Bridal Musings: The One Stop Wedding Site For All Your Wedding Needs

by Aug 7, 2017

Look no further, Bridal Musings offers all the resources, information and advice you need to plan your perfect day. We speak to Editor Claire Byrne on joining the company, building an epic social following, real weddings, inspiration and trends. We also get some top tips and advice for couples about to say “I do”.

Bridal Musings was founded in 2011 by Londoner Elizabeth Muhmood Kane. She was a teacher at the time and starting the blog simply as a way to stay involved in weddings after her own big day. Since then, a personal blog set up by a newlywed has turned into a much-loved international wedding resource featuring real weddings, tips on hen and stag party planning, current dress collections, decor ideas and destination weddings along with a huge backlog of advice and inspiration to help plan your perfect day. Additionally the company also support the fight to End Child Marriage working with Unicef by using the reach of the Bridal Musings following for some greater good as well.

The site isn’t just pretty (gosh it’s pretty), but it’s practical too. The Newly Engaged page helps couples who dive straight into wedmin and the really helpful planning section features new posts each week to guide you through the process.

In March 2014 Claire Byrne joined the Bridal Musings team. Living in London, the Dublin native is a three-time wedding singer, two-time bridesmaid and one-time wedding cake baker. In her own words “I adore travel, style, interiors, food, and I can’t get enough of all things wedding. Flower crowns, stemless wine glasses, tear-jerking vows, bohemian wedding dresses, oh, and a killer party playlist. Heck, I love bunting so much, it hangs in my living room year ’round.” As a newlywed herself (check out her stunning wedding here), regular wedding guest and avid wedding fan being fully emerged in everything wedding related, we couldn’t think of anyone better to give wedding advice than Claire.

With a legion of regular readers, great sponsorship, a collection of brilliant contributors and a mammoth social media following (over 3.4 million followers on Pinterest alone… wows!) Bridal Musings is heading into its fourth year with a very bright outlook.

We spoke to Claire about joining the company, building up an epic social following, up and coming wedding trends, advice for newly engaged couples and tips for planning the big day. We also gain some inspiration from a few of her favourite weddings and find out what’s in store for the future of Bridal Musings.

Founder Elizabeth took Bridal Musings from a personal blog to an internationally known and acclaimed company. Tell us a bit about this:

Elizabeth was really savvy and was one of the earliest adopters of Pinterest, way back before everyone had a secret ‘dream wedding’ board. Because she created lots of beautiful boards, she was listed on sites like Buzzfeed and Vogue as someone to follow on Pinterest. We now have over 3 million followers on Pinterest, and that has been a real key to the success of growing our business.

Claire you joined the company in 2014. How did you and Elizabeth meet and become the powerful team you are today?

I applied for the job just like anyone else. A friend of mine ran another wedding blog and she suggested I apply. I’d been working both online and in print editorial for a few years, and was looking for a position that would expand my online content experience, while still allowing me to be creative.

As an entirely online company, Elizabeth interviewed me over Skype from South Africa, and when I started working with her, she was in Argentina and I was in (less exotic!) Dublin. Now we work from our bases in Dubai and London but we both still travel a lot. We meet up only a couple of times a year. I was actually working at Bridal Musings for about four months before we met in person – in a nail bar on Oxford Street!

With over 144k followers on Instagram, around 70k on Twitter and Facebook combined and a whopping 3.4 MILLION on Pinterest, it’s safe to say you have a strong social following. What’s the art to building a large social backing?

It certainly isn’t an art – social media is still such a new and unpredictable beast, and we’re still working out new ways to maintain and grow our audience all the time. The minute you think you’ve got it sussed, an algorithm changes, and you’re figuring it out all over again.

We like to keep our imagery as beautiful and diverse as possible, which I think draws brides in particular to our feeds, yet the language has a real talk feel that I hope is refreshing. When we work with sponsors, we still keep the content as native and engaging as possible, which definitely helps too.

The key though really, is to keep plugging away at it. Twitter and Facebook feel like they’re losing their relevance sometimes, it often feels like we’ve found our real audience on Instagram – but you’ve just got to keep working on all of them and upping your game, because with social media, you never know how the tide will turn next.

Picture the scenario – you’ve just got engaged and instead of enjoying being engaged for five minutes, you go straight into panic mode and are overwhelmed by the hundreds of blogs, Pinterest boards and ideas on offer. What would you advise is the best starting point in planning a wedding in the most stress free way as possible?

Well first of all, I would tell every couple to give themselves at least a month or two to just enjoy being engaged, it’s such a lovely time, and you need a minute to catch your breath and discuss what you really want from your day before you dive headfirst into veils and centrepieces. It’s also so important to manage expectations, work out how much you have to spend and what your priorities are before you start making commitments, inviting guests or asking all your mates to be bridesmaids or groomsmen.

Once you get going, authenticity and decisiveness are my top two tools for making wedding planning as stress-free as possible. If every detail, from your ceremony to your playlist, is chosen from a place of authenticity, that you actually like, or that it means something to you (not because it’s trendy, or tradition, it’ll impress your guests, it’ll please your parents, or it’s ‘expected of you’), then you won’t go far wrong.

Being decisive also cuts out a lot of stress, of course your decisions (especially for big ticket items like the venue, food or photographer) should be considered ones, but once you’ve made a decision, tick it off your to do list, and move on. Second guessing yourself will lead to no end of stress!

Give us your top 5 real weddings to date:

Oh wow, this is a hard one! I could honestly give you dozens.

Aside from my own – obviously!

This English garden wedding was so pretty, the florals were just stunning, and the ceremony space was one of the most romantic we’ve featured.

This Amalfi Coast elopement, was so chic, simple and romantic, and the couple had a really special story too.

This Shoreditch wedding was so cool, the couple were gorgeous, they had a Fleetwood Mac cover band, and bridesmaids in leather jackets? LOVE IT.

This traditional Hawaiian ceremony was really special – I loved how intimate and meaningful it looked.

This Dutch wedding was another favourite from last year – the G&T sign was a fun touch, and I love the idea of a backyard wedding.

The real weddings section of our site is my absolute favourite. We’re always on the look-out for more diverse real weddings though, we try our best to feature celebrations from every faith, culture, gender, size and style of couple, but we don’t always get them sent our way (if any wedding photographers are reading, please keep us in mind!)

What are the biggest trends for 2017 / 2018 weddings?

Cut out and crop top wedding dresses are big, they were on the runways for a long time, but I think real brides are finally starting to embrace them.

High Street bridal collections have really upped their games too, so I think a lot of brides will be looking away from classic bridal designers for their gowns and opting for something a little more minimal and inexpensive.

Foliage bouquets are another cool trend, I think some brides want to step away from anything overtly feminine and fussy.

I think couples are focusing much more on their guests’ experience, than all the trimmings – so there’s definitely more emphasis on a unique ceremony, great music, good food and cool personal touches, rather than weddings having that traditional focus on the dress and the decor.

Everyone wants to have a ‘chill’ wedding nowadays too – which is kind of a shame, getting married is a big deal! But I totally get not wanting to put people out or cause a lot of expense. As a result though restaurant and bar venues, and ‘unweddingy’ spaces are getting more popular.

In terms of colours, we’ve had blush and nude tones for so long, I think we’re going to see more dramatic hues coming back, like really rich burgundies, navy blue, and luxe greens – both for suits, and bridesmaid dresses.

I think couples are also looking outside traditional sources of wedding inspiration, they’re more influenced by wider trends in interiors, fashion, and lifestyle, rather than simply what’s popular for weddings.

And finally I think ‘unplugged’ or phone-free weddings are going to be huge – I cannot tell you how many lovely professional photographs I’ve seen ruined by a guest holding a phone in front of the bride or groom’s face as they walk down the aisle.

We’ve found the planning section of your website partially helpful. For all the couples who are deep into wedding planning mode – can you give us a few planning tips:

  • Think about your guests: so many couples are told by everyone that your day should be ‘all about you’. It should, but don’t forget that you’re also hosts, so do be considerate to the needs of your guests when you’re planning out the running of your day. (Needs are different to opinions though, you don’t have to take on everyone’s opinions!)
  • Choose quality vendors: When couples are juggling such tight budgets, it can be tempting to cut corners, and that’s totally fine. But for the vendors you’re working with on the day; photographer, florist, venue coordinator, caterer, planner, or hair and makeup pros, make sure you’re working with people you trust – it will make all the difference to how you enjoy your day. I don’t think many couples realise how much time on the day you spend with your photographer or your hairdresser – having a good relationship with them is so important!
  • Take or leave traditions: As I said about being authentic, don’t just follow traditions blindly. I didn’t have bridesmaids or toss my bouquet, we didn’t cut a wedding cake or have a first dance, and nobody even noticed. If there’s anything that doesn’t sit easy with you, don’t include it in your day.
  • Try and stay on top of the budget: I’ve never seen anything escalate as fast as a wedding budget, it’s pretty frightening! No matter how simple you keep things, when you’re wining, dining and entertaining 60+ people for a whole day, it starts to add up. Try and stick to the budget you’ve set as strictly as possible. I know that’s easier said than done, but honestly, you’ll be so happy afterwards if you do.
  • Hire a videographer: So this kind of contradicts my last point, but if you can at all, make room in the budget for a wedding film. Your photographs will capture how your wedding looked, but a film will capture how it felt. You won’t regret it!

Many sites focus on a female perspective in regards to weddings, but we love the fact you appeal to both brides and grooms to be. What advice would you give to men on the lead up to the big day?

The name of our blog is Bridal Musings, but we definitely want to cater to grooms, both in straight and same sex couples, as much as we can.

My main advice to grooms is to get involved. Do your research, express your opinions, and do your fair share of decision-making and planning – your wedding day will be so much more meaningful when it’s equal parts both of you.

It’s easy to get caught up in the dreamy idea of a wedding, but sometimes wedmin needs to get down to the nitty gritty. With the site’s premise around ‘stylish meets practical’ and having planned your own wedding, can you describe the difficulties you’ve had to overcome in the practical aspects of planning the big day:

I loved planning my wedding, but it took me a while to get past the idea that as a wedding blogger, people had higher expectations of our day. Once I realised that it was going to be great, no matter what, I felt so much more free to make decisions that felt right for us, rather than what would look cooler or photograph better. Your wedding is not for Pinterest or Instagram, it’s for you!

I decided early on that I wanted to enjoy the process as much as possible, so any time I got stressed or overwhelmed, I just told myself, ‘this is supposed to be fun, we’re planning a party!’ and that generally snapped me back on track.

One element that was difficult for me was that my mam had passed away a few months before we got engaged (my husband had gotten her blessing though, which meant a lot!). There were lots of moments in the planning and lead-up that were pretty emotional for me, but I tried to be as prepared as I could be for those moments to arise. I wrote a blog post all about it here.

One great thing we did (which I would totally recommend) was set a deadline for a month before our wedding to have every little thing done, down to having the confetti in the little cups, the table plan done, the ceremony booklet printed and the playlists made. That meant the month of the wedding was just so much fun, I was still on the ball at work (an issue a lot of brides have!) and I even had time to pack for our honeymoon. Even my very-on-top-of-things Dad was so impressed with how organised we were for a very laid-back couple.

What was the most important advice someone gave you on your wedding day?

It’s so clichéd, but everyone tells you that it goes so fast, and to enjoy it and take it all in. But it’s true.

Because I’d heard that so many times, I was so conscious of taking mental snapshots of different moments (Pam & Jim style!) and soaking it all up, so even now when I look back, the day felt like one long dream. It still went by too fast, but it certainly made it seem longer.

You really cannot be prepared for all the love you feel having everyone that means something to you, in the same room – it’s just incredible.

Do you see yourselves taking Bridal Musings offline in the future, maybe to offer planning services or a magazine? What does the future hold?

No for us, it’s still all about the blog! We’ve recently had a redesign and taken on a more stylish, editorial aesthetic, and it finally feels like the blog looks the way we always wanted it too, but we hope the helpful, practical tone of our content shines through too.

For us, we just want to keep growing our reach, and partner with sponsors in new, creative, engaging ways. Our long term goal, is to try and increase the diversity and accessibility of wedding blogs and the wider wedding industry.

We don’t want it to be all about looking perfect, or having the perfect day, it’s about getting the most you can from the experience of getting married – whether you have two people or 200 at your wedding.

And finally… what’s the best advice you can give to bloggers who are looking to take their personal sites into a business and grow the way you have:

Find your tone. Don’t try to copy anyone else, or don’t strive to be entirely unique and quirky if that’s not who you are either. Just share the things you love, develop a signature style and a personalised voice, and with time, and hard work, your audience will find you.

With thanks to Claire.

Get inspired by the Bridal Musings website here.

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About Natalie Jahangiry

Natalie is half Persian with a Geordie accent. Although small in stature, she makes up for it with a big personality! As a Graphic Designer you will often find Natalie gushing about her passion for all things creative and sharing her ideas with everyone and anyone who will listen. If she’s not decorating her house you will find her cooking up recipes from her foodie family or propped up in a cocktail bar in town.

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