Happy Wednesday, lovelies! I thought today I’d share something a little different with you. I have a confession to make: I’m shy. I’m shy of putting my face out there on the internet, I’m not a wannabe celebrity – just a girl who loves the beauty and creativity of weddings. So I hide behind the blog and rarely show my face! But it’s been a while since I published a personal post on the blog, and about time I introduced myself to those of you who are new to English Wedding. Welcome, by the way!
So I’m Claire. I’m a calligrapher and wedding blogger. I’m not married (yet!) and I live on the edge of the Lake District, in a little coastal village in south Cumbria. I’ve been writing English Wedding for 10 years now – I started the blog back in 2009 when there were literally 3 wedding blogs in the UK. Even before then, I’d been writing calligraphy for weddings for 4 years – and I still do!
I got into being a wedding blogger totally by accident. I studied languages and marketing at Salford uni (and scraped a 2:1 by the skin of my teeth). I dabbled in marketing jobs after I finished, but the company I worked for relocated, and I was given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy. I was suffering quite badly from depression at the time and in my slightly cuckoo little mind I decided to teach myself calligraphy – as a career. It worked! I was good at the internet: I could build websites and write code. I learned calligraphy as I went along, which kept me busy through the summer months.
One quiet November morning, I was up at 6am and decided to buy a new website. I’d read blogs and thought it would be a lovely way to show people my calligraphy, as well as sharing weddings from any brides, grooms or photographers who’d like to feature. The little project snowballed – after a few months I had plenty of real weddings to publish every single day – and the English Wedding Blog has been one of the UK’s top 10 wedding blogs ever since!
Finding something to write about every day is easy: I have so many beautiful submissions now, I barely keep on top of my inbox and there’s always something to share. It isn’t easy being a wedding blogger though – I’m a one-girl band here (with occasional help from my guy) – but I do have the most amazing support from the photographers and wedding suppliers who have joined English Wedding as members and sponsors (check them all out in the English Wedding Directory). These guys are regular contributors to the blog, and when I talk about English Wedding as ‘we’ it’s because I feel like part of a team now. Certainly the blog would be a tumbleweedy place without the beautiful features they – we – share!
I still write calligraphy. I split my working hours about 50/50 between typing on my keyboard (and I’ve learned to be ridiculously fast at typing! I can hold a conversation at the same time: my typing fingers have a mind of their own!) and writing with an old fashioned dip pen and a pot of ink. It’s a bizarre crossover of worlds and I love it.
I started teaching modern calligraphy workshops a few years ago – with a series of three ridiculously fast-paced calligraphy workshops at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair when it launched at Hampton Court back in 2014. I soon realised I preferred a more intimate learning environment, so I began teaching workshops in Manchester instead. I met some amazing people here, not least my wonderful friend Amy Swann (of Amy Swann Cakes). We’ve worked together since, creating some beautiful stationery suites which have featured most recently in Brides magazine as well as in some of the world’s top wedding blogs.
Today I’ll be writing 180 hand torn wedding place names in gold ink for a July wedding. On Friday I’m teaching a brush lettering calligraphy workshop in Manchester. In between I have a family tree to write, an envelope for a photoshoot, a bridesmaid’s gift bag and a whole bunch of wedding favour tags.
I’m proud of what I do – it’s crazy to think back to my marketing days. I started out in a rubber stamp company, checking the layouts in product brochures for stamps that said ‘Paid’ or ‘sent’ … it wasn’t the most exciting job! Now I get to choose my hours (6:30am until teatime, with a walk or jog on the beach whenever I can) and do what I love, every single day.
I rarely work weekends now. Only when my guy is away, or when I have a calligraphy class to teach. Otherwise we spend our weekends on the Cumbrian fells, or going to see bands in Manchester or the north west. I’m growing my little garden but mainly so I can use the flowers to create flatlays of my calligraphy stationery, if I’m honest! And all the gardening stops once I see the first megaspider of the year anyway.
So that’s me.
If you haven’t already, you can find me on Instagram, where it all gets a bit confusing. I’m @englishweddingblog when I’m sharing beautiful weddings from the blog; and I’m @bymoonandtide when I have my calligraphy pens out. Catch me there for more personal posts – you’ll find me on the beach or up a mountain, making calligraphy videos and sharing wedding stationery ideas and lettering projects.
Do say hello, won’t you? As social as our world claims to be, it’s really just me and the cat here… and he’s asleep right now so I could do with the company! I’d love to meet you too.
Photography – Jessica Reeve Photography – www.jessicareeve-photography.com
Venue – Dorfold Hall http://www.dorfoldhall.com
Stylist – For the Love of Weddings www.fortheloveofweddings.me
Cake and illustration – Amy Swann https://amyswann.co.uk
Calligraphy – By Moon and Tide
Florist – Lucy the Flower Hunter
Hair/makeup – Jodie A Smith
Hair Accessories – Clare Lloyd Accessories – www.clarelloyd.co.uk
Dress – Emma Beaumont Atelier – www.emmabeaumont.com
Tablescape linen and bridal bouquet ribbon – Kate Cullen – www.katecullen.co.uk
Linen for styling stationery, shoes and cake – Lancaster and Cornish – www.lancasterandcornish.co.uk
Shoes – Emmy London
Suit – Whitfield and Ward – www.whitfieldandward.co.uk
Chairs – Chairman Hire – www.chairmanhire.com
Models – Catherine Barrett & George Palmer
Tableware – Vintage Gold China – www.vintagegoldchina.com