Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Bee's Life: Cupcake Edition

Mrs. Cupcake's blogging story:

I used to think blogging was really, really weird. I thought blogs were just journals of random thoughts and innermost feelings that people would broadcast across the interwebs. I didn't get it, and I never bothered to really look into it any further. I had no idea that there were blogs out there that were actually focused on specific topics.

When my best friend was planning her 2006 wedding, I designed her invitations and a bunch of other paper products for her wedding; we spent lots of time trying to find inspiration online, but never really knew where to look. There were only so many times we could scour The Knot and our overpriced wedding magazines. We managed to pull off some great details, but it was a lot harder to find unique ideas than we thought it should be!

Fast-forward to 2007, when Mr. Cupcake and I were engaged and my brother and sister-in-law were also in the process of planning their own wedding that was to take place that summer. My mom and I were visiting them in Brooklyn one weekend in the spring, when Kim and I were talking weddings. It was then that Kim spoke the five words that changed my life: "Have you heard of Weddingbee?" That may sound over-dramatic, that it "changed my life," but it is absolutely 100% true!

I remember grabbing Kim's laptop, typing in the URL, and immediately getting sucked in. While everyone was napping that afternoon, I poured over as many archives as I could. At the time, Mrs. Bell Pepper was planning her elegant Philadelphia wedding, and seeing all of her amazing details made it all just "click" for me. My eyes were suddenly open to all of the amazing possibilities that were out there for brides-to-be who just wouldn't settle for the norm, and I finally found the inspiring, creative, and non-snarky brides that I could relate to.

I came to know and adore Bell Pepper, Snow Pea, Kiwi, Onion, Lovebug, Pumpkin, Hibiscus, and ALL of the bees who were writing about their weddings at that time. I loved the diversity in each post, and I got pieces of inspiration from each bee in a different way. Each day, I refreshed Weddingbee religiously, waiting for the next post to show up. Eventually, Weddingbee lead me to other wedding blogs like Perfect Bound (where I found the idea for our cut glass votives) and Style Me Pretty, and suddenly, blogs were "it" for me. I don't think I ever visited The Knot again.

I admit that I initially started writing my own wedding blog for the sole purpose of using it to apply to Weddingbee. I was unhappy with my job at that time, and starting my blog was something that really excited me and got me inspired. I had always loved to write — if I hadn't been an art major in college, I definitely would have been an English major — but I had never written anything like this. It was weird at first, just writing to no one (yet, anyone) about my ideas and our relationship, but eventually I stopped feeling so hesitant and found my voice; after a short while, my brain was overflowing with ideas for posts — posts that I wanted to read, but they were nowhere to be found out there, so I wrote them myself. At the time, I didn't know anything about HTML and I had one of the basic Blogger templates gracing my blog, and only Mr. Cupcake and my best friend knew about it. I'm pretty sure no one else ever read it.

I applied to Weddingbee about a year before our wedding date, knowing that only bees with 8 months until their wedding could blog on the site, but I was too anxious to wait! I figured if I got turned down, it would give me time to improve and reapply again. I had just started my current job when I got an email from Mrs. Bee on October 14, 2007, telling me that I had been accepted! I was elated, but I couldn't jump up and down because it was only my second week on the job and I didn't want to freak any of my new co-workers out :-) I covered my mouth and quietly squealed to myself, sent an email to Mr. Cupcake and my best friend saying "I am gonna be a bee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and called my mom and Kim on my way home from work to tell them my exciting news.

Mrs. Bee sent me the list of characters that were currently available for me to choose from, but I couldn't decide... none of them really seemed to "fit" me. On a whim, I emailed Mrs. Bee and asked if there were any chance that she'd be adding a cupcake character on the site, and she said that they were, in fact, going to make the next batch of bees dessert-themed. I had never been called "Cupcake" before, but for some reason, that name just spoke to me! She reserved the name for me, and it was settled — I was Miss Cupcake. I wasn't supposed to be introduced on the site until January 2008, but Mrs. Bee emailed me again in early December to see if I'd want to start early since things were a little slow on the blog before the holidays. Of course, I jumped right in, so I was blogging on Weddingbee for over nine months before our wedding. I can't believe I had that much to say! But indeed, I did. To date, I have over 180 posts on Weddingbee. And I swear, I really do have a life outside of blogging ;-)

It is pretty safe to say that blogs — in particular, Weddingbee — shaped our wedding. Reading other bees' stories prepared me for just about everything; seeing how everyone personalized their own day helped me to formulate my own style; and blogging about our details and getting feedback from all of the amazing readers helped me solidify so many decisions. There is no community more wonderful, helpful, and kind than Weddingbee. There just isn't.

Since starting to blog on the 'bee, I have met an amazing 24 bees in person (that number will jump to 29 this Friday, when I attend D'orsay's wedding with several other bees!). I have met some wonderful readers whom I have come to know through their own blogs, on Twitter, and on the boards, and I am consistently inspired by and learning from all of these amazing women (and a few boybees, too!).

I realized that even after our wedding, I still had a lot I wanted to say that wasn't related to weddings, so I started a personal blog. After a while of not really telling anyone about my interest in blogging, I now share my blogger status more freely. I have really found my voice, and I've learned a lot about myself through blogging. I'm a little sarcastic, pretty goofy, and frequently neurotic; I'm a little (okay — a lot) obsessed with pop culture and good design and I am trying to be a real "grown-up" even though I don't always want to be. I've come to embrace those qualities and quirks with the help of readers who have been so receptive to the things I've had to say. So, thanks :-)

In terms of advice for bee hopefuls — I'm certainly no authority on what makes a great bee, but I think it's really about being yourself, and having a point-of-view that may be refreshing to a lot of readers. I love a good sense of humor and a bride who doesn't take herself too seriously. Not all of the bees are DIY queens, or seamstresses, or event planners. They're just brides, just like you, with strengths and weaknesses, just like you. If you're just starting to blog, tell the story of you and your fiancĂ© so your readers can really get to know you — they want to know more than just what your invitations look like and what your color scheme is. Write focused posts on different topics (in other words, posts with to-do lists or those that cover several topics at once can be a little overwhelming to read... break the details down into individual posts), and get your readers involved. One of the greatest things about Weddingbee is the great dialogue that occurs as a result of each post — be sure to ask questions, ask for opinions, and ask readers to share their own stories.

I love this place (obviously... I'm still here 20 months after my first post and 11 months after my wedding!), and I am so grateful to be a part of this community. Thanks for caring about what little ol' me has had to say all this time!



Nicole-Lynn said...

Though I may not comment a lot, I still read your blog and Weddingbee of course and love all of your DIY projects!

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.