As a wedding photographer that has been a part of the ‘industry’ for the past few years, I have seen a lot, I have learned a lot and I have complained A LOT.
There are many reasons why and how The Full Hearts Club came to be, but to me one of the biggest motivators was frustration. Frustration with the wedding industry (like being made to follow imaginary guidelines of what it means to be a ‘successful’ photographer, or what constitutes the ‘perfect wedding’), frustration with other South African wedding blogs (and the general lack of diversity, especially when it comes to same-sex weddings) and frustration with brides and grooms following trends or made up rules instead of their own hearts. That, and frustration with the fact that our country, for the most part, still had their heads quite far up their conservative asses and wasn’t being it’s ‘best self’, and that just wasn’t going to cut it for me anymore.
For the longest time, I desperately felt that we (as a blog and as people) needed to be a part of a bigger conversation. One that didn’t only revolve around weddings and all things easy and beautiful. While there was certainly a need for a platform that celebrated the ‘different’ when it came to weddings (at least to what we as South Africans are used to), we needed a platform where we could start talking about what is okay, and so much more about what is not. We needed to be able to talk more openly about our bodies and what it means to be women, and to celebrate that! We needed to be able to talk more openly about sex, and how it isn’t this huge, sinful (and shameful) thing when you’re unmarried and then suddenly an expectation when you are (I have big feelings on this topic especially!). We needed to be able to talk about how the expectations of the world (and the industries within it) are actually pretty ridiculous sometimes and that it’s okay to do things your own way if that’s what makes you happy. We needed to talk more (and more efficiently) about what is considered normal or acceptable when it comes to love, to consent, to being part of a couple, to being a part of society, to planning a wedding, to being a consumer, to trying to survive in this world we find ourselves in.
For me personally, I needed this to be more than just another ‘wedding and lifestyle blog’. It needed to be a challenge. A challenge for people to dig a little deeper into themselves and not be so terrified of what they might find. A challenge to think, do and feel differently for a change, and to ask more questions starting with ‘why?’. To question if they are doing things just because that’s the way other people are doing things or have always done things (which is most often the case, especially when it comes to wedding planning), or if are they doing things because they want to, because those things are true to who they are and make them as individuals happy.
The Full Hearts Club, in its essence, is meant to be a community. A community with only one rule: Don’t Be A Dick. A place for like-minded (and open-minded) individuals, and couples, to come together to celebrate the beautiful and the different. To be willing to learn about other people’s ideas, cultures, orientations and also how to be better inhabitants of this world, to learn how to plan better (more sustainable) weddings and to have open conversations about life’s great intricacies and intimacies. The Full Hearts Club is a place where we also strive to celebrate female-run businesses. Ladies standing up against the bullshit-trope that ‘a woman’s (only) place is in the home’ and are using their talents to do/create things that make themselves, and others, happy instead. We strive to create and share content that we feel matters. We look forward to changing things up and occasionally ruffling a few feathers that are long overdue for a good ruffle. We look forward to sharing this journey with you. To writing this legacy with you. Thank you for following along!