This is a rare blog post about me – Claire – the owner of the mind and typing fingers behind English Wedding Blog! Written in November 2011 with some edits November 2013. Hello!
As the blog is growing so quickly at the moment I thought I’d introduce myself to new readers, and update all my old friends on how my life has been turned upside down and plonked firmly back on its feet over the last year.
The incredible photos telling my story are by my good friend and source of endless creative inspiration – Chris Hanley Photography. Before we start… both Chris and I believe wedding bloggers shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. Ahem…
I’m a part-time wedding blogger, and part-time wedding calligrapher, as you may know. I started English Wedding Blog back in November 2009 at 6am on a quiet calligraphy day! The blog has grown massively (37,000 of you read it each month) with the support of the great friends I’ve made along the way – I’ve been privileged to meet with some inspiring and wonderful brides and grooms, as well as wedding suppliers and other bloggers, along the way.
English Wedding Blog’s strength comes from my passion for creativity in weddings. As an artist and calligrapher I’m always thrilled to see artistic wedding photography, imaginative stationery or bridal jewellery design, or any new ideas or creative approaches to wedding design.
Of course, I also love the romance: I love what marriage means to the couples who appear on English Wedding Blog. I love the glances caught on camera, the smiles, the atmosphere which can really shine through a set of wedding images and grab my heart and imagination all at once.
There’s another important message here too: that weddings aren’t the be-all and end-all of life. There is so much more out there – and while my days and working life revolve happily around the wedding industry, I can escape into a world which is full of beauty and inspiration without a veil in sight. I think it’s important not to get caught up in the whirlwind which weddings, blogs and magazines can create – and I don’t just mean for me!
The two sides of my personality, the creative and the romantic, inspired this photo shoot. But it’s much more than that: I’ve had an interesting few years and living here on the coast means more than I can explain in words (but the pictures do it for me!)…
In October 2010 my Grandma passed away. She was a very special person, a true inspiration and meant the world to me. Then in May 2011 I came back home to the west coast of Cumbria where I’d spent my childhood.
Being here has given me back the life I loved as a girl. I have fallen in love with the place I will always call home: the quiet countryside and beautiful coastline to one side, the dramatic mountains and beauty of the English Lake District to the other side. I came here to escape and I’ve found my true home – peaceful, dramatic and as inspiring as it gets.
As Chris and Claire Hanley arrived at my apartment, Chris described Seascale perfectly: “Talk about rural!” he exclaimed (as he fell out of his car, in shock I think!*) – but he loved the beach, the scenery and the fact that my local chemist’s is the best place to buy vegetables.
The idyllic environment set the perfect scene for our shoot: English Wedding Blog meets English Coast. Chris is one of the very best wedding photographers in the UK, and I’m very proud to have had Chris’s support for English Wedding Blog from day one.
I write for a living – in every sense of the word. But I can’t put into words how much I love this place, or why it’s such an inspiration to me. Chris Hanley just ‘got it’ though – and his breathtaking photography of the dramatic seascapes and awe-inspiring skies are what my new life is all about.
Here I can be myself again, I can walk on my beach, I can write… I could almost fly. Isn’t it beautiful?
Ever seen the film Serendipity? It’s made me believe I can fall in love again – and who knows what the future might bring. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Believe, and the rest will happen as it should, one day.
With huge thanks to Chris Hanley Photography. Chris is a master of his craft, a creative mind, and an inspiration to so many of the wedding photographers I’ve spoken to since starting English Wedding Blog. I would recommend Chris as a wedding photographer in a heartbeat, and to anyone from my closest friends to a passing member of the royal family. He’s that good.
*that was for the blonde joke! x