Interview with a wedding planner (or two) part deux

About this time last year we interviewed each other, it was hard hitting journalism at it’s best! You can check it out here.

Another year has gone by and Revelry Events has done even more amazing weddings, got a new office and gained two new additions, neither of which have yet got to grips with a spreadsheet or Pinterest (babies, I’m talking about babies here not terrible staff). Anyhoo, we thought it was time to ramble on about ourselves again.

So Holly, you’ve been a wedding planner since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, what’s your absolute favourite thing about it?

First of all, rude.

I planned my first official wedding in ‘08. Back when Obama was elected president, the first Iron Man movie was in cinemas and Single Ladies was on every radio station Wow. Ok yeah, this seems prehistoric now, I see your point.

My favourite thing is that even though trends have changed and the way weddings look is always different, the feelings and emotions behind them are the same. I love solving problems. Taking the stress and worry a couple have about how on earth they are going to pull this wedding thing off, and having the answers. I love having the answers. And hearing that literal sigh of relief when a couple realises you’ve got this for them.

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And where, venue or location, would you most like to plan a wedding?

SO excited to be ticking off some of the dream wedding locations off the list this year already - Aynhoe Park, Great Fosters, Painted Hall. But still on my list would be somewhere coastal or mountainous with an epic view - like a cliffside hotel in Cornwall or a castle overlooking the Highlands. All about that scenery.

What about celebs, who is on your wish list to get that call from?

I mean, how nuts would Lady Gaga’s wedding be? That’s the dream. Otherwise, it’s a tie between Ellie Goulding and Gina Rodriguez.

Moving away from weddings, let’s go for a quick fire round. Guilty pleasure song?

Right now it’s the Trolls soundtrack. I recently watched it (134 times) with my 3 year old, and she requests the soundtrack on loop when we drive to nursery. And you know what, maybe it’s a case of Stockholm Syndrome or maybe it’s actually that it’s a really good album, but do I always turn it off after I’ve dropped her off? Do I heck.

Currently binging on Netflix?

I’ve just finished You, which was amazing. I’m after a new suggestion to get me through to when the next GOT season drops, otherwise I’ll just restart Gossip Girl again for background noise. Hit me, people!

Currently reading?

I have a bit of a thing for books with something to do with time travel. It’s pretty niche. Like, my all time favourite book is The Time Traveller’s Wife. So right now I’m reading two - The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer, and How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. I’m after my next one, suggestions please!

And back to the thinkers, you’re Queen for a day, what do you do?

I would probably ask to see all the secret parts of historical buildings. I just love a bit of history and I’m fascinated by the Royals (which is why I love that we get to work in so many historic and iconic buildings in Greenwich) and I would want to peek behind the curtain a bit. So essentially I’d probably just potter around one of my own houses and find some secret passageways.

What would older you tell younger you if you got the chance?

Growing up I used to feel so much older in my head than I was in reality, always wanting to be a proper grown up doing proper grown up stuff - old before my time. And, fittingly for my career, I planned my life out pretty neatly, many years in advance.

I started my own business right out of university and I got married not long after. At 21 I didn’t want to go to clubbing, backpack around the world or live with five roommates, I wanted to be a wife and a mother with a successful business who had different kinds of adventures. And even though there is nothing wrong with wanting that and I do not regret a single life choice, I will be telling my own daughters to slow it down, not to keep striving for the next milestone, not wish themselves older than they are, and to go with the flow and live in the moment.

What is on your bucket list?

Visiting Japan is high up there, and we’re planning to take a big family trip there next Spring! Two young kids on a 12 hour flight? Wish us luck.

Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?

Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Jimmy Fallon, Simon Pegg, Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler. Next question.

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Sounds awesome, who doesn’t love the Krunts (as they call themselves). What quote or motto do you try to live by?

Work hard and be nice to people. Or one I saw recently on Instagram that I will now steal - ‘be a fucking pleasure to work with’.

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Susie -  mate - we both grew humans since our last Q&A! High five! How’s that working mama thing going for you?

It’s working out quite nicely. I am very lucky to have a hubby that also works for himself so we can share the childcare more easily. Of course it’s a bit of a juggle sometimes but for the most part I find I’m more productive at work and more present when I’m with my son. Plus I love our new office which makes working without distraction so easy.

When we met four (OMG, four??) years ago, you were getting ready to move out of PR and try your hand at wedding planning. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since then?

Hmmm, good question. I guess I’ve learnt that my skills are transferable yay! But also a hell of a lot about the wedding industry and what it means to run a business. I think my years in PR and dealing with big brands have given me some good business acumen (as they say in The Apprentice) and I’ve enjoyed being able to put that into practice and learn more along the way.

Also, huge news! You’re heading north of the wall later this year to open up a Revelry Office in Scotland! What are you excited about?

Oh my god I am so excited about this. WINTER IS COMING!!

I cannot wait to make pals with all the amazing suppliers, work in some gorgeous castles, organise Highland elopements and finally try a deep fried mars bar!

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Sick. Which recent celebrity wedding do you wish you could have planned? You know, if they hadn’t lost your number.

Obviously Harry and Megan because I have such a soft spot for them, but Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie’s looked like a Scottish wedding I’d like to get my grubby paws on. Plus Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s wedding looked EPIC!

Aside from old Love Island seasons, what are you watching right now?

I wish Love Island was all year round, I’d be so happy!

We’ve just started the second series of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which is just brilliant and so funny. I thoroughly recommend.

Agreed! People seem to be doing a lot of this #10yearchallenge on social, is 10 years ago you worth a mention here?

24 year old me was working for a PR company in Camden, drinking in the Hawley Arms and blagging my way into as many freebie events via work as I could (claim to fame is seeing Usher’s soundcheck, he is tiny!). Basically I was poor because just out of Uni wages were shocking, but I was happy and usually drunk.

34 year old me drinks tea, listens to Heart FM and searches Pinterest for good looking kitchens.

Which phrase or word do you find yourself saying most?

To my son “Where are you off to now mate?” He’s just started crawling, he is EVERYWHERE!

To my husband “No, you can’t have chorizo on this” . We’re trying to do the planet a solid and eat a more plant based diet.

What do you love most (and will miss most) about living in London?

You and my other pals obviously, but I’ll also just miss London being London. It’s been my home for 12 years and I still get a buzz when I walk over the Thames. It’s such a special city that absolutely has my heart. I will be very sad to say goodbye.

I also went to the Grant Museum of Zoology the other day and saw a jar of moles, an actual jar of moles. It’s little treasures like that which make London what it is.

What would be your dream trip, if money was no object?

The moon! I want to see the Earth from space. I also really want to go to Pig Beach in the Bahamas where you can swim with wild pigs in the sea. Rumour has it that they were dropped off on the island by sailors who planned to come back and eat them for dinner, the sailors never returned and the pigs bred.

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That is honestly one of the most interesting things I’ve heard, ever. Best thing about being a wedding planner?

Organising, organising, organising. I love lists, spreadsheets, bullet points, anything orderly. I also love working with a client through the whole planning process and their face when they first walk into the room and see how amazing it looks.

Favourite trend from our predictions for 2019?

I really like the colour of the year, living coral, I was not keen on 2018’s colour ultra violet. I also like the move to more natural materials, in fact I’ve got a wedding in Oct using stoneware crockery so they’re very on trend. I do miss Llamas though I’d like it if we saw more llamas in 2019, to be honest I’d like it if we saw more llamas every year.

Thanks for reading!

Holly & Susie

8 things to ask your wedding venue

There is no universal way that venues give you information so sometimes you need to ask some specific questions to get to the bottom of what's on offer and what's allowed to help you make an informed decision so you don't come unstuck during the planning process.

Revelry Events, image courtesy of We Heart Pictures

Revelry Events, image courtesy of We Heart Pictures

1. What is included in the price of the venue?

All venues are different, some quote on a dry hire basis meaning you just get the space, others throw furniture in as well. Some venues create a package including food and drink. Find out exactly what is included? And what you can negotiate on if you don't want it all.

2. Is VAT included?

More often than not a venue will quote for their hire charge and conveniently leave the VAT off. The first you know about it is when the invoice turns up. It's always worth checking so you can factor the whole cost into your budget.

Revelry Events, image courtesy of Xander and Thea

Revelry Events, image courtesy of Xander and Thea

3. Do you have to pay to use a supplier who isn't on their list?

Often venues will have preferred/accredited and recommended supplier lists. Recommended is just that, and you can take it or leave it, but preferred/accredited generally means you have to use someone off that list. If you've got your heart set on a particular caterer or cuisine its worth finding out if you can use them instead and if so will the venue charge you?

4. What are the venue's restrictions e.g. can you have naked flame or do candles have to be battery operated? Can you have red wine and potentially staining food? Can you have confetti etc...

Ask if they have any restrictions that you should be aware of. Chances are none of these will be deal breakers, but if you have got a romantic looking candle filled room in your head it saves a lot of heart ache and stress to know from the outset if that's possible or not.

Revelry Events, image courtesy of Xander and Thea

Revelry Events, image courtesy of Xander and Thea

5. Can you store things overnight or does everything have to be removed that evening?

If you've gone for a dry hire venue and you're bringing in your own furniture, bars, etc... definitely find out when they need to be collected. Some companies charge more to collect at 1am than if they were to come back during normal offices hours. Also try and find out about storing wedding gifts and cards or anything you're bringing in. if everything has to be off site you may need to nominate a friend or family member to take these with them at the end of the night.

6. What's the wet weather option?

If being outside is a selling point for the venue be sure to find out what happens if it rains (we are in the UK after all). Make sure you're happy with the wet weather option because the one thing you can't control is the weather.

Revelry Events, image courtesy of We Heart Pictures

Revelry Events, image courtesy of We Heart Pictures

7. Can you extend the curfew?

Most wedding venues finish at midnight, sometimes earlier, but you can often extend this via the venue with a small payment to the council. So if you want to go on until 1am or possibly later, find out if the venue can accommodate this and what the additional charge is.

8. Are there any changes to the venue planned before your wedding day e.g. maintenance works, changes to general public access etc...? 

Make sure you ask as it won't always be revealed. If there are plans, find out when any works are likely to finish and how soon that is to your wedding day. These things have a habit of running over and if its going to disrupt or be an inconvenience to you there may be some negotiation to be done.

8 unique London wedding venues that make you want to say I do

Engagement season is on upon us again, and with all the newly betrothed couples from Christmas and New Year making a start on their wedding planning we thought we could lend a hand with some amazing wedding venues you might otherwise miss.

1. Victorian Bath House

This quirky venue is hidden in plain sight in the city of London. Descend the stairs and uncover  opulent Victorian decor like you've never seen before. It doesn't have a license to perform ceremonies but has the wow factor for a reception and can hold up to 150 people. http://www.victorianbathhouse.co.uk/

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2. Hackney Round Chapel

The Round Chapel is a total dry hire, perfect if you want to put your own spin on the place. Oozing old school grandeur, this Grade II listed chapel opened in 1871. You'll be blown away by it's unique architecture and unusual shape. http://www.roundchapel.org/

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3. Union Club

Tucked away in Soho lives a private members club full of charm, history, great food and amazing staff. Perfect for smaller weddings of up to 60 guests, you can take over the entire club as if it were your own home. http://www.unionclub.co.uk/

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4. Cutty Sark

Looking to capture a bit of history on your wedding day, then try the last remaining tea clipper as a venue. The iconic Cutty Sark, nestled in Greenwich, is the only place in the world where you can entertain beneath the shining hull of a ship. http://www.rmg.co.uk/cutty-sark

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5. jj Wimborne

Airy bright studios with tons of character situated in the impossibly cool Hackney with a roof top that overlooks London. Sounds like a great place to get hitched to us.  https://jjmedia.com/weddings

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6. Secret River Garden

Imagine a hidden woodland where the river Thames meets Twickenham. So secret they only do four weddings a year. It's not licensed but you can have a blessing between the apple trees and feel like you're in the hidden countryside when you're in fact 20 minutes from Waterloo.  https://www.facebook.com/secretrivergarden/

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7. Ravens Ait Island

Another Thames wedding spot, but this time on your very own island. Situated on the river at Kingston with beautiful views of the Thames and Hampton Court, you'll feel like you're in your own world at this exclusive venue. http://ravensait.co.uk/

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8. The Ned

The recently opened Ned Hotel is in the heart of London.  The historic building, designed by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens almost a century ago, has been carefully restored, retaining many original period features, including walnut panelling and vintage chandeliers, as well as ample arched windows to allow for plenty of natural light. See if you can sneak a peak at the members bar down in the bank vault as well. https://www.thened.com/

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Little Black Book | Doris Loves

It's safe to say that we love Doris Loves! These folks have some of the most fun and unique pieces for you to hire for your wedding, everything from light up letters to a temporary tattoo station. In fact we love them so much they were one of our exhibitors at our very own Unruly Wedding Show, so we thought it was about high time we sat down with them for a chat.

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TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT DORIS LOVES AND WHAT YOU DO?

Doris Loves started in 2012 after the founder Amanda’s own wedding. During her wedding planning Amanda wrote numerous posts on a national wedding blog which led to much exposure and a lot of requests from other brides wishing to hire items from her big day. Doris Loves began. Since then it has grown and grown and I took over a year ago where DL has evolved again.  

Doris Loves has a whole host of goodies to hire! A unique and quirky Temporary Tattoo station with a large range of in house designed temporary tattoos, we even have a boxed DIY version to purchase.  We have a spectacular range of 4 ft high battery powered Light up Letters and Numbers - over 150!   And a few bold neons to carry on with the light theme.  

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WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT TO OTHER WEDDING HIRE COMPANIES?

All of our light up letters are hand made and made of wood plus they are battery operated.  It means that they can go outside too. We are in the process of converting all our lights to rechargeable batteries which will almost double the length that they will last for (50 hours). Venues like them because there are no wires - health and safety! The lights we use are very different, much smaller but there are more of them which makes the letters more defined.

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LIGHT UP LETTERS HAVE BEEN SUCH A HUGE TREND IN WEDDINGS, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM THAT PEOPLE LIKE?

If there is anytime to have your name in lights  it has to be your wedding! They look great in photos, they add another dimension to a room, they can guide your guests to a certain area (like dance floor) and they can also create a great talking point.  The variety that you can have - whether its your initials, your surname, LOVE  or DANCE means that your imagination is your only limit.

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WHAT OTHER EXCITING ITEMS DO YOU HAVE AVAILABLE THAT YOU THINK WILL BE THE NEWEST AND NEXT IN WEDDINGS?

Neons, Neons and more Neons! We got our first set of neon lights early in 2017 and I love them so much I just want them in my living room - Seriously though we have a number of neon lights now - all unique to us.  Our temporary tattoos seem to be more popular than ever and we have a number of new tattoos coming too.  

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WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

The people - brides and grooms, suppliers - its such a friendly industry.  I think this was what surprised me most. Having worked in a completely different industry for 15 years it was such a pleasant surprise! 

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Bridal Party Ideas That Don't Suck!

Does the idea of an 'L' plate sash fill you with dread? Does a night out in a sticky floored club you haven't been in since you were 17 turn your stomach? Do you agree that male strippers are the peak of awkwardness and embarrassment? Then welcome to the FOHP club, that's Fear of Hen Parties to you and me. Looking for a less cringeworthy way to spend your hen weekend, maybe you should casually email this to your maid of honour instead.

Getty Images

Getty Images

1. Glamping

It's a great way to enjoy the countryside without being wet, miserable and unable to light a fire. These days there are so many options from yurts to tipis and tents to tree houses. Best of all you don't have to give up your creature comforts. A wide range of companies offer affordable glamping packages all over the UK, perfect if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle.  

2. Zombie Experience Days

As you can probably tell from our Maggie and Glenn fictional follies, we're big fans of zombies (we reserve the right to change our mind if a zombie apocalypse does happen!). 

If you can't get enough of Rick Grimes et al, then this might be the hen do to end all hen dos (literally!). You’ll be put through your paces by a trainer who will tell you all you need to know to take down the living dead, before being released into the battle zone, where you will use all the skills learnt to save the world!

3. Bedtime Stories

You've got to get in quick for this one as it books up but if you like to plan ahead this is a bridal party evening with a difference. Held at 40 winks in London these events are a decadent and glamorous take on the traditional sleepover, think vintage pyjamas, classic cocktails and exquisite storytelling. It will certainly make for an original hen do.

P.S Dog not included at hotel, we just couldn't resist the picture.

4. Zorbing

This is an experience for the awesome, adrenaline-junkie bride. Ever imagined what it's like to be a hamster? probably not but this still looks like fun! This is an exhilarating experience which you can throw yourself into (no pun intended!). Zorbing packages don’t break the bank and both one day and weekend packages are offered. One word of advice - skip the lunch and Prosecco beforehand...

5. Yoga retreat

If you're more zen that zorbing, head off to a yoga retreat to relax and unwind before the big day. We like Secret Yoga Club, it's not cheap but if you're looking to get away from it all in luxury then it hits the spot and the whole hen party will come back feeling refreshed and relaxed.