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.

Blog - My Story

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”

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7th February 2013 – Matching Wine and Food for Weddings – *Photo’s taken from UKAWP website*

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.

xx