Tag Archives: advice

Alternative & Non-Strapless Wedding Dress Ideas for a Rock n Roll Bride

Hi Kat,

I have a question about wedding dresses and I am super curious if you could help me out. My friend is getting married and she is having a really difficult time finding a dress. I mentioned to her how frustrated I would be if I were her because it feels like 95% of wedding gowns are “tube top” style. I find this incredibly weird considering MOST of my girlfriends hate their arms, yet all of them ended up wearing a tube top dress for their wedding. My friend flipped out (in a good way) when I said that because she said that is exactly the problem she is running into.

My question is….do you know of ANYYYYY websites/blogs/companies that sell UNIQUE, FUN DRESSES THAT are short, long, medium length, has sleeves, off the shoulder style………….JUST DIFFERENT! I feel like if I can help her find the perfect dress then the universe will be friendly to me when it’s my turn….and helping her is SO MUCH FUN 🙂
Love,
Deanna

I get emails like Deanna’s all the time to this week I thought I’d tackle the problem head on and share some of my favourite non-traditional wedding dress companies with you all. I have to apologise in advance that I’ve gone a little over the top here…I enjoyed fantasy wedding dress shopping a little too much!

Fur Coat No Knickers (UK)

Based just off Carnaby St, London, Fur Coat No Knickers is my ‘go-to’ shop for all things gorgeous and vintage. Dresses are one-off vintage piece and Emma & Laura will customise each gown to your requirements, including adding or altering straps/necklines. Check me out in one of their dresses here and here!

You can see more of Fur Coat No Knickers on the blog here

Jacqueline Byrne (UK)

Photography Credit: Shell de Mar Photography

I fell in love with Jacqueline’s designs when I was lucky enough to wear one down the catwalk at the Luella’s Boudoir Wedding Fair. Based in Islington, North London, Jacqueline’s gowns can be custom made to your exact requirements.

Unique Vintage (US & Online)

Unique Vintage have a vast selection of both authentic vintage and vintage-inspired wedding dresses to suit every budget. Prices start from just $68!

You can see more on Unique Vintage on my blog right here.

Vivien of Holloway (UK & Online)

Based in Holloway, North London but doing a roaring trade online, Vivien of Holloway offer vintage-style dresses at fantastic prices. Their iconic 50’s halterneck swing dress is always popular with Rock n Roll Brides! each style comes in a huge variety of fabrics and colours and the prices are unbelievably affordable!

You can see more Vivien of Holloway dresses on the blog here.

AriaDress (US & Online)

Prices for these beautiful bespoke gowns start from just $500. The quality and design is superb…and I would know, I’ve got one of my own!

You can see more of AriaDress on the blog here.

Knot Couture (Online)

Based in Atlanta, but selling their dresses online, Knot Couture pride themselves on beautifully crafted dresses that are perfect for the alternative bride.

You can see more of Knot Couture on the blog here.

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How to…Deal with Uncooperative Relatives

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Credit: Calla Evans Photography  (from A Halloween-esque Steam Train of Epicness)

I need some advice. I live in Virginia, but all of my family lives back on the west coast. (I’m from Arizona) We decided that we would get married in Vegas this year so my family would be able to come (mainly my grandparents since they refuse to fly) They agreed to come and everyone seemed really excited about it. Then, I sent my mom pictures of what we’ll be wearing. She hasn’t shown my grandma yet, but she told her basically what they look like. When I called my grandma to talk to her about when we’ll be flying into Tucson, she started lecturing me. She said it’s “not a clown thing” and went on to say that if that’s what I’m going to wear, she won’t be able to come. Apparently, my clothing (which fits my personality very well) is making a mockery of marriage and weddings. I’m very upset about this, since she’s as close to me as my own mom. I don’t know what to tell her to convince her to come. Even my mother in law (who is extremely conservative) loves the outfit and thinks she’s being ridiculous. Have you known anyone to have problems like this?
(There’s pictures of our outfits attached if you’d like to see what the big deal is)

Thank you for your time.
Allison

rockabilly

Eugh Alison I feel for you, what a horrible situation to be in! So from what I gather it’s just your grandmother who has a problem with your wedding style? I can only imagine that weddings were very different in her day and so she has (unlike us!) never been exposed to anything other than an uber traditional wedding. My advice to you would be to write her a letter (grandmother’s LOVE to get real life letters) and explain to her your reasons for wanting to dress in an non traditional way – ie that this is how you dress all the time (surely she knows this already) and that you and your fiancé want your wedding to be a perfect reflection of who you are as a couple. Tell her how upset you are at the thought of her not being there and that you hope she will reconsider. The fashion and style of the wedding is all aesthetics at the end of the day and without her there it wouldn’t be right. Your wedding is the most important day of your life and it means a hell of a lot to you and your fiancé that all your family attend.

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How to…Plan a Wedding in No Time at all

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MissWallflower

Hi…i am desperate…my lil man and i are planning a wedding but it has to be done ASAP!!! i am getting shipped out soon. he has a pretty serious medical condition and may not be with me long…like he may pass why i am deployed…we don’t have a ton of money but we NEED to do this for us..any suggestions. i am VERY crafty and open to suggestions. birds, skulls, and stars are a pretty big deal for us…thanks for the thoughts and help!!! Love riotgrrrl

Planning a wedding in a short time frame is certainly possible – in fact bar the venue, photographer and maybe the dress, everything can be done last minute (note: I actually think you can get these 3 things pretty last minute too, they can easily be got around with a bit of creative thinking) You haven’t said exactly how soon the wedding needs to be, but I’ve heard of people planning gorgeous weddings in just a few short weeks so let’s work with that timeframe. You just need to be organised, you need to be fit to bursting with ideas and you need to ask for help. Your wedding will be perfect I’m sure, but here are a few tips and tricks that I hope will help your planning run a bit smother.

♥ The Ceremony and the Legalities

b-Herdah-021Tinywater Photography

As time is against you, the quickest and probably easiest way to tie the knot would be by going to the courthouse/registry office instead of hiring a registrar to come to you or organising a church wedding. Religious ceremonies are notoriously (and kind of ironically) the most difficult to organise as not only to you often have to jump through a series of loops but, for Christian churches at least you have to give at least 4 weeks’ notice so they can read the banns of marriage, you often have to be a member of the church you want to get married in (or have to pay for a licence) and let’s not forget to mention the availability – churches are busy places!

For the registry office route just give them a call and find out when they have availability. Remember your actual ceremony doesn’t have to be on the same day as your reception and if the actual marriage is the most important thing to you I would say go for it as soon as you can. If you try and book on an out of season day of the week/time of the year I shouldn’t imagine a long wait…just avoid midday, on a Saturday in the middle of June! Buy yourself a beautiful dress, hire a kick ass photographer and off you go.

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How to…Plan a Wedding in No Time at all

With the New Year upon us, I thought it apt to begin thinking about where I want Rock n Roll Bride to go in the next 12 months. I downloaded Gala Darling's 'Love & Sequins' #7 podcast, in which the crazy-inspiring writer/blogger/international playgirl imparted all her blogging, writing and general career awesomeness on to us mere wannabe blogging gurus. It really gave me a much needed boot up the arse and go me a-thinking about the year ahead (note: if you are a blogger yourself you need to download this think - it freakin' rocks) My mind is now fit to bursting with new ideas and directions for the site, but to ease you in gently, here’s diversion numero uno. Now don't you worry, there will still be just as much real wedding goodness this year (how could I possibly stop) but with the success of the 'How to Blog' series still ringing in my ears I thought it a great idea to expand on the idea and reach out and help all of my readers in one way or another. The 'How to...' series will be vast. It will be diverse. It will mould and shape itself in to a sequined glitter ball of knowledge and inspiration in no time at all and I need your help. What do you want help with? What can I write about to help you? Planning your wedding? Building your blog? Expanding your business? How to dye your hair pink!?...anything. I have a crack team of experts behind me who I plan to call upon whenever I need them (although most of them actually don’t know this yet!) So, without further ado, here we go with an email I received just the other day.

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Rock n Roll Bride Featured in Cosmopolitan Bride Feb/March 2010

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Happieeee New Year!

As you nurse your sore heads I have some very exciting news to share…and what a fantastic end to 2009/start to 2010 it is. I have been featured in what is undoubtedly the best bridal magazine in the UK – Cosmopolitan Bride! Oh the excitement. I hope you Enjoy my tidbits of advice and words of wisdom all about how to plan the perfect Rock n Roll wedding. I just have to say a huge ass thank you to Gemma & Miranda at the magazine for asking me to take part and to every single reader of my little blog for believing in me because after all without you coming here to read my incessant ramblings none of this would be possible. You are all literally making my dreams come true.

So go get a strong coffee, a diet coke, a litre of water and a fry up (or whatever so need to sort your post NYE hangover out) and have a little delve into my wedding obsessed mind.

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Wedding Wisdom – The Blogger

Kat Williams, 25, from Reading, started Rock n Roll Bride (rocknrollbride.com) as an online mood board of ideas for her wedding on 12 April 2008. Since then, what she describes as her mix of “quirky real-life weddings and cool photography” has rocked the wedding scene, attracting more than 60,000 visitors a month and 2000 followers on Twitter. Thanks to her experience as a bride, and seeing at least 20 wedding albums a day, Kat empowers bride to say “I do” in a so-you way.

I didn’t realise you could do things differently
When I started planning my wedding I thought you had to do the church-then-a-nice-hotel-reception thing. If I did it again I’d keep the church, as this means a lot to us, but I’d go less formal and more personal. I’ve had pink hair since I was 16 – I had pink hair when I met my husband and it was pink when we got engaged, but I went brown for the wedding to keep people happy. Looking back, I wish I’d kept it pink, because it’s pink again now and probably will be for the new few years. Brides often tell me: “I thought my ideas were weird, but now I’ve seen weddings that do things differently, it makes me feel more comfortable about having what I want.”

If a supplier doesn’t get your vision, DIY
I asked my florist for pale vintage colours. The reality? Bright Purple. It didn’t matter on the day, as I was so excited about getting married, but looking back I think, “Urgh, they’re not what I wanted,” and I wish we’d done them ourselves. Consider sourcing your own wine, too – it’s often cheaper to buy it and pay corkage, plus you get nicer stuff – and bringing in caterers if the hotel food isn’t great. It’s extra work, but so worth it.

It’s who you’re marrying – not where – that matters
When the venue cancelled three months before our day, I just thought “I want to marry Gareth. If we get married in our parents’ garden it really doesn’t matter.” After phoning lots of places, we found an amazing venue that was available, but twice the price. So my Dad (who can be scary!) rang the old venue and made them pay the difference as compensation, so we got a much better place for the same price. 

Horrible bridesmaid dresses are a crime against humanity
No one should be forced into an ill-fitting frock. Our bridesmaids chose their own nice LBDs and shoes – but often it’s the boys who let the side down. The bride spends hours (days, even) choosing a dress she feels gorgeous in, while the groom wears a hired morning suit. Get him to wear what he wants to wear, not what he thinks he should. Gareth wore a sharp custom made suit and skinny tie costing £450 and looked fab, plus he got to keep it.

Bring a Rock n Roll Bride isn’t about rock and roll
She’s someone who doesn’t conform to what other people expect of her. So if you’re really into punk rock and tattoos or deep-sea diving, then put that into your day. A wedding’s not about being cool or copying someone else 0 it’s about doing what’s right for you.

What’s new for ‘I do’? – Turn your back on tradition with 2010’s so-now W-day crazes
1. Outdoor ceremomies                                    
2. Photo booths                                                    
3. Cupcakes (still!)                                              
4. Balloons                                                              
5. Personal details                                            
6. Centrepieces instead of flowers              
7. No receiving line                                            
8. Chalkboard signs
9.  Bright shoes with a white dress
10. Engagement photo shoots
11. Grooms in Converse trainers
12. Short dresses worn with birdcage veils 
13. Mismatched bridesmaid dresses
14. Dogs at weddings
15. Fake moustaches for fun photos

You can check out our wedding pictures and more details here and on my flickr is you are so inclined! So, what would your tips for wannabe Rock n Roll Bride’s be?

SEO & The Art Of Making Google and Blog-Land Your Friend

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Credit: The Flashdance

I’ve received a number of questions regarding search engine optimisation (SEO) recently so I thought part two of the ‘How to Blog’ series should be devoted to the idea of, in my experience, making Google your friend. This is long I warn you. I’d suggest grabbing a cup of tea and a cupcake before you start on this bad boy!

For those of your blissfully unaware, search engine optimisation is the process of customising your blog or blogging style in order to impress Google and therefore make him rank you higher in any given search. Not wanting to conform to well, pretty much anything, I personally have never purposely written a blog post or re-arranged my site in order to succeed in the Google race.

So, you’re probably now thinking ‘what the hell? Why should I keep reading then?’ Well I want to tell you my own ideas and know-how in the area, which are mainly all self researched and practiced. If you want to learn traditional SEO methods then you’ve come to the wrong place.

SEO is an enormous area and many before me have written about the subject – in fact many have even made a career out of ‘helping’ people optimise their sites. This makes me wonder however, if their methods really did work like they said they did, wouldn’t everybody have a fantastically popular and successful website? The whole idea reminds me of those ‘amazing, life changing diet pills’ – if they really worked, wouldn’t we all be thin? Seriously, type ‘SEO Blogging’ into You Tube and see how many people you come across who claim to have the answers!

With this article I am simply going to give you a brief overview of my own personal experiences when it comes to making a successful blog. If you are interested in more ‘traditional’ SEO methods, then you should check Tim Ferriss and Andrew Hansen. They are pretty clued up in their own special ways and are good for learning a few basics ideas. Just take it all with a pinch of salt though and don’t go overboard!

I’ve read articles on SEO that told me such gems as to make sure I mentioned key words 5 times in each paragraph and to put them in bold so Google will find them easier. Yes, maybe he will but think about this – how is your post going to look to a reader when every time you mention alternative wedding (for example) it is in bold? The answer is crap. It will be pretty clear to your readers that you care more about Google more than them. Don’t forget to remember your current readers when it comes to optimising your blog. You could spend 80% of your blogging time trying to optimise and write for SEO…how good is your writing/blogging going be then I ask you? Content is king!

I started my blog as a way to diarise my online findings. I love looking at pretty pretty pictures and I wanted to put them all in one place in the hope that others might see them and like them too. I had no clue what SEO even meant and even now I way-to-often accidently refer to it a CEO! However below are a few things I’ve learnt and found useful. Maybe you can take something away from this…

Write it and they will come
OK so this isn’t going to happen overnight, but before you begin a blog or blog post remember this key point. Good copy will attract readers. Bad, SEO obvious copy will turn people off. As I mentioned in part one of this series, Google likes original content. Be original with your opinions and what you write and the rest will fall into place.

Key Words – Pah!
As I’ve mentioned briefly above, I personally don’t find key words to be the be all and end all of blogging success. Of course if you are writing about a cowboy style wedding then you are going to use word and phrases such as cowboy boot, cow, horse, ranch etc and Google will read and take note of them without you even thinking about it. If you are obsessed with mentioning the phrase ‘cowboy style wedding’ over and over then it will soon enough become pretty obvious to your readers what you’re up to or at the very least, will just read badly.

Link Love is your friend
I mentioned this in depth in part one, but making connections is probably my number one tip to help with SEO and lead to blogging success. It sounds pretty obvious, but the more people you know and who know about you, the more people will visit your blog.

With every article I write I send a trackback (if using WordPress) to the photographer’s blog whose images illustrate the post. Most of them will then blog that they have been featured on Rock n Roll Bride and will send a trackback to me. By doing this I am not only generating more traffic towards my site (as everyone who visits that photographer’s site now has the potential to click towards mine) but I am creating a new link between Rock n Roll Bride and the photographer. Making connections and friendships in blog-land will guarantee you a better chance of success.
Think of your blog as the centre of a big spider diagram. The more links you have going out and coming into your blog, the more popular you appear to Google and the higher up in a search you will be placed.

Comment
This is a pretty obvious one but again, the more you are known on other blogs the better chance you have of getting people to come and look at your site. Word of warning – Be careful not to sound spammy or shamelessly self-promoting with your comments. A boring non-descript comment saying ‘great!’ followed by a link to your own website is a pretty low way of trying to get traffic to your site and will most probably end up getting deleted by the site moderator anyway. Be cautious and interesting with what you say in response to blog posts. Comments like this are more likely to get a positive reaction and maybe even a click through.

Stand Out and Be Heard (i.e have a voice)
One of the most important things I’ve found which have attributed to my success is by standing out and being distinctive. I started Rock n Roll Bride because I was sick of the same old same old on every single wedding blog I visited. Don’t get me wrong I loved (and still love) looking a beautifully crafted Martha Stewart style weddings but that’s just not my style. I am much more excited by brides riddled with tattoos, unconventional fashion and pageboys with Mohawks.

When beginning your blog think about what you want to achieve and what you want to say. What is the point of your blog? If your idea is to re-hash what every other blog writes and re-post the same images then forget it. If your idea is because you want to make money then forget it. These motivations will never push you to work as hard as you need to make a blog a success. If you are not head over heels obsessional about what you’re writing about then you will never put the work in required to make your project successful. Find your own writing style and don’t be afraid to stick to it.

A Rose By Any Other Name…
Food for thought – Is your blog name distinctive? Is it easy to spell? Is it obvious what you’re doing from the name alone? Is the text on your site easy to read? Is the colour scheme complimentary and attractive? Is the site easy to navigate? If you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of these things then turn around and start again. If someone misspells your blog name when searching for you then Google isn’t going to magically know who they’re hunting for.

Re-Categorising
I received an email recently from a good photographer friend of mine. I’m thinking she may not be the only one wondering this so I thought it worth a share…

Friend: I remember a little while ago you went through your blog and re-did the tags and categories – is that correct?

I want to add some Categories to mine like “Jewish Wedding Photography” and “Asian Wedding Photography” is it ok to do that and change a blog post from just “Weddings” to one of those new ones? Does Google just go through them again and re list?

Moi: Yeah and I’m still in the process of doing it! I’ve probably got to page 50 of 80 so far! phew…If you re-categorise or re-tag something then yes Google will find it. It will scan your site and find them no problem. Try not to worry too much about Google. Google will always try and do what is best for the end user. So, if you having something tagged ‘Asian weddings’ and someone Googles ‘Asian weddings’ it will find you.

When establishing the categories on your blog think about how you would like people to see your site. Seriously forget Google, he can take care of himself. If you blog a lot about  Centrepieces and think people would benefit from seeing them all together then make Centrepieces a category, if you’re a photographer and are loving using Tilt-shift right now, then make ‘Tilt-shift’ or ‘Unusual Techniques’ a category.

Social Networking
If you don’t know the importance of social networking already then you are clearly in the wrong place. I have had people ask me about blogging stuff before, like how to get into it etc and they’re not even on Facebook! The person in question actually said ‘oh I hate that kind of stuff’ Fair enough but if you want to make a successful blog then I’d say about 50% of it is ‘that kind of stuff!’ If you haven’t already then watch this video (which I found out about myself through a friend of mine tweeting about it) and if you’re not convinced then you might as well stop reading now!

We all know Facebook, Twitter, Bebo (if you’re a teenager) or MySpace (if you’re in a band) are invaluable tools when it comes to networking and making connections. There really is no point me telling to how to use these tools (as again there are plenty of other guides out there for this.) My only nugget of advice on this matter is try not to over-indulge. Although it is fantastic for chatting and meeting people (I am a complete Twitter convert and addict) my one word of caution is to not give away the whole farm for free. Make sure you’re still giving potential readers a reason to come to your site. Ensure your updates and tweets are inviting and intriguing so to drive people to your blog. In the case of Flickr (which I also completely ♥) don’t upload every single photograph you’ve ever taken to every single group you are a member of. If you do that then what’s the point of them visiting your flickrstream or clicking through to your site?

Think outside the box when it comes to social networking as well. One of my favourite haunts for finding amazing images to blog is photographers’ forums. Not only have I made friends with a number of amazing people though these groups but I’ve found some fantastic photographic gems that I certainly wouldn’t have if I’d just been using other wedding blog as my source.

Some of my best online friends are not at all wedding related, don’t restrict yourself to people in your own field as you never know what might come of a friend with completely different talents and interests from you.

HTML is Scary
Yes, yes it is. I agree with you. Apart from a few very basic functions my coding ability is slim to none. A lot of SEO recourses will bamboozle you with acronyms and technical jargon which is, to us non-IT nerds, a very terrifying concept. They might as well be speaking in a completely different language (well in fact they are!). Think of it like this – HTML is the bricks and mortar of a house – the structure and the architecture. The blog content (ie text and pretty pictures) is the interior design – the expensive wallpaper, the gorgeous antique chair and the pictures hanging on the wall. One without the other is futile. Without the bricks and mortar there is no point to the prettiness and without the prettiness the most structurally sound building would be a wreck inside.

If you’re using a blogging platform like WordPress then you’ve just bought yourself a new build house – the bricks and mortar are already completed and all you need to do is add a splash of personality to the plain, boring, decorated-to-sell interior. Fret not. If you’ve got a lot of cash to splash then hire an architect (read: SEO expert) to build you a swanky, expensive, once in a lifetime pad.  What makes the most impact when you walk into a house? Is it the brickwork, the double glazing, the foundations!? Hell no – it’s the wallpaper, the furniture, the pictures on the wall. Bring a splash of individuality to your home and people will always be impressed.

Bakery….

Have you visited Bakery yet? It is an amazing resource for bloggers like me, I love reading all their tips and tricks. If you’re an aspiring blogger or you just fancy reading something different for a change, then head on over.

This article on their today made me think…

Here’s what happens: You find a blog, love the blog, and tack it onto the numerous feeds in your Google Reader, categorizing it by industry and making cute little notes [or is that just me?]. You then check said feed daily, bulk up on all of your day’s recommended dosage of Inspiration, and forget it until tomorrow.

Here’s the problem: As a blogger, I recognize the need for community. And one of the easiest ways to gauge your community is through readers/commenters. So how do your readers who follow your feed tell you what they like/dislike if they’re not commenting b/c they rarely visit your site in actual formation?

I wonder if I have a load of readers who just see my via the RSS reader?  If so come say ‘Hi’ properly…I’d like to meet you :o)

And just because I can’t post without an image…check out this little beauty I found yesterday while searching for my new haircut (getting the chop tomorrow on by birthday eeeek!)

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Credit: Sorry I have no photographer credit, but the image came from here..yes that’s right, I was looking for an emo cut hehe!)