WOMEN IN WEDDINGS: Meet Melissa Woods, Founder of THE UN-WEDDING
I only wish it had been around when I was planning my own wedding five years ago!
I remember, not long after deciding become a Wedding Celebrant, seeing an Instagram post describing what an 'Un-wedding' was - 'a marriage ceremony and AWESOME CELEBRATION that cares less about following outdated traditions and more about reflecting who the couple really are - DING DING DING, I thought, because that sums up exactly what I think every wedding should be about.
So... I made it my mission to stalk Melissa Woods, founder of THE UN-WEDDING, and get myself included in the fabulous Book Of Love, a directory of handpicked suppliers which accompanies the blog.
Alongside THE UN-WEDDING blog and the directory, Melissa recently opened a shop selling her fabulous limited-edition merch, and she's currently busy venue hunting for the THREE wedding fairs she's planning across the country, when THE UN-WEDDING SHOW launches in February 2019.
And somehow she does all this with two kids!
She's totally my #mumboss idol so I sneaked five minutes with Melissa to pick her brains about all things wedding and business.
Can you explain what THE UN-WEDDING is and who it's aimed at?
THE UN-WEDDING is a style blog, directory and (soon to be) annual exhibition for ANYONE who is getting married and doesn't feel represented by the 'traditional' wedding industry.
What made you think there was a gap in the market for another wedding blog?
It wasn't so much a gap in the market for 'another' wedding blog cos there are shit loads. It was more I saw a gap in the market for a 'new' wedding blog. I knew from my own wedding planning journey that the market was saturated with a lot of the same stuff and I found it hard to find inspiration that was a representation of 'me'.
Historically, the wedding industry has gone on the assumption that brides want to wear something big and over-the-top, lots of bling, very formal details and rules!... too many bloody rules that everyone scrabbles around trying to follow despite the fact that they are outdated and ridiculous. I wanted to start a movement where people could find the courage to break the rules!! ... and so, THE UN-WEDDING was born.
You added a vendor directory (Book Of Love), you've launched your own merch and now you're planning three wedding shows, what's the biggest lesson you've learned as you've grown your business, and is there anything you'd do differently?
Hmmmmmmnn... I'm still learning and, don't be fooled, I'm still skint!
I guess the biggest lesson (but it's something I already knew) is that 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. It takes time to build a business and make it successful. I guess anyone who doesn't realise this is setting themselves up for a big fall. Be realistic and be consistent. Don't just throw your toys out of the pram and give up when you find out how NOT glamorous running your own business is. Try different things, and be prepared that where you start might not be where you end up!
Also, I think it's important not to do too much all at once. I don't think it would have worked if I had tried to launch a directory or a or a show without laying the foundations and establishing myself as a brand. Finally, nope. There is nothing I would do differently because it's a process and I've learned some important lessons from anything that goes wrong along the way.
What would your dream wedding look like?
I don't have a dream wedding. My wedding was BIG traditional Catholic wedding and I still loved it even though I know I would turn the whole thing upside down if I were to do it again! I got married in winter and it was all very gothic and candlelit. The idea of an outdoor, summer wedding with lots of colour is really appealing to me.
Who inspires you?
People... friends, artists, musicians. Anyone who stands out and isn't afraid to do their own thing.
What do you love about working in the wedding industry?
And again... people!
I have made some really inspirational friends since I started THE UN-WEDDING - mainly women, some of whom are surprisingly young and powering on in life by turning their passion into their business. Many are mums, like me, starting with nothing and working their arses off for the ultimate work/life balance pay off that we all crave.
What's your number one tip for anyone planning a wedding?
Read the Book Of Love. [Of course!!!]