Three years ago Clair Hinge of Crowborough decided to launch Creative Brides – a blog, magazine and events company, and now she and business partner Fiona Branch inspire brides and grooms everywhere
So what inspired you to launch your Creative Brides enterprise?
Clair: I started Creative Brides in 2013 after being a wedding supplier myself. I really wanted to create a business that supported suppliers in marketing their products and services, as well as provide a platform to showcase them to thousands of brides and grooms across the south east, in a fun and easily accessible way.
How has the company changed since you started out?
Fiona: Last year I worked with Clair on various projects for Creative Brides alongside my other design work, and after a moment of ‘I want to do something more exciting than just graphic design’, I learnt Clair was looking for someone to join her at the helm of CB to take it to the next level – and here I am!
There are so many exciting things happening at CB at the moment, and Clair and I are usually bouncing around like kids in a sweet shop.
Have you seen a move towards more brides going down the DIY route?
Fiona: Yes, so many brides (and grooms) are making things for their weddings. It’s a great way to put your own stamp on your wedding and even get other people involved in the celebrations.
What’s the most creative thing you’ve ever seen done at a wedding?
Clair: I think it would have to be a couple that turned a very bland hall into a giant sitting room from the 70s. They collected old furniture and brought in rugs and kitsch lamps. It looked amazing, and all the authentic accessories just set the scene.
It was very different from the pastel colours that are normally used, and the whole wedding was very personal.
What new wedding and DIY trends are emerging now?
Fiona: Traditional rustic charm is very popular – with old-fashioned ice cream carts, food served from beautifully converted caravans and hay bales for seating.
A homemade theme can be perfectly simple or totally mind-blowing, just as the bride and groom wish.
When meeting lots of our DIY brides at wedding fairs, they all say how it really brings friends and family together with all the fun of creating various items to make their day really special.
How should you start planning?
Clair: Budget is the first thing to consider, and then comes the fun part – the wedding journal, Pinterest page, wedding inspiration blogs (like ours), mood board or a spare wall!
Next, work out a calendar countdown to your wedding date and note down when things need to be booked in good time. Some venues get booked up a long time in advance, so that should be at the top of your list.
Then it’s time to start collecting images of everything ‘wedding’ that you love, like themes, colours, decorations, dresses, outfits, menus, venues, transport, etc.
Do some research on local suppliers, venues and companies who fit your style and go and meet them to discuss what you would like for your big day. Wedding fairs are also a great place to see lots of companies in one place.
Any advice for DIY brides?
Clair: If you’re making items for your wedding, then make sure you leave lots of time. It can be very time-consuming crafting for your wedding, so maybe choose three areas to make for.
It might also be nice to work closely with some of your suppliers. They can offer good advice and might even include some of the things you’ve made for your wedding.