It shouldn’t be radical for a wedding magazine to showcase the fact it’s not just able-bodied people who get married. Even though real strides have been made towards inclusive sizing and more POC representation in recent years, disability is still often left out of the diversity debate.
For our May/June issue I wanted to create a beautiful editorial using two disabled models. Gemma, who’s on the cover, and Renee were such a dream to work with and I’m thrilled beyond belief to finally be sharing this issue, and this shoot, with the world!
Working with disabled models is actually something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Of course, we have published weddings where one, or both of the couple have a disability, and we’ve shared a bunch of articles with advice for planning a wedding with disabilities in mind, but creating our own editorial was proving tricky. Not least of all because we had to find the models.
That was until I discovered Zebedee Talent Management who have the most incredible selection of models with varying disabilities (wedding pros, you need to check them out for your styled shoots!)
When you’re disabled, planning a wedding can feel even more daunting than usual, especially when it comes to figuring out what to wear. With this dreamy editorial we wanted to give you some fun options that scream Rock n Roll Bride through and through. Sequin kimonos, Swarovski crystal boots, big princess dresses and iridescent inspired make-up… all these things can be yours, no matter what your body looks like.
Featured inside and on the cover of issue 34 of the magazine, the inspiration for this shoot was to find the art in the everyday, to remind us that life is beautiful and creativity is everywhere – we just have to know where to look for it. Whatever craziness the world throws at us next, there will still be art, love and creativity to inspire us.
I commissioned original pieces of artwork by my super talented sister Rachel Underwood (you can find her on Instagram and yes, she takes custom orders!) to create original pieces of art which we projected on the wall behind our model Jay, as well as adding them over some of the other images in Photoshop afterwards.
The incredible illustration meets painterly makeup look created by Shani Mushington was trippy in person but we loved how it turned Jay into a living piece of art.
If you’d like to see the behind the scenes action, the superbly talented Loved Up Films was there too and captured the magic on film!
As always, there was many, many beautiful images that didn’t made the final print spread, and here are some of my favourites!
It’s here, it’s finally here! Our last issue of the year is now available for your reading pleasure and we only bloody shot our editorial at the Natural History Museum! Yeah you will absolutely KICK YOURSELF if you don’t order this one.
When the events’ team at the museum reached out about wanting to work with us I just about fell off my chair. With the museum being closed due to Covid, we had the run of the place, making all our fairytale fantasy wedding dreams come true.
And before you ask, yes, you can get married here too! The museum offers exclusive hire of their magnificent spaces, including Hintze Hall, with incredible Victorian architecture and soaring arches which provide a truly remarkable backdrop. There are actually twelve galleries in the museum that are licenced for weddings, both big and small AND they currently have a very special offer valid for weddings until the end of the year, where you can hire the space for £5000. If you’ve ever dreamt of taking wedding photos like this then this is your chance! To enquire about this just drop their events team a line via their website contact form or give them a bell during office hours on +44 (0)207 942 5434.
But that’s not all, as usual this issue is PACKED with 165 thick, glossy, delicious pages of alternative wedding awesomeness. From real weddings to fashion and style inspiration, thoughtful essays and advice articles a-plenty…
Thirteen years ago this month, I registered the website rocknrollbride.blogspot.co.uk so I had somewhere to talk about planning my wedding. The year was 2007 (before Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook groups where a thing) and the way most of us connected with other people online was through closed forums or websites such as LiveJournal and MySpace.
The now defunct You and Your Wedding website and forum was my hang out of choice. I was in there every single day posting about our wedding ideas and getting inspiration from the other members. I made some great online friends. I’m not quite sure where the idea came from, but one day I decided it might be fun to start my own blog (this new thing that I’d seen a few members talking about) where I could host my own content, create my own logo and upload as much or as little as I liked. I enjoyed the forum, but a lot of it was too traditional for my tastes and forget about finding ideas in magazines, it was much of the same. I still bought and obsessed over every single one though, desperate to find some unique ideas that I could incorporate into our own day.
The first official Rock n Roll Bride website was a gem, let me tell you…! My favourite part of this is that we got married in April 2008, and you can see that in May I was already writing a post about potential vow renewal outfits. Jeez Kat, chill ya boots!
After the wedding, I kept on blogging, sharing other people’s weddings from the forum, as well as content I started to find on places like Flickr and via other blogspot blogs. Then, at the end of 2009 I accidentally locked myself out and deleted my entire site (that’s a story for another day!) which is what was the catalyst for me deciding it was time to ‘do this properly’. So, I bought the .com and Gareth transferred everything over to a better blogging platform.
Enter stage left: the inaugural rocknrollbride.com! Isn’t she a beauty? (LOL!)
By this point I had started to connect with people offline, who were also launching wedding businesses and were looking to do things differently, too. I booked a few paid advertisers and I was getting sent weddings from all over the world from people who wanted to be featured on the site! I did a couple of shoots (with me modelling, some were cute others were terrible) and even managed to do a trade with a designer who created a header for the blog. I was on my way!
Things grew quickly at this point. A couple of other UK based wedding blogs had sprung up and the industry was starting to pay attention. I got invited to fancy events and catwalk shows, I was interviewed by the press, and by the end of 2010 I was earning more from Rock n Roll Bride than I was from my full-time TV producer job. It was time to take the plunge and run my business full time – scary!
In 2011 I found Nubby Twiglet (now better known now as Shauna Haider from We Are Branch). She was an artist and budding graphic designer and I loved her style, her blog and her design work. Even though she was in Portland, Oregon, I approached her about rebranding my website. She designed me a new logo, blog header and some navigation icons for the grand sum of $200, and I did a new photo shoot with my photographer friend Emma Case to celebrate.
Also in 2011, Rock n Roll Bride was invited to exhibit at a wedding show, and we decided to create a free ‘magazine’ to give out to attendees to show them what we were all about. The magazine was so popular that we decided to do a regular, yearly edition, which we then sold on our website between 2011 and 2014…
I know, I know, I can’t quite believe it’s that time again already either! 2020 may be a lot of things, but slow and boring it is not. HOWWWW is it almost September!? You do know what that means though – the brand-new issue of Rock n Roll Bride magazine is now available for pre-order and we are PSYCHED!
What’s the actual benefit of pre-ordering? Well, in short, it means you’re guaranteed to get one and if you’re in the UK (international shipping takes a little longer) you’ll get your copy before it goes on general sale. Pre-orders also help us out a lot, because we’re able to track how popular the issue is going to be to ensure we’re printing enough copies!
But, even better than that, if you wanted to subscribe instead (it doesn’t cost you any more AND you won’t have to remember to place your order every time) you’ll officially become my new best friend. We now have over DOUBLE the subscribers that we had this time last year which, quite frankly, is rather bonkers and amazing and I’m so very grateful to every single one of you. Your continued support means the entire world and I don’t take it for granted. You have no idea how difficult it is to make a print magazine profitable in 2020 and I love you all SO MUCH!
But enough about me, let’s get on and see a sneak peek of what you’ll find inside this issue…
If you were one of the 1400+ (!) smart cookies who pre-ordered your copy of issue 33, then it may have already landed on your doormat, but if not, I wanted to tempt you further by sharing some little sneaky peeks inside the brand new Rock n Roll Bride magazine today. I am so very proud of this issue and I know you’re going to love it!
The theme of this issue is rebirth because I truly feel like the wedding industry is being reborn right now. Covid-19 put everything on pause. It’s given you the chance to take a beat, to reassess what you REALLY want for your wedding and to trim the fat of the stuff you were doing just because it was cool… or trendy… or Pinterestable. Inside you’ll find the usual eclectic mix of real weddings, shoots and advice articles, but with a focus on paring things down, stripping things back and focusing on you as a couple.
The past few months have been a tough time for everyone, but to those of you dealing with the heartbreak of having to postpone your weddings – I see you. Just remember, a big, fancy wedding has never been what being a Rock n Roll bride is all about. It’s about having a day that celebrates love, family and your own personal view of the world and I for one am so excited to see how you all do this once you’re finally allowed to loudly proclaim “WE DO!”
Honestly, I think the mix of weddings inside this issue is one of my favourites ever. There’s an Indian wedding inside that will blow your socks off, an Irish day with all the girly details, a wrestling themed colourful celebration and a travelling elopement…. and that’s just for starters!