I’ve been following The Modest Bride since I first started lifeofmyheart, and the lovely Saltanat (Founder and Editor of The Modest Bride) was one of the first people to reach out to me about my lettering prints – something I feel so grateful for – and so I am honored to be able to interview her for today’s Spotlight.
It has been wonderful to witness the growth of The Modest Bride and to see the new direction it is taking with their latest editorials (such as this stunning one in Style)!
The Modest Bride is an amazingly beautiful blog filled with inspiration for modest bridal fashion, minimalist and eco-conscious weddings, and gorgeous styling.
Welcome, Saltanat 🙂
– Marryam x
Where are you located?
I am located in Sydney, Australia.
In one sentence, describe your motivation in life:
Motivation in life! In one sentence! That’s just epic.
Can I change this to motivation in your work?
My motivation is to present a professional, undeniably beautiful dimension of modesty that is unapologetically informed by Islamic ideals.
Tell us the story of yourself and your blog, and how you got started with The Modest Bride.
I grew up in pretty little Adelaide (South Australia), and as a girl was typically obsessed with Disney princesses and their beautiful, sparkling, sweeping gowns. As a university student (studying International studies) I loved the idea of designing, or of becoming a florist, but I couldn’t draw, and I was entrenched in the idea of getting a ‘proper’ job. Well, I eventually became a high school English teacher, and somewhere in my third year of teaching, marriage and one baby later, I found the need for a creative outlet and a job that I could do from home.
And so one day after spending way too much time on Pinterest I just started an Instagram account called ‘The Modest Bride’. I felt that there were no sources of inspiration for women who valued modesty and didn’t want to compromise this value on their wedding day. When I myself got married in 2009 (at 21 years old!) there really were no dresses with sleeves. Everything was strapless. The only option for covering was to wear a bolero on top of a strapless gown. Or so I thought. Then Kate Middleton wore a dress with lace sleeves and the bridal world followed suit. Suddenly there was a proliferation of modest options, but they didn’t seem to be reaching the brides who would value them. I saw a unique gap in the market, and the rest is history!
So my blog is a source of inspiration for brides who try to maintain a sense of modesty on their wedding day – but I wanted to extend and expand the definition of modesty beyond simply how one would dress. I wanted to explore the idea that modesty should be a defining consideration in every choice that we make in planning a wedding- from the flowers, to invitations, to the type of wedding we have. The idea was to promote modesty as the opposite of the extravagance that is traditionally associated with weddings and to show that a simple, unique, eco-conscious wedding could be just as beautiful and much more meaningful.
What is one of your favourite parts of running your blog and why?
Having the opportunity to meet with other creatives in the industry has been my favourite part of running the blog. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make connections with such talented, kind people if it hadn’t been for the blog.
What has been the highlight or ‘I can’t believe this!’ moment so far on your blogging journey?
Honestly, when I see that some major designer is following me on Instagram lol. Also, doing the photoshoots for our first Editorials were just incredible. They were a culmination of lots of hard work, stress, self doubt, things not going to plan, 4am runs to the flower market, connecting with such talented people in the industry, and ultimately, seeing my vision come to life. The adrenaline rush when putting it together and the learning curve it places you on is actually quite addictive.
How does your faith affect your approach to The Modest Bride?
My faith dictates everything that I do on the blog. I try my very best to consider, reconsider, critique and rethink the content that I put on the blog and whether it is in line with the precepts of my faith. There are many many times where I fail, or make mistakes, but it’s a process of learning, growth and development. Sometimes, because the standard of modesty and aesthetic I like is simply not out there, many images I post are just inspirational. That’s why the editorials are so important to me- they are my opportunity to show what my vision of a ‘modest bride’ really is. Although the blog is not aimed exclusively at a Muslim audience, it is also unapologetically informed and inspired by an Islamic notion of modesty.
What/where/who inspires you?
I love vintage weddings. I love the nostalgia of the gowns. The beauty in their simplicity and their grandeur and their uniqueness. Many modern designers inspire me such as Valentino (of course!), Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen, The Row… Beyond that, I’m entirely inspired by a sense of romanticism that exists in the world around us- in rolling green hills, golden wheat fields, shadows of ancient trees, awe-inspiring arches of wisteria… I prefer a natural aesthetic as opposed to an overly staged look.
How do you handle the inevitable creative block?
I feel like I’ve hit a creative block right now if I’m honest. With social media, blogs, tumblr and Pinterest, we are absolutely inundated with images. I feel like I’ve actually become numb to what I see when I scroll through my feed. My instagram images are very carefully curated and I only post what I absolutely love, what makes me feel something. Lately I haven’t been emotionally stirred… My way of dealing with this is to step away from it all for a time. Spend some time staring at blank walls to rest my eyes, playing with my daughters, spending time in nature, at a beach, a park, to literally detox myself of the electronic world and get back in touch with the ‘real’ world.
What 2 pieces of advice, based on your own experience, would you give to a fellow entrepreneur or blogger starting out?
Don’t compromise on your core values because every time you do, it chips away at your soul, at your Self.
If you are a blogger, keep your work professional by only using high resolution, beautifully styled images.
Where would you love to see The Modest Bride in 5 years time?
I want The Modest Bride to have a respected status in the fashion bridal world. But I also want it to be an empowering source for women who struggle in their modesty by creating beautiful images of real women in hijab that we just don’t see at the moment.
Creative Direction: The Modest Bride
Dress: Tadashi Shoji
Photography: Lah’za Photography
MUA: Sumaya Manor
Flowers: The Grounds Florals by Silva
Headscarf Styling: Styled by Subhi
Headpiece: Maria Elena Headpieces