So, I’m a little late to do a blog post review of 2016 and that’s probably because I’ve never done one before!! So, to celebrate one year having this gorgeous website by La Happy I’ve decided to spend a little time reflecting on the year that has just passed because I know there are lessons to remember and moments to treasure.
2016 was one of those years I think many people struggled through but also found themselves. I personally to began the year with such hopefulness with the launch of this very website and the dreams of becoming a married woman. A lot was going to happen to change my world.
This month served at the start of the refreshed home and brand for The Wedding Stylist. We opened it’s doors on Friday 8th January and from then on continued to fall in love with it each and every day. It’s pages began to flourish and my services grew even more. We worked with Sally & Chris of La Happy for over 6 months pulling this gorgeous transformation together and in that time I was doing a tonne of soul searching and exploration in what I wanted my business to be.
I can honestly say, to this day, it was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made and by investing such love and commitment into my brand has pushed me to work harder and become an even better designer.
The rebrand pushed me, throughout 2015 until January 8th 2016 when we opened the doors, to consider why I did what I did, why am I a wedding stylist. I truly challenged my process and questioned what it was that I offer my couples.. why would they book me? what is it that I offer to them personally that no one else can?
Either way, this website and rebrand was an incredible step and just the best choice.
January, was also the month I travelled with my parents to Chennai in India to begin purchasing all the items required for our Hindu wedding happening later in the year. It was a great time to spend alone with my parents, as the last holiday together with me as their “little child”. (though I’m pretty sure I still am!) It was a real turning point for us and again proved emotionally growing.
Finally towards the end of the month, we saw the real wedding of my couple Petra & Jon feature over on Rock My Wedding. A gorgeous duo and even more beautiful wedding in the amazing British summer time.
We did a mini shoot for showcasing Classic Crockerys new set of stock at Bush Hall with Green Antlers Photography and a team of great suppliers. It was fantastic to work with a palette of deep and bright colours but within a space with NO natural light. Definitely a slight variation from my usual love for neutral colours, natural light and soft styling however it was an absolutely fantastic day working with a whole host of new friends.
This month saw the first of the refreshed Instashoot Workshops in conjunction with the brand update along side a mini brand instashoot with Something Blue PR (a service now exclusive to their clients) For the first workshop of the year, I had Cecelina Photography join us to capture the day and honestly had the best time ever teaching this intimate group. Millbridge Court has been the most supportive home for the workshops and I was excited to plan the next two for the winter season.
Also, I celebrated 2 years of being in business on the 24th March! It was crazy and scary to realise that i’d been doing the lone entrepreneur thing for two whole years but i’d made it! What a thrill.
AND finally, it was the month Andy and I discovered our dream home. We visited it one drizzly weekend in March on a saturday, view it again on the Sunday with an offer made on the Monday…. to be accepted by Tuesday! We set out moving date for July to August time and breathed a sigh of relief at the the excitement and great luck we had.
Side note |I It was also the month I began having dressing fittings for my wedding gown… something I just had to mention!!!!!! My mum joined me for a few of my fittings and it was such a special time for me. Whilst I’m sure my parents never realised I’d end up having a traditional “white” wedding my Mum truly enjoyed this time with me and experience seeing my gown come together. Back over 25years ago, in England, my parents got married in a local registry office in the most amazing lacey 70s style frock. I tried to incorporate the style of sleeves and full length look from her original dress to my design. An unexpected joy for her and me to do together.
My dress was bespoke made by a dear friend I used to work with, Laurie Smith. She sourced the perfect lace and designed the entire dress from scratch from my vision and I couldn’t have been in more in love with it!!
A month before our wedding and an equally crazy busy one, I prepared for two back to back summer weddings to occour right after my return from honeymoon, along side making much of the items for our own wedding. So, to help out with the work load and pressure I began the search and interview for my first ever assistant to join the team.
April was also the month Andy and I took a moment out of time to have our engagement shoot with Dominique Bader. We spent the day hugging and laughing in the beautiful countryside near Dominique’s home. I’d personally never seen a bluebell field before so was just in awe of the magic, you can see more of our engagement shoot featured here on Rock My Wedding
April also played host to my one and only styled shoot of the year… Flourish & Fragile. It was one of the most magical of days with a team of just superb suppliers all taking their inspiration from the words
Flourish : for movement, freedom, curves, air in space
Fragile : delicate, breakable, embellishment, precious
The venue Fulham Palace was a key monument for the design of the shoot with myself and Emma Pilkington Photography wanted to emphasis it’s antique feel and vast spaces. You’ll be able to see more of this shoot super soon……
This was also the month I found Nira, my fantastic assistant who has been at my side ever since working on every single project I took on in 2016.
I began the month with styling my sister-in-laws baby shower and worked with the incredible Bridie of Little North Sea Side Studio for the paperie. Sarah of Floribunda Rose provided the stunning lilac blooms as we took over a nifty little space in central London.
All in all it was a bit of a hectic month for Team The Wedding Stylist with a whole load of work and preparation along side my own wedding prep however with Nira at my side it ticked along as smoothly as anything.
I have to admit, this month is a massive flurry of wedding prep, client work and I didn’t close my studio and stop working on my work until right before we legally got married…. 21st May, we popped down to Leatherhead registry office with a gaggle of our family and closest friends to get married. Never did I expect to sob through the whole thing, Andy and I had down played the ENTIRE thing but we were a mess. Sobbing, crying, everything. It was one of the best days of my entire life and so ridiculously simple. I have to shout out to Marks and Spencers where we got all the food, to my local florist back in Thames Ditton, Secret Garden, who whipped up a cute little bouquet the morning of for me and of course all of our family and friends who attended. We just ADORED this day.
After this day, the wedding celebrations began..
28th and 29th May, but you know all about those weddings 😉
then honeymoon in Bali and Sumba….
We returned from honeymoon and I kicked jet lag in the butt with a whole lot of coffee. So, began the wedding season at The Wedding Stylist. First at Nonsuch Mansion, then at Clock Barn. Two magical weddings later then we began prep for late summer weddings!
Was a quiet one on the weddings front on purpose due to the crazy personal things we had going on. From moving home to attending friends big days, I knew right after our own wedding and honeymoon backed up by immediate clients, I needed July to be a breather month. So I began writing Reflect Create Grow, I also took the time out to plan the teaching parts of my business from workshops to the online course.
Andy and I also began travels to the South of France then Italy to celebrate a friends wedding before moving out of our flat in Surrey to then return… and……..
…. immediately move into our new home on the 1st August. (Yes, we packed it in so tight!) We also (a bit silly) had our wedding gift list packages arrive on the same day *face palm* – our new home was so filled with boxes it took over 2 months to fully unpack everything!!
On 4th August I drove up to Norwich to study from one of the leaders in our industry alongside a woman I have admired from afar for a while, Jo flowers. I spent the entire day with her and think my emotions were heightened for every single moment, from the minute I sat down and drank the first cup of coffee in her stunning Kitchen. I still have to pinch myself to this moment from how honoured I felt to work in her home and learn the skills which will never leave me!
After learning from Jo, we celebrated my niece being cutie 41 days old (something we do within the Tamil culture) and on the Friday before the party I spent creating the fun flower arrangements with beautiful blooms purchased from my local grower Jane M.
I then for the rest of August threw myself head first into concepts and admin for the following years weddings along side the final wedding of the year in September for Lisa of Paperknots.
In rolled September and Lisa & Chris’s day at Brympton House. A beautiful day that my husband even got to help out on as we attended as friends as well. It was the most stunning wedding day all captured by Emma Pilkington Photography and I cannot wait to see the images featured very soon…!
I also had the thrilling pleasure of visiting the venue for one of my Summer 2017 clients down in the South of France. This will be my first ever European wedding, all to be photographed by Cecelina Photography and I’m currently working through the finer design details with my couple and there is a lot of squealing going on….
At the end of Semtepber, I began to shoot with Dominique Bader images for the Reflect. Create. Grow. online course which I slowly but surely began to chip away at with hopes of it being released before the year was out. I put all the florals together myself and spent an entire day with Dominique and Nira creating beautiful visuals
And like a snap, October is here along with Autumn, workshops and my birthday. This month I host one of the first winter Instashoot workshops captured by Xander & Thea Photography, yet another inspiring and warm workshop where I tried my hand at producing the florals myself… something I loved but definitely thought I’d not do again as I already was organising a hell of a lot for the actual day 😉
At the end of the month I celebrated my birthday with a surprise trip from my husband to Iceland. A whirlwind of a trip where we finally got to spend some quality time together and catch our breath a little after such a busy time over Summer through to Autumn. It was pretty darn cold but what an amazing place to visit, I am already hoping to go back someday soon!
November swung round… and I spoke at (in my opinion) the best networking and educational conference for the wedding industry The Chosen Wedding Collective Hub. An entire day of inspirational chat, goodies to devour and pretty to absorb. It was one of those days that you JUST need and I was able to meet and make so many more friends out in our small business community, thank you Kiki for asking me back!
Finally… as the year slowed down, my husband, in between jobs booked us away (with my freaking out at the amount of work I had going on) to go away to Antigua. It was one of the best things we had done to help our relationship and to help our mental health. It was just blissful and I felt such inspiration to knuckle down and continue writing the final parts of Reflect. Create. Grow. An utterly divine experience and one that helped our hearts so much.
Upon our return, I hosted my final workshop of the year which became a bit of a light bulb moment for me afterwards. After trying to do too much last time, I called up Sarah for florals and my students were utterly spoilt with such beauty. I was also lucky enough to have Gyan Gurung come and photograph the day!
I neglect to mention that in the last few months there are many venue visits and fantastic journeys across the UK. From Nancarrow Farm in Cornwall to Syon House back in London, I am so excited at all the places that my couples are taking me next year!
Wow. We’ve finally hit the final month and the time I FINALLY have the public release of Reflect. Create. Grow.
My favourite and most challenging written piece of work to date. From July to December I toiled and grew the course and against all the changes made to Instagram tried my best to keep the content fresh and easy to understand… I absolutely ADORE it and now feel at rest when I receive emails asking about workshops that my students can’t make to. The course is now the main education tool I was to get out there whilst I totally redevelop The Instashoot Workshops.
So there you have it friends. The bite (blog) sized version of my 2016. Whilst yes I missed out a tonne of stuff, I feel at peace sharing the tid-bits that I have done so above. Those were the peaks of my year and the moments that made me pause and capture.
I hope you enjoyed reading through this (and if you didn’t I don’t blame you!) – It was definitely a therapeutic post for me, to just look back and breathe deeply on how much I’ve worked through in 2016.
Thank you to every single person I worked with, celebrated, created and designed for this year. Thank you to all those who up lifted me and to the ones who supported myself and my HUSBAND (squee) through every step we took last year. It was a big one for us.
So yep, I’m ready….. come at me 2017!