• SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: Felicity Westmacott Bespoke Bridal

    Felicity Westmacott portrait

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    I’m Felicity, I make unique, bespoke wedding dresses for brides who want something they can’t find anywhere else. I work from my home studio in Redhill, Surrey, which is frankly busting at the seams after 15 years of me making dresses but I love my little space and sharing it with clients who visit. I’m pushing 40 now but with my badger stripes (grey hairs) comes the experience only gained through time and seeing many many brides, body shapes and trends come and go.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    My parents were both self-employed, the idea of having a ‘proper job (as others might see it) was just never on the cards. I worked as the alteration seamstress for a local Bridal shop to help pay my way through university. I told them when I started I’d be too nervous to ever try making a dress but after 4 years turning 150 dresses a year inside out I had gained enough knowledge and confidence to accept my first commissions!

    My university course was a degree in costume design which gave me the perfect grounding in designing for the ‘character’ – not to please myself. I love that every bride I meet is unique and that every dress is unlike any I’ve made before. I want to show her uniqueness in my design and make her feel fabulous.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    Up, kids breakfast (three of them!) and school runs: only then I can open the door to my sanctuary of a sewing room. I usually answer emails and check social media first in case anything imperative needs answering but then try to leave the screens alone as much as I can. I like to listen to music or radio 4 while I work. This might be pattern drafting, cutting out, machine or hand sewing. Some days it’s just me alone all day and I really crack on with the task in hand, other days I might have two, three or even four client visits for fittings or consultations. I’m an introvert so I relish my time alone in the studio but even introverts need some social time so having the clients visit is lovely too! I finish the day around 5pm if I’m working to good time but I often see clients in the evening and at weekends too.

    WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

    Seeing a happy bride in her dress at the final fitting and knowing my work has made her feel that way! And then getting thank you letters and wedding pictures back a few months down the line. A wedding day is a work of art, a participatory piece of performance art where the couple direct many suppliers to orchestrate a day that speaks something about themselves and their hopes for the future. I really get a buzz from seeing my designs and handiwork being a part of the whole!

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: ROSS WILLSHER PHOTOGRAPHY

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    I’m Ross and in no particular order, I’m a professional wedding and portrait photographer, published author, obsessive ‘Great British Bake Off’ viewer and reluctant runner.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    I’d love to tell you that at the age of six, my grandfather gifted me an antique camera and I spent the rest of my childhood in the dark room following an early calling to the magical art of photography. However, the truth is that I didn’t really pick up a camera until my late twenties, but when I did, boy did it change my life. Not only did it provide me with a creative outlet and the opportunity to launch my own business, it provided me with a tool to empower others to feel amazing about who they are.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    Normally, no two days are the same and are filled with meeting new couples (one of my favourite aspects of the job), shooting pre-wedding shoots, shooting weddings, editing, networking with other wedding suppliers, eating biscuits, and dancing around my office in between boring admin tasks!

    WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?

    Making people realise how wonderful and how photogenic they are. I never over-pose or over-edit my couples as I strongly believe everyone deserves to be celebrated for being the uniquely awesome person that they are. 

    When I witness couples fill up with emotion on seeing their wedding photos, and realising how fabulous they look, it makes all my hard work worthwhile.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: JOHN WOODWARD PHOTOGRAPHY

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF 

    Hey, I’m John, another blummin’ wedding photographer who lives just outside Ely with my wife, two utterly mad but adorable kids and a hamster called Murfuls (the kids named him, not me). If I am not taking pictures, I am looking after the kids, watching YT videos about hi-fi, listening to music and being a general all round geek. I am a big Aston Villa fan, I am starting to become more and more ashamed of my guilty pleasure for my love of cars and I was a former scientist for 19 years working in genetics. It’s been an interesting time so far, but I love my life and I ADORE my job.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS? 

    Ha! A question that has been asked me many times due to the fact that I had a good career and worked for a world famous academic institution that worked on one of the biggest scientific endeavours of the 20th and 21st century, the Human Genome Project. The true answer is that….I think I was done. I loved science, it’s all I knew from school and college and I still DO love science (back to being that geek again). But after 19 years, I didn’t want to DO science anymore. I needed a change. And I had already been paid for a few jobs and people liked my work and I can’t tell you how much I like taking photos, so it was my one chance to make a living out of something I truly loved doing, so I took it back in 2015….and here I am! Best decision of my life.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? 

    Well, recently, it’s been “interesting”. Covid has stopped me working almost completely and as my wife has been able to work full time from home, I have been home schooling my 9 and 7 year old all through the pandemic. But when we aren’t blighted by a virus, my day would be to get up, take the kids to school, come back and sit at the computer and do admin, marketing, social media posts….all the “downside” stuff of working for yourself and trying to promote yourself. The rest of the day would be filled with editing, replying to emails, couples, clients and then back to being Dad at the end of the school day. I try and pop a bit of exercise in there (I have a rowing machine…..works wonders) if not every day, every other day at least. 

    If it’s a wedding day, then prep everything the day before…clean cameras and lenses, charge batteries, format memory cards, make sure I have addresses, phone numbers, money, bags packed and so on. On the day, turn up for bridal prep no later than 2 hours before the ceremony and then let the day flow….blend in, be part of the action, capture all the fun, smiles, laughing, love and silly faces throughout the day.

    WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB? 

    Meeting people. Simple as that. I’m a sociable sort, so for me I love nothing better than meeting new people of all kinds. I love the diversity that humans have. I am curious, so I love finding out about people, their back stories, what makes them them. And when you are planning a wedding, getting to know someone is paramount as when you are with someone pretty much the whole day and apart from friends and family you will be the ONLY one who is there the whole day, I want to know my couples are comfortable with me and I know them well enough to know how to react and how they will react. It makes for much, much more realistic, natural photos and it means I can usually get shots that wouldn’t normally be seen. One of the things that lockdown has really highlighted to me is that I miss people. I used to think I was happy in my own space, but having the chance to go meet someone on a whim, to not be able to work and meet new people, that has been tough. So for me, absolutely the best part of my job is meeting new people, getting to know them and because of this, creating AWESOME photos for them because the couple are comfortable and happy with me around.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: Ian Scott Kettle

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF 

    I am a tailor, of sorts! I make mens accessories, neck ties, bowties, cummerbunds and more. My work uses classic tailoring techniques, learnt over the 20 years I have been designing and cutting for an alarming variety of other brands and designers.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS? 

    My business was created six years ago to fill a real gap in the men’s styling market. There is very little choice when I comes to accessories for men, other then the generic ‘designer’ option. With my knowledge of fashion history and craft skills, along with wanting to make a business that is truly sustainable (locally sourced cloth with only 2% wastage) it was really a no brainer for me to set up a studio.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? 

    Some days I deliver workshops or teach a class, but most days start rather late with clients consultations. I prefer to work late into the night once the business day is over, cutting and stitching orders in my London (Holborn) Studio.

    WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB? 

    I think handing the finished work over to the client is the jobs greatest reward. My clients send pictures of themselves wearing their pieces and often share that the work became a perfect gift and a wonderful reminder of their big day.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: VEGAN FOOD PIMP

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF 

    I am a vegan chef, author, presenter and qualified holistic nutritionist who uses food as a silent method of activism. I co founded an animal sanctuary in Spain to help people make the connection through both meeting animals and eating vegan food. I do not belive you can “make” someone vegan you can only help them join the dots up. That said, I also feel that if eating great vegan food means people will eat in a plant based restaurant in the futre, then that is a success!

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS? 

    I had restaurants in Brighton and it was becoming clear that there were very few 100% vegan catering companies, run by vegans, who produced fabulous food to wow not only the couples but their, very often non vegan, guests. My food within the restaurant demonstrated to everyone that vegan food could be both delicious and beautiful. I wanted to show the world that food is about taste and texture and that anything could be vegan. A restaurant was great but being in front of up to 200 people for a meal was an even better way to spread the word on vegan food. It also allows me to be creative. We have no menus, we write each one bespoke to each couple, we want the plates of food to represent them, not something selected from a pre printed menu. Food should be fun, it should be exciting, it should be delicious!

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? 

    If I am not at an event a typical day always starts with coffee! Then emails, proposals, organising suppliers etc for weddings, recipe creation, photographs in fact every day is fun, hard work, but fun.

    When it comes to a wedding day, well, each one of those is completely different. The build up, the prep, the set up, the running of the day, the clear down, the drive back, but whatever the day, it also ends on a coffee!!
    Crazy days but I personally love it, you have to, to deliver the best you have to love what you do, you have to be proud of what you do and you have to give your all, from the first enquiry to last plate packed away.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: THE STARS INSIDE

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF 

    Thank you so much for having me on the blog today! My name is Valentina, and I’m the founder, creative director, and head storyteller here at The Stars Inside. I plan, style, and design intimate weddings and soulful elopements all over the world – offering holistic and comprehensive support to couples who want to have a celebration that is true to them, mindful of their values, and full of meaningful beauty.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS? 

    My journey to the wedding industry was a very organic one – I hadnʼt actually planned for this! My husband and I had the great joy and pleasure of working with a wedding planner for our own wedding, and I absolutely loved what she did for us. She helped us through so many difficulties, and truly made it so we could enjoy and embrace the time we had, which was invaluable. Her and I became friends and got to know each other quite well, and she was actually the one who first suggested I consider starting a business as a wedding planner. I remember so vividly the way that felt – it was like everything just clicked! She was our rock throughout the whole wedding planning journey, and I wanted to be that person for other people. I loved the idea of supporting couples through this joyous and momentous period of their lives, helping them grow stronger together, and also putting all my creative and analytical skills to use at the same time to bring to life new experiences. Iʼm so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore this new path, and I canʼt imagine it any other way now!

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? 

    In normal circumstances (that is, not in lockdown!), my days vary a lot week to week, which I love! Some days will be focussed on admin, emails, or other computer-intensive tasks like research, blogging, marketing, finances, or itinerary / schedule / moodboard creation, which means I’m firmly in the zone at my desk all day. Other days might be back-to-back meetings and calls, discovering beautiful venues around the UK, networking with suppliers, or joining my couples at their suppliers meetings or venue visits. Most weeks are a mix of the two, and I love making sure every week includes opportunities for meeting new people and getting to know new places. You’ll also find me attending wedding showcases, running photoshoots and editorials, and hitting up exhibits and galleries for the latest in art, interior design, and fashion. During the week before a wedding day, my time will be focussed on all the final elements of preparation, and I’ll usually be on site at the wedding venue for at least three days. Being a wedding planner and a stylist means something different every single day – each wedding and each couple is different, which I love!

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: Down for the Count

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF 

    We’re a luxury wedding band based in London, UK. We perform jazz, swing, soul, Motown and pop music at weddings and private parties throughout the UK internationally – we’re a stylish and energetic band and love to party with you!

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS? 

    We’re a group of friends who met in 2005, bought together by a love of live music. We started performing together as a band and gradually got invited to perform at more and more birthday parties and wedding receptions – and now we’re full time professional musicians lucky enough to make a living doing something we love!

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? 

    A typical day for us involves leaving home in the van at about 10am. When we arrive at the venue we introduce ourselves to the venue staff (and you, if you’re there when we arrive) before setting up and then staying out of you way! If we’re providing music for your ceremony or drinks reception, we’ll also set that up as well. We try and stay out of your way in our band room, but are always on hand when you need us. Obviously much of our time is spent getting changed and ready to perform, liaising with you along the way in case there are any changes in your timings.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: Devine Bride

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF 

    Devine Bride is run by Laura Devine – hi! Iʼm a wedding planner based in East London and run a multi award winning blog as the backbone to my website offering planning tips and advice.

    My tag line is ‘pick + mix wedding planningʼ; couples can pick and choose which elements they need help with, and weʼll take it from there.

    I have personally planned and worked on some 170+ weddings and events to date, and I know whatʼs worked, whatʼs not, and whatʼs fun! Itʼs a celebration after all! From planning power hours to partial planning, help on the day to hire a bridesmaid, and everything in between! My speciality is difficult dry hire venues, and I do a lot of on the day coordination services. Whatever your concept or budget, I strive to make it happen, with the best trusted suppliers on board.

    I tend to help couples who know what they want and what they are doing, who are generally quite creative and non-traditional, but just need a hand to bring their vision to life, hone in on the finer details of the planning, and make it all happen on the day.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS? 

    The lack of on-demand and flexible yet creative wedding planners, who were upfront about their costs. I searched for something like this when I was planning my own wedding, but I couldnʼt quite find what I was looking for.

    I was also looking for a way to utilise both my creative and business skills, learned at both art school and uni, after many years in boring corporate jobs. And quickly realised weddings, love, helping people, and parties really set my heart on fire!

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? 

    Days change every day! But my working week generally consists of…

    – 3 days a week I work from The Wing in Fitzrovia, which I use as my office (when not in lockdown!)
    – 2 days a week I usually freelance at venues or take on b2b wedding work
    – My weekends are usually spent wedding-ing Mar-Oct
    – In winter I work on a lot of corporate Christmas parties and events (usually Oct-Jan)
    – …I sometimes see my husband on a Sunday! We quite often go for a brunch on a Sunday to catch up with each other properly
    – It’s easiest though to follow what Iʼm up to in real time on Instagram stories!

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: Gaetano Di Giacomo Media Production

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    Hi there, my name is Gaetano and I am a professional wedding videographer based in Aylesbury Buckinghamshire. I am Italian, originally from the Amalfi Coast where I am still filming weddings over summer.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    Filming is more than a passion for me; I have always been working in the wedding industry since the early age of 16. After working with other companies and various partnerships I have decided to start my own company in 2016 to be able to fully express myself and create films in my unique style.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    As videographers we donʼt only film but also do office work, such as editing, paperwork, updating social media pages and making sure to feed our office cat . From a few years I also do corporate jobs which keeps me busy manly during week days.

  • SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: CLARE TAM-IM PHOTOGRAPHY

    PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF

    Hi, my name’s Clare! I live in Watford, Hertfordshire (the home of Harry Potter as I like to call it) and have been shooting weddings for over 10 years now. I’m a mum, a fiancee, a geek, a gamer, a bit of a weirdo.

    WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?

    I always wanted to be a photographer when I was little. It was only when I was made redundant from a job that I decided to go back to education and do a degree which I chose to do in photography. It made me realise how much I loved it and after being able to second shoot at a couple of weddings, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. It also fit nicely around my family at the time and then when I went on to have my youngest, I went full time and just bloody love it.

    HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

    I don’t really do typical days. I suppose if I’m at a wedding, I start with a nice big breakfast (or a McDs on the way there if I’m being lazy which is usually the case!) whilst listening to my Spotify playlist to get me into an awesome mood for when I rock up with big smiles and hugs a plenty. Then spend the day grinning from ear to ear or hiding behind my camera whilst having a little cry, all the while photographing the day, having the best time, counting my lucky stars that I get to call this my career. Then head home, back everything up because I won’t sleep until I do. Days in the office (or the corner of my living room that I call my office) are spent doing emails, social media stuff, working on advertising/website/accounts, you name it, there is so much that goes into running your own business. And when I’m not working, you can either find me on the school run, food shopping, with my family or gaming.