wedding is so special and should be all about them – not about someone wanting good publicity. I love my job and love this blog because it really is about the couple – and not about the author. Keep it just the way it is Claire, I love reading it when it pops into my inbox each day!
    Happy Christmas – Nicky x

  • Adele
    6 years ago

    Oh Claire! I think I love you a little bit more! 🙂
    I have to say its Amazing to read such honnesty, and what alot of people forget is some of us arent in this for the big money, we are in this because we LOVE the job in what we do!
    I love your blog, because you write about DIFFERENT things when it comes to Wedding, you dont have to keep anyone sweet, and you say whats on your mind (I’m a lot like this but it seems to get me into trouble).
    Keep being who you are and what you do! 🙂 xx

  • Richard Wynn-Davies
    6 years ago

    Nicky has said pretty much everything I wanted to! Good for you Claire – I wish more people had the same ethos. The end of the year is always a good time for me to reflect whether what I am doing still represents the aspirations that drove me to leave my corporate job – and I’m pretty confident it is! Have a lovely Christmas.

    Richard x

  • Hannah Webster
    6 years ago

    Hell yes. Be you. Stay being you. Speak your mind, keep on loving what you are doing and I will continue to read, contribute as and when I can and loving you for making it all possible. x

  • Julie Dawson
    6 years ago

    For me this is such an inspirational post. As you know I quit my day job last week and am now a full time wedding planner. I strongly believe that you have to be true to yourself. This blog is different and I love reading it. Your writing comes from the heart and is sincere . Keep doing what you are doing , inspiring couples and the wedding industry !!! Love to see you again next year. Xxx

  • Claire
    6 years ago
    AUTHOR

    Thanks everyone 🙂
    It’s lovely to see this strikes a chord with you too. And I wish you all the very best for the year ahead – from my heart.
    A song I’m listening to a lot at the moment goes “if ever I stray from the path I follow, take me down to the English Channel, throw me in where the water is shallow and drag me back to shore”…
    if one of you could just bear that in mind for me too, that’d be fab!!!
    Claire xx

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