our blogging couple | meet lauren + michael

We are the blogging bride and groom. Much like the fellowship of the ring, we're going on an adventure, although hopefully with much less walking. Making the first step in the wedding planning process can be daunting but we've found that it's actually been really fun, and reading this blog has helped to inspire us along the way, so we hope we can do the same for you.

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braw brides | wedding workshop

On Sunday 1st March Braw Brides ran their very first 'Wedding Workshop' at the National Piping Centre, and we had a ball! I'm so glad that this was documented by Gavin from Gavin Butler Photography because I was lost in a hazy mist of organising and hoping it went well! Looking back on the photos just shows what a great day it was! (Remember this for your wedding photographs people!) Thank you to Gavin, you can catch him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I started planning the workshop just four weeks in advance (it'd been in my head for many months) and man did I have a lot to do... if you caught the feature on myself over on the brilliant Made Over & Me last week, you might have learned a little bit more about my background and how Braw Brides was born.

Running a Braw Brides event has always been a goal of mine and by working together with my 'Freens & Neeburs'; a group a wedding industry folks who have a great passion for weddings and the industry, we achieved it! I am so enjoying watching our group expand and evolve together, and we are having a great time experimenting and growing our businesses!

So 2015 started with a whole rebrand of Braw Brides... this was exciting and Walnut Wasp did the most amazing job on the new logo and look of the Braw Brides brand.

I knew I wanted to change something at Braw Brides, and I'd been thinking about it for a while, but Gail & David really opened my eyes as to how cool the brand could look. I took the plunge and feel I made quite a brave decision to change the look of the brand completely. David told me a bit more about their thinking behind it...

"Prior to the rebrand, Heather had identified a new audience for Braw Brides, which had slightly shifted from her original vision for the blog. What we found was that the wedding features on the site with highly unusual aspects, or that were heavily skewed towards DIY content, were the most widely circulated. In short, the users that were engaging with the content and returning to the site most consistently tended to share a lot of common behaviours - big Pinterest users; readers of many wedding blogs; more likely to buy from boutique/independent suppliers; planning DIY weddings and so on."

"So, the rebrand was focused primarily on re-engaging this group, and tweaking the look and feel of the blog in a way that appealed not only directly to this market, but also to suppliers in the industry - photographers and fashion designers - who would in turn be more likely to provide the kind of content to Braw Brides that would be valuable for that target audience. We therefore wanted something that felt more adventurous, less obvious, more versatile."

"The brief that Heather gave us was quite specific in terms of the feel, but left plenty of room for experimentation. Punchy but pretty was the key phrase that informed the design process - that came directly from Heather, and in the end I think that's exactly the balance that we reached. There are pretty touches - there's a tiny heart incorporated into the main design; the soft pink from the original branding is combined with a grey to soften the edges; the name Braw Brides itself is pretty. The typefaces and the relative sizing of the elements are clear, impactful and punchy."

"It was a really exciting project to work on because simply put, the core product was so good - the blog, the content, and the network of suppliers that Heather has cultivated over the years was a really strong proposition. It was clear that with some tweaks to how she presented it, it had enormous potential for growth, and that's been proven in the wake of the rebrand and the workshop."

So then it was on to marketing the workshop and planning! Many brainstorms with the other members of my Freens & Neeburs resulted in a strong, clear idea for a laid back, relaxed event with lots of interactivity for people coming along. We wanted lots of space and places for couples to sit and mull over their wedding plans, drink tea, and eat cake! We wanted people to leave feeling like really inspired for their wedding day. As I was an event co-ordinator in a past life, the logistics came easily and the expertise of the brilliant Caitlin from The National Piping Centre made the whole process simple and fun!

Again I called on David at Walnut Wasp to work with me on the marketing strategy... "The workshop was a big experiment for everybody - the first step in a long term plan to expand the services range of Braw Brides. With a small group of exhibitors paying a very small exhibitors fee, and a tiny cover charge on the door, the marketing budget was modest. The goal was to break even, put on a successful event, and gather data with which to grow for the next one. We therefore kept the marketing completely digital (apart from a banner outside the Piping Centre, and some flyering on the day), and did everything we could do to track the effectiveness of each penny spent. The exhibitors really played their part in spreading the word organically as well - it really was an all-hands-on-deck guerilla marketing effort and it was fun as hell! Attendance on the day was great, and the level of engagement by the attendees was really good, which validated our targeting choices."

On the day itself, I found that all the people who attended were really engaged and stayed for a while, perusing all the different ideas and chatting. People were sitting around eating cake and drinking tea, chatting to all our exhibitors and to each other... it was exactly my vision and we got some amazing feedback too! Donna won a brilliant photo and video shoot from One Big Picture Photography and Walnut Wasp at the workshop...

"The Braw Brides Wedding Workshop was brilliant. I have been telling everyone about it. I have visited two other wedding fairs and Braw Brides was by far our favourite. It felt much more personal, creative and all of the people we met were so friendly, helpful and helped inspire our wedding plans. We managed to speak to all of the people exhibiting and hopefully are going to use quite a few of them in planning our wedding."