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Will it be Happily Ever After for wedding blogs?

Join me in a quick ponder? I hear good and bad things about wedding blogs these days – people love the UK wedding bloggers or hate us, and there are some strong opinions out there! There’s no disputing the fact that wedding blogs have changed dramatically over the last two years – and I wonder where we’ll all be in another two.

wedding blog by Anneli Marinovich

Wedding blog article - Photo Credit Anneli Marinovich www.annelimarinovich.com

Once upon a time for wedding blogs…

Following the rise of Style Me Pretty and Ruffled Blog in the US, the first UK wedding bloggers were lone voices with a small, devoted following. Kat, Charlotte and Annabel all used the internet to plan their weddings, and their blogs grew as their fans spread the word.

These dedicated bloggers were writing about weddings in their spare time at first, until quite recently their blogs became so popular they 1) didn’t need other jobs anymore and 2) didn’t have time to go out to work! It was a turning point for UK wedding blogs the day Kat left her job at a TV shopping channel, and shortly afterwards we saw Annabel commit to Love My Dress blog full-time. Others followed – Julia from Brides Up North went full time. Kelly from Boho Weddings still works as a planner and I still split my time (evenly now) between English Wedding blog and my calligraphy work. It seems those of us with wedding industry jobs love them too much to let go!

wedding blog Photo Credit: McAvoy Photography

Photo Credit: McAvoy Photography www.mcavoyphotography.co.uk

 Wedding bloggers – a new adventure

2011 was the year wedding blogs in the UK became big business. The bloggers took on multiple sponsors (count ’em in the sidebars on the major blogs – at an average of about £200 each a month, the blogs are making serious money now) and embarked on exciting new projects. There were shoots and collaborations, many more daily blog posts, more weddings – and more money for the bloggers. (See the Big Fat UK Wedding Bloggers Photoshoot here – just for the record I hate the name!!! – and Kat’s Rock n Revolution Paris shoot – two of my favourites.)

The publicity grew and grew, with features in the national wedding press, bloggers co-writing inspiration features for the magazines, as well as columns in both wedding and photography magazines. There was public speaking and even Rock n Roll Bride TV – then Annabel’s Love My Dress Soiree made a big splash over the summer. Let’s not forget Rock My Wedding who partnered with the National Wedding Show in 2011 (and have done so again for 2012), and Staggered who went ‘on tour’ to chat to grooms-to-be all over the country.

The wedding bloggers are famous!

Not only have the UK wedding bloggers achieved great financial success, these girls are celebrities in the wedding industry. I don’t expect to see pink hair at a wedding show any more (well, not that pink hair) but I’m waiting to see Kat on the cover of a wedding magazine this year – or on mainstream TV telling us about her brand! We’ve already seen she’s collaborating with Ian Stuart on a wedding dress design – now that will be exciting.

I have huge admiration for the way Annabel, Charlotte and Kat have driven their brands to this level of success. And yet… the public face of wedding blogs has changed. The blogs now are what wedding magazines used to be: they outstrip all of the mags for readership figures, and many times over. They’re big business, incredibly popular and in a position to change the UK wedding industry if they so choose.

Can a big business feel the same as a blog?

I’ve heard a few people say wedding bloggers are losing their appeal. Personal contact with the blogger used to be a major part of these brands. Now it’s just not possible for the bloggers to communicate on a one-to-one basis with all of their readers, via email or comments or on other social media. However – their audience continues to grow.

The disillusioned readers are only a minority; those who have been around the wedding industry for the last few years. But brides- and grooms-to-be still adore the big wedding blogs and the bloggers themselves. The key? This is an industry where someone is a reader / fan / potential customer for 18 months at a time. People get married, and new people come along to follow in their footsteps. Wedding blogs are changing, but they’re changing with the times and to suit an ever-new audience.

Diversity from wedding blogs

The beauty of the UK wedding blog scene is the variety of blogs to enjoy: from the girls at the top of the tree – Rock My Wedding, Rock n Roll Bride, Love My Dress – to the established smaller blogs – English Wedding, Boho Weddings, London Bride, Adore, OMG, Whimsical Wonderland, Staggered, Brides Up North and Beyond Beyond – and the multiple newcomers.

We all have our individual styles and focus. We inspire each other and all provide our readers with something different to enjoy. The best thing about UK wedding blogs is diversity: there’s something for everyone.

wedding blog

Photo credit: Phil Drinkwater www.phildweddingphotography.co.uk

The future for UK wedding blogs

There’s no stopping the UK wedding blog scene. The trailblazers will continue to grow and I’m sure in a couple of years’ time at least one will be publishing a regular print magazine, with others hosting polished and exciting events for brides and grooms, and for the industry.

And the big three wedding bloggers?

I expect Rock n Roll Bride will keep building on Kat’s celebrity status with more fantastical shoots and involvement with cutting edge brands. Her Marie Antoinette would fit right into an Ian Stuart advertising campaign… I’m sure there are top bridal designers planning feisty promotions with our pink-haired trailblazer already! (I wonder if she’ll ever tire of the pink and change the colour…?!)

I can see Rock My Wedding becoming even more of a professional blog – with a network of blogs and local sites, maybe worldwide – like Style Me Pretty has done. With a vendor network and Charlotte’s voice at the centre of Rock My Wedding, this is a business which will grow into something the wedding industry in this country has never seen before. Will there be a Rock My Wedding America on the cards?

And Love My Dress is, for me, the wedding blogger’s blog. Annabel has slipped into being the effortlessly cool wedding blogger – the fashionista, the entrepreneur of us all. I’d love to see Love My Dress carry on just the way it is, with carefully selected guest blog features and thoughtful discussions – LMD is the blog I read most of all, and while I wish Annabel every success, I don’t want her to change!

wedding blog photo by Martin Beddall www.mcbweddings.com

wedding blog photo by Martin Beddall www.mcbweddings.com

The future for English Wedding blog?

Shall I mention English Wedding blog? Oh go on then… I’d like English Wedding to wear the mantle of an ‘independent wedding blog’. I like not being afraid to say what I think, to provoke discussions when the wedding industry feels stale and to stick with what a wedding blog used to be.

I have a small, selective group of sponsors. I feature weddings with a story behind them or something inspirational about them. I also want to provide a platform for wedding businesses I admire to get the attention they deserve. For me, it’s personal – I’ll never be one of the big three, but I’d like to own this little space and keep things just as they are. I like it here!

Further reading

Do you think wedding blogs have changed? Are my predictions for the big three wildly inaccurate? How do you see wedding blogs and the girls and guys behind them?

 

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 November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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16 COMMENTS
  • Hey Claire,

    This is an interesting article, thank you for including me and Brides Up North! In answer to your question – I’ll just say: I hope so!

    Although it clearly doesn’t target a mass market, my blog is the only one written especially for Northern brides and to promote the Northern wedding industry, and is trailblaizing in it’s own little way with related events for both the industry and Brides to be. I try to keep my sponsorship prices reasonable and affordable for suppliers in order to promote a sense of community and choice for my readers whilst maintaining quality levels. The figures are no where near what is quoted above, but that, along with the niche focus of my blog, is entirely by choice.

    I do want to make it clear though that as a blog I depend on my bride to be readers and also the industry for support and will always endeavour to respond to emails personally and to give Brides Up North a personal touch. I receive literally hundreds of emails a day but always appreciate that it is a person at the other end. I think the personal touch is what makes the blog community great and the whole reason for its success, so we really should try our best not to lose sight of that (even if we are up until 3am sometimes!)

    Love English Wedding and thanks for the comments that you have left over at my blog in the past. Keep on being interesting!

    Love Julia xxx

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thank you Julia!

      I should confess I read your media pack a year or so ago… yes, I’m cheeky and nosey but good intentioned 🙂 – so I had an idea you weren’t charging as much as the big 3. But you’ve carved what looks like a very successful niche indeed – I was chatting to a good friend of mine about blog opportunities earlier in the week and quoting your wedding blog as a great example. I think you’ve done something amazing with Brides Up North – you’re one of a kind amongst all the regional wedding websites. Beautifully done!

      I admire you for the work you do and the hours you put in. I love that you treasure that personal touch, responding to emails personally and being considerate as you are. (A question – what about ‘Dear Blogger’ enquiries… if they haven’t bothered learning your name do you still reply nicely?!)

      I will do my best to keep being interesting. That’s a lovely thing to say 🙂

      Claire xxx

  • Hi Claire

    I’m a relatively new reader and a recent wedding blog enthusiast! for the past few weeks I haven’t been able to stop reading them. Until this week I was only reading US blogs like mlovem.blogspot.com and ruffled, so It was lovely to stumble upon this blog.
    I’m 20 and single. so a while away from getting married. But I hope blogs such as yours are still going when my time comes! Already i’m inspired (as a blogger recently tweeted me, it’s never too early to start planning!) and it’s become an automatic reaction to come on to english-wedding when I turn my laptop on every evening and this post has pointed me to some other great british wedding blogs.

    after all, as a nation we celebrated all things British on 29th April 2011, proving we know how to party. why should the US blogs, however great, get all the glory?

    sorry for babbling, but in essence. i really hope you’re still her in a couple of years and years to come! (although, hopefully my big day wont be toooo far away 😉 )

    Love xx

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hello Laura,

      I’m glad to have done my bit for the UK wedding blogs with this post then – there are probably plenty I’ve missed (I discover a new and amazing blog every week) but I suppose this is quite a good introduction to new wedding blog fans!

      You are a bit early – but it’s good to be prepared 🙂 Just don’t start buying wedding favours before you’ve got the groom sorted is all I can say!

      Claire xxx

  • Hi Claire, thanks for the kind mention in this interesting post! Well done for broaching the subject. I agree with Julia, I hope there is a future for them! I think to continue for them to be a great resource we all need to continue to post new, original ideas, inspiration and features as I do believe we (as in wedding blogs!) are shaping the future of the industry right now which is of course, incredibly exciting. This does mean we all have a duty to be honest, have respect and keep it a great place for brides to be to obtain correct, informative and honest information but with our own stamp on it – which the bridal publications don’t necessarily do.

    I’ve only just started taking on sponsors so I’m nowhere near as big as the top three in terms of being able to give up the day job and as I am also a planner/stylist this is the different focus to my blog and hopefully something else I bring to my readers.

    I agree with Julia again in that I hope blogs don’t lose their personal touch. People enjoy them as they are written with personality and a point of view which is the beauty as we all have our own so there is now a blog to suit all brides! I also think if someone runs a blog full time then as a business they should keep it as personal as possible, just as you would clients and suppliers in any other job 🙂

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thank you Charley – by the way I have my little felt heart pinned on my bedside lamp 🙂

      These are exciting times, and you’re right to point out that we have a duty to be honest and respectful – a great point actually. It’s also really exciting to be a part of this, isn’t it! Hadn’t really crossed my mind before, but being a wedding blogger is a pretty cool thing right now.

      I was thinking of you the other week, as I helped out (slightly) with styling a shoot – I remember watching your blog what seems like ages ago as you talked about getting more involved with styling shoots. I admire you for it – even more after seeing for myself how difficult it can be!

      The personal touch for blogs is important, yes I agree. I’m pondering a blog post about how important it is for businesses, especially in our industry. Interesting thoughts, thank you for those!

      Claire x

  • Jaymie
    8 years ago

    I read all the wedding bloggers you mentioned and I think that there is room in the industry for all of them. I think that they all give different ideas and I really enjoy them. I especially love how you all support and respect each other and all the different companies who go together to make a gorgeous wedding. I love all the features about dressmakers, photographers, flower arrangers etc, as well as the real weddings featured.

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thanks Jaymie – and nice to read that we’re presenting a united front! I’m glad you’re enjoying reading wedding blogs 🙂

  • Chloe @ Adore
    8 years ago

    A really interesting post, thanks for sharing Claire and including Adore in your list of blogs!

    Chloe x

  • Hi Claire,

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, and thanks for mentioning my blog in this post in such a glowing light – just to point out before I comment though, that the statement “at an average of about £200 each a month” in relation to how much the “big bloggers’ charge for banner adverts gives a false idea of how much I charge for 90% of my banner adverts – which isn’t this much, but I’ll let you off 😉

    I’d love to see Love My Dress carry on just the way it is, with care­fully selected guest blog fea­tures and thought­ful dis­cus­sions — LMD is the blog I read most of all, and while I wish Annabel every suc­cess, I don’t want her to change!”
    Ahh, very kind of you Claire 😉 A fashionista entrepreneur, I like that 😉 I don’t intend on changing any time. I’m developing my brand and brand image and have some really super exciting stuff in the pipline that will be public news before ‘too’ long, but I always want to keep things real, and for my blog to be reflective of my personality, my tastes etc – I don’t ever want Love My Dress to lose that ‘personal’ touch. I think it plays a huge role in the success of my blog – it means people trust me, and believe what I’m saying, it makes my words and thoughts more identifiable to them.

    “I’ve heard a few people say wedding bloggers are losing their appeal. Personal contact with the blogger used to be a major part of these brands. Now it’s just not possible for the bloggers to communicate on a one-to-one basis with all of their readers, via email or comments or on other social media. However – their audience continues to grow.”
    As my readership has grown, it’s become impossible for me to stay in contact on a 1:1 like I used to be able to, but, I now have a wonderful Intern who is a complete asset to my business and my brand – she is a ‘Love My Dress’ bride, who’s wedding featured on my blog and she’s been passionately following my ramblings for a while now so she really does believe in my brand and what I stand for, so anyone dealing with her now rather than with me directly isn’t being fobbed off in anyway. I’m super proud to have my Intern on board actually and trust her implicitly in liaising with sponsors, readers and other parties on my behalf.

    It’s great that you’re not afraid to publish your thoughts or hold back where others might do so.
    I wish you and English Wedding every success ;))

    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thank you Annabel! Ah – OK I have one media pack here, it’s not yours though. (I did have yours, but I’ve misplaced it so I was going from memory – and it was clearly a little out.) Thank you for letting me off!

      I am intrigued by your future, and it’s good to know you have exciting things in the pipeline for LMD. Of the top 3 you’re definitely the most accessible / personal – it’s a good image for a wedding blog, I love it. I’ll be watching to see what your plans are!

      I saw Franky’s ‘going away outfits’ post and loved it. Yes – she’s VERY Love My Dress – perfect. (I’m wondering if she wrote your reply now!) I can see you making a really great team.

      Thanks for your support – you’ve been really lovely to me these last few months – I’ll keep not holding back, don’t worry 🙂

      C xx

  • Thank-you for this post I found it so interesting. I was a wedding blog and magazine junkie when I was planning my wedding but as a black British bride-to-be I often found myself feeling quite alienated and to be honest forgotten. Although I loved all of the blogs mentioned I just felt at times as though they weren’t aimed at me mainly because I very rarely saw ethnic brides represented. So when my wedding was over I decided to indulge my passion for weddings by creating something aimed at filling the gap. I am still most certainly small fry but I enjoy doing it and it keeps me involved in an industry I love. I thank all the women that paved the way in UK wedding blogs, they are my inspiration!
    Nicola X x

  • Crystal Bouquet
    7 years ago

    Thank you so much for your interesting and insightful post 🙂

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