January can be such a dreary time of year but not at Rock n Roll Bride magazine, oh no! We were determined to start the new year off with a positive bang and what could be more positive than a magazine cover like this!? We’ve done a complete 180 on the last issue – going from all things dark and gothic to all the colours of the rainbow!
And guess what? This is also a BUMPER ISSUE which means it has more pages and more content than usual, all for the same bargain price of less than £6! YAY!
Our starting off point for putting the content for this together was the shoot, and we’re beyond stoked to share our first ever male cover star with you! We’ve had the idea of playing with colour and gender norms for a while so we were thrilled to finally be able to make it happen. Our model, Kit, was the perfect person to bring our vision to life. He loved playing dress up and seeing his face light up when we told him he was in big colourful dresses was just so wonderful!
The super-saturated colour palettes were so fun to put together and after such a tough, dreary few years, we can’t think of anything better – anything more needed – than going into 2022 making a bold and bright statement.
When I decided to start theming each issue of the magazine, doing a gothic/ emo themed edition was a no-brainer. I mean If there’s one aesthetic that screams alternative bride more than any other, it’s this.
The shoot for this edition was so much fun. Accompanied by the Throwback Thursday Emo Spotify playlist, my team and I relived our teenage years putting together these looks on the gorgeous Nan.
Speaking of Nan, they are a non-binary model with albinism and when I found them, I knew they were the perfect face to bring our gothic meets high fashion vision to life. I also spoke to them for our Meet the Contributor’s page, and their answer to this particular question was so great (and too long to publish in full) I wanted to share it here too.
As a non-binary model with albinism how do you feel the fashion and bridal industry could be more inclusive and make everyone feel welcome and seen beyond tokenism?
Unfortunately, in the western world wedding traditions are often rooted in patriarchal values that celebrate traditional representations of beauty. This has led to minorities feeling pushed out, as if their version of love holds less value when compared to white, cis, heterosexual love. In the wedding industry people of colour have always been chronically underrepresented. From bridalwear designers never breaking through and have their work recognised, to bridal magazines actively choosing not to have couples of colour in their publications. Even on a personal level, black brides struggling to find a hairdresser to work with their hair or finding a dress that compliments their skin tone or figure. Our perceptions of beauty and wedding tradition are centred around the white ideal.
When the intersectionality of queerness and gender fluidity comes into play, the problem deepens. This has led to minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community feeling pushed out and underrepresented.
Even in progressive countries, queer couple are still often forced into the binary by the distinctly heteronormative and conservative nature of weddings; often being asked ‘Who’s the man in the relationship?’, ‘Who’s wearing the dress/ who’s wearing the suit?’. Forcing these gender norms and stereotypes on queer couples is so harmful and particularly problematic for non-binary people. Queer love doesn’t have to resemble cis-het love to be understood, valued and respected.
It’s clear more representation of BAME and LGBTQ+ communities is needed, not in just showing and displaying black and queer love in publications but by brand putting in the effort to embrace and accommodate all types of beauty. It’s not hard to change mesh lining to suit a deeper skin tone. It’s not hard to design gender neutral garments for weddings. Despite the belief that black and/or queer love doesn’t sell, there is demand and there’s a whole demographic of people whose expressions of love are being undervalued. There’s space for everyone in the bridal industry. We all deserve to feel beautiful and special on our wedding days.
WE COULD NOT AGREE MORE!
So, what will you find inside the issue? Well, as well as ideas on how you can add some more macabre elements to your wedding day look and style, you’ll also find real wedding inspiration for whatever kind of theme you’re going for. Not all the weddings are gothic themed as we want every issue to feature a broad and diverse range of weddings and people. There’s also plenty of practical advice on how you can bring your own creative vision to your day, especially if your loved ones aren’t exactly on board with your ideas!
FORTY ISSUES? How on Earth did that happen? It’s wild to think back to when we published the first issue of the magazine (waaaaay back in January 2015!) and how much has changed since then. I can now to look at all those magazine stacked on my shelf and realise just how much content we’ve produced, just how many people have read a copy and just how many weddings have been influenced by it. Blows my damn mind!
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what the wedding industry will look like when all this Covid crap is finally fully behind us. Will lots of people still choose to have smaller gatherings? Will elopements continue to be popular? Or will people go entirely the other way and want to have the biggest, most ostentatious party ever? This got me thinking about the Renaissance (a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic ‘rebirth’) following the Middle Ages (also known as the Dark Ages)… History tends to repeat itself, after all.
Now I don’t know about you but that all feels very familiar to recent times so that, alongside one of my favourite childhood movies, Labyrinth, inspired the theme of the issue and it’s cover shoot!
If you want a fairy tale wedding day style that’s got an edge of tradition but still feels unique and creative, then you are going to love it. I know I always say this but could this be my most favourite shoot ever!?
Although we’re starting the theme each issue with the shoots and articles (the next one being goth and OMG you are going to love it!), one thing which will remain as diverse, inclusive and eclectic as ever are the real wedding stories we publish.
It’s always been really important to me and my team that we share a wide range of wedding styles, themes and people in every single issue, and nothing about that is changing. Just you wait until you get a load of these beauties!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… Although we’re not usually ones for tradition, that old adage is something we were thinking a lot about as we put our new issue together – particularly the BLUE part.
The wedding blues are something we’re seeing a lot of our readers talk about at the moment. If you’re feeling totally exhausted about having to postpone YET ANOTHER TIME or if you’ve just got the classic post-wedding blues, then this issue is for you. And our cover shoot, created and submitted to us by The Good Florist, reflected the message of the issue perfectly.
However you’re feeling about wedding planning right now; whether you’ve decided to scale back and elope or you’re still holding out for the big wedding, my only hope is that Rock n Roll Bride magazine will continue to inspire you to do your day in your own unique way.
Issue 39 is now available for pre-order, and if you order your copy today it will be winging it’s way to you before it goes on general release on July 1st. You can subscribe via the PayPal buttons at the top and bottom of this post, or if you’d just like to order this one issue, you can do so here.
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!