Our new Russian Wedding Planner in London, Marina Ionina

Наш новый русский свадебный организатор в Лондоне.

I am so pleased to announce that Marina Ionina has become an Event Manager and Russian Wedding Planner in London at Stylish Events.

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We first met Marina when she attended Dominique’s “The Life of a Wedding Planner” course in September 2013, after which she assisted us as a consultant on several weddings, including Anna and Luke’s wedding at the Connaught Hotel, Anna and Michael Wedding at Stoke Park and Leila and Johnnie’s wedding in Cambridge.

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Leila and Johnnie’s Wedding in Cambridge, Image courtesy of Kate Nielen Photography

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Image courtesy of Stoke Park 

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Anna and Michael’s Wedding at Stoke Park, Image taken by Marina Ionina, Stylish Events

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Anna and Luke’s Wedding at The Connaught Hotel, Mayfair, Images courtesy of Adrian Neal, The Studio Without Walls 

Marina’s role at Stylish Events will be to further develop our Russian Division, working with Russian nationals who live in Russia and wish to get married in the UK, and Russian couples who live in London and want to work with a Russian wedding planner. She will of course be working with our lovely UK couples too.

Originally from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Marina owned and ran a successful business in the catering industry. She completed her BA Honours degree in Public Relations and Event Management from the Siberian Aerospace University in Russia.

Marina is a recent Bride herself, having married Adam in May 2014.

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Marina is a Certified Sandals WeddingMoon® Specialist, having qualified in July 2014.

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We love Marina’s attention to detail and she has created some amazing special touches for our weddings already, like this Table Plan for Anna and Michael, all hand-made and designed by Marina.

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 Images taken by Marina Ionina, Stylish Events

We are so excited that she has agreed to be part of our team.

Please find our lovely Marina on twitter @MIStylishEvents and like our Stylish Events Russian Division Facebook page!

If you would like to make an inquiry or would like to get in touch, you can reach Marina on  mistylishevents@aol.com

 

 

Thinking about getting married in the Caribbean? We highly recommend Sandals resorts

Hello everyone and welcome to my very first blog post for Stylish Events! For those of you that don’t know, my name is Marina and I am Event Manager and Russian Wedding Planner at Stylish Events.

As I’ve just returned from a luxury all-included Sandals dedicated WeddingMoon® educational trip to Jamaica, I thought this would be an ideal subject for my first blog! The trip was packed and impeccably organised by the lovely Kerrie-Anne Ford, who is the UK Weddings Supervisor for Unique Vacations UK Ltd (Global Representatives  for Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Resorts), and Marsha-Ann Brown, who is the Director of Romance at Sandals Resorts International for Sandals & Beaches WeddingMoons®.

WeddingMoons®s is the division of weddings and honeymoons at Sandals Resorts across the Caribbean including, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, Antigua, Barbados and many more amazing locations.
Sandals WeddingMoons Logo

Below is part one of my Jamaica travels which talks about my experience at Sandals Whitehouse in Westmoreland, part two will follow very soon and will cover the other hotels we visited.

This was my first trip to Jamaica and I am already dreaming of being back there again. I was very lucky to have won the sunny study trip at the annual UKAWP Mix and Mingle last year. The UKAWP (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners) is an organisation which promotes professionalism in wedding planning and we are very proud to be members.

Each year one of the members organises the UKAWP Mix and Mingle event which is a social event for wedding planners and suppliers which gives us all a chance to talk through trends and tips and have a good catch up over a glass of wine.

I somehow managed to win first prize in the raffle, make new contacts and secure an internship at Stylish Events! I’m still regretting not going to the Casino that day!!

So here we are ready to take off, I travelled with Bernadette Chapman of Dream Occasions, also director of UKAWP, Jessica Barrie of Diamond Rose Events, Kerrie-Anne Ford from Unique Vacations UK Ltd, Dilara, Germany’s representative for Sandals & Beaches Resorts, Wedding planner Rhian, and two Lovely UK Tour Operators Maria and Sam.

Sandals WeddingMoons trip to Jamaica

So the main focus of this trip was to see ideal venues for stunning weddings in Jamaica and learn more about destination tropical ceremonies.

Our first stop was the beautiful Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa which is surrounded by impressive gardens with luscious greenery. Within the complex there are three European inspired villages – Italian, French and Dutch. All of which have ocean front rooms and suites offering the most amazing views overlooking the two mile long beach, and the top tier suites come with a personal Sandals’ Butler Service!

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Sandals Whitehouse Europeanean Village & Spa rooms

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a personal Sandals’ Butler Service

Pictures courtesy of Sandals 

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There are seven restaurants in this lovely hotel serving mouth-watering gourmet cuisine from around the world.

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Sandals food

Pictures courtesy of Sandals 

There is lots of entertainment available to suit everyone, ranging from a sophisticated piano bar to bonfire beach parties at night and volleyball, tennis, pool and many others during the day.

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Pictures courtesy of Sandals 

I was enjoying my view at the Beach front Grande Luxe Club Level Suite every morning and saw a few weddings from my balcony.

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Jamaican weddings are relaxed and simple but at the same time very beautiful and romantic. For those of you considering a destination wedding, here are three great reasons to help you make up your mind:

1. You can save money

2. Avoid the unpredictable weather in UK

3. The opportunity to combine the hen and stag ‘do’, ceremony and honeymoon

What I really liked about Sandals is that they offer a new tool on their website which allows you to design your own custom wedding “Your Wedding. Your Style”. This allows you to have a wedding created by you and sealed with your personal touch, which is what planning your special day is all about!

“Your Wedding. Your Style” takes you through the entire design and styling of your day from table styling and floral centrepieces, your bridal bouquet, cake design and flavours and your wedding breakfast.

Sandals Wedding table styling

Table styling

Weddingmoons kindly showed us a few of their table set ups to give us a feel of the table styling and centrepieces available. This is one of my favourite parts of being a wedding planner, it’s an opportunity to get creative and show your personality. The combination of the flowers you choose for your centrepieces is what truly makes them uniquely yours. Once your centrepiece is in place, it is time to have some fun. You can add elegant pillar candles, hurricane lamps, vases and seashells or sea glass crystals.

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Your Bridal Bouquet

From the flowers to the finishing touches, everything about your bridal bouquet should reflect your personality and sense of style and compliment the mood of your wedding. WeddingMoons work with you to create your perfect Bridal Bouquet, each arrangement can be wrapped in raffia or double-satin ribbon, or adorned with bows or seashells and they can also supply any type of flowers. However, I would advise taking the hot weather into account when selecting your floral!

Sandals wedding bouquet

Pictures courtesy of Sandals 

I personally fell in love with this stunning shell bouquet called Seaside Orchid Elegance.

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Pictures courtesy of Sandals

Wedding Cake

The wedding cake tends to be one of the main focuses of a wedding and our brides are spending more and more time designing and creating their perfect cake to fit the theme of their day. For many of our couples, the flavour is as important as the design and I have to say, this is definitely another ‘perk of the job’ as we get to taste a lot of cake!

Marsha-Ann, the Director of WeddingMoons® very kindly talked us through design and cake flavours and we all got to taste the cake flavours available; Red velvet, chocolate, vanilla and Jamaican fruit cake. The wedding cakes very elegant and a two tier White fondant cake topped with magenta Dendrobium orchids is included within the Free Beautiful Beginnings WeddingMoons® package.

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Pictures courtesy of Sandals

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Wedding Breakfast

The dining experience at the Whitehouse truly impressed me, the setting, the service, the entertainment and of course the amazing food that we ate! For your wedding breakfast there are so many different cuisines that you can choose from; Tuscany, France, the Far East, the Caribbean or something more eclectic.

On our second night we were served a delicious dinner which we ate on the beach. The setting was amazing and the attention to detail was second to none. The staff were so accommodating, getting to know all of our dietary requirements and ensuring we were very well taken care of. I would like to say a huge thank you to the all of the lovely team at the Whitehouse for looking after us!

Diner at Whitehouse Jamaica chicken chocolate desert

But we didn’t just eat at our wedding seminar, so I’ve got some important information for you:

Marriage requirements:

Couples can be married 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica providing application 60 days in prior. Sandals & Beaches advise to arrive 48 hours before the ceremony (so that you can have your on resort wedding consultation).

The cost of a license is four thousand Jamaican dollars (approximately £37-£40).  Sandals & Beaches charge a fee for government and minister fees which includes the license fee. In Jamaica this fee is $95 US dollars (about £57 pounds).

Unlike many countries, Jamaica does not expect you take a blood test before getting married. However, the following documentation is required:

  • Proof of citizenship – certified copy of birth certificate, which includes father’s name.
  • Parent’s written consent if under 18 years of age.
  • Proof of divorce if applicable (original certificate of divorce with court stamp).
  • Certified copy of death certificate for widow or widower.
  • Name Change Deed Poll if applicable

That’s all for part one, thank you so much for reading. I would like to say a very special thank you to some lovely people before I go…

As a group, we experienced great care and attention from all the  Sandals Whitehouse hotel’s staff I will definitely recommend this lovely place to all my friends and brides.

I would like to say thank you Sandals and WeddingMoons.

If you would like to know more about their wedding packages, please visit the Sandals website.

Great respect and massive thank you to Marsha-Ann Brown, Director of Romance for SandalsResorts, BeachesResorts and WeddingMoons, for her energetic and informative seminar.

Thank you Andre Wade, Director of Industry Relations at Unique Vacations Inc. , and Jeffrey Burke, Sales Manager of The Sandals Whitehouse, for entertaining and taking such great care of us.

And of course, I would like to send my love to Kerrie-Anne Ford, UK Weddings Supervisor and Certified Sandals WeddingMoon Specialist, for making this trip happen and being such an amazing host!

Thanks to UKAWP for giving  us this wonderful opportunity once again. Of course it’s one of the main benefits of being a member.

It was a very special experience. I am so pleased to now be a Certified Sandals WeddingMoon® Specialist!

Sandals WeddingMoon Specialist - Marina Ionina Stylish Events

 

Stunning Wedding Venues in Puglia, Southern Italy Part 1

Some of you may not know this but Dominique is actually half Italian! Her mother, although never living in Italy, is very proud of her Italian roots.  In fact, Dominique’s Great Aunty Mary, at 93, still lives and works in Rome and she visits her at least once a year.

So, in 2008 Dominique was so excited to be asked to organise her first wedding in Italy. It was for the daughter of Dominique’s first boss in London, Peter Crystal. She began working for him way back in 1991 and over the last 23 years she has organised many of his private, family events, including; a Venetian Ball; his daughter Carla’s Bat Mitzvah, and in December 2013 his daughter Anna’s wedding at the Connaught Hotel, Mayfair.

The wedding in Italy was for Emma, Peter’s eldest daughter, and Manuel. They designed an elegant wedding in beautiful Tuscany in an historic castle, Castello di Modanella. 120 guests joined them for a 4 day event and enjoyed the wonderful food and wine of the region.  Dominique worked on the wedding with the fabulous Italian wedding planner, Giulia Bono.

Emma and Manuel

So naturally when we were given the opportunity to travel to Puglia, Southern Italy for a study trip with fellow UKAWP members, we jumped at the chance!

We love being a member of the The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP). In case you don’t know, UKAWP is an organisation which promotes professionalism in wedding planning. They organise training workshops, annual events and study trips. In this case, the lovely Isabel from Isabel Smith Wedding Design together with the help of the fabulous Bertrando Di Renzo (our Italian tour organiser) arranged this fabulous trip, with a packed itinerary from start to finish. The aim of our visit was to see amazing venues in the region and to see (and taste) first hand what this area of Italy as to offer – and we were not disappointed!

In Part 1 we take a closer look at 3 of the lovely venues we visited whilst in Puglia. Part 2 will be published in a few weeks, so watch this space!

The Borgo Egnazia 

Our first stop was the breathtaking Borgo Egnazia. This modern yet, at the same time,  traditional resort is the perfect backdrop for an elegant wedding. The wonderful Marcella who heads up the events team certainly looked after us and we were treated to a delicious dinner, a complimentary, luxurious nights stay in one of the Borgo’s magnificant rooms, and of course a guided tour of this magnificent venue and it’s almost endless selection of glorious wedding locations.

Now we don’t like to name drop, but…… this is where Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married in 2012.

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Images courtesy of Hello Magazine 

We cannot wait to return to Borgo Egnazia and show some of our couples how perfect a wedding can be here.

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Images courtesy of Borgo Egnazia 

Tenuta Monacelle 

The beginning of day two began with a coach journey up a very steep and, at times, precarious hill. It was worth it though as we arrived at Tenuta Monacelle.  Located on the outskirts of Delva di Fasano, we reached a set of cone-roofed “Trullo” houses and tufa-stone “Masseria” villas, surrounded by gardens, orchards and spectacular hill top views.

This venue is a more traditional Puglian country venue, but as our host, Antonio Ladisa pointed out there are many options for a stunning wedding here, including having your food served from market stalls along the avenue of Trullos.  We particularly loved the pool area, which would make a great party venue.

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Images courtesy of Tenuta Monacelle 

Castello Monaci

Our next stop was the beautiful Castello Monaci, which is a truly enchanting venue with so much to offer. The ivy covered towers, palm trees, luscious greenery, bright flowers and stone staircase in the courtyard makes for one of the most stunning outdoor wedding ceremony venues we have ever seen.

Our host, Luigi Ancora,  gave us a fantastic tour of this lovely venue, guiding us through the history of the of the castle and the spectacular outdoor space that Castello Monaci has to offer.

This venue is set within 3000 olive trees and 200 hectares of vineyards and has its own winery, which we were lucky to get a tour of and even luckier to sample some of their fine wines over a lovely lunch.

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Images courtesy of Castello Monaci 

This venue is set within 3000 olive trees and 200 hectares of vineyards and has its own winery, which we were lucky to get a tour of and even luckier to sample some of their fine wines over a lovely lunch.

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Copyright - MARACA FotoGrafia

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We would like to say a special thank you to Isabel Smith from Isabel Smith Wedding Design and Bertrando for organising such a fun and packed trip. This is one of the many reasons why we love being a member of the UKAWP as it brings us so many fantastic opportunities!

Top Tips to Finding the Perfect Wedding Planner by guest blogger, Lianne Crosby of Adore Weddings

We were so pleased to be contacted by Lianne from Adore Weddings, the beautiful wedding inspiration website. It is an honour to have her as a guest blogger this week. Here Lianne discusses a topic close to her heart.

Imagine hiring a wedding planner that didn’t understand the types of detailing you want to achieve on your big day; that can make planning your wedding awkward and stressful for everyone involved, not to mention the worry of not having everything you ever dreamed for your wedding.

Wedding planners are like a dream come true, if you can find the right one. It’s important to find a wedding professional who understands your needs and vision. Here we give a little guide to finding the right wedding planner for you.

Recommending the Best

Your friends will never recommend a bad foundation, and much the same they will never recommend a bad wedding planner.

Word of mouth is how most wedding planners grow their client base and if you have been to a wedding that you particularly enjoyed then there is no harm in approaching the wedding planner and getting in touch.

I found my planner by attending a friend’s wedding that was two years before my own, the wedding theme and overall day was close to what I wanted and therefore I asked my friend to put me in touch with her wedding planner and we went from there.

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If you are an engaged couple who just don’t have the time to plan a wedding but want to tie the knot sooner rather than later then hiring someone who plans events for a living is a major benefit to any bride and groom. Not only will it save you time finding suppliers because they will be readily available and on board with your wedding planner, but you can share your thoughts on flower arrangements, dresses, decor and all the other important details with your planner without the panic of organising it all alone.

An experienced wedding planner will know all the right questions to ask and when, a bride can sometimes be overwhelmed with having to communicate with suppliers, venue and other professionals used for the big day that they can forget what needs to be asked and dates will become a mission impossible.

Things to Look Out For Before Hiring a Wedding Planner?

Most wedding planners have a blog that they run themselves so why don’t you give the blog a visit.

If the blog looks popular, it has loads of great posts with comments and shares then the wedding planner is likely to be very popular and great at their job.

You can also check their social media profiles, their Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. If they yet again have a good following on these profiles then they are likely to be a great and favoured planner.

If you however do not have a wedding blog to check out seeing as you may not have a wedding planner in mind, then another great way to find a wedding planner is by visiting websites such as the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners who list reputable wedding planners on their blog and site.

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Make sure you are the client and not the other way around

A quality of a great wedding planner is one who works with your schedule.

A great wedding planner will ensure your meetings and tasting opportunities coincide with other appointments, ensuring not to take up too much of your valuable time.

This is such a helpful trait of any planner as you will find you will not have to take time off work or sabotage any other regular activities to meet with your planner which makes it a less stressful experience.

Do they help you with your honeymoon too?

Going extra and beyond is an excellent quality with anyone, especially a wedding planner.

If you want to plan a dream honeymoon in Tahiti but you don’t know an awful lot about the area, then there are great sites to give you information about honeymoon packages such as this site. However, if you ask nicely any awesome wedding planner will dig deeper and may help plan some great activities for you.

If you are looking for a stress free wedding planning experience then you should consider hiring a wedding planner, you will not regret it.

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Written by: Lianne Crosby, Adore Weddings

Becca Cole – My Story So Far

As you may have already seen on various social media posts, the lovely Angelique Franklin (aka our star blogger) has moved on to pursue her obsession and passion through launching her company ‘I Love Nails’. We miss her so much already, but luckily for us she still pops into the Stylish office for a cup of tea and a gossip! I’m afraid this means that you’re stuck with me. I thought for my first blog, I would share with you my experiences and how I came to be a part of Stylish Events.

I first met Dominique when I attended her very first ‘Life of a Wedding Planner’ course in March 2012 which I heard about through a friend who was studying Event Management at Greenwich University. Having completed my degree in Event Management at UWIC University in Cardiff in 2011, I was keen to learn more about the world of wedding planning, so booked onto the course immediately. It was so inspiring to learn in such depth all about the planning process, seeing real event proposals, plans, budgets, schedules and learning about Dominique’s experiences. But I think one of my favourite parts was flicking through amazing albums of real past events and weddings. At the time, I had no idea where that would lead me, but I couldn’t be happier that I attended Dominique’s course.

In June 2012, I was so delighted when Dominique asked me to assist her at one of her events. This Bat Mitzvah celebration hosted at The Reform Club was a dream 13th birthday party with a chocolate fountain, an ice cream stand, casino tables, a photo booth,  a four tier blue and gold cake and last but certainly not least…a very special performance by Diversity! It really was a fantastic event and I was so honoured and proud to have been a part of it and knew that Dominique was a true professional and a planner who could teach me so much more.

Carla's Batmitzvah

Photography: Colin Antill, Fotoseeker, venue: The Reform Club, London, Entertainment: Diversity, Flowers: Vive La Rose, Cake: Alexandra Clay, Sound, Lighting and Casino: JSO Productions, DJ and Host: 9 Events, Chocolate Fountain and Ice Cream Stand: Fruits and Fountains.  

I instantly applied for an internship following the Bat Mitzvah and couldn’t have been happier when Dominique offered me a four month internship at Stylish Events starting in November 2012. This was not my first experience as an intern but was by far the best and so much more than I could have ever imagined. Dominique took the time to pass on her knowledge and really involved me in extensive research and meetings, venue hunting, looking at budgets and creating mood boards. In my short four months at Stylish Events I had learnt so much about wedding planning and was so lucky to be involved in a real event which was a two day wedding in Buckinghamshire at Hedsor House.

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Photography: Ann-Kathrin Koch, Venue: Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire, Flowers: Chantal Flores Design 

In March 2013 my internship was due to end and this was when I was offered a position within the company alongside Dominique and Angelique as the Event Manager. I felt as if all of my dreams had come true and couldn’t wait to continue with the weddings I had been working on as an intern. It turned out that 2013 was an incredibly busy year for the team at Stylish Events and we are so proud of the weddings we have been involved in. We love helping our clients design their dream day and it’s such an amazing feeling to see it all come together.

Anna and Luke's Wedding Photos1

So that brings me to the present and the future and I am so proud to say that as of January 2014, I am now a Partner at Stylish Events.

I have been asked which is my favourite wedding of 2013, which is an incredibly hard question to answer. Every single wedding we were involved in last year has been entirely different. If I really had to choose one that stands out to me, it’s our autumnal themed wedding at the amazing Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire for Clare and Patrick. What I loved the most about this wedding was the colours, the décor was so warm and inviting and it complemented this quirky and slightly crazy venue perfectly. Clare had the most exquisite taste and her attention to detail was second to none. Clare and Patrick made it clear from the very first meeting that their priority was their guests. They wanted their close friends and family to have the best experience possible and spent hours planning and putting together a personally selected wine list, a lavish five course meal, their favourite cocktails and of course, they all had the most fantastic time. Weddings are all about the personal touches and this really came across on the day.

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Photography: Simon Carr, Venue: Aynhoe Park, Oxfordshire, Flowers: Pinstripes and Peonies, Cake: Princess Patisserie, Caterers: Absolute Taste, Fine Wines: Giles Smith Walker, Independent Vintner,  Dance Floor, Stage and Lighting: Mission Events, Band: The White Keys, Jazz trio: 101 Jazz Trio, DJ: Stylish Entertainment, Celebrant: Mark Townsend

It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind since my first meeting with Dominique almost two years ago, and I am very much looking forward to another year with more weddings, more events and more fun!

Planning Perfection!

Hi Guys,  I thought I would talk to you today about something close to my heart – no not Shoes! lol  - Wedding Planning, but more specifically the UKAWP - no I haven’t gone all “urban” on you and dropped some new-fandangled text speak; the UKAWP is the ‘UK Alliance of Wedding Planners’ it’s the Industry body for the wedding Market. Their job is to encourage, promote and ensure professionalism within the wedding planning industry  through seminars, events and  training courses for any aspiring and experienced event planners! They’re also a source of knowledge and guidance to all brides-to-be helping them to find a Wedding Planner they can trust; as any Event Planner the UKAWP recommend or promote is always and only a member of their organisation - like myself and Dominique are! and I have to say I couldn’t agree more with this ethos, I think it’s great that Planners are be able to add to their skill ‘tool belts’ through all the professional educations seminar and events they organise and also that the UKAWP is a a trusted source for Brides to be able to confidently search for a planner for their big day. Which is no small thing by the way! finding someone who you can trust to manage and organise your special day is not a easy decisions to make and on top of that, brides should be able to know that when they hire a Wedding Planner they’re going to receive the best service possible, from someone who is honest, professional and actually cares about the job in hand – their WEDDING DAY! lol

But what I really love about UKAWP  is that its managed by two ladies who are wedding planners themselves and are actively running their own events companies: Bernadatte Chapman of ‘Dream Occassions’ and Sandy Moretta from ‘Tern Events’. Being an Event Planner myself – albeit a new one – it’s nice to know that the organisation is under the supervision of ladies who have over 10 years experience and are really passionate about this industry! The Lovely Bernadette (the original founder of the UKAWP) took the time to let me know the reasons behind starting  the UKAWP, the importance of having an organisation such as theirs, their upcoming events and also the future for the UKAWP:

The Story:

“Back in 2003-2004 I was receiving phone calls from brides saying their wedding planner had disappeared with their money, at the same time I would get emails from people wanting to become a wedding planner and asking how I started Dream Occasions. It led me to think there was a need for a) professional training and guidance on how to launch a wedding planning business and b) somewhere to help brides choose experienced and reputable planners for their wedding. I spent time thinking about what made a good planner and how we could introduce a code of ethics to its members. The UKAWP has seen such growth since its inception and is now recognised as the leading organisation for wedding planning training and membership”

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September 2012 – Mix and Mingle – *Photo’s taken from UKAWP website*

The importance of UKAWP:

“It helps the bride choose a wedding planner that is experienced, that is insured, doesn’t take commission and can show references for past events they have organised. And for the planner? They can show brides they are serious about their career by continuing their learning at UKAWP events. Planners get a sense of community from the UKAWP, many freelance for each other enabling them to experience weddings different from their own client base. They also benefit from a much larger marketing budget then they would have, the UKAWP advertise on many of the major wedding blog and publications and are also striving for new ways to market our members to brides.”

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October 2012 – UKAWP Study Tour to New York City – *Photo’s taken from UKAWP Website*

UKAWP Events:

April – We have a marquee workshop in London where we will explain the logistics of organising a marquee reception including the different types of structures available & how important lighting is.

May – A northern marquee workshop, probably in Leeds plus our last training course for the Spring will be Step by Step in Manchester. This is also the month for our annual members meeting whereby we discuss the past years activity and brainstorm new marketing plans for the forthcoming year, we actively ask members for input so we are spending money in the right areas.

June – a meet the planner afternoon is planned where those interested in the career of wedding planning can meet some new and experienced members + a director to really hear about what it is like as an active wedding planner. No glamour, just straight talking facts . Details of this will be announced very soon

September – our annual mix and mingle social evenings will take place in various locations across the UK

November - we are proud to be one of the speakers and exhibitors at the UK Wedding Conference http://theukweddingconference.co.uk

Also the training courses will start again from September and in November”

The Future:

“There are so many exciting plans for the UKAWP many of which we can’t share with you yet! We are working on a new bridal focus with bespoke branding, this will be ready to soft launch by May. We have plans for a new membership category which we have to keep quiet for now until we are ready to announce the details! We will also be holding more workshops come the Autumn, the next planned topics will be PR from a journalists perspective and floral emergencies and we will be growing the sister company to the UKAWP namely wedding venue excellence http://www.weddingvenueexcellence.co.uk

Well I hope you enjoyed todays post? especially all you brides-to-be out there? I think it’s really important to know there’s a organisations out there; such as the UKAWP that is truly waving the flag for industry professionalism and planning perfection! Make sure you head back over my way real soon, as I will be bringing you our ‘Supplier of the Week’ John Natlacen of  Churchmouses Cheeses and his lovely Cheese Cakes – thats  a savoury cakes made of ACTUAL cheese people! until then….

Stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon.

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By Invitation Only!

Hello, a good afternoon to you all! and how are you? Have you (like me) been taken aback by the not-so-positive press coverage of our former  late prime minster Margaret Thatcher more commonly known as ‘The Iron Lady” I’m mean seriously…. WOOOWWW I’m in shock, the last time I saw  this level of celebration and jubilation over someones death, was in that scene in the ‘Wizard Of Oz’ when the house lands on the wicked witch! – in fact the video footage shown on the news looked uncannily similar! Just replace the Munchkins of Oz with the over-joyed residents of Brixton and Glasgow and their impromptu beer and (very oddly) milk drinking street party and you got a modern day ‘Wizard of Oz!’  crazy! I think the only thing I have left to say on the matter is R.I.P Miss Thatcher!

OK, swiftly moving onto less morbid and more bridal matters, I thought today I would talk to you about invites! choosing what design, colour or  type of paper/card you want to have for your wedding day, is actually quite important! Whenever we’re discussing invites with clients, Dominique often quotes a former bride’s father “You can tell  the quality of a wedding, by the quality of the invite!” and do you know, I think that’s right! now it doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and spend half of your budget on the invites, just so you can impress your friends or relatives; It’s possible to have affordable invitations that are quality and have that personal touch to you and your partner.

Now for me (being a lady of creativity) I love to see quirky or original invitations, that really show the Bride and Grooms personality and style, I mean when you think about it, the invites sets the tone for your wedding and gives your guests a sneak peak into what you have planned for your big day, which is always exciting! Aside from event day decor or glamourous bridal gowns, I love seeing beautifully designed invites, here are some really lovely designs that our previous clients have used:

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My Fav is the vintage Art Deco inspired invitation for ‘The State of Grace” Launch Party (bottom left). Now this leads me very nicely onto this weeks ‘Supplier of The Week’ a company by the name of ’3 Egg Design’ which owned and run by the lovely Kim! ‘3 Egg Design’ is a Boutique Brand based all the way in Sweden, specialising in printable wedding invitations and paper goods for the DIY bride!  Kim offers a range of designs to suit all brides and grooms, whether you’re looking for a vintage, modern or a fun theme for your big day! Also her designs are all available as printables so everyone can enjoy it! Kim gave me a few words about herself, the company and where she draws her inspirations from for her designs:

My Story:

“I have always been a creative person since I was a little girl. I went to design school, completed my diploma and bachelor degree in graphic design in Melbourne, Australia and have been working in the design industry for over 10 years now. I believe, knowing your design elements and principles first is very important before you can jump in and start ‘designing’. Over time, my style developed and I began to create my own brand which is soft and feminine, maybe that is because I am a girl…haha.. and perfect for the wedding industry.”

My Companies Philosophy:

“I have always gone with my gut feeling and try my best to have fun with my creations. Weddings today, isn’t what they use to be. I think many brides today want something fun, romantic but with with a touch of formal and tradition, which I try to offer my customers. I offer DIY printables only because I believe every bride should have access to beautiful invitations that delights them and yet still affordable. She also gets to have fun in the process by choosing her paper stock etc and make the invitation uniquely to her”

My Creativity:

“My inspiration comes from everything and everywhere, from my travels to personal experiences. Nature is my main core of inspiration. Especially since I am now based in Sweden, a country that is covered by more then 50% forest. Not to mention, vintage detailing and my love for typography”

Well as you can see the word ‘beautiful’ feels like a slight under-statement when describing Kim’s design skills or her lovely lovely invitations! have a peek and let me know which deisgn you like the most – my fav is the ‘retro comic strip’ inspired invites!

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For more information about Kim and her FAB invites head over to the ’3 Egg Design’ shop.

Well I hope you enjoyed this weeks ‘Supplier Of The Week’ post? Stay tuned as we have some real goodies in store for you, including a look into the proffessional body for the wedding market the UKAWP (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners) and a Cheese Cake Supplier (I’m talking a cake literally made of cheeses by the way) ‘Churchmouse Cheeses’, but until then…

Stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon.

xx

I had a dream….

So how was your first week back from that lovely four day weekend? …. it’s always a bit grim right? coming down off that long weekend high and having to adjust back to the norm. It’s the same feeling you get when you land back in London after your holiday of fun in the sun, that whole “wow..it’s over… and I live here in London… where seeing the sun is as rare as catching a on time train” lol

But hey, let’s look at the positives, it was a short working week and it’s now the weekend again! hoorrahh for that! and keeping on with the whole “looking on the bright side of things” I thought I would talk to you about something positive and even hopefully inspiring! Now if you’ve checked out my blog before, you will have (I hope) taken at least a peek at the “About me” page and did a quick scan of my life story and what I’m all about; but in case you haven’t (and shame on you for not – I suggest you head over right now! lol) you will know that being an Event Planner is still a relatively new career path for me, prior to 2011 I was working as a receptionist in a regular 9-5 job, I wasn’t even working in the field that I have a degree in; in case you want to know that is Journalism. I did a brief stint at a few magazines, but clearly I had a rose tinted idea of what working as  Journalist would be like; turns out it’s not something I’m that suited to or even really enjoyed! Cant’ tell you what a major bummer that was, to realise the degree I had worked 3 oh so long years to get, would be a field I didn’t end up working in – but it’s a tale very familiar to many Uni leavers. So anyway, fast forward to 2011 and I started to evaluate what it is I really wanted to do with myself career wise and after much umming and arriing and research and deep “who am I?” “What’s my purpose in life?” type convo’s with friends, I decided that I could see myself as a Wedding Planner

Great!…..but how do you become a wedding planner?! lol I was at a complete loss, so one day I randomly decided to check out a wedding fair, just to go for the hell of it! lol I didn’t go with any real idea of what I was hoping to achieve by doing this, but I went never the less, accompanied by some trustee friends and through it I met Dominique Douglas of Stylish Events – where I am now a Partner and Senior Event Manager! From a 5-10 min conversation with her that day at the wedding fair, I managed to secure myself an internship at Stylish Events.! As a result I resigned from my full time job of 5 years and decided to jump in with both feet into this career and really give it all my energy and focus.  I have to say taking control of my life and making that decision do an internship, was the best decision I’ve made in very long time! I can’t tell you how much I learnt during my internships (I also worked with The Lansdowne Club, Mayfair and with Penny Cullen of Tigerlily Weddings) I was gaining real life experience and skills in a job that really challenged me and had me waking up each morning actually excited to go to work – which I dont know about you, but was something very new to me! lol

But where I learnt and gained the most was during my time with Dominique, she allowed me to be so hands on with her events that year, I wasn’t there to make tea and coffee and re-orgnize her filing lol, No! I actually contributing to the planning and organising of a international wedding in Jamaica and a large Bat Mitzvah – this was my first ever event, I was seriously lucky, We had Diversity performing! I was definitely not complaining lol (see below for photo’s of this event). There was no sitting on the sidelines, Dominique really forces you to get stuck into the work and gives you assignments that as an Event Planner you will have to deal with; so I was sourcing suppliers, designing moodboards which I would present to clients at meetings and even being responsible for managing a project within the event, it was great! My time with Dominique really gave me the confidence and push I needed to be able to take myself and my future that much more seriously.bat mitzvahBut as well as taking on interns (we offer 6 internships a year - so take note all you aspiring Event Planners out there) Dominique also  runs a “Life of a Wedding Planner”  course. It’s a one day course, which teaches you the REALITIES of this job and what to expect. Dominique as an Event Planner of 10 years, talks to you about all the things you don’t really think of, from how to attract new clients, invoicing and preparing contracts, to finding the perfect venue and more! something I found BEYOND eye opening when I attended, was the ‘How to get a job within the Event industry’ segment which covered CV and Cover Letter Writing. I found this really informative and helpful, Dominique really breaks down to you, what it is that potential employers (like herself) look for when receiving cover letters and CV’s from hopeful and aspiring event planners; it’s funny, because the advice she gave was so simple, yet effective. Isn’t it strange how the majority of us rarely take the time to think of how our CV’s look and must read from the employer side of things? but when you think about it, our CV is our one chance of grabbing a potential employers attention and make them want to call you in for that interview! Now I could sit here all day gushing about how great Dominique is and how fab the course is – which to be fair is very biased of me some might point out! lol – so how about I show you some great feedback we recently received from Gemma who attended the course; Gemma contributes her getting a job, down to Dominique’s advice, as they say the proof is in the pudding!

“Dear Dominique, 

Following your course last November, I commenced a year long course with the wedding planner school, but I remembered your advice that getting some experience in the industry was crucial. So I applied for a part time role as a wedding manager a month ago.  I honestly didn’t think I stood a chance, but I followed your instructions about a good CV and covering letter, if I’m honest I actually used the exact template I wrote in your class, and I was amazed because I got an interview! I have just found out that I have been offered the position, which I am so excited about, so I just wanted to email to say thanks, because of  the course and  your advice it gave me the confidence and skills to get this job.

Regards Gemma”

Well like I said the proof is in the pudding and with feedback like that you can’t put a price on what attending a quality and well thought out course can do for you! Dominique feels really passionate about passing on her experience and knowledge to the next generation of Event Planners, which you can tell throughout her course. She especially values  how a well laid out and written CV can do wonders for you and can really give an insight into what type person and employee you would be. Many of the girls who have attended the course, have enjoyed themselves so much, they have wanted to stay on as an intern – in fact the past ( and present) 3 interns  (Becca, Sophie and Lindsay) all attended the course and each impressed Dominique with their determination and commitment so much, that she offered them an internship! Here is some lovely feedback from previous interns on their time working at Stylish Events:

“Unlike the majority of Dominique’s interns, I had previous experience in the events industry. Working for Dominique was a unique experience, one that cannot compare to any other job, volunteering or internship. I was working for Dominique almost for 5 months and I have been involved in weddings and events which was very satisfying as I could try many different things. Dominique isn’t a regular employer, the trust, freedom and responsibilities that you receive are very motivating. I strongly recommend it to anyone who would like to become wedding planner or work in events industry to do work experience with Dominique” - Lenka Podolanova

“Working with Dominique for three months over the summer 2011 was an eye opening experience. Not only does it look amazing on my CV but working alongside an events planner who has been in the business for nine years really is the best way to see and feel if this profession is for you.Dominique lets you have a go at everything that you would be doing as a real life event planner” - Danielle Simpson

“Dominique’s internship allowed me to pursue my passion for wedding planning and events. As a recent graduate I found it very difficult to secure any placements within bigger events companies as they are a very competitive industry; however it wasn’t until I attended “The Life of a Wedding Planner” that I found what I was looking for. What I loved most about the internship was that Dominique was not afraid to push you in at the deep end; she places full trust in her students and allows them to learn right from the start. With this I have now managed to apply everything I have learnt in my new role as Events Coordinator at a recruitment agency” – Jessica Harris

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From Right to Left: Interns: Lenka, Becca, (Me and Dominique) Jessica, Laure & Seyda

For more information on course dates, prices and internships head over to our website  quick quick!

So what can I say, attending this course and or doing internship with Stylish Events is something to seriously consider, look at me! I had a dream, which has now become a reality!

I hope you enjoyed todays aspirational post, tune in next week, for our ‘Supplier of the Week’ featuring ’3 Egg Design’ and her lovely invites but until them peeps….

stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon.

xx

And the Bride wore…

Hello  Hello, Happy (belated) Easter to you! and how was your long weekend? Did you choose to spend it with family and friends, whilst stuffing yourself face with masses of chocolate and your mums sunday roast? or did you take the ‘Y.O.L.O.’(You Only Live Once)principle literally and spend this four day weekend partying hard (like some people I know-who shall remain nameless… #youknowwhoyourare!) Well I spent my weekend, doing the first option, eating copious amounts of all things tasty (and bad for me) and catching up on the latest movies at the cinema – two things I love the most; food and films, so it was a great time for me!

Talking of great times, it time to introuduce our ‘Supplier of the Week’! A few weeks ago we received an invite to attend the bridal fashion showcase, for Designer Charlotte Garrett’s latest couture collectionCharlotte Garratt is a couture design studio in London, specialising in bespoke gowns designed for each individual bride. All gowns are designed and made in their London studio by Charlotte herself!

The showcase was held at the understatedly glamourous location of 30 Pavillion Road in Knightsbridge (a Searcy’s owned venue) well you know me, I never like to miss a chance to mingle with some industry lovelies, whilst drooling over a few beautiful gowns; So I of course RSVP’d ASAP! lol. Now I haven’t been to that many industry events and the few I have been to, have always been very enjoyable, but I must say that this by far has to be my favourite; the venue was stunning (if a bit conspicuous, me and one our interns Lindsay got slightly lost trying to find the place.. though maybe on hindsight this could be because we were relying on my iphone’s GPS – which we all know is ever so reliable… ahem) the supplier’s featured at the showcase were fab; we had a great time stuffing our faces with the sweet treats; ranging from sea salt and caramel popcorn to delicately decorated cookie pops (biscuits on a lollipop ;-) ) and of course the real highlight of the night was Charlotte’s GORGEOUS Gowns!. After a quick mingle and a drink of a champagne cocktail or two, me and Lindsay settled down in our front row seats and eagerly waited for the catwalk show to commence.

And what can I say about Charlotte’s collection? it was gown after gown of silks, lace, beautiful backless detailing, there was even some feathers (which I’m now learning I’m a bit partial to! lol) I loved them all, but I fell headlong in deep love with the ‘Elizabeth’ (see below for photos) – I just loved this design, very typical of  the sleek, elegantly gowns I tend to favour and the feather detailing, just added that small touch of glamour to it! Once the show ended, I made a speedy beeline for the Charlotte; I firstly wanted to thank her for the invite and of course to gush like the fashion fiend I am, about how much I loved her new collection. Charlotte was so warm and personable and she very nicely agreed to let me do a feature on her and her beautiful gowns! So on that note, enough from me and let me leave you to hear all about Charlotte’s design career, what inspire’s her creations and what makes this designer so special:

My Inspiration:

“I find inspiration for my gowns from many places but primarily from historical garments and architecture. I love visiting the V&A to view their marvellous collection of historical gowns and clothing, and am fascinated by the wide range of intricate architecture to be found in every London street. Having started my design career with corsetry they still play a key part in many of my designs, again this comes from a historical element, from Elizabethan to Edwardian corsets themselves have a long evolution and fashion all their own.”

 Our Unique Selling Point:

“Charlotte Garratt is a design studio, we are not a boutique. We do not stock racks and racks of dresses, but cater to each individual brides needs and wants in a creative, design-lead environment. I offer a personal one to one shopping experience for each of my brides to visit fabric stockists together and plan their gown as part of a fun, tangible experience. Shoes and accessories can also be made to match our dress designs, offering a complete, head to toe bespoke service.”

 My Favourite piece:

“One of my favourite designs is actually one of my first bridal gowns. I wanted to create something beautiful and romantic, but also unique. With lace sleeves and a heart cut-out back feature, it has been very popular and still receives comments when brides look through my portfolio! I have found that sleeves are becoming more and more popular, lots of brides are self conscious when it comes to their arms, so this style is very suitable for current fashions”

I figured it’s enough with the talking and time to show you Charlottes new collection and the photo’s of the Bridal Showcase evening- enjoy! and let me know which one is your favourite!:

Charlotte Garrett moodboard

(Dresses from Top Right clockwise: ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Camille’, ‘Harriet’, ‘Grace’ ‘Natalia’ & ‘Katerina’ – Photoshoot credit: Dresses and Jewelery by Charlotte Garrett, Photography by Cecelina Photography, Venue: Ashdown Park Hotel, Brooch Bouquet & Stationary by The Finer Details, Hair & Make Up by Brides and Beauty)

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credits: Venue: Searcy 30 Pavillion Road, Stationary & Brooch Bouquet by The finer Details, Make Up Artist and Hair by Brides and Beauty, Shoes supplied by Marshall Hall, Flowers and Styling by Essential Flowers, Music by Melissa Music, Cake Table and Cupcakes by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, Macarons by Chateau Macaron, Popcorn by Soda Popcorn, D.I.Y SOS Kit by Bride and Glory

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credits: Venue: Searcy 30 Pavillion Road, Stationary & Brooch Bouquet by The finer Details, Make Up Artist and Hair by Brides and Beauty, Shoes supplied by Marshall Hall, Flowers and Styling by Essential Flowers, Music by Melissa Music, Cake Table and Cupcakes by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, Macarons by Chateau Macaron, Popcorn by Soda Popcorn, D.I.Y SOS Kit by Bride and Glory

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credits: Venue: Searcy 30 Pavillion Road, Stationary & Brooch Bouquet by The finer Details, Make Up Artist and Hair by Brides and Beauty, Shoes supplied by Marshall Hall, Flowers and Styling by Essential Flowers, Music by Melissa Music, Cake Table and Cupcakes by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, Macarons by Chateau Macaron, Popcorn by Soda Popcorn, D.I.Y SOS Kit by Bride and Glory

To find out more about Charlotte and her wonderful gowns, you can find her on:

Web: http://www.charlottegarratt.co.uk/

Twitter: @C_Bridal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteBridal

As you can see from the photo’s it really was great night and I definitely wasn’t complaining about the goodie bag’s given out to guests at the end of the evening;I must say  big thank you to Charlotte, as they were filled to the brim with all sorts of FAB  give aways! amongst all the many treats,  included a very stylish Debretts Diary; very nice, two thumbs from me!

I hope you enjoyed todays post as much as I did that evening, I look forward seeing the lovely Charlotte and her Beautiful gowns at the next Bridal Showcase ;-) Tune in again this Friday for the 2nd post of the week – its all about my team at ‘Stylish Events‘ and how our ‘Life Of A Wedding Planner’ course has helped fellow aspiring Event Planners on their career paths! but until then my lovelies….

Stay Blessed and we’ll speak again soon!

xx

SAVE THAT DATE!

OMG…..O.M.GGGGGG I did? I’m sure I did? it felt like it……no I’m sure it was……I saw it people… SUNSHINEEEEE! and not the sunshine in my mind – oh nooooo – actual sunshine….come on guys you remember what that is?! it’s the lovely rays that come from that ball of fire in the sky – THE SUN?!! lol Well, on my stroll to Tesco’s this morning I was blinded by it- albeit all of 2 minutes – but blinded by it none the less! it was like a scene out of one of those horror movies I swear! I was innocently walking along like the unsuspecting, living in the dark hermit we’ve all become, when it happened… this strange warmth washed over me, so lovely as it was, I attempted to seek out where this beautiful strange heat was coming from! Then I looked up to the sky and there it was, this bright, ball of light! and like all creatures of the dark I instantly shrank away from it, eyes all scrunched up, hand covering my face, while I screeched “my eeyyeee’s, they’re burnninng!!” lol then I remembered to stop acting like a freak and face the sun and enjoy all 120 seconds of it…..before the clouds mockingly swallowed it back up and took it away from me – but it was real, I SWEAR….. (at least I think so…)

OK  I’ve just realised, that I have written a whole paragraph about my moment (very temporary moment) in the sun! lol – but do you remember when spring used to be spring? and we even used to have actual summers? *sighs* talking of remembering, this leads me very nicely onto todays ‘Supplier of the Week’! on my usual internet digs, where I look to bring you something fab for the week, I happened on upon the lovely Jessica Harrington and her ‘Wedding Save The Date’ Magnets. That’s right Magnets, not cards! and by now you’ll know that I love anything that puts a quirky or original spin on the norm and Jessica’s Magnets do just that. I mean how many of you when receiving a ‘Save The Date’ card actually keep them once the big day has come and gone? I know I personally don’t, but I definitely would if I was sent a beautifully designed magnet! I think this is a really cool and original idea, something that can be kept as keepsake or memento of a loved ones wedding.

Jessica gave me a her thoughts and ideas about her creations and company and how she managed to come up with the FAB idea for the Magnets in the first place:

“I got married myself August 2012 and made the magnets with packaging originally for my own wedding guests. The ‘Rose Floral’ design was inspired from the design of my wedding dress. I had my save the date magnets with packaging published on a wedding blog, just to showcase what I had created for my own wedding. From that I started having enquires from other brides asking if I could make them for their weddings too!  A year later I now have an increasing customer base in the UK and more and more customers from the US and Australia. It feels like a great achievement when you know your products are being talked about not only in the UK but in countries so far away.”

“There are 3 products available which can be adapted to any of the 10 designs currently available: 1. Rose Floral 2. Sunflower Floral, 3. Birdcage, 4. Autumn, 5. Pretty Bow, 6. Seashell Beach, 7. Aviation Birdcage, 8. Retro Bunting, 9. 1950′s Vinyl Record, 10. Tea Party. There are two magnet sizes 58mm and 77mm, but also if your looking for something a little different the 58mm magnets can also be bought with handmade packaging. The packaging is a piece of coloured card with a beautiful delicate lace paper, which a matching label attached to the top. A clear plastic pouch displays the magnet beautifully within the packaging.”

I wanted to know what Jessica’s favourite magnet design was, that she has created for a client?

“I am open to creating a completely new design to match any wedding theme, so don’t have to stick to the existing 10 designs currently available. I love when a bride comes to me asking for something new as I can get my ‘creative mind’ flowing! I love the ’1950′s; vinyl record design which I first created for a customer last year. Since then I have had lots of orders and interest in them.”

**READER OFFER COMING UP**

In the spirit of Easter giving, Jessica is kindly offering my readers £5 off an order, if you order 50 or more 58mm magnets with or without packaging. Quoting STYLISH EVENTS – offer expires 7th April 2013

I don’t know about you, but I simply ADORE these magnets, they are just too cool! I really like the idea of surprising guests with these one-of-a-kind keepsake Magnets – I mean just look at them!

save the date magnets

For more information about Jessica and her ‘Save The Date’ Magnets you can find her on:

Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WeddingSavetheDates

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/handmadesavethedates

Email: handmade.savethedate@gmail.com

Twitter: @WedSavetheDate

Well I hope you enjoyed todays ‘Supplier Of The Week’ post, have a great Easter weekend and try not to over indulge on the chocolate, I know all you Chocolate fiends out there like to use this holiday to justify your manic choccie eating binges! Saying that the “Easter Bunny” gave you all those eggs to eat, just wont wash! You know who are! lol

Keep an eye out for the next post, featuring Bridal Gown Designer Charlotte Garrett. It’s going to be jam packed with so much Glamour and Sparkle, that the post will have to come with a reader warning, advising you to keep your sunglasses at the ready or be blinded by the fabolousness of it all! lol

Stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon.

xx