A beautiful, new and refreshed website for Love My Dress.
A labour of love – in the making for over a year now. Two years if I’m honest. Fraught with interruptions and setbacks, endless Zooms, Whatsapps, spreadsheets and more to do lists than I care to remember.
But she’s here.
And I love her.
Today is my thirteenth wedding anniversary. It is also the first day of Spring – a day we very intentionally chose to get married on, for its symbolism of newness. My wedding would go on to inspire the creation of this very site. I named Love My Dress after a forum username I’d given myself during my wedding planning (I’d just paid a deposit for my wedding dress the day I signed up to said forum – and I absolutely did ‘love my dress’).
A lot happens in thirteen years. But the past two years have impacted me on a deeply profound level.
Forgive me for a moment of vulnerability here, but my relationship with my readers and followers is one based on honesty. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. After wedding restrictions were removed last year and the industry could return to work, I felt utterly washed up and battered emotionally after a year of solid campaigning. I felt professionally lost and was starting to ask myself, why am I here? Doing this?
We’ve all been through our own unique, personal experiences this past two years, but this time, it felt different. As I was trying to piece my business back together and make it feel and work the way it always had done, I realised how much this was jarring with me.
And then it dawned on me how, despite all the chaos, disruption and challenges since March 2020, there have been been some magical gifts too, the biggest of them being the opportunity to personally reconnect unconditionally and wholeheartedly to what really matters – to evolve out of what we’ve been through on a soulful, more intentional level.
And that’s when things all began to make sense.
Love My Dress needed to change, with me. To be reborn, if you will, as a true and authentic expression of who and where I am today, right now, in the world; a creative individual with a passion for weddings, this industry, for sharing beautiful stories and inspiring others, for supporting talent and showcasing craftsmanship and creativity. No longer a ‘wedding blog’ bogged down by a multitude of social media apps all doing their best to own and profit from what we’ve created here, but a space dedicated to beauty, and heart-led content, that unashamedly owns it’s unique offering in this space.
Our site rebuild represents a hugely significant chapter in the story of Love My Dress. It reflects my deep and very personal desire to rise from the past two years with redefined purpose and vision, to level up and create an icon of an online resource that talent all over the world seeks to be published on, and that brides and couples feel drawn to for it’s truly heart-led and honest approach – a unique, slower, more considered resource, in a world of throwaway and disposable digital content.
These changes reflect my desire to take back control of what we do.
We are living through a period when third party social media apps monopolise and dictate control of our content and online behaviour and this does not sit well with me. I wish to move Love My Dress in a direction that sits unequivocally true to my values and vision of an authentic online space and community. For this reason, I will be deactivating our TikTok account soon to focus our efforts elsewhere, but especially on building our newsletter communication and directing traffic to where it matters. I could wax lyrical about this decision but ultimately, I know intuitively and instinctively that this is the best choice for Love My Dress.
We are also living through a period of war and global unrest. I’m acutely aware of this and have questioned many times the appropriateness of posting my own content headlines along those full of such pain and anguish. My job has felt so superficial in light of it all. And yet I believe passionately that beauty, art, creativity and indeed bridal fashion and real wedding stories are deeply important salves for the soul at times like these. We have to keep going. We have to keep loving.
These images were taken last October, when my friends Zach and Grace came to stay. I hadn’t planned my wardrobe, or fixed my hair and makeup. And it was raining. But none of that mattered to me. All I new was that I wanted to head down to the river, just a half a mile down the road and stand in the water barefoot.
I wanted to capture a sense of washing away all that no longer served me from the experience of the past two years, of stepping into a new future. The stepping stones and river were as symbolic to me on that day as the first day of spring and all the newness and sense of rebirth that it represents to me, is today. The synchronicity with my wedding anniversary too.
We almost didn’t make it – my website developer and I have swerved multiple life meltdowns this weekend, but that’s the thing, isn’t it? When you love what you do so much, you go all out – you take steps to cross the river despite the risk, to get to the other side. You face the challenge, work through the trauma and grief and you evolve into a stronger, truer and more authentic version of yourself.
I have never felt so passionate about Love My Dress and all it represents on a soulful level. A reader referred to Love My Dress as an ‘institution’ last month – and I’m all good with that. We’re absolutely here for the long haul, but we’re transforming and doing things our way from here on. Not the way a Meta owned app tells us we should be doing it.
I hope you’ll join us on this journey.
Love Annabel x