Over here at Revelry HQ we thought it was about time we shared a bit more about the team behind the name and introduce ourselves properly! And since TIME magazine isn't leaving an messages for an interview, we thought we would just interview each other instead!
Enjoy 5 minutes of hard hitting, journalistic questions from one wedding planner to another. First up under the microscope, it's Susie...
Who are you again?
I'm Susie, a northern girl who has called London home for the past 10 years. A seasoned list maker and once introduced to someone as 'probably the funniest person you'll ever meet.'
Hey, so you're getting married soon! You freaking out mate?
Nah not so much. 10 years in brand events and weddings seems to keep all that stress in check. I'd say it's coming along swimmingly, although one of my bridesmaids did admit that she thought I might be a nightmare because I'm 'a bit Type A'. The cheek!
Well...? Tell me in three words why you wanted to become a wedding planner.
Looked like fun!
What is the most common thing people say when they hear what you do for a living?
"Like Jennifer Lopez in that film?"
Aside from JLo, who is your business role model?
Deborah Meadon. Yes I know, I should be naming some hot young thang who hit dizzying heights of success before she turned 30, but my God that woman is amazing - straight talking and always right. I can aspire to that!
What is the farthest you have ever been from home?
Geographically that would be Australia, but in terms of home comforts that would be a night of bush camping in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I am not a camper.
If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
I do love boybands, but I also love cheesy soft rock so it would have to be Bon Jovi or Bryan Adams. Safe to say I'm not known for my cool taste in music.
What is your favourite item in your home?
Is this where I say my fiance? It's not, it's my slippers.
What was the last photo you took?
Myself eating fish and chips so I could send it to my brother to rub it in his face that he wasn't having any (there is a back story to this I promise).
Pinterest or Instagram?
I'm more of a Pinterest girl. I'm on the cusp of Gen X and Millennial and I've bowed out of most social media by now, don't even get me started on Snapchat.
Do you like your handwriting?
I do! No one else does. According to my friends and my fiance my writing slants the wrong way (?). Well you can blame the Sheffield education system for that one.
What is your favourite cocktail?
I like my hard liquor (you can take the girl out of Sheffield) so I'm partial to a Gin Martini, an Old Fashioned and Dark 'N' Stormy.
What is always in your fridge?
Cheese! But not through my doing. Our fridge is pretty varied, I'm a big fan of cooking.
What is it you like most about working with me? Please don't feel like you have to limit yourself here.
I'm joking. I love working with you. If I won an Oscar you'd be top of my speech of people to thank. There are lots of great things both professionally and personally that make our partnership so good. On a professional note your eye for design is AMAZING, the styling ideas you come up with for our clients and styled shoots are so creative, unique but also exactly what the couple is looking for. On top of that you're also organised and have great relationships with suppliers. You are literally the perfect formula for a wedding planner. Personally I love that we have a very honest relationship with one another, I think we communicate really well and you're such a warm and welcoming person who really cares about others.
OMG the blushing. I think I need a second to compose myself from all the flattery! Ok chill. Most loved and most hated wedding trend?
Hate is a strong word. I do think it's each to their own but pretty much anything girly and pastel is not my scene. I'm also not a big fan of bunting and the vintage thing, which I think has become too much of a catch all term and doesn't mean much anymore. However, I am a huge fan of greenery and cactus. I like industrial spaces and bold colours, clean lines and coolness. And I love interesting, 'out there' entertainment and personal touches!
How much did you say you could bench again?
Ha, I do like to brag about my strength to lead people to believe I'm much stronger than them so they don't mess with me. I'm not sure my upper body is up to much but I have thighs of steel - 100kg and counting.
PS. Holly has totally asked me this because I talk a little bit too much about World's Strongest Man which is some kind of weird obsession I have.
Who is the smartest person you know?
My other half would be upset if I didn't mention him. He was on University Challenge you know (nerd).
What was your name again?
I'm Holly, a born and bred Londoner who decided she wanted to be a wedding planner when she was 6 (Exhibit A to your left), which was before JLo but after Martin Short. I interned from 16 with a wedding planner in North London and started planning on my own when I was 19. Those brave, brave couples. I'm now a grown up and I live in Blackheath with my husband and nutjob toddler Hazel.
That was one lifelong dream. If you could narrow it down, tell me in three words why you wanted to become a wedding planner?
Lists. Scrapbooking. Storytelling.
What is the most common thing people say when they hear what you do for a living?
*gasp* I have always wanted to do that!
Who is your business role model?
Does Michelle Obama count as a business role model? Because I love her, she gets business done and she's my spirit animal. #WWMD #FLOTUS44
She definitely counts in my book. Speaking of successful women with a family, how do you juggle being a mum and a business owner?
With great care. When you're raising a child and running a business, so many people know your time becomes your most precious commodity. Every minute I have available to focus on work is mapped out with lists and calendar reminders - blocks of time to make the most out of childcare days, evenings and nap times when we're at home together. Having my daughter means I work harder - not because I have to work around her but because I'm working for her. Not just to earn for our family, but to show my daughter that she can achieve her goals and be successful if she puts her mind and back into it. I hope that because she's seen me (and you!) carve a path and stick to it she'll feel confident enough to take on the world when she grows up.
Who run the world? What's your favourite item in your home?
Alllll the blankets. I can't relax without draping one (or two) on me, regardless of the temperature.
What was the last photo you took?
My daughter covered in green pen and a guilty look on her face. Remember 2 seconds ago when I said I want her to feel like she can take on the world? Well, right now her world is all the pens in the house.
Pinterest or Instagram?
Don't make me choose, damn it! Pinstagram.
Cheater. Ok, who or what inspires you?
Other women who have forged their own path and are totally owning it. Fearless people who see risk and do it anyway. This industry is full of them and it's both a source of inspiration and positive challenge.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still heading up the empire that will be Revelry with you, taking our rulebook-free brand north and pushing our creative boundaries even further. I'll have written that damn book too.
If you were planning your own wedding now (or renewing your vows), and you had no budget ceiling, what would it be like?
I think about this way too often. I would get the heck out of here and go abroad. I'd still do the small church ceremony in London, but then grab a dozen of our close friends and family and jet off somewhere to celebrate for the weekend. But no where with sand. It's overrated and I have a vampiric pallor. Maybe the Italian Lakes?
What's your favourite cocktail?
Espresso martini because alcohol without caffeine just makes me sleepy and want to return to my blankets.
What is always in your fridge?
Hummus and petits filou.
What do you like most about working with me? Please take your time...I know you must have a lot to say.
I have a theory that you don't actually sleep. You just stay awake permanently, drawing new ideas and big plans on walls like an obsessed detective. And I love that about working with you! When I get those emails or texts telling me to remind you to tell me about your latest idea next time we meet. I always know it's going to be a good one. Your brain is always on and striving for the next thing, the next opportunity. You push us to be bigger and better all the time and I love that, I need that. You're a born businesswoman, a tireless organiser, an unflappable planner, and it all makes us the perfect combo for what we're doing. Couldn't think of a more perfect partner in crime and weddings! Mainly weddings.
Why, ta very much! Most loved and most hated wedding trends?
Hessian and burlap are a bit of a bugbear of mine (what a weird word, is it like a bug-sized bear, or a bear-sized bug?)--
A bear-sized bug sounds literally terrifying.
--Anyway it's a bugbear because it looks nice but it smells so, so bad! We seemed to be using it a lot three or four years ago when weddings hit peak shabby-chic. My absolute favourite is the tropical influence we're seeing now. Especially if it's contrasting tropical like one wedding we're working on in a 16th century barn!
10 tips to help you set and stick to your wedding budget
Budget, the dreaded word! But every wedding needs one. How else are you going to know if you can afford Bruno Mars to sing your first dance song (you probably can’t) or Dave Benson Phillips (remember him) as your DJ (you probably can). So before those eternal questions are answered you need to set your budget.
Setting a budget is difficult because all weddings are different, but you do need to have some idea of how much you should spend on each supplier so you don’t end up with debt you’re paying off until your 25th wedding anniversary! There are example wedding budget breakdowns out there but sometimes they don’t really line up with real life and can underestimate the cost of quality supplier so do take them with a pinch of salt.
We’ve got some handy hints below to help you set your budget and manage it along the way.
1. How much do you have and how much are you willing to spend? That total amount is what you’re trying to stay under. However, always allow an additional 5% on top as your contingency should you go over budget e.g. with a £25,000 budget keep a separate £250 that you can dip into if you need it.
2. How many people do you actually want there? This number is one of the biggest factors as it will influence your venue and catering costs. £25,000 can stretch a lot further with 60 guests than 150 so don’t go overboard on the invites if you want to use your budget wisely.
3. Once you know your total budget and number of guests you can start researching venues to get an idea of the likely cost of the venue. Do your research first so you know if it is a fair price for the location, size and style you want.
4. The venue and catering are normally the biggest chunk of your budget and could take up to half of your total budget which sounds a lot but is totally normal. Try to avoid going over two thirds of your budget though as you’ll be left with very little to pay for everything else.
5. By the time you’ve booked your venue and catering you often find yourself in a ‘what’s left?’ scenario, so now’s the time to earmark any specific priorities you have e.g. if music is the most important thing then ringfence a decent portion of your budget so you know you’ve got enough and pick slightly cheaper suppliers for other parts of the day.
6. As always, do your research on each industry to check that what you’re being charged is the norm. It will still vary depending on supplier quality, ability and location but always try to get three quotes from similar suppliers. This ensures you know the price is fair and may also give you some leverage to negotiate. Try to research and get estimates for some key elements (photographer, videographer, florist, wedding dress and bridesmaids) before you book anyone so you know either you can afford everything or pinpoint the areas that are lower priority where you need to make savings.
7. Don’t forget styling. It doesn’t appear out of thin air and can really make your wedding stand out so it’s worth holding some of your budget back for this.
8. Try not to worry about money. If you can’t afford something think about how much you really want it and whether you can compromise elsewhere. If you can’t, is it really worth breaking the budget for? Would it really affect your day if you didn’t have it?
9. Keep a log of everything you’ve paid for and what you still need to pay and try to have a separate wedding bank account so it doesn’t get mixed up with the money you spend on a daily basis. Keeping your budget logged and separate makes it much easier to track.
10. Pay everyone before you jet off on your honeymoon, not only have all the suppliers worked hard to give you a great day but you also don’t want to come back to an inbox full of wedmin!
Stress buster wedding tips to control your inner Bridezilla
Wedding planning might seem like fun when you’re tasting cakes but most people find it stressful and overwhelming. It can be a hard slog if you’ve never put together an event before, and why would you if you don’t work in the events industry. If you want to be more of a Bridechilla than a Bridezilla we’ve got four handy tips that will see you through the planning process.
1. Break up your jobs into manageable chunks. Most couples allow at least a year for planning and yes, your to do list may look long, but if you break it up into the jobs you need to do per month you’ll find the whole thing a little easier to manage.
2. Set out your priorities. Work out what’s important to you and make that your priority. I know it might seem like everything has an equal weight but it’s your wedding so you get to choose what to focus on.
3. Do your research. Spend some time looking into suppliers and styles you like to narrow down what you want before you start the booking process. This will help give you a clear vision and avoid the stress of wondering if everything works together later down the line.
4. Be realistic. Unfortunately planning a wedding is a lesson in compromise, a good way to start a marriage some might say. The compromise that normally takes place is between the vision in your head and the money in your purse. Be practical, think about what you and your guests actually need on the day and then decide on the things that are nice to have. You may think your wedding won’t be the same without them but your guests are more likely to remember going hungry over a perfectly decorated room.
Yayyyy presents! Erm, we mean...that bonus thing that happens when your guests want to generously give you a gift to commemorate your marriage.
Choosing what to put on your gift list is a fun decision, and a lot of it comes down to whether or not you have already set up home together. If you've been living together for years, odds are you have everything you need - so this is an opportunity to get things you want. If you are new to the living situation, you'll be looking for essentials that will last you a long time, and look good.
We really love the gift list service Prezola, for its huge variety and options to add in cash, charity and honeymoon gifts, so we took a look through their catalogue to pick out our faves.
We're loving this Karlsson marble geometric wall clock for your new marital home. Not that you'll be watching the clock at all in your first few months of staring lovingly into each other's eyes...
We're so super into banners right now, hang this one from Old English Company over your bed to remind you to bear hug often.
These gorgeous sheets from Bluebellgray will turn your bed into a work of art, bright pops of colour to wake you up better than coffee.
We're also loving this pretty pretty soap dispenser from Cosy Living. So no one will tell if you fill it with Sainsbury's own.
What are you planning to add to your gift list? A mix of weird and wonderful, want and need?
5 Less Obvious Things To Consider When Picking Your Wedding Venue
Nailing your wedding venue is perhaps one of the trickiest and most time consuming jobs of the whole planning process so while you're looking round trying to find something that fits your personal specifications, don't forget to also consider the list below, it could save you time and money and ensure that your dream wedding vision stays intact.
1. How much dressing does the venue need?
Dressing a venue is one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding, its an opportunity for you to put your own stamp on your day and create something amazing. But don't be fooled, those beautifully adorned ceremonies and receptions on Pinterest didn't dress themselves and they didn't come cheap. Even if you DIY a lot of stuff the materials are going to come at a price. Do think about how much dressing a venue needs before you book it and put an allowance in your budget for those items or for a wedding stylist to source and style it for you. Shameless plug, we style as well as plan!
2. Does your venue have preferred suppliers?
The venue is likely to be pretty upfront about this and let you know if they have a list of suppliers that you have to use. In most cases this tends to be caterers and sometimes florists and production companies for lighting and sound. Generally suppliers are on these lists because they're good and they've worked at the venue so they know it well, but if you've got your heart set on someone or something specific that isn't on the list the chances are you'll have to pay a fee to get them in and you'll need to factor that into your budget.
3. What do the chairs look like?
Yes I know this might sound a bit crazy and its probably not your first priority to think about chairs but trust us it makes a difference. You don't have to use the venue's chairs and you don't have to use chair covers. There are loads of great hire companies that offer a wide variety of different chairs that can really make or break the style you're trying to create.
If changing all the chairs is too pricy have a look at swapping out the seat pads. Here's an insider tip, most seat pads are stuck to the chair with velcro so they're easily removable. If you've got a venue with red seat pads that clashes horribly with your carefully thought out colour palette then swap them out for something more neutral like ivory. Obviously check with the venue first, but its a quick job for their staff and they're likely to have somewhere to store both seat pads and unused chairs.
4. Can you have a naked flame?
A lot of the historic buildings don't allow a naked flame, so if your mood board is covered in romantic pictures of candlelit ceremonies and dining you may want to rethink your style or venue. You can of course get battery operated candles which is one way round it if you're in love with the venue and still want to keep the candles.
5. How hot does the room get? Followed by, Can we open windows? And do you have fans?
We know the British summer doesn't have a great reputation but it does have its moments and even when it doesn't if you've got 80+ people in a room all eating, drinking and chatting, it's going to get warm. Be prepared for this and plan accordingly. Check that windows do open and perhaps don't seat people prone to the cold near them so you can have them open throughout. Find out if there are fans available as an additional precaution. They may be too noisy for speeches but they'll keep the air circulating during dinner and in any chill out areas you might have. It might not be something you'd usually have on your venue tick list but its worth considering that weddings can get warm and you might want to have a plan in place.
In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, brides and grooms have more options than ever when it comes to wedding day ideas. Visually accosted on the regular with amazing wedding style ideas, new colour palettes and trends. It can be very easy to lose yourself in all the options. We've lost count of the number of brides who come to us and say 'Please help, my Pinterest board is a mess of 1000 different style ideas, I'm going mad from all the choice.'
So how can you wade through all the tulle and the saved pins and find your true wedding day style? How do you find that all important design that makes your wedding day yours?
Where you at?
Have you booked your dream venue already? If not, what kind of places call out to you? Where have you pictured getting married for, like, ever? Barn, ballroom, greenhouse or garden - it doesn't always have to define the design of your day but it can help with setting the tone. Play with a design that either contrasts or complements your venue, but that doesn't clash.
If you're opting for a country manor and a marquee, you could make it a winner with an English country garden design of teacups and pastel florals to complement, or go for an all out contrast with a Moroccan inspired tent with rich colours and fabrics. Perhaps your formal London venue has an neon, geometrical twist to contrast, or a vintage glam design to complement.
We contrasted an opulent London listed building with bright neons and wild arrangements at a recent shoot, to inspire couples that they don't have to be dictated by the venue when it comes to design. --->
Casual or Formal?
Your design choices can be narrowed down when you think about whether you imagined your wedding day formal or casual. What kind of atmosphere speaks best to you both as a couple? Are you the kind of couple who likes to host dinner parties and get dressed up for an all night party, or are you the kind of couple who prefer a beach BBQ and chilling out with friends?
Whichever option you go for, that level of formality will carry through all the aspects of your wedding, from the invitation to the place settings.
The time of year you're getting married in can have a big impact on your wedding design, with flowers in particular. Before you get too wedded to a specific bloom and style, think about what will be available in your wedding month. Winter weddings and deep plum peonies might look like a match in heaven but peonies are notoriously hard (and expensive) to find outside of Spring. Consider also choosing hardier flowers for an outdoor summer wedding, like daisies and roses, instead of flowers like tulips and hydrangea which will wilt at the first sign of heat.
Look outside the wedding world
The most original, awesome wedding designs come about when couples look outside of the wedding world for inspiration and focus on their shared passions, interests and favourites. Take inspiration from your favourite film, or the city you fell in love in, your first holiday, a shared hobby or a combination of two of your hobbies.
Colour and Motif
Colours are the bedrock of wedding design. It's the easiest way to thread all the elements of your wedding together. At its most basic, you could choose a main colour, an accent colour and a few complementary shades. Have a few or many but never stick to just one colour! Add neutral or metallic accents to make your palette look dynamic and thoughtful. Seasonal colour families can look really stunning too and mean you don't have to go to matchy-matchy - a Spring wedding could look gorgeous with colours side-by-side on the colour wheel like navy, violet and green. Or an Autumn celebration of burgundy and deep red.
A motif is another design element that can pull your whole look together. Whether its a monogram, a pattern or a shape that means something to you, it can show up anywhere from the cake to the dancefloor to the invitations and the menus. But don't go mad with this kind of design choice, it's easy to slap it everywhere and it loses it's impact. Choose 3-4 key places to show it off.
Don't copy, be inspired
More often than not, couples use Pinterest as their blueprint for their wedding suppliers. If you find the perfect bouquet or table set up, you can hand it to your supplier and say 'copy this'. It's fantastic if you have found the exact thing you wanted in a picture you can use as your guideline, but consider using it as that - a guideline. Take inspiration from other people's weddings but put your own twist on it and make it yours. Let your suppliers - whose expertise you have paid a fair amount of English pounds for - dazzle you with their experience and talent by taking your Pinterest images and adding a few special touches to make it an original and not a copy.
Don't limit yourself
Even when all these questions have been answered and you've now got a better idea of what you want, don't feel like you have to pick one style. Your wedding can be a mish-mash fusion of a few of your favourite things. Because why not? If you like 'glam' you don't have to just stop there - is it old Hollywood glam or modern luxury glam?
Love vintage but also want to incorporate tech? Do it! Want a techno band but kind of really like the idea of a Speakeasy after party? Go for it. Your wedding day isn't a prescribed format or design, and your venue doesn't have to define the style of the day. To truly be your wedding, it must be reflective of you - the things you like as a couple and who you are as a team. The key to going down this route is to find a thread that pulls it all together and helps your event look and feel seamless, but still individual.
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