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The Short Version: Planning a wedding isn’t easy, and designing one that fits two personalities is even more difficult. That’s why Green Wedding Shoes (GWS) was founded to highlight interesting wedding ideas that don’t fit the traditional mold. The website features offbeat ceremony ideas, vendor recommendations, honeymoon advice, and DIY suggestions. Couples can turn to GWS for inspiration at any stage of the wedding planning process.
Wedding planning can be difficult as couples struggle to design a ceremony that doesn’t feel cookie-cutter or inauthentic. They may also need a little help to choose replacements for wedding traditions that don’t feel right.
Many of those couples visit Green Wedding Shoes (GWS), a website that offers guidance and resources for planning one-of-a-kind weddings.
The GWS mission is to help couples create ceremonies that honor the spirit of their relationships. Married couple Jen and Jason Campbell designed the website to let couples know they can break away from traditions to plan their big day.
The Campbells’ expertise and commitment to love have helped them make GWS a success. While preparing for her wedding, Jen recognized the need for a different kind of wedding blog — one that could help people celebrate their individuality.
“We love letting our readers know that there is no ‘right’ way to throw a wedding,” Jen told us.
One couple who visited the site wrote: “Your weddings and fabulous DIY projects have been great eye candy. Every time we felt stuck and needed guidance, we turned to GWS! Every time I would go onto the site, I was instantly filled with excitement for our own wedding!”
The name Green Wedding Shoes reflects that goal of encouraging couples to think outside the box. Brides don’t have to wear all white, and couples can alter or forgo any wedding traditions that don’t fit their relationship style.
That commitment to unusual ceremonies has worked out well, and GWS continues to grow in popularity. The website’s rapid growth has allowed Jen and Jason to quit their day jobs and devote themselves to running it full time.
Initially, GWS highlighted real weddings, with details about clothing, ceremonies, and receptions, along with photographs.
“We want people to come to GWS and get inspired by the love and beauty in the photos and stories we share,” Jen said.
The platform has recently been highlighting backyard weddings, which have become popular in the age of social distancing. One couple combined Indian style with bohemian vibes to design a backyard garden ceremony for 34 guests. The post also shares the COVID-19 precautions the couple took.
The website also has a section of DIY projects couples can work on to tailor the ceremony to their relationship.
The platform evolved to feature more sections that couples can use to plan weddings and honeymoons, including Travel, Fashion + Beauty, and Wellness. The site also features sections on entertaining and home decor.
“Our content includes real wedding stories, planning guides, trend features, travel stories, DIY ideas, shopping roundups, and more,” Jen told us.
With such a variety of resources, GWS attracts couples from many demographics. The site attracts readers from around the world, with a majority of its audience being from the U.S.
Couples who use the platform to plan their weddings are often in the 25-to-40 age range, but engaged couples are not the website’s only readership. GWS followers typically fall into one of three groups: currently engaged and planning their own wedding or one for a child, wedding industry professionals, and fans of love and fashion.
“If we make things easier for couples, help them get inspired for their day, or help a wedding professional book a client, then we have been successful,” Jen said.
GWS builds relationships with wedding vendors that will add to a couple’s celebration. In its Find a Vendor section, users can search by region and the type of service they need.
GWS vets many categories of vendors, including musicians, photographers, florists, and caterers. The website also highlights exceptional vendors, contributing to the success of their businesses.
One photographer noted the response to being featured on GWS:
“I deal with a lot of other wedding blogs and magazines, and Green Wedding Shoes is always far and away my top choice. I appreciate how thoughtful you are with image curation (so many other outlets don’t include my favorites), accurate vendor credits, all the thorough write-ups, and active social media promotion. As a bonus, I regularly get inquiries from people who found my work on GWS posts and that’s really helped with my overall marketing.”
GWS has recently started collaborating with others in the industry to create wedding-focused merchandise for the GWS shop. Jen recommends its line of life and wedding planners, created in collaboration with Erin Condren Design. GWS also has a collection of robes in collaboration with Plum Pretty Sugar, a bridal apparel company, and bridesmaid dresses with Show Me Your Mumu, a bridesmaid and bride-to-be apparel line.
GWS has partnered with companies to design ties, shoes, jewelry, and a line of wedding dresses.
Jen is excited about those collaborations because they simplify wedding planning for couples.
Recently, GWS even launched its Wedding Planner book.
“The planner brings a lot of our tips into a helpful book for engaged couples. We love expanding our reach with products for our audience,” Jen told us.
GWS encourages newly engaged couples to use the platform to plan all aspects of their ceremonies. She suggests scrolling through the Real Weddings sections for inspiration before browsing local vendors that can bring their ideas to life.
Next, couples can decide what they want to make themselves and what they want to purchase through a vendor. Jen wants couples to know that they can keep referring to the website after the wedding, too, for other relationship milestone celebrations.
“Stay after the wedding for inspiring content for your home and travel,” she said.
More than a decade ago, Jen and Jason wanted to demonstrate just how unique weddings could be. GWS has succeeded in sharing wedding styles that appeal to a wide variety of relationship styles.
“Whether you’re dreaming of an intimate wedding on a farm, a weekend camping adventure, or a handmade wedding in a loft, we love them all,” Jen told us.
GWS has also been a source of inspiration and connection for couples who had to alter their wedding plans in 2020 — or postpone their ceremonies entirely. Throughout the year, couples could stay excited by reading new entries on the website, which publishes fresh content every weekday.
Even after adding content and partners, Jen and the GWS team have bigger plans for 2021, including collaborations and new content forms. More than 10 years on, Jen said she stays motivated by the diverse GWS community.
“One thing we all learned this past year is to take nothing for granted. I love getting messages every day from couples, industry members, and fans. It makes it worth it,” she said.