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When 'alternative' bridal is the new mainstream.

I’m currently researching places that I might like to get married; browsing beautiful venues in parts of England that I’ve never been to or have any connection with, and have found myself swiftly slipping off course, tumbling into online worm-holes of general wedding related stuff. The usual suspects; gauzy white dresses, flower crowns and photo booths, to ‘quirky’ (worst word) touches such as wedding signage, fancy dress accessories, and personalised LED lightboxes. It’s clear that quirky no longer means anything, as a cursory glance over at Pinterest reveals that every other wedding features all of the above seemingly as standard. So-called ‘alternative photographers’ take identikit photos of bride and groom holding hands with one of them holding a balloon in a field, or the obligatory crowd shot taken from above. It makes me yearn for the rubbish snaps of the 70s and 80s of awkwardly aligned family members standing on church steps, or blurry confetti filled street shots outside a municipal-vibe registry office in Finsbury Park. (Not my favourite photographer Emma Hare btw, who incidentally took one of the best wedding photos of all time, shown in the main image. You're welcome.)

The wedding market in 2019 is a monster. Reams of ‘things you need to make your day more special’, or more ‘unique’ are blasted at us through Pinterest and online search results. And since none of it is unique, we have somehow got to the point where what was once considered alternative, is now wholly mainstream; which makes it not only eye-rollingly predictable but also expensive.

In searching for my own wedding venue I’ve been digging deep to work out what my actual own thoughts on a wedding are, and I realise that it’s so hard to have any original ideas when the streams of images available to us as the click of a button quickly fill our brains until it’s impossible to remember what you thought you wanted in the first place. When everything is visible, available, reposted, pinned and repinned, we reach a point where alternative has become the new traditional, and what was once traditional and boring now seems elegant and fresh again.

I predict a renassaince of conventional tradition in wedding ceremonies over the next few years; a night down the pub for the stag or hen, simple churches or registry offices, a white dress, a couple of bridesmaids/groomsmen and soppy speeches. I love the rituals and public declarations, but do we really need all the other stuff? I think one answer could be to step away from Pinterest, Instagram and your iPhone and try and work out what you would dream up if you only had your imagination to search with. Writer and journalist Pandora Sykes revealed recently that she decorated her entire flat without a Pinterest board in sight, which seems revolutionary, but is exactly what we need to start doing in order to reclaim a sense of genuine individuality (and her flat looks incredible, btw). 

Personally I’m thinking of going full 70s and checking out Finsbury Park town hall, some rice confetti and a pub garden party, but that’s if I ever get round to it. Using instinct, imagination and research outside of your laptop can reveal inspiration where you least expect it, and is by far the best way to avoid subconsciously organising a Pinterest-themed wedding. 

To get in touch with photographer Emma Hare, visit www.emmahare.com.

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