May 1, 2012

Rock n Roll Bride, a little haven of kick ass weddingness in a cookie-cutter, pastel and often puke-worthy wedding world. You’ve likely all seen this mantra, it sits proudly on the front page of this website and quickly sums up what this place is about, with articles ranging from rainbow petticoats to New York steampunk.

Being anti-cookie-cutter has proven to be a very successful strategy for Kat and this little blog but you might not realise how picking up some of these ideologies can help keep your business fresh and competitive ahead of the competition.

Here’s the lesson, the moral if you will. In fact, you don’t need to read the rest of this article if you properly comprehend this sentence: Don’t just think differently about weddings, think differently about everything.

Still here? Great! Strap in tight, we’re off to ancient Rome. The Romans were an interesting bunch of people. Famous for their military, politics, legal system, language, technology and of course those natty robes. Their legacy reaches all the way to modern Hollywood thanks to Roman numerals which are still in use to indicate copyright dates. It is these peculiar letter-numbers which I want to draw your attention to. Have you ever noticed anything unusual about them? I mean, aside from the fact that they’re using letters to represent numbers. I think the most striking thing about Roman numerals is that there is no way to write zero. They just never thought of it. Naturally, they had words for ‘nothing’ and ’empty’ and such like but in mathematical terms zero had simply not been invented. Invention of the number zero is generally credited to India sometime in the 9th century and it revolutionised the field of mathematics.

The point to this outlandish detour is to demonstrate that anybody, even those mighty ancient Romans, can be so indoctrinated into a school of thought that they overlook opportunities for innovation. And when you turn the microscope on the tiny world of weddings it can be positively difficult to find people thinking differently.

Rock n Roll Bride isn’t just about displaying unique weddings, it’s about creating a unique business and a unique blog. So what have we done to innovate the world of weddings at Rock n Roll Bride HQ? Well there’s the Green Room, obviously. In the latter half of 2011 Kat’s Business Note posts were gaining popularity with other wedding professionals and we made the decision to increase the number from one per week to three. The problem was how to present these business posts without driving brides away from the blog. When we took a step back and looked at the overall picture we realised Kat had created two blogs, a wedding inspiration blog for brides and a business blog for wedding professionals. The only sane thing to do was to split the blog in two, with animated sliding awesomeness of course. And so the Green Room was born.

Another notable addition is the Rock n Roll Bride magazine. With print media’s declining readership and the closure of several bridal magazines over the last year why did we decide to create a print magazine? The answer is surprisingly simple when we break it down. Last summer we were invited to exhibit at a wedding fair along with a host of other bloggers. This arrangement has happened frequently enough to develop a mini-tradition: A blogger would sit at a desk with an old typewriter, penny sweets in oversized jars and chat with the visitors for a few moments as they meander past. Well that wasn’t good enough anymore. If we’re exhibiting as a blog, we need to show off the blog. A laptop? A big screen? A projector? No, a print-out. Those were the exact words which started it “print-out”. The idea being the brides could take it with them and read it in the car or at home or wherever. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how printing the website turned into creating a magazine. Since releasing the first issue we’ve been surprised at the number of people begging us to make it available online, as a digital download. I feel that magazine layouts make a poor interface on the computer, you have to zoom in and out to read the article text and pan the whole thing around with your mouse cursor. Magazines are great but in my opinion they belong in the real world not the digital. As more publications go for the digitised magazine format this is another area where Rock n Roll Bride is contrary to the norm.

Hopefully you can see it is not through deliberate belligerence that our business approaches things differently but through considered questioning of the status quo. You can adopt these principles in your own work too. If you carelessly follow the beaten path of others there is so little room for creativity that you will find yourself caged in. You’ll notice your ideas being inspired too heavily by those of your competitors and ultimately you’ll lose that sense of unbridled freedom you first felt when you started in this career.

The last few years have been fantastic insomuch as we have been able to exhibit inventive and unique photography. But aside from a few other pioneers innovation is something which is still missing from the greater wedding world as a whole. If you approach a venue to arrange a wedding you’ll likely be sold chair covers and round tables for 8 – 12 people. If you go to a dress shop you’ll be jostled into a near-white meringue. You’ll have a receiving line and welcoming drinks and blah blah blah. “You want to have something different? Certainly, we can supply coloured sashes to adorn the chair covers.” NO! This kind of template wedding has been going on since my parents got married, that’s pretty shocking. Since those years our style has changed, our technology has changed, our society has changed. It’s about time we got rid of the damned chair covers and the ugly chairs they try to hide. Sorry, I just really hate chair covers.

So if you’re not already doing it, sometime today take a step back from your work and try to adopt the lateral thought process of a person who looks at the existing numbers and thinks “I can invent a new one”.

All Photography Credit: Assassynation (full shoot here)