Tag Archives: top tips

What Makes a Good Wife…and Am I a Bad One?

Photography Credit: Dan Busta

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a wife…or more specially a ‘good’ wife. I guess with the new year kicking in and all, I started a-pondering about where I am in my life and what I’m supposed to be doing next…

Anyway, Gareth & I often joke that I’m a bad wife (at least I hope he’s joking). The roles are anything but traditional in our house. As many of you will already know, Rock n Roll Bride is the sole source of income in our household and most of the work that goes into it is on my end – that’s not to say that the things Gareth does aren’t extremely valuable and important – just that he doesn’t spend 12 hours a day glued to a computer screen is all!

Photography Credit: Home Works by Miles Aldridge for Vogue

So because of this, I hardly do any housework. I put off food shopping until we have literally nothing in the fridge but mayonnaise and gin, having long haired kitties means our carpets are almost always covered in a thick layer of white fur, and my floordrobe has got so huge that we might as well get rid of my wardrobe because there’s nothing in it anymore (although in my defense, it does provide a comfy snoozy spot for those kitties of ours).

I joked on facebook and twitter last week, “Our house is not messy, its just like a museum…everything we own is out on display” and baby I wasn’t kidding.

Oh yeah and I can’t remember the last time I properly cooked!

Continue reading

Post It Notes – 16th December 2011: Staying Inspired, Coming Up with New Ideas & Blogging Regularly

Photography Credit: Laura Ferreira

One of the questions I’m most often asked when I meet people is how on earth I’m able to blog so often.

Well firstly and most obviously, I’m in a very lucky position that the majoroty of my content (i.e. the weddings I feature) is submitted to me. Every morning my inbox greets me with a plethora of potential blog content. Brilliant!

However, as much as I adore featuring these weddings, if the only content I wrote was other people’s work, I think I’d quickly get a bit bored. After all I’m not really stretching myself as a writer with the real wedding features. Anyway, my point being that I love looking at the glorious wedding photos and sharing them with you, but writing the blog posts around them doesn’t massively challenge me as a professional writer.

I currently publish approximately 16 blog posts a week, 11 of those being real weddings or photo shoots. However I’m fanatical about challenging myself to come up with new new ideas for the other 5 posts. So, today I thought I’d share some of the techniques I use for saying motivated & inspired, for coming up with new content ideas and for making sure I blog regularly.

Keep a Notebook

This is something I’ve mentioned on the blog before, but I always carry a notebook and pen around in my handbag, and when I’m at my desk it sits in front of me just in case a flash of inspiration strikes. You can’t dictate when a genius idea may hit you (for example it’s currently 12.37am on Sunday night as I write this, go figure!) so having a place to jot down ideas and musings is invaluable.

I write down anything and everything that comes to my mind that could potentially be used in a future article, no matter how random or stupid. In fact sometimes the stupid ideas turn out to be the best ones. Remember this blog post? Well the idea for it came to me as I was sat in the hairdressers flipping through magazines and looking at the poses of the models in the fashion section. If I hadn’t had my notebook to quickly jot down ‘how do models come up with their poses?’ I might have forgotten about it by the time I got back to my desk.

Building up and flipping through a collection of these little brain farts is also a fantastic way for getting those creative juices flowing if you’re in an uninspired mood.

Photography Credit: Laura Ferreira

‘Easy’ Posts are Sometimes OK

I once read that you should never publish anything that you aren’t desperate to share as soon as you’ve completed writing it, meaning all your content should be worthwhile and incredible. While I do believe this to be true (if you’re lackluster about your content how do you expect your readers to get excited over it?) I’m also a regular worshiper at the church of ‘giving yourself a break’.

I like to update Rock n Roll Bride at least once a day, even on the weekends and yes, even when I’m on ‘holiday’. However on some days my traffic is lower than usual (at weekends, on national holidays etc) so I kinda don’t want to ‘waste’ a post I spent hours working on when not as many people will see it.

Continue reading

Post It Notes: 16th December 2011: Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

This week’s wedding Post It Note was submitted by Carina of the fabulous Love Me Do Photography. I loved reading the ideas she presented in her article, some of which I’d never even thought of. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for getting those boys involved in the comments section too so get those thinking caps on!

…and as a side note, if you’d like to submit an idea for a Post It Note article, feel free to drop me an email, I’m always looking for new ideas for this series.

Let’s face it, weddings are very ‘bride heavy’. We gush about the bride’s dress, hair, shoes, and everything else feminine that goes into a wedding. But really, the wedding (and marriage) is about two people coming together; most often being a bride and a groom ( I’ve haven’t noticed this problem in same sex weddings so kudos to you!)

I’m not looking into getting in a debate over men vs. women here. We can have a whole talk about equality, but that’s not what I’m getting at. I just think that it would be pretty cool if we make a little room for the guys to express themselves through the styling of the wedding. I’m talking about your wedding and how much more awesome it can be if the groom is celebrated as much as the bride. In a sea of frilly decor, I can barely see the groom and I silently say to myself, “Where has your manhood gone?”

Maybe most guys aren’t into picking out the flowers, and they don’t need things like their hair and make up done, so that’s understandable. But most of the grooms I’ve interacted with have a great sense of style and are quirky and fun. Also most grooms I’ve met are so in love with their brides, that they’ll agree to anything as far as the wedding planning goes, and that’s where I want people to stop and take a breath.

Times are changing and the metaphor of the bride as a present for the groom is being outgrown. Nowadays, instead of the bride’s parents throwing a wedding for her to be sent off to the groom, couples are planning and paying for their wedding themselves. Let’s make sure there’s room for some male and female style here!

If you’re the bride and you’re trying to figure out the planning, I’m sure you run things by your fiance for his opinion, but maybe have him be responsible for a few factors. Maybe you pick the flowers and he picks the DJ. Or better yet, pick everything out together and make sure you’re allowing him to weigh in any opinions, tastes or responses. Don’t just allow yourself to get what you want if he might want something a little different.

If he just doesn’t have time, or doesn’t have any desire to do any of the planning, how about planning something special that he could really nerd out on? Allowing your groom to get into the planning will not only get him more excited about the day, but also it helps fuel equality in your relationship and will be good experience in the two of you working together.

Now really, you can do anything with the styling. I mean, it’s your (both of you) wedding day, and do what you want, have fun with it! But making sure it’s about both of you and your relationship together will make it even more special.

Here are some great ideas I’ve seen which highlight the groom on the wedding day:

Signature Drinks

signaturedrink

The bride’s favorite and the groom’s favorite!

Homebrew

Continue reading

Post It Notes: 9th December 2011: Positive Influence

Image Credit: Zsazsa Bellagio

In many working environments there is a undulating undercurrent of moans and groans from disgruntled employees. For example, when I worked at the shopping channel we bitched about the length of our shifts, the amount of product we were expected to flog sell, the quality of said product, the air conditioning (or lack thereof), the mess in the green room… you get the picture! In fact I got so used to the daily moans and groans that I’d think nothing of it. I’d never stop to think how it affected my overall mood or attitude to the job. It just felt normal.

I’ve spent a lot of my life being depressed. I spent a lot of my life being sad. I spent a lot of my life wishing I was someone else and complaining about my terrible luck. It was easy to make excuses as to why I felt so bad, but you know what, there were many things I was doing that didn’t help. I was drawn to the negative, the dark, the desolate. I read books about it, I joined internet forums about it, I made friends with similarly minded people. In essence I did nothing to make myself feel better.

I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to surround myself with positive people, and be the kind of person that is a positive influence on others.

Sounds obvious right? I do have a point, I promise…

Continue reading

Post It Notes: 9th December 2011: How to Save Money on Your Wedding Food

Today I thought I’d run few a few ideas on how you can save money on the catering/food at your wedding. It’s often one of the biggest expenses but it doesn’t have to be.

As always I’d love to read any of your own tips in the comments so hit us up with them!

Pot Luck

Photography Credit: Matt Miller of  Our Labor Of Love (full wedding here)

One of my favourite trends from America, the potluck style reception is something I’m seeing more and more of in UK weddings. The basic premise is that you ask your guests to each bring their favourite or signature dish. Result? An eclectic and yummy buffet experience at a fraction of the price.

Buffet

Photography Credit: Rosie Parsons Photography (full wedding here)

The wedding buffet often gets a bad rep for being a cheap (looking) and slightly tacky option. However the key is to forget soggy sandwiches and Iceland sausage rolls. I love the idea of an amazing Turkish spread, a Chinese inspired buffet or a classic English afternoon tea. Also think about having pretty plates and crockery for your guests to use instead of disposables. Makes all the difference daaaarling.

An Informal Meal

fish n chips weddingh

Photography Credit: Little Flowers Photography

A traditional sit down meal is probably the most expensive option for wedding day food out there but it’s the one most people go for. Instead, think about what you’d really love to eat. Fish n Chips? Bangers n Mash?

Non-traditional options are often much cheaper. I don’t think anyone enjoys dry wedding chicken anyway!

Using a Non-Wedding Caterer

Photography Credit: Steep Street Photography (full wedding here)

How about having pizza delivered to your reception or an Indian takeaway? (YUM!) Obviously the style and location of your wedding will determine if this is a viable and suitable option but I do love this idea. Lisa & Alex for example, had their reception in a bowling alley, so a pizza delivery suited their party perfectly!

Also how about using your favourite restaurant as your wedding caterer. A lot of establishments will do a catering option, just don’t mention the ‘W’ word (you’re having a party) and you’ll be surprised at the difference in price.

Alcohol

drink ideas at weddings

Photography Credit: Rosie Parsons Photography (full wedding here)

Continue reading

Post It Notes: 2nd December 2011: Evolving Your Business and Staying Ahead of the Competition

Photography Credit: Source Images (full set here)

I was asked by Rachel at the School of Rock (n Roll Bride) on Friday why, if blogs and online media are gaining popularity, I had decided to do a print magazine. “Well,” I responded, “print certainly isn’t dead, it’s just changing… evolving… and that’s something I want to be a part of. I don’t see Rock n Roll Bride magazine as a rival to any of the national wedding magazines, but as an evolution and extension of my brand. Something for my readers to collect and keep.”

Both my blogging workshops and the magazine are actually quite tidy examples of ways I’ve tried to push myself, evolve my business and stay ahead of the competition over the past few months. No one ever won a race by standing still after all.

Life is constantly in a state of evolution, and it’s only if we dare to think that we’ve ‘made it’ that we will begin to fall behind and fail…and I don’t want to do either of those things!

Continue reading

Post It Notes – 2nd December 2011: How to Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

For this week’s wedding note I thought I’d blog some money saving ideas relating to the wedding dress. Although, yes, your wedding dress may well be the most expensive dress you’ll ever own, I’m well aware that the average price of somewhere between £1000 – £2000, is going to be out of a lot of bride’s budgets.

Vintage

Photography Credit: Annamarie Stepney Photography (full wedding here)

Vintage wedding dresses are hugely popular right now but this does mean that a lot of vintage shops have hiked up their prices. But if you do your research, you can still get vintage gowns for a song. Try non-wedding specific shops like Beyond Retro where prices are likely to be lower. Vintage wedding-specific dress shops like For Coat No Knickers in London will even alter your own dress if you find a bargain elsewhere.

Vintage Reproduction

Photography Credit: Martyn & Clare Wheatley (Sinister Pictures) (full wedding here)

Vintage reproduction dresses are also a great way to get the vintage ‘look’ without the price tag. A frustrating thing about searching for genuine vintage dresses is that often the sizes are very small. Places like Vivien of Holloway, Honeypie BoutiqueDolly Couture and Peppermint Pretty, make gorgeous vintage-inspired gowns that are both affordable and can be made in any size.

Charity Shops

Photography Credit: Emma Case Photography (full wedding here)

Why not check out your local charity shop? Barnardos and Oxfam even have specialty wedding dress branches where you may well pick up an utter bargain!

Continue reading

Post-It Notes – 25th November 2011: What to do When it all Goes Wrong…

Credit: Whale & Pine via Luke’s Beard

Last week I had this question on the Rock n Roll Bride facebook page from Angel. Luckily for her I happen to have some experience in this area!

Did you know that after blogging for just over a year I somehow managed to delete my whole blog? Yeah seriously…Poof! and it was gone.

To cut a long story short, I had been secretly blogging using the free Blogger platform since just before our wedding. I used the blog to post my own wedding ideas and after the wedding to share other alternative wedding ideas and real weddings that I’d found and liked around the internet. The reason for the blog certainly wasn’t to make it into a business, I’d simply fallen in love with wedding blogs during my wedding planning and started my own for fun.

Sometime around December 2008 I learnt about Google Analytics and thought “Oh cool, I can see how many people are actually reading this thing” (seriously, when I say I knew nothing about blogging I ain’t exaggerating!) Well somehow in my total-incompetence-to-do-anything-remotely-technical, by attempting to install it myself I deleted my whole freaking website…and no, we still don’t know how I managed to do it!

I went crying to Gareth (who by the way had no idea I was a secret blogger, what a nerd I must have looked like) and I asked him to bring it back. Which, despite being a IT genius, he said was impossible (and nope even he still doesn’t know how I managed to delete it either, I think maybe it’s a secret skill I have that no one else possesses…)

ANYWAY I was at a crossroads.

After I finally stopped crying, Gareth told me he was able to recover some of my past posts from Google’s cache of the site, but we’d have to set up a whole new blog and re-upload everything. He also suggested I moved from Blogger to WordPress for it’s superior functionality and general better-ness, and also that I purchased the .com (beforehand I was just using a free .blogspot URL).

And so the laborious task of relaunching a blog began.

Now I use the term ‘relaunch’ in a very loose way. There was no grand unveiling of the new site or street parade in my honour. I had no readers. I had a .com but no one knew it existed! It sounds kinda fancy in interviews when I say the blog was ‘relaunched in January 2009’ but in reality, I just bought a .com and started all over again.

I was totally gutted about (what seemed like) the mountainous task in front of me and yes, of course I wondered whether I should even bother. However after some soul searching and realising that this obsession for alternative weddings wasn’t going anywhere, I used my colossal balls-up as an opportunity to make the blog a million percent better.

So, what changes did I make?

♥ I moved the blog to a better platform.

♥ I paid for the .com (best £20 I ever spent. As a side note, if you’re able to get the .com as opposed to the .co.uk/.net/.org of your chosen website name DO IT. It’s only pennies more expensive and many people are of the opinion that it gives a more professional first impression).

♥ I finally told Gareth what I was up to. Gareth is a computer/internet genius so having him know that I had a blog was obviously a good thing. He helped me make my blog so much better with his technical wizardry.

♥ I spent time thinking about how I really wanted to blog to look. I stopped just using free and default layouts and spent some time actually thinking about branding… which of course was initially terrible. Look at my first attempts at blog headers if you don’t believe me. Yes, I made them all myself…Aren’t I brilliant? What do you mean you can’t tell?! Ha ha…

Continue reading

Post It Notes – 25th November 2011: Money Saving Ideas for Wedding Flowers

Photography Credit: Sugar and Fluff (full shoot can be seen here)

After the success of last week’s ‘average spend’ post it note, a number of you messaged me to say you’d love to here some ideas of how to save the pennies on certain areas. So, over the next few weeks I plan to do just that. Starting this week with wedding flowers.

As ever, please let me know in the comments below (or email me directly if you prefer) if there are any areas of your wedding planning you’d like particular help with. I’m here to serve!

Flowers are one areas of your wedding where it’s really easy to make your budget go further, as Emma from The Green Parlour in Pangbourne told me,

“If people are willing to listen to a florists ideas on how to make the most out of your budget, you can actually achieve something really beautiful for a relatively low price. My top tip is always go for seasonal flowers and to get the most out of your budget try to use as much as you can in your various venues (like moving your ceremony displays to your reception).”

Continue reading

Post-It Notes – 18th November 2011: Walk, Don’t Run

Credit: The Art of Hand Lettering

It’s quite a simple business note this week because a) I’ve been poorly (oh woe is me, seriously Gareth is so annoyed with my ‘milking it’ as he lovingly puts it!) and b) I’ve been working on my notes for my first blogging workshop* (which I’ve dubbed School of Rock (n Roll Bride) haha I know I’m just that cool) which is taking place in London NEXT WEEK so I’m a little bit exhausted of thinking about business type stuff if I’m honest!

Nevertheless, this is still a very worthwhile lesson for us all. Write it on a post it note and stick it above your computer, go on!

Don’t run before you can walk.

When you’re new to an industry it’s easy to want to want to try and ‘catch up’ to your competition as quickly as possible. One way many people try (and often fail) to do this is by doing too much too quickly. For example I’ve seen new wedding blogs pop up left right and centre over the past few months and already quitting their full time jobs (like seriously, you girls need to tell me how you’re doing this, it took me 3 years to be able to make enough money to support myself, am I missing some massive trick over here?), taking on advertisers, organising parties and meets, taking part in photo shoots, writing for magazines…hold it there sista!

While it’s great to have goals and to want to explore other avenues as part of your business, the most important thing you need to do as a new business is to get really good at being YOU. You need to hone your basic skills and get to know your industry back to friggin’ front.

It’s so tempting to run full steam ahead with every idea you have to take every opportunity that comes your way (read my blog post on saying no for advice on this one!) but you know what you’re really doing? You’re spreading yourself too thin and diluting your brand. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ right?

Continue reading

Post-It Notes – 18th November 2011: Just How Much is This Wedding Going to Cost Us?

Photography Credit: Andy Gaines Creative (full wedding on the blog soon)

I’ve been wanting to put this post together for some time to give you an idea of what you might expect to pay for certain areas of your wedding.

Now before I get you all hating on me, saying “But we can’t afford to spend XYZ on my dress/our photos/the food” I want to make it clear that I’m certainly not writing this to show you what you should be spending. No no no, I want this post to give you a basic idea of what you might get initially quoted to save you from the mini-heart attack I had when I first realised how much wedding dresses were.

You are then of course at full liberty to completely ignore these prices and spend as much or as little as you wish on your wedding. However knowledge is what you need when stepping into the somewhat daunting wedding world, and I’m here to give you just that.

Anyway, I hope this little list helps to give you an idea of how much things are. I’m not going to go into too much detail here or try and justify the suppliers corner as to why their prices are what they are or why some people charge more/less than others (if you’re concerned, then hell, just ask, I’m sure they’ll explain). I just want to save my lovely readers form having early embolisms when they’re faced with THE BILL.

My research showed that in the UK, the average cost of the main areas of wedding expense were as follows:

♥ Photography £1200 – £2000

♥ Videographer £1000 – £2000

♥ Flowers £1000

♥ Stationery £1000

♥ Wedding Dress £1000 – £2000

♥ Engagement Ring £2500 (woah lucky ladies!)

♥ Wedding Ring £400 – £1000

♥ Band/Entertainment £600-£1500 (depending of numbers of band members)

♥ Catering £25-£50 per person

♥ Make Up £200 (bride only + pre-wedding trial) +£50 extra per bridesmaid/Mother of the bride

♥ Hair £150 (bride only + pre-wedding trial) +£50 extra per bridesmaid/Mother of the bride

♥ Cake £350

♥ Wedding Planner – Approx 10% of your budget (full coordination) £650 – £1000 (on the day styling/coordination)

Continue reading

Post-It Notes – 11th November 2011: Getting Organised

Photography Credit: Debs Ivelja Photography (Full wedding on the blog soon!)

Getting reader questions and suggestions for these Post It Notes posts is amazing so thank you everyone that’s commented and emailed me. I’m going to try to get to as many of them as I can! After all these posts are to help you guys so I’m pretty chuffed that my rambles seem to be doing so. Last week, Nik commented asking…

Despite living in chaos and not having tidied the house for…oh approximately 6 weeks, I am actually a pretty organised when it comes to my work. I’ve already spoken about how I organise my email, but this week I though I’d tackle how I organise and structure my inspiration as well as how I keep my posting schedule in tip top shape.

Diary

Although I love everything the internet has to offer in terms of organisational tools, there really is nothing like handwriting lists to keep you organised. I use a mini week-to-view diary from Paperchase (although for 2012 I’m going to upgrade to an A5 size as I don’t half scribble a lot.) I have this in front of me all day every day and I use it to write down which blog posts I’m going to post on which day. I write next to them what time they’re going up (9am, 12pm or 3pm) and when they’re written and scheduled I simply tick them off.

Isn’t checking things off a list sooo satisfying?!

I also use this diary to write down any events I have to go to as well as any notes about my blog adverts – i.e. if one has to be put up or taken down on a certain day. Like with my email management, I use a colour coding system to keep my head straight – a green pen for events I have to go to/meetings I have (basically anything I have to do that involves me leaving the house!) and a pink pen for anything relating to the advertising on my blog.

Although I love the look of swanky Filofax’s, there ain’t no way I’m going to spend £60+ on an organiser that no one but me and my kitty cats see.

Notebook

I always, ALWAYS, carry a notebook and pen in my handbag when I got out. I’m currently using this cute one that I was gifted at The Photography Farm (Lisa’s photos inspire me!) I use this notebook to scribble down any ideas or inspiration for blog posts I might get as I go about my day. Again, there’s something so much nicer about physically writing ideas down then just typing them into a phone. Gareth thinks I’m mad but don’t you agree?

Pinterest

I’m sure most of you have heard of Pinterest by now, but just in case you haven’t, it’s a great way to gather all your online inspirations in one place. The important thing to remember though is that when you ‘pin’ something, be sure to link it to the original source (to prevent people re-pinning and re-pinning and the originally creator of the image getting forgotten in the ether.)

Pinterest is also great to search through if I need to find an image for a blog post on a particular theme. The results that Pinterest gives are usually much more creative images than a Google search can give due to the nature of the types of images that are pinned.

Continue reading

Post-It Notes – 11th November 2011: Non-Tacky Hen Do Ideas

Photography Credit: Joanna Millington (full shoot can be seen here) Event organised by A Most Curious Party

Oh the wonders of the great British hen do (bachelorette party for my American friends). A time to let yourself go…your last night of freedom…an excuse to get horreniously drunk and snog a stripper.

Erm…Or maybe not.

I’ve been asked by a number of you for some non-tacky, non-sucky hen do ideas including Cynaide Kiss in the comments last week,

So I’ve called upon vintage hen do expert Abbie (AKA Tattybojangles) of The Vintage Hen House. Her hen do planning website is the place to go for amazing and unique hen do ideas, without a willy straw or L-plate in sight.

Over to you Mrs ‘Bojangles…

There are a lot of alternatives people can choose from that don’t involve the usual L-plates, pink fluffy head bands etc you’re only really limited by your imagination. I would always take the bride-to- be as the starting point as use her likes, dislikes, dreams, wants, desires to think about activities, places to go and where to stay. If the bride to be is planning on having a DIY heavy wedding I may suggest that she looks at crafty options, you can find classes in jewellery and fascinator making, millinery, cupcake making and decorating, flower arranging and pretty much anything else you can use a glue gun for.

Have a look at Fabulous Tiaras who do jewellery making parties, Handmade by You and Silver Sixpence in her Shoe for handmade craft parties and Sharper Millinery for millinery parties.

Photography Credit: Hannah Dornford May Making party with Silver Sixpence in her Shoe. Full event can be seen here

Lots of girls will wear their creations on the day which I think is lovely.

If the bride is a bit of an extrovert I would recommend a photo shoot. There are lots of stylist, hair and make-up artists who do hen parties and lots of photographers who can offer a range of styles from pin-up for girls who love the vintage look to more fashion styled shoots.These are an amazing way to capture this milestone in a really positive way. I love looking at my hen party pictures they are a great keepsake. Dont forget to ask your wedding photographer if they do hen party photography, it would be a nice change from an engagement shoot if your other half is camera shy.

For companies that specialise in pin up and hen do photography check out Ruby Demuir, Rockabetty Studios and Julia Boggio Studios (Kat even did one of these!)

Photography Credit: Lee Allen (full shoot can be seen here)

Continue reading