Header image credit: Damion Mower Photography
English Wedding hit 10 years of wedding inspiration back in November. I don’t know where the time has gone – it feels like only yesterday this whole crazy snowball of a wedding blog began, and I love our little part of the internet as fiercely as ever! In 10 years though, I’ve changed. I’ve teetered around the edge of becoming wholly vegan for a few years (I’m still failing on chocolate) and I’m more and more conscious of the climate crisis with every passing week. So I’ve been thinking this morning about how I can really bring my little wedding blog more in line with my personal values.
The beauty of most wedding blogs is their independence. Wedding bloggers are real, live, human people with hearts and souls – and we’re absolutely free to share our heartfelt opinions with the world. There’s no company line to toe, no restrictions on what we can say, and we choose the brands and little businesses we can shout about on our little bloggy pages. So let’s start there:
It’s super important for the environment and for the economy (in the shadow of StupidBrexit) to support small businesses and local, independent creatives. When you’re planning your wedding, you’re in a brilliant position to make a real difference to little businesses in your area. So I want to really focus on promoting independent wedding brands on English Wedding in 2020.
Sustainability is so important to me – and I’ll be doing everything I possibly can to make my calligraphy business as ethical as can possibly be. On English Wedding I’ll look for other sustainable brands to tell you about: and if you need more inspiration, there’s the amazing Green Union blog which showcases some amazing ethical wedding brands. Make no mistake: this is the future, and we want to be there. Sustainable wedding businesses are about to hit the spotlight and if that’s YOU, I want to hear all about what you do!
I’m VERY happy that hog roasts have gone out of fashion – the days when photographers would include a pic of a dead pig in their submissions are long gone… but through the real weddings and shoots I’ve published in 2019 I’ve tried to avoid publishing a single image of any meat-based wedding food on the blog! It’s a little thing, but you won’t see canapés with parma ham, or plates of steaming hot roasts on this wedding blog. I delete them. Likewise when I’m writing calligraphy menus for a photoshoot – they’re always vegan menus. Cakes now… there are LOTS of cake pics. And vegan wedding cakes get bonus points of course!
It’s always made me uncomfortable hearing the term ‘bridal industry’ – especially when it’s used interchangeably with ‘wedding industry’. There are two people in every wedding – and there isn’t necessarily a bride! The whole topic of inclusivity is huge: this means more to me than simply publishing same-sex weddings (which I do, as often as I possibly can: a wedding is a wedding and the more variety we can include in our features, the better!) and I actually think the word ‘bride’ has far too much baggage attached to it. There are those of us who’ve always dreamed of being ‘a bride’ but equally, I feel strongly that it excludes those of us who aren’t ‘girly girls’ (for want of a better word) from the whole wedding circus.
Perhaps that’s a good thing.
Perhaps the future is about making a commitment without having to conform to traditional ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ roles. Perhaps the ‘wedding circus’ can be sidestepped… and perhaps English Wedding can play an active part in sharing stories of love and commitment in a more inclusive, simpler, more forward-thinking way. I’d like to find a new way of naming those key roles in weddings! Tough challenge, I know…
There are dozens of wedding blogs out there in 2020, all with a different vibe and aesthetic. As with the print magazines you see on the high street, with wedding blogs some are high end, fashion and beauty (think Vogue) and some are cheap & cheerful (think Take a Break) … For the record, I wouldn’t read either of these! Why? Because neither are real. Neither are about real people living nice, normal lives. And both cast something of a shadow – Vogue with the aspirations to be perfect, rich, and beautiful; Take a Break with its ridiculous soap opera-style ‘journalism’. I’m sure both are there because they sell. But neither give balance.
So it’s important to me that English Wedding features real people. Real weddings, couples of all sizes, colours and backgrounds – and all of us celebrating joy, love and commitment. We’re all from diverse backgrounds – some of us will be more thrifty in our wedding planning and others will have more to splash out. I want to feature everyone’s weddings – including village hall parties, celebrations at home, elopements and wedding festivals! And all with a sense of shared joy and happiness, without judgement or pressure.
I can’t leave this article without mentioning flowers. Having sustainable wedding flowers is a bit of a minefield… and I have another half-written feature I really should finish, so we can talk properly about wedding flowers and sustainability. (any florists out there, please get in touch if you’d like to join the discussion!) Fresh flowers are often imported; or are grown using pesticides and fertilisers. Organic flowers grown locally – for these are the most ethical of all – can be a risk, although it’s undoubtedly one I’d take in a heartbeat! The joy of having the most beautiful, home grown flowers on my wedding day – whatever they happened to be – would be incredible! I’m a huge advocate of using growing plants & foliage in pots as wedding decor… but we’ll chat about that another day!
The only decision I’m really struggling to make is Facebook. I want to leave – but honestly, I’m not brave enough. And I know lots of you are still using the site to find suppliers, to advertise your businesses, and to share your wedding plans.
I don’t use it. I haven’t since the political scandals began, since I realised the extent of the data Facebook collects about every tiny aspect of our lives, and how it builds complex psychological profiles for every single one of us. It’s creepy! But reluctantly, I’ll admit that it’s still important enough to YOU that we stay there. So I will continue to share English Wedding features on Facebook – but not every day. Instead, English Wedding will be on Instagram (I know it’s owned by Facebook, but the data side of it is different!) sharing the most beautiful and inspiring content as often as we possibly can!
So those are my plans for the coming year. I want to be good. I want to be ethical, and I want to help you plan a beautifully sustainable wedding with the help of fabulous, good people. Stick around – and get in touch if you’d like to be a part of things! You’ll find me at firstname.lastname@example.org