Friday, January 22, 2016

A Bee's Life: Narwhal Edition

In my mind, the Bee's Life post is kind of the summation of being a bee. It's truly an honour, that after one year of blogging for this website, I get to add my story into this long time running series. Words really don't sum up how truly special it is to be a part of this community. Being a bee isn't just a season of planning and recapping your wedding, it becomes a part of who you are. I am so very glad that I took a leap of faith and applied to be a part of this wonderful community. 

How did I find Weddingbee? 
I used to blog on the regular way back after I graduated from university, and Ms. Fox was in my blogging circle. We emailed back and forth all of the time, became Facebook friends, and had talks of meeting up (that unfortunately never ended up happening). During all of this time, she started her wedding blog, and since I was a long time lover of weddings, I started following along. Little did I know, this blog was her application to the bee, and I became quite confused when she suddenly started referring to herself as a woodland creature. This is when I learned about Weddingbee, and started following along from time to time on the blogs. 

When MOH L got engaged in 2013, I was still regularly following the blogs, and told her about all of my favourite wedding sites that she needed to look at. Weddingbee being the first on my list. She found a love for the boards (something I hadn't looked at yet), and I fell more and more for this site. Mr. Narwhal and I were pretty serious at this point, and after we started talking about getting engaged, I started visiting Weddingbee more regularly. 

My application story 
As we drew closer to engagement, I used to bring up the Bee often to Mr. Narwhal. About a month before we got engaged, he asked me if I was going to apply once we were planning our wedding, and I said, "Definitely!"

I just always had this feeling I would become a bee, and once we were engaged, I started my application blog. That eight month mark could not come soon enough. About a month before I could apply I had a pretty good archive of posts ready, and I started reaching out to bees for their feedback. 

I really cannot recommend this enough! Getting criticism really helped me see my posts through others eyes, and I learned to appreciate the importance of having a point to every post, and finding the story sooner rather than later. 

Those little bees mean so much! / Photo captured by Isos Photography

I made it a few days into December before I applied (despite the advice of many that eight months of blogging is a very long time!). 

I knew Christmas would delay things, but a few days after Christmas I was sitting in a tattoo shop with my dad while he was getting his first tattoo (a memorial tattoo for my brother that had been a Christmas present from us) when my email went off. It was from Mrs. Mouse! I couldn't exactly do a happy dance in the tattoo shoppe, so I started sending out texts to my close friends with some dancing emojis.

Why Narwhal? 
I talked about this in my first post, but I didn't exactly identify with the whole underwater world and decided to go for the most Canadian of the bunch - the narwhal. Since I was going to be travelling to the land of the narwhal (Nunavut) just after becoming a bee, it seemed like the best option. That and, unicorn of the sea? Sign me up!

A Narwhal in Nunavut / Personal photos

Blogging for Weddingbee/Being a Bee
Blogging for a much wider audience was new territory for me and I used it as an opportunity to push myself to become a better writer. It can be really hard to put yourself out there and be vulnerable at times, but at the end of the day I'm happy with my blogging journey for Weddingbee. Getting criticism can be a tough pill to swallow, but when you're being genuine and your authentic self... it's easier to look the other way. I love that this community presents a wide range of women from many walks of life, and we are all sharing our journey during a special time in our lives. 

On top of the immense amount of fun and the richness it brought to an amazing year of my life, being a bee is just not anything I could have ever imagined. Once a bee, always a bee, and this community of women is something I'm so grateful to be a part of. The plethora of knowledge, inspiration, support and camaraderie is priceless. 

Tips for potential applicants
I have been compiling a list that has been swimming around in my head for awhile, so here are my tips from the other side.

Put a lot of thought into your posts and find your message
Everyone has said to spend more time editing than writing, and while I couldn't agree more there, I want to add another point. It's really important to think about the purpose of your posts, and how it will be received by the wider community.

Once you go live on Weddingbee, you're putting yourself out there for a lot of opinions, criticism and questions. It's so easy to make assumptions between the lines, and when it comes to writing a post you really want to make sure your message is clear, and you're conveying yourself the way you want to be received. Sometimes a post you think is funny and light hearted will be taken seriously and portray you in a much different light than you intended. My advice is to really think about how people may read between the lines, make your message clear and really, at the end of the day stay true to yourself. 

If you don't know about a post, ask for feedback 
Use your community! If you're stuck on a post, and you want to share something different for the blog, reach out to other bees. Have your posts proof read and find out what others think. I am always happy to read a post before it goes live!  

Photos, photos, photos
I'm going to put this out there and say that photos can make or break a post. I would say I spent about 25% of my post time writing, and another 25% looking for photos and the other half editing. Find your story through photographs. There is no shortage of photos in the wedding world, so take advantage of them! Photos help add to your story, beautify your post and help your reader visualize what you're talking about. 

Share the details that make your wedding different 
There are lots of classic posts everyone loves to read along the planning journey, but what makes your story stand out? I was really nervous to share our Stag and Doe story because it was different and I honestly thought it wouldn't be well received. I was so pleasantly surprised to see that it was one of my most popular posts! It can definitely be a little scary putting yourself out there, but people love to read about what makes your story a little different. Everyone can visit Style Me Pretty and other stylized wedding blogs, but I think one of the reasons people visit the bee is to read about real brides. 

Our fun flower adventure! / Personal photo

Enjoy this season
Um, okay totally cliche, but I have to end this list on some sort of note that provides closure. And real talk. How have we been married for five months already? This time of your life flies by. One of the reasons I'm most glad that I became a bee, is that it sort of forced me to write about this time of our lives. I captured the highs, lows and mundane of our planning journey, and then got to relive the day that went by entirely too fast over the past few months as I recapped and shared our day with you all. 

Photo captured by Isos Photography

I really hope that if you're thinking about applying to become a bee, that you do take the leap! It will be worth it :) The hive would love to have you!!

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