Hi, there. For those of you who have been following along on Ultimate Bridesmaid, you may be wondering what this new blog is and what’s happening to my old one. Well, here’s the answer.
Is Ultimate Bridesmaid going away? Short answer: No. Longer answer: Maybe. The thing is, I started Ultimate Bridesmaid a little over five years ago, at a time in my life when attending weddings, bachelorette parties, and bridal showers was a new experience. I had the idea for the blog after searching for information on bachelorette party games and maid of honor duties and mostly finding outdated sites created around the time the internet was born. I recognized that no one was doing a site just for bridesmaids, and thought I could step into that gap.
I also really needed a creative outlet. A part of me thrilled at the idea of building my own media company through this tool, starting with just writing and taking risks and emailing people and asking questions. And there was a joy in succeeding. At its peak, the blog saw 150,000 visitors a month (now it sees about 80K a month). In the blogging world, that’s moderately successful. Good, but not great. But I was and am incredibly proud of those numbers. 5 million people have come to Ultimate Bridesmaid since I launched it. That’s not nothing!
But one of the traps of blogging is comparison, and when I compared myself to bloggers I followed and admired, I felt my site never really “made it.” Though I had advertising, I never made more that a few hundred dollars a month. Though my traffic was good, it was nowhere near the level of successful influencers. Though my social channels grew, it often felt like they were moving at a snail’s pace, with plenty of setbacks along the way. Though I was accepted into publishing channels like Two Bright Lights and affiliate programs like Share a Sale, I always felt like a mid-tier performer. When I compared myself with the women (they’re mostly women) who started from the same place I did and have now transformed their blogs into million-dollar businesses with product lines, book deals, and sponsorship programs, I felt discouraged. Would I ever be able to reach that level? Was I just not trying hard enough?
In the meantime, I said what I wanted to say about being a bridesmaid. I made my case for personalized bridal showers that spoke to the bride’s personality. I advocated for bachelorette parties that didn’t involve strippers or cheap plastic penis straws. I shared real parties from around the world, as far as South Africa, Australia, and the UK. I created party games and answered questions and wrote how-tos. I enjoyed doing these things. I feel that some of the articles I wrote have truly helped people. I have received emails that have said as much—that someone felt lost or overwhelmed, and an article I wrote helped them. That was worthwhile, and those moments are what I’m most proud of.
But at some point, my voice left the site—or at least it left the articles that were supposed to be the point of the site. The majority of my posts consisted of selecting party images and writing a 250-word introduction, not because I was really excited about what I was posting, but because I felt I had to continue to produce this kind of content to keep the site going.
I realized that the posts I really enjoyed writing were the personal stories: the ones about my travels with Andrew, my favorite books, my Whole30 journey, my wedding. I toyed with the idea of starting a travel blog, but the idea of starting from scratch—launching all those social media platforms from zero, finding new advertisers, working my way up the Google page rank again—was exhausting. I had such a deep investment in Ultimate Bridesmaid, but the brand was so specific that I’d never be able to truly pivot away from its core theme. I could sprinkle in my personal content, but the traffic would always be coming primarily for bachelorette party games and maid of honor speech tips. That’s who I made the website for, and it’s right that those are the people who visit most often. I just didn’t know if I could keep pulling together Etsy roundups when my heart wasn’t in it.
That’s when this freeing thought came to me: What if I started a blog that was solely about me writing what I wanted to write? What if I didn’t add any advertisers or try to monetize it? What if I didn’t even bother to install an SEO plugin, or rename all the images to help search engines crawl them, or create special vertical graphics for each post that would perform well on Pinterest? What if I didn’t even look at the number of visitors, or set up social media platforms? Those were the things that were sucking the fun out of blogging. I didn’t want to optimize my posts for SEO! I didn’t want to resize images to make sure my pages loaded quicker! I just wanted to write. There’s something incredibly freeing about writing a post and then JUST PUSHING PUBLISH! No scheduling, no strategizing, no optimizing—just publish! Done! Boom!
I realized that I wanted to write for myself. For others too, but I wanted to see myself in my posts. If others find my posts helpful, that makes me so happy. A friend recently mentioned that she picked a travel destination because I posted about it, and that thrilled me! If this blog reaches people, that will make me happy. But if it doesn’t, I’ll be just as happy. Because this time, it’s not about traffic or hits or followers. It’s just for me—but I’ll share it with you, too, because I like you and I like talking to you.
I want to write about some of the things I never got to talk about on Ultimate Bridesmaid, the things that excite me now. I want to go back in time and write about my favorite trips with Andrew, like our trip to Iceland in the first year of our relationship. I want to write about living in New York, which I’ve been doing for almost ten years now, and what that means to me. I want to share recipes and the books I love. I want to write about the two weddings I’ll be attending next year, but as a friend, not “a wedding blogger.” I want to write about hard things, like getting laid off this year—or like leaving behind the blog I’ve been working on for five years.
Ultimate Bridesmaid will still be there. It just may be quiet for awhile. I’ve gone through breaks with the site in the past and sometimes it’s what I needed to be re-inspired. Or maybe it’s just time to move on. I’ll always be proud of what I accomplished with Ultimate Bridesmaid. We’ll see if this is a pause or a stop.
I’ve brought over the more personal posts from Ultimate Bridesmaid, mostly revolving around my travels with Andrew. It was actually a relief to see them all together, to feel like this is the stuff that is me. I already feel so much more represented in this space. I feel excited to write here. I feel excited to push publish.