As feminist founders one of the reasons we started Patchwork was because we were shocked that wedding gift lists are so outdated. As women the idea of celebrating our weddings with new pots and pans is just offensive. After all it’s 2020 not 1950. Patchwork is all about inspiring and empowering couples to think beyond the kitchen sink and dream big by providing a way for friends and family to collectively contribute towards the one thing they really want as a wedding gift – an adventure honeymoon, a patch of woodland, joint tattoos, a new life in a yurt in Spain… whatever. The good news is there are loads of amazing women-founded businesses using creativity to challenge and change the wedding industry for the better. So today we’re celebrating 10 women who are not only fabulous wedding suppliers but also feminist heroes. Read on….
Sam Ham Design’s wedding ring collection – as well as her other pieces of delicious jewellery – are feminist masterpieces. She describes her designs as “Demanding recognition forged on strength of character rather than on expectations of gender” which gets a room full of applause from us, frankly! Her wedding and engagement collection comprises seven individual rings, any of which can fit together seamlessly to represent the two equal halves of a wedding coming together.
Though we adore weddings, we don’t like the patriarchy and all the outdated traditions it brings with it. That’s why we love Katie The Celebrant’s approach to celebrancy, where there’s no template – just a couple in love and a story to be told. Not only does this free you up for a granny flowergirl, a dog ring bearer and mid-ceremony karaoke if you so wish, but it also means that there’s no vows of servitude and no precedent of being given away. As Katie is a Humanist Celebrant, a portion of her fees go back to Humanists UK, a charity who were instrumental in a lot of incredible campaigning such as equal marriage and abortion laws; and if that hasn’t convinced you that she’s a feminist wedding supplier of dreams, she also does speech writing workshops for brides, because she wants to encourage more women to use their voice. An icon.
Rowan is, in her own words, ‘a certified snowflake feminist’, which is just how we like our wedding suppliers. As well as specialising in colourful, fun-loving, informal wedding photography, she also provides loads of support for feminist couples who are looking for ways to navigate the wedding planning process in an empowering way. She promises never to feed into the Princess complex – meaning she’ll never automatically assume that you want to be treated as Princess on your wedding day, but if you do want to be then that’s a-ok too – and never to dismiss Bridezillas, because weddings can be stressful and your emotions are valid.
Pip and Tara set up The Feconomy to support and champion female-founded food businesses. In a time where we’re all being encouraged to be more thoughtful with our purchases and where they’re coming from, supporting female-founded businesses is a really important move to make. Their food spreads are vistas of retro deliciousness, with 1970s-inspired styling and recipes, created by them and exclusively made from ingredients from companies founded by womxn. Imagine how much greater cocktail hour is when you knew that each and every canape is supporting a woman in business?
We met the lovely Joyce via Nu Bride: The Wedding Show last year and love her approach to bridal make-up – enhancing natural beauty, rather than trying to cover it up or change anything. It’s a firm Patchwork belief that you should feel like yourself on your wedding day – a more jazzy, dressed-up version maybe, but still authentically you. She also runs workshops for the cancer charity Look Good Feel Better, because she’s a total legend.
Sure, you could fall in love with Alice for countless reasons – her exceptional vintage wardrobe, impeccable hair, and excellent taste in London coffee shops are a few – but the main things we love her for are her incredible handlettering and banner making. When we say her banners make excellent statement pieces for your wedding decor, we mean statements quite literally: as each banner is custom-made, they can display whatever message you like. Messages around values, morality and belonging are particularly loved, as the inspiration for the banners came from involvement in a Women’s March in America a few years ago. They also tick eco-credentials boxes too, as they’re made from vintage fabrics, and can be reused as home decor when the day is over. Yes please!
What’s better than gorgeous flowers? May seem like a rhetorical question, but in actual fact there is something better: gorgeous flowers that also empower disadvantaged women. Strength and Stem is a social enterprise created to empower women who’ve been victims of human trafficking by teaching them skills within the floristry industry. By working with them on your wedding arrangements, you’re not only getting gorgeous florals, but also supporting women – double win!
Heart Aflutter are winning the bridal game in every conceivable way. Firstly, they carry a curated selection of only independent designers, meaning your dress would never be mass-made (and therefore mass-thrown away once the season ends!); secondly, said independent designers are paving the way with exciting, non-traditional designs; thirdly, they carry sizes between 8 and 22, making it a super inclusive shopping experience (as they all should be).
We love the growing trend for statement cakes – as in cakes that actually make a statement. Favourites include pretty much most of all the messages iced on to cakes made by US based The Sweet Feminist and right now we are also loving this boob cake by the London based and always-excellent Alice and Rosa. Why not use your wedding cake and some sweet, sweet icing skills to make a statement?
Gettin’ Hitched Rocks create modern wedding stationery sets that match their swanky wedding websites (yes, you read correctly: we live in the future). Mell and her team also have loads of fab resources for couples who want to ‘stay whelmed’ during their wedding planning journey – aka staying sane and enjoying it, whilst not caving to traditions that mean nothing to you. They also have excellent gender-neutral stationery, such as their fab “Will you be my mate of honour?” cards.
There are of course so many amazing women working in the wedding industry, we’d love to hear from you who else we should know about!