I know one of the first things I do when reading a new blog is go hunting for a little more information on who is actually writing the posts. Call me inquisitive, call me curious… or just plain nosey! So with that in mind I wanted to share a little bit about me and why I started Southern Bride, why I love dishing out wedding planning advice, and on this journey you may learn a little bit more about who I am.
It all started with a post-baby crisis
It all begins with Be My Guest, my wedding invitation design business. But I have to explain a little bit before that, to really get to the guts of it.
I had my son in 2013, and after juggling a new baby, post-natal depression and a husband who goes away for work a lot, I realised working full time in a “real job” wouldn’t work. I had already begun designing bits and pieces for friends, so launching Be My Guest was a natural extension of that.
Beginning a business was a learning curve, and was just what I needed to feel myself again. I have always loved being in the thick of things, and relish the process and procedure side of working, so getting to make decisions, build systems and earn some income for myself was liberating. There were plenty of tough lessons too. But the highs outweighed the lows, and I got to have a career again, get involved with the industry, and even clients count among my friends.
I like giving people my opinion – and sometimes that opinion includes wedding planning advice…
I’ve now done nearly 100 consultations with brides (and occasionally grooms) since I started keeping track of these things, and the thing that kept coming up wasn’t…how to word wedding invitations, or questions on design techniques. It was “how do I deal with my mother taking over the wedding” or “what time should I have my ceremony?”. The bits of wedding planning advice I dished out came from my own experience in the industry, as a bride, and from my experience planning events pre-baby.
A blog is born
Being lazy (or should I say… Efficient?) I began typing up the questions and my answers to them, so I could direct people to the answers. At the same time, being the techno-geek I am, I set up the bits of advice I was dishing out as an email course that would be delivered automatically. That way, I could help everyone – not just the brides and grooms who I met for invite consults. The email course began sending in March 2015.
It wasn’t even six months later that I realised Southern Bride (as I had named the course) was getting too big for her boots. I had people visiting my site primarily for the course content, and they were confused about my invitations – I was like “duh, they were here first!”. I knew in my heart that something wasn’t quite gelling, but I couldn’t place my finger on what it was, or what I could do about it. So I shelved the issue, hoping an answer would present itself. About the same time, I was asked to talk about what I was doing with Southern Bride and as I wrote my speeches I struggled to articulate what I was doing. But I figured I’d press on and eventually, over coffee with someone else from the industry, I had one of those “AHA!!” moments that you can’t ever forget. I realised: Southern Bride had become its own thing. I had to split up Be My Guest and Southern Bride.
Facing my fear and doing it anyway
At first I was hesitant. Who was I to dish out wedding planning advice? Surely there were enough wedding blogs out there. But I realised what I was trying to do was different. I’m not a wedding blog. Yes, I deliver content via a blog. And it happens to be on the topic of weddings. But it’s more than that. The website is the hub for the community, and the community lives in my email inbox, on the Facebook group, and in the comments and interaction on social media,
Working together to give wedding planning advice as a team
Once I got over my fear of trying to reinvent the wheel, and worrying what other people would think of me, I started to worry about my qualifications. I’m an invite designer, not a wedding planner. But then I realised, why can’t I just ask for help when I need it? And that’s what I do. That’s why the amazing people behind Southern Bride Verified are so valuable to me. I’m not in this alone – I can tap a team of professionals for support and advice – just like an engaged couple comes to me for support or advice with their wedding woes.
So for me, this website/blog/directory/course is mine, but not just mine. The wedding planning advice comes from questions I receive – and the content is contributed to by experts, brides who’ve been there, and little old opinionated me. I started Southern Bride as a business, but it’s also become a little bit of my soul. I freaking LOVE that I get to write, and HELP people – ordering the chaos, seeing through the crap and cutting to the point – and at the same time work from home, travel with my son and husband, and chase the elusive work-life balance we all dream of (don’t think I have it, just because I work from home! The temptation to clear emails over the weekend is worst when you are sitting right next to your office).
Any questions dear reader?
Now that I’ve told you a bit about why I’m here, and how I got to this point, I’d love to know what you think. Do you have any other questions about Southern Bride? Would you share how you learnt about Southern Bride, and if it’s helped you with anything? It can be lonely, penning these blogs alone in my office. I’d love to hear from you – just post below.