Annabel Beeforth is the founder of one of the UK's most trusted wedding platforms, Love My Dress.Love My Dress empower those planning weddings to make wise and authentic choices and they take the greatest of pleasure connecting couples with talented, visionary businesses who provide exceptional products, services, and experiences.Annabel lives by the seaside in Whitby, North Yorkshire, with her husband Philip and two daughters, Eska Eleanor and Leanora Rose. Aside from her job, her passion is photography, and she loves supporting women to succeed and find joy in business and life. Want to find out more about how she got into blogging and the future of Love My Dress? Read more below!
How did you get into blogging?
I became engaged on Christmas Eve 2007. Prior to that, weddings hadn’t figured in my world at all. I spent 15 months planning my wedding and in that time, I joined an online forum (the concept of social media simply didn’t exist then - though Twitter was becoming a thing). It became custom for the forum members to share their ‘wedding story’ once they had become married and when it came to my turn to do so, I found myself sharing every day - almost in the format of chapters of a book. I just found this newfound love of writing and realised in the process that I had also fallen in love with the world of weddings. This was 2009 and back then, Style Me Pretty was becoming an established ‘wedding blog’ in the US, but nothing like it existed in the UK. I started to tinker with pulling together my own small site so that I could share details of some of the amazing suppliers and businesses I had found when planning my wedding. Our wedding was in March 2009 and by November, I was sharing my very first blog articles. Two events occurred not soon after this that really helped put me on the map in terms of having more industry wide and consumer visibility. Within a month or so, the owner of a hugely popular Tumblr account in the US, had linked to one of the weddings I had shared and my site traffic went through the roof. Then, a collective of luxury British labels invited me to attend an event they were hosting at The Savoy Hotel in London - they were hosting their own intimate wedding event and wanted me to cover it form a PR/marketing angle. It was my first real foray out and about as a ‘blogger’ and I absolutely adored it. I met some incredible people, all of whom I still know and support today. These two events catapulted Love My Dress onto a new level. But back then too, certainly here in the UK, it was an incredibly exciting time for anyone looking to establish an independent voice online. The popularity of the internet was hugely on the rise and Facebook was just around the corner. Consumers were looking for something new and exciting that offered a different experience to traditional print magazines, and blogs were it! In May 2011, I quit my full time job to become a full time blogger and I’ve never looked back.
What drew you towards the wedding industry?
Ultimately, it is the creative community, which inspires me endlessly. I am constantly in awe of the talent that resides within the wedding industry. The global pandemic of 2020/21 also turned out to be an incredible opportunity to spotlight this talent. Prior to this, I think it’s fair to say that outsiders would look in on the wedding world and think it was all quite fluffy and overpriced. During the pandemic, I partnered with two other industry colleagues to campaign heavily on behalf of the UK wedding industry, through www.whataboutweddings.co.uk. It was a hugely successful public campaign thanks to the incredible support of the entire industry (you can read more about it here https://whataboutweddings.co.uk/about/) that I fully believe helped changed the perception of the wedding industry. For the first time, I think ever, we were being taken seriously, and viewed as serious and successful business people. I also think it helped highlight the wealth of talent within the industry and how important celebration and togetherness and creativity is in our lives. Weddings epitomise all these things - the pandemic highlighted that.
Do you remember your first blog post on the Love My Dress Page?
I do, and it was absolutely nothing to do with weddings, lol! It’s since been removed, but it was more an exercise in me writing for public consumption - about my hometown, actually! We’ve published thousands of articles since thought I still feel the occasional sense of impostor syndrome when I’m writing - that’s despite having had a book published in 2013!
What is the perfect way to start and end your day?
Every day in our house is started with a cup of tea, either my husband or I will go and fetch the tea and bring it to bed. We’re obsessed with loose tea (my favourite is Himalayan Rose from the Hebden Tea Company - deliciously dreamy!) and we bring it up on a silver tray - this reminds me of staying in beautiful hotels and having tea served from silverware. It’s the little things! I always also try to meditate within half an hour of waking. Sometimes I meditate for around 15 minutes, sometimes I’m short of time and it can be 3 minutes! But I always try to commit to this still and quiet time - it makes a HUGE difference to how the rest of my day turns out.
The perfect way to end my day is by getting to bed on time! I’m a relatively late sleep convert. I spent years living the life of a night owl and became exhausted. I’m so much more focused and productive if I get a good night of between 7-8 hours sleep and make this a number one priority these days. So, the ideal way to end the day would be to take a warm bath before getting into bed by 10pm latest. Better still, 9:30pm so I can read some of my book.
What gives you strength?
My family give me strength, but I also consume a lot of books and podcasts that inspire me too. I try to listen to a breadth of material but my favourite genres are spirituality and business advice.
What does “living your best life” mean to you?
It means living a life that feels rewarding on both a personal and professional basis. Having time to be able to read and meditate and walk, whilst also being able to manage your inbox and to do list and workload.
Chocolates or gummy sweets?
Where do you seeing the Love My Dress page going in 5 years?
Right now, we’re finalising a huge rebuild and redesign project which we’re due to launch in the Spring. 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 solid strategy, 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 heart-led approach - a truly unique, slower, more considered resource, in a world of throwaway and disposable digital content.
Someone said to me very recently that Love My Dress is an institution - I kind of love that. I’m 100% here for the long haul with Love My Dress. It’s an intrinsic part of me and always will be.
What makes you happy?
Your top 5 words of inspiration