I’m not sure I can think of any UK industry where almost every business is an individual or tiny team. As you plan your wedding, you’re bound to encounter the loveliest independent business people – and I really do love this about the wedding industry. You may remember I wrote a feature for bridal accessories designer Clare Lloyd a few weeks back: this article is inspired by something Clare said.
I believe that it is so important to keep artisan and traditional hand crafting skills alive and every single piece is designed and immaculately made with love and attention to the tiniest little detail. ~ Clare Lloyd
We spend our lives buying stuff: our everyday clothes, food, home decor etc. all come from huge corporations. Hats off to you if you frequent a little veg shop or buy second hand – but in the main our spendybuttons go to high street stores with massive, faceless teams of people in ‘operations’ and shareholders raking in the profits.
When it comes to your wedding though, you’ll be buying from independents. Your photographer is the first major individual you’ll book – usually a one- or two-man band with a passion for their work. You’ll see it in their eyes when you meet them: the genuine interest in YOU and your plans, the happiness in sharing their craft.
Then there’s your cake designer, florist, planner or stylist, hair and makeup professionals, your videographer, band or DJ, the photobooth guys. Friendly creatives, actual real humans with names and homes and families, all working their hearts out to build a business and provide YOU with a service they can be truly proud of.
And this magic is what makes the wedding industry go round. It’s the passion these creatives and entrepreneurs have for their work. We’ve all built a brand based on something we love – perhaps a passion for weddings, or the craft of photography or baking.
I read a fabulous instagram from Jasmine Star the other day – this superstar of the wedding photography and small business world is the same as the rest of us: she works ridiculously long hours, starting early and finishing late, squeezing in a little extra work wherever she can. But that’s passion. That’s dedication – and every wedding business where you’re hiring an individual or small team is 100% invested in your day.
And it will show in the work these independents provide! Your flowers will be meticulously chosen with attention to every detail and not a petal out of place. Your stationery will be delivered in pretty packaging, unique to you and perfect for your guests. Your handmade dress will be delicately embroidered and altered to fit your shape as if it were made for you… oh, and it totally will be! The same goes for tailored suits!
So this is me saying a huge THANK YOU to all of you brides and grooms who are buying from Etsy sellers, from Not On The High Street, from independent designers in your local area, around the UK and the world!
By supporting the UK wedding industry, in particular the indie businesses, you’re keeping dreams and crafts alive. You’re helping creative folks sustain a life they love, with freedom to do what they were born for. You’re providing for families, real humans like you and me rather than fat cat shareholders. And you’re supporting artisan crafts, which might not have a future if it wasn’t for you lovely, lovely people.
Where to find independent wedding businesses
On Etsy – you’ll find everything from stationery to dresses and flowers here, from all over the world
At local wedding fairs
By asking your friends for recommendations
At craft fairs, local events (street food, bar in a camper van?)
There are fabulous alternatives to the mainstream in the English Wedding Directory.
Instead of buying a Maggie Sottero dress, try an independent bridal dressmaker
Avoid Moss Bros and search for a local tailor – there’s nothing more special than a suit that fits perfectly
Forget invitations from Vistaprint, and hire a calligrapher or buy from the English Wedding shop
Don’t buy an M&S cake, instead find a local cake designer at a wedding fair
Head to Etsy for all of your accessories from jewellery to bridesmaid gifts
Buy local home grown flowers from an independent grower florist – check #grownnotflown on insta
Photography – OOBALOOS PHOTOGRAPHY
Bridal separates – AILSA MUNRO
Accessories – CLARE LLOYD
Calligraphy – BY MOON & TIDE
Hair & make up – STEFANIE GRISDALE
Props – NARRATIVE HIRE
Flowers – BRACKENS OF BOWNESS
Silk ribbon – handmade at BY MOON & TIDE