Nathan instantly caught my attention with his dapper attire, brilliant shoes and gorgeous smile. It was as we shared our love for lemon drizzle cake, that I learned about his incredible eye for detail, his new luxury lifestyle blog, wedding and event planning business and Instagram account with over 40k followers in just one year. But more importantly what stuck was his desire to represent and where appropriate, help integrate couples from the D/deaf community when planning their wedding day.
Photography: Davy Priestley
At just 25, Nathan’s quiet confidence is inspiring, his eye for detail and photography skills are exceptional and I can instantly see why he has attracted such a following from couples and luxury brands.
Nathan was born deaf, but attended a mainstream school so had to learn to communicate in more than one way. As result, he is a master of inclusive communication in both D/deaf and hearing communities. He explained to me how his other senses are heightened as a result of being deaf, particularly his sight. He naturally see’s things differently and evidently it is a beautiful gift and talent to behold, capturing the essence of a full experience in a single image.
A year after discovering Instagram, his photography and creative talents have allowed him to collaborate with some of the most prestigious London venues on creative projects and his photography has been published in Tatler Magazine.
I had the privilege of visiting floral geniuses’ By Appointment Only Design London boutique, to celebrate the launch of Nathan’s brand new luxury lifestyle blog,wedding and events planning company (for both D/deaf and hearing couples); The Rollinson London
What an inspiring night.
Nathan is instantly likeable and commands your attention with his style and eloquence. He is gracious, he is genuine, he is stylish. To see the support from colleagues and friends and two different communities come to together was wonderful.
It wasn’t until I spoke with Nathan at The Corinthia and collaborated with Alison Cameron who works as a MUA for the D/deaf community, that I started to consider if the mainstream wedding industry indirectly ends up discriminating against so many wonderful couples. How accessible and inclusive are we with our communication and our planning ideas? Myself included.
With the launch of The Rollinson London, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get the low down. I asked Nathan to share a snippet into his world and to discover more about how the mainstream industry can be more inclusive for D/deaf couples.
Over to Nathan!
Tell us more about The Rollinson London
The Rollinson London was founded just one and half years ago. I started this purely as a hobby and created an Instagram account to share my images from around London. This allowed me to develop and brings me to the bigger picture…. I’ve always loved taking lots of photos and admire the finer things in life (Nu Bride: Don’t we all!) So decided to combine these two loves in one package.
As my Instgram following started to surge and my friend Jackie inspired me to push myself further and to create a blog and to think about the bigger picture. So I decided to create a brand and my new business The Rollinson London
What was your inspiration behind you finding The Rollinson London?
I’m always looking for details, I love to appreciate beauty in all its forms. I have also always enjoyed hosting lavish dinners and afternoon tea parties at my home.
I was approached by a couple I know to plan their wedding. Of course I said yes. This was my first taste of the wedding industry and I haven’t looked back. During their wedding day, I had nine people approach me to ask if I could plan their weddings in the future. It was from their word of mouth continued to spread and the rest is history.
What keeps you busy in your spare time?
During my free time I love to wander around London and capture its beauty. It has so many gems to offer. Because of my eye for detail, I am often asked by well-known department stores, restaurants and hotels, to photograph their brands for them. I also work as a brand consultant… I actually have three roles; a lifestyle & travel blogger, luxury wedding and event planner and a brand consultant. I love them all in equal measure.
Favourite London hotel and why?
The Savoy. Feeling the vibes that I’ve gone back in time between The Edwardian and Roaring Twenties …Oh my, the Beaufort Bar!
Corinthia Hotel London. This always feels like my second home, you should try their EPSA spa, heavenly! (Nu Bride: Not a bad second home to have!)
The Berkeley: refreshing with saviour flair, afternoon tea totally super fashionista!
The Goring: Gorgeous and quintessentially British and yet I always feel like a royalty when I am there
Ham Yard Hotel: Super fun! (Nu Bride: Agreed!)
Rosewood Hotel. Classic yet chic
(Nu Bride: That’s six Nathan! That’s cheating!)
What can suppliers do more of to acknowledge and offer accessible wedding services to people in the D/deaf community?
Sometimes there are difficulties within the mainstream wedding industry being accessible to couples in the D/deaf community.
There are also difficulties within the D/deaf community itself, due to a fundamental lack of communication and education about possibility and the multitude of services available in the wedding industry .
Most couples in the D/deaf community generally have little or no knowledge of what’s going on in the mainstream wedding industry.
More commonly, D/deaf people often prefer to use people they feel they can trust who are within their own community and often don’t feel they can step outside of it. This is because they automatically know what the community has to offer and that suppliers can offer sign language. For example, specialist Deaf photographers, Deaf makeup artists and so on. However, as a result they tend to forget what is outside their community and may miss out on great possibilities and the opportunity to work with some great businesses and brands.
We often have a ‘one size fits all’ attitude in the mainstream industry which may indirectly discriminate against some couples ….What are some of the frustrations you think couples in the D/deaf community face in the UK luxury wedding industry?
Actually for the majority of D/deaf couples, wedding packages can be really helpful. They provide a clear understanding of costs, availability, services, choices, menu’s and programmes which are easy to follow and interpret.
Not all of D/deaf people have a fantastic jobs, not limited to, but often due to their disability resulting in a lack of confidence, which can limit possibilities, budgets and opportunities for a variety of different reasons and personal circumstances.
I was surprised to discover that I am the first “D/deaf” wedding and events planner in the UK. Thankfully this means I now have the opportunity to build trust and communicate to both D/deaf and hearing communities and bring much more information about choices and accessibility to inspire couples about what they might like for their special event.
What can we do to help be more inclusive /accessible?
D/deaf couples may not know about national wedding fairs and magazines that might appeal to them, if they are accessible, due to the language barrier and English not being their first language As a result, the opportunity for word of mouth referrals is much smaller.
Nu Bride: It’s useful to know, D/deaf couples can often choose to speak or use their own language (sign language) when saying their vows and use a sign language interpreter next to the priest or celebrant. Including any public speakers (such as toasts) to help with communication to ensure both hearing guests and couples are catered to. They can also consider more creative visual ways to include entertainment during a wedding ceremony and reception that isn’t solely focused around sound cues and / or music.
D/deaf couples rely hugely on visual information. They rely on images. Images help them see what they want and what is possible. But they often have no concept of budget, execution and where to source services that are inclusive for them and often rely on a friend or family member to try to navigate this. I aim to bridge the gap to educate, build trust and widen their choices.
The Rollinson London proudly provides an inclusive luxury wedding and events planning service for both hearing and D/deaf customers, to plan a wedding day couples have always wished for. Customer service is so important to me and I always ensure my customers are happy throughout the process. My work often brings smiles or induces tears (in a good way of course!)
I can see why! Thank you so much Nathan, you are an absolute.
Unless otherwise stated all images taken by The Rollinson London
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