Today marks the end of an era for me. It’s my last day here at Rock My Wedding. Working for RMW has been such a huge part of my life that I didn’t want this day to pass by without saying goodbye properly…
Hello lovely people – we hope your Tuesday is going well. We’re having a slight interruption from weddings this afternoon in order to bring you some BIG NEWS.
This is just a quick little Friday finisher as I am sure you lot are all desperate to get home and get outside in the garden to enjoy this beautiful weather.
The great news is that apparently the sun is staying at least for a few more days, so plenty of time to top up the tan. You see you get the full service from RMW, even a weather forecast. News, views, tips and goss is something that we have been providing for 6 months via our monthly newsletter and if you subscribe to it, you’ll receive our little tasty nuggets of information once a month directly into your inbox. Totally free, totally no effort required.
In the latest issue we mentioned how pleased we are to be nominated once again for The Perfect Wedding awards… Last year we won the award for best wedding blog and it would make our day if we won it again this year.
All you need to do is click this link and you’ll be taken to the Perfect Wedding voting page where you can vote for Photographers, florists, boutiques and erm…. Blogs 🙂 hint hint.
And if you would like to join our newsletter mailing list then you can do that by clicking here.
It’s cool. Honest.
Happy weekend peeps,
It’s been another momentous week at Rock My Wedding. I thought this afternoon I would take a tiny step away from wedding pretty to fill you in on the latest developments.
As I type this I am sat amongst empty Ikea boxes, empty Apple boxes, screw drivers, alan keys and those little wooden worm things that are the magic ingredient that stops all your new flat pack furniture from falling apart after 5 minutes. But more about that in a bit.
Firstly I am going to take you back a week or so to an event on Carnaby Street in London, organised by Lomography at which I was asked to speak.
The Loblography Event
You may remember that we worked with Lomography a while back during our retro week. We gave you lucky lot the chance to win some super snazzy Lomography film cameras and Lomography gave you the chance to win an engagement shoot organised by them and styled by Rock My Wedding. You can see the results of the shoot here.
Lomography organise loads of events throughout the year aimed not only at camera enthusiasts but bloggers too (As one interest can quite often be linked to the other in this day and age.)
Heidi from Lomography asked if I could attend one such event – a photography workshop in and around Soho followed by talks from some of the most successful bloggers in the UK. And yes, that is me nearly getting run over by a London cab – all in the cause of getting a good shot.
I was asked to speak about the transition that happened when Rock My Wedding became not only a blog but a fully blown business.
It’s at times like this that I feel so stupidly proud to be a part of such a brilliant little organisation. Of course I agreed to do the talk and started scribbling down some ideas for my power point.
A Quick History Of RMW
My initial scribbles illustrating the growth of RMW actually became the slides I used to illustrate my talk…beginning with how Charlotte and I met when we both worked at a company called epyx. Charlotte was planning her wedding with Mr O’Shea at the time and thought that the UK was lacking a top notch online wedding inspiration site…this was 2009 remember folks – there just weren’t many blogs around back then!
I didn’t even know that such a thing as a wedding blog existed, but as a graphic designer with a passion for new projects I agreed to come on board and before long RMW was created and launched.
We have had a bit of a rollercoaster ride since then. From a business perspective we have made some great decisions, we have also made a few mistakes along the way. I don’t think anyone can deny that it has been a massive learning curve. It has been a fantastic experience though.
In my talk I discussed that although it’s easy to think that RMW became a ‘business’ at the point when we started to make money, I think it happened later than that. I believe we became a ‘business’ at the point when our investors came on board. Only then did we have a complete skill set – the drive, ambition and ‘front-of-house’ skills that Charlotte and I possess married to the solid and experienced grounding in running successful businesses that our investors brought to the table. It’s a match made in wedding blog heaven!
I finished with a little bit on the future – I mentioned young Miss Gautier-Ollerenshaw’s appointment, the fact that we now have an official RMW HQ and I touched on a few little secrets that we have in the pipeline.
Now, I couldn’t possibly talk about the secrets here, anyone could be listening 😉 but I can talk a little bit about RMW HQ.
Rhubarb And Custard
So, RMW now has a permanent home at the Custard Factory complex in Digbeth. Digbeth is the closest thing Birmingham has to a Camdem Town – think converted warehouses with rough luxe decor and uber creative folk floating around the place 24/7.
Talking of uber creatives… It is also the home of a few members of the ‘Birmingham Massive’ an elite team of midlands based wedding suppliers. Literally on our doorstep we have Steve Gerrard, rock star photographer extraordinaire, the fantastically talented and award winning Emma Case and those phenomenally nice folks at Shutterbox Films. The Custard factory is also home to bridal boutique The Couture Company.
I think we will fit in well here!
On Monday we collected our keys and before long Charlotte, Lauren and I piled into the Volvo and headed up the M6 in search of some Swedish office based retail therapy. Once I managed to focus the girls’ attention on office furniture, rather than bud vases, soft furnishings, glassware and general pretty for the home/office, we made some executive decisions and now own some sleek new desks and a few chairs called Patrik.
After a little improvisation with the flat pack furniture (left) we actually got some desks built (right).
Next stop – the Apple Store. I think we made their day. I have never seen an Apple receipt as long as the one we left with. Charlotte was in flats for once and couldn’t actually hold the strip of paper up high enough to stop it dragging on the ground.
So, thanks to Lomography for a smashing day out doing one of my favourite things (photography, not getting up and talking in front of loads of people!) Thanks to The Custard Factory for making us feel so welcome and for giving RMW a permanent home and of course thank you to all you lovely people out there in blogland. Without your support over the last two years or so none of these other lovely things would have happened. We truly do know how lucky we are to have such a fantastic community.
P.S. I get the feeling that once we have settled in (bought a kettle, found somewhere to keep cakes etc) you will be seeing a lot more of RMW HQ… so watch this space.
Being asked along to the National Wedding Show by Ocean Media (The guys who run the whole caboodle) may well be the single hugest thing that has happened to Rock My Wedding since the idea for a swanky new UK wedding blog fell out of a certain little blog queens head and landed on my desk…
RMW: So… you’re going to give us our own stand?
Ocean Media Yes, we are going to give you your own stand in our “bloggers area” They’ll be you guys and the I am Staggered team, so play nicely with them!
RMW: Yeah we can do that. 😉 And you want us to run a few inspirational seminars for the brides to be?
Ocean Media Yes please, 33 in total to be precise…
RMW: Erm…. ok.
Once the panic had died down (approximately 7 weeks later) we set about planning first of all how on earth we were going to take a piece of Rock My Wedding To Earls Court one weekend, and then to the NEC the following weekend… in the end we decided the best thing to do would be to actually literally do that. We ransacked our RMW offices, taking all the knick-knacks, thrift store finds and clutter that we surround ourselves with.
So our ‘set’ was actually real stuff from our offices. Charlottes crates (she has a crate problem) My gin bottles (I have a gin problem) assorted records, vintage cameras – we even took Charlottes desk… which incidentally is made from old planks of wood that they used to mature cheese on (she has a cheese problem).
The next nightmare was what were we actually going to talk about? This may sound silly to you folks but it’s one thing to sit at your desk and tap away about weddings on your keyboard… it is entirely another thing to stand up in front of loads (hopefully) of people and actually speak. Out loud.
In the end we just decided to look back through the blog and pick out 10 or so of our favourite weddings… once we had done that our wedding inspiration seminars pretty much wrote themselves… we took a few images from each wedding and popped together a keynote presentation that we hoped would be informative to all the brides to be that we were going to meet.
Ok. I’ve made this sound easy…. maybe a bit too easy…. At this point I’ll say Don’t try this at home folks… we are dedicated professionals and we know what we are doing. 😉
We loved the weddings that we choose for the presentations so much that we decided that only showing one or two images from each one was not going to do them justice. So we made some books, with loads more detail in from each wedding. The idea was to pass them around after the presentations, just incase people wanted more…
Things were falling into place.
Presentations ready. Books ready. stand decor ready… not quite! We needed some help to make our set super pretty!
We were absolutely overwhelmed with the flower arrangements that Rebel Rebel produced for our London shows and Bloomingayles created for Birmingham. You guys got it spot on, the flowers looked ace. Pocket Typewriter created the amazing luggage labels that you can see in the images – they went brilliantly with our assorted bottles and kept everything on brand perfectly. I also must thank notonthehighstreet.com for sending us parcel after parcel of assorted wedding pretty and Coulson MacLeod for providing the graphic slates that really brought our crates to life.
You are all legends.
The Rest Is History.
The rest is a blur really, and not just because we were stationed right next door to the Champagne bar! Charlotte, Vix and I survived on adrenaline and coffee (and ok, maybe the odd glass of Lanson) for 2 weekends on the trot. I had to buy new shoes because my feet hurt so much. Charlotte had to ration her talking to save herself for all the one-2-one sessions she was doing inbetween the seminars. Vix had to hurriedly D.I.Y up some RMW cushions when our original items were stolen! It was hectic but it was fun.
We were so thrilled that so many people came to see us – the organisers found us a PA system so that the crowds could hear (no-one was expecting so many people). People asked questions, we even got the odd round of applause(!). The polka dot books went down very well (some went walkies!) and to be honest, it was really nice to actually meet people and talk face to face rather than via the blog, Facebook, twitter etc… It is something Team RMW hope to do much more in the future, whether that’s via shows or simply by getting out more into the community.
And as for our friends at I am Staggered, well it was great to be able to hang out with them for a few days in London and Birmingham – they are genuinely lovely guys (this may not do their “stag” image any favours but it’s true)
But, as for playing fair… look what they did to the picture of me in our National Wedding Show programme… my poor lovely face (and chest!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into our first big show, we really hope to be back again in February when the National Wedding Show returns and this time it’s got some new very swanky branding.
Click the link to have a look at their new holding page, it’s very fresh, very clean and very now. It looks as though the 2012 National Wedding Show may be the best one yet.
We’ve made a few changes since the weekend – the blog has a new home on a brand new super swanky server (SSS) which I am very pleased about. It should mean that we are “future proof” for a quite a while and more importantly, we should now have very very little unscheduled down time.
We know it’s frustrating when you log on for a bit of W-day eye candy and all you get is an ugly great error message – I’m glad to say it doesn’t happen too often, but in the future it will be an even rarer occurrence.
We Love Facebook.
Another change is that we have a new button at the bottom of each post allowing you to ‘like’ our posts on Facebook.
(Ok… who just tried to click that massive one above? That one is just for shop demonstration!..)
We love that loads of you peeps comment on our posts – we have a truly great community here in our pastel tinted piece of the blogosphere, and it’s great that so many of you have thoughts and opinions that you want to share. Thank you!
Ok – I’ve buttered you up, now I want something (typical man). I want you to share a bit more – click that ‘like’ button to share the post with all your Facebook friends, or click the send button to target particular Facebook friends or groups. We’ll be checking out the ‘likes’ from now on to see which posts are proving popular, so if you like something please share it.
Poll to Poll.
Another little bit of new wizzadry we’ve got up our polka dotted sleeve is a new poll feature. We’ll be dropping mini questionnaires into posts from time to time to so that you can compare yourself against the rest of the RMW community. We might ask you to pick your favourite item in a fashion post – or choose which topic covered in a post is most important to you.
You get the idea. You’ll be able to cast your vote and instantly see how you compare to others. It’s probably best to just jump straight in with a quick vote to show you all how it works. Just a bit of fun this one:
Simply choose your answer and you’ll then see all the results so far… cool eh?
I Hope you ‘like’ the new features (you know what to do if you do *nods head towards button*). We have a few more things up our sleeves for the coming weeks and months too, of varying scales and sizes. These are just a few tiddlers to start you off.
The poll feature is still in the later stage of testing (sometimes I have to have a sleep) so prepare for the odd tweak here and there, and make sure you let us know what you think of it.
Now, get voting… and liking 🙂
P.S if you haven’t already joined us on Facebook then visit the Rock My Wedding Facebook Page and join the fun.
We have a very cool, very urban wedding for you to feast your eyes upon this afternoon. The classic architecture of Manchester Town Hall, nestled in this chic and vibrant city, provides the perfect setting for a wedding that combines classic elements and contemporary ideas in perfect quantities.
Jill and Chris were married in Manchester on Friday 1st April 2011 with an evening reception at the White Hart Inn at Lydgate. Striking and elegant camera work by Anna Hardy brings the love and laughter of the day to life in a way that might make you wish just a tiny bit that you’d been there to enjoy it for yourself!
I’ll now pass over to Jill who was there on the day (good job too!)
The dress was designed by Blue Bridalwear and it is called ‘Beautiful’. I have always known that I wanted a short 1950’s inspired dress. It was proving quite difficult to find a short dress with the ‘boat’ neckline I wanted so when I found this dress, on one of my many internet tralls, I knew it had to be ‘the one’. I also loved its simplicity, the detail at the back of the dress and the petticoat. My dress was from The Wedding Shop in Alderely Edge; they were the only local bridal shop that stocked the dress.
Again, because I wanted a vintage inspired style I also knew that I wanted a small bird cage veil but didn’t want anything too fussy. I had thought that I wanted to remove the birdcage veil for the evening reception but still have something that stood out in my hair; especially as my dress was so simple therefore I chose quite a sparkly headband and had a bird cage veil made separately. My headband was called ‘Saskia’ by Halo and my birdcage was individually made by Jenny Wicks, both of which were sourced by the bridal boutique Cocu in Manchester.
The Height of Fashion
As the groom is 6 ft 4″ and I’m only 5 ft 4″, I decided to go for Skyscrapers! I wanted to keep with the vintage feel and as my dress was so simple I wanted my shoes to have a bit of sparkle so I chose Allora by Rainbow Couture, again sourced by the bridal boutique Cocu in Manchester. They were incredibly comfortable (I was the last person on the dance floor to remove their shoes!) and also practical as they are dyeable and therefore I will be able to wear them again (…Honestly darling!).
I kept my hair and makeup as I usually wear them but I wanted to look my best all day so I asked my hairdressers, Razz and Co in Royton, to style my hair and secure my headdress and Louise Phelan (MAC makeup artist) to apply my makeup.
In To Twine
I knew that I wanted my flowers to inject colour into the day and have a natural cottage garden feel to them. I had thought about using a variety of pinks and creams and wanted roses and garden twine to be used in some way. This theme was used for the bouquets, button holes and flower girl’s wand.
I chose to decorate the town hall with a selection of different size candle holders, candles, small flowers and petals. The hurricane lanterns and candles were also used as the table centres too!
My ideas were all interpreted beautifully by Adi at Verdure Florists, Manchester.
Bridesmaids’ dresses were bought from Dessy and sourced and altered by Alkrington Touch of Elegance.
The Groom and Groomsmen’s suits were bought too – they wore Ted Baker suits and the shirts and ties were from Thomas Pink. I wanted everything very natural and simple and so choose champagne as the colour to tie everything in. I remember Chris made his trademark cheeky wink at me as I walked towards him – that always makes me swoon!
Photographer Anna Hardy
And that is where we leave Jill and Chris… for now at least!
I can promise that a check back for part 02 will not leave you disappointed! More beautiful photography, more vintage inspired chic, and of course the ceremony. You’ll also be treated to some of the smiliest couple shots ever to be seen in blogland…
See you tomorrow,
Please forgive the teeny tiny interruption to the schedule today ladies… it’s just that we are beside ourselves this morning.
We heard a little birdie on the grapevine (FB natch!) saying that Rock My Wedding got a mention in ELLE magazine this month a few days ago. It was a subscribers copy and we hadn’t seen the mention but we did a little dance – (Charlotte particularly as ELLE just so happens to be her most favourite fashion mag in the whole wide world EVER. Fact.)
Turns out today, not only did we get a mention, but we got put top of the list of Elle’s recommended W-day blogs!
It was just too exciting not to mention!
More pretty coming right up ladies 🙂