Just two days after blissfully celebrating our first wedding anniversary. Something rather marvellous landed in my inbox. I had to read it 3 times to process it!
‘Will you take part in the Next Generation Bloggers shoot’???
It’s not often you get asked to ‘model’ for Wedding Magazine and you know how important it is for me to be able to help to add a palette of ebony into the mainstream wedding industry. So, after my initial running man happy dance, I responded to the very lovely Nicola at Propose PR and the rest of the team behind the shoot; Churchgate Porter and Wedding Magazine, with a great big gigantic, YES.
The inspiration & the journey
The inspiration behind the shoot was to pay homage to and to introduce a new generation of inspirational wedding bloggers (That’s us! Pictured above).
The original bloggers shoot took place in 2011 (when I barely knew what a blog was!). It was inspired by the legend (she likes it when I call her that, plus she IS) and first UK wedding blogger, Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride. It took place at, Luella’s boudoir and featured some of the industries up-and-coming bloggers at the time. This also included, the gorgeously talented Annabel Beeforth of Love My Dress, and fantastic Charley Beard of The London Bride (who inspired me to start Nu Bride and first introduced me to wedding blogs for inspiration as a bride-to-be!). Three years later, each talented blogger involved in this shoot, are now huge industry icons, easily with over 265,000 followers between them.
The internet is a bloggers paradise. There are and will always be new bloggers popping up on the e-horizon, adding a new injection of wedding pretty. Some grow to be enormous in no time, others a seductive slow burner and a common few disappear in a flash.
Staying power is the true test of a talented blogger. Contrary to what some might believe, blogging is incredibly time-consuming and incredibly hard. Even I have had moments of huge doubt where I wondered if I should write my last post and take my final blogging bow.
Being a talented blogger is beyond creating an e-journal and posting a few pretty pictures. It’s about constantly creating something others want to read. It’s finding a way to connect with readers, and to continuously find a way to evolve when a new blogger emerges doing something very similar to your own blog. It’s tenacity, it’s talent, it’s a love for what you do. But for me, mostly, it’s a love for helping others.
The honour at being asked to be involved in this shoot is a huge accolade and one that I won’t take for granted.
The recognition that Nu Bride is gaining as a source of inspiration for gorgeous people like you makes me smile. Accepted and valued as a fun, modern resource, initially curated to provide visual representation for gorgeous black brides, but also out of a passion to raise awareness about the importance of inclusivity in the mainstream wedding industry and to acknowledge that there is diversity in beauty. We are all beautiful, we all matter and we all deserve to be represented when planning our happily ever after.
I arrived in a tiny quaint village that seemed to pop out of nowhere after a windy country lane, called Fletching, Sussex. With only a handful of shops, new stylish boutique for the independent-minded and fashion forward bride; Churchgate Porter stood out with class, with a window filled with an elegant display of gold Eucalyptus by Philippa Craddock Flowers. The boutique was accented with a bijou selection of designer gowns, beautifully accented with exposed brickwork and log fires (gorgeous!) As I prized myself out of my car seat (thank you M25 for another delightful journey), I was greeted by a very hilarious and very charming Adam, co-founder of Churchgate Porter with his wife and lovely owner, Louise. (The fun rapport between this gorgeous husband and wife team is so infectious!)
Whilst tottering in my 5″ heels, laden with bags; I slipped (with elegance of course PAH!), nearly broke my neck (slight exaggeration). LOL! Thank god for Adam to prop me up! (Well, what do you expect, I was on a photo shoot for Wedding Magazine, I wanted to make an impression with my attire tee hee). I was led upstairs to meet my fellow new generation bloggers: Laura of Festival Brides, Marina of Style and the Bride, Sara of Wedding Sparrow, Rebecca of Urban FlipFlops. We were welcomed by a roaring log fire and with some sweet treats and tea.
Let the fun begin!
Before hair and make-up, we were each invited to have a look at Louise’s carefully selected designer collections and choose a gown which matched our personalities from the talented delights of: Sarah Janks, Charlotte Casadejus, Patrick Casey Anne Bowen and most recently Delphine Manivet.(Who knew I’d be choosing wedding dresses again a year after marriage! Heaven!)
Top L-R: The brilliant Marina of Style and the Bride Wearing: Anne Bowen | The incredibly lovely Laura Festival Brides wearing: Patrick Casey | Talented Sara of Wedding Sparrow wearing: Sarah Janks and the bride-to-be amongst us, the gorgeous Rebecca of Urban FlipFlops wearing: Charlotte Casadejus
I went straight towards a stunning backless gown by Patrick Casey which I was dying to wear. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas and much like my wedding dress shopping experience, the dress just fell off this bony little body of mine. (When shopping for your perfect wedding dress, being tiny isn’t necessarily desirable and has its pitfalls ladies, but more on that soon!) So, we had a bit of too-ing and fro-ing to find a dress that worked with my body shape. And with the help of Wedding Magazine stylist Claire Ridley, we decided on the very elegant, yet edgy two piece top and skirt by delicious Parisian designer; Delphine Manivet . This had just arrived in Churchgate Porter less than 24 hours ago!
Next up it was into hair with the lovely Michael of Electric Hair London, who had the task of navigating my extensions. “That’s not your hair is it Nova”. To which I elegantly replied; “Yes it is darling, I paid for it”. Tee hee :o) As a black woman who has experienced many trials and tribulations with my afro hair, I have subsequently grown to be VERY particular about who styles my hair. But Michael handled it well. One of the joys of getting my hair done is always a chance for a good old gossip and putting the worlds to right.
Next up, was make-up with Julie Cardoza Marsh. Coming from a theatrical background, I’ve always been confident and comfortable having other people do my make-up, so I was quite happy to sit back and let Jules to go with the flow and use her expertise to create the look she wanted for me that matched my dress and hair.
The day flew by, it was great to spend a day with such talented and genuine ladies (and Michael) and to get to know them beyond the identity of their wedding blog. It was also great to share stories with Danielle (Assistant Editor Wedding Magazine) and Claire (Wedding Magazine Stylist) We talked for hours about everything and anything from weddings (of course) pregnancy, motherhood, society, mental health, food, boot camp, bosses at work, men! Truly brilliant!
It was especially lovely spending time with beautiful Laura of Festival Brides, as we both decided to make the most of the journey and stayed for dinner and an overnight stay at the equally quaint The Griffin Inn (Opposite Churchgate Porter) which was gorgeously gorgeous and so much fun!! (More on that soon!)
Being on set was great fun especially watching our photographer, Laura (Babb) contort her body into various interesting shapes to get the shot she wanted. I love watching photographers in their element. Laura had a hugely warm and friendly persona on and off set which made it incredibly easy (after a few hideously wooden poses from me!) to relax and just have fun.
During the groups shot, daylight was a challenge – so we had to keep the gossiping down to a minimum. A highlight was waving at a group of school girls, (no older than 7) walking past with their parents with such elation and joy at seeing a group of women in wedding dresses. Weddings really are every little girls fairytale and I am so lucky to be able to play a part (no matter how small) in that journey to happily ever after for some of you.
Here’s a little behind the scenes footage of what we got up to! http://www.churchgateporter.com/churchgate-porter-and-wedding-magazine-photoshoot-short-film/
I would love to do it all over again. Nicole, Louise and Team Wedding; Thank you for having me!
I hope you like it and thank you for continuing to find Nu Bride and my cheeky ramblings a source for inspiration!
The full article ‘Let’s Hear it For the Girls’ featured in the Feb-March 2014 issue of Wedding Magazine. Page 118 onwards