Hello my lovely,
So… On Tuesday night, THIS happened! (With just 2.5 weeks planning!)
To say I am overwhelmed, excited, humbled and knackered all at the same time is an understatement.
With a little help from my industry friends and gorgeous photographic evidence from plenty to declare weddings; we put on little press champagne soiree at RSA House to celebrate Nu Bride’s recent wedding blog award along with the opportunity to ask some of my friends in the wedding industry to join me on my quest to create a more visually inclusive industry.
I was absolutely humbled to have such wonderful people in the room including Nu Bride Ambassador the legendary designer Ian Stuart, Wedding Magazine, team Phillipa Lepley, leading bloggers, press and elite planners to name but a mere few!
I’d had the idea to put on a little press event for Nu Bride for a while and with encouragement and huge support from the industry after winning a wedding blog award, I felt the 1st anniversary of Nu Bride’s re-launch, would be a good time!
However, I’d clearly forgotten how HARD it is putting on a big event. With similar numbers to my own wedding, the difference between then and now was I had 2.5 weeks to plan instead of 11 months!
To say I became a little stressed with such a tight deadline on top of a very full on day job, was an understatement, but my oh my, I am so lucky to have SUCH talented, selfless and wonderful people in the wedding industry who made it so much easier.
One of the things I always try to do when working on an event is to collaborate with people who I like and enjoy being around, people who I trust and of course without question, are incredibly talented. Skill-set aside, I think it’s so important to work with people who you like when you are planning an event that is so close to your heart.
It means that once, (what I like to refer to as the ‘nuts and bolts’ of planning), are out-of-the-way, (e.g: finding your venue, picking a date, choosing your theme, the logistics, the-to-ing and fro-ing), then you can relax. Knowing that the talented suppliers you have handpicked to come on board, will be in their absolute element doing what they do best.
Other than setting the theme, the colours and overall ‘feel’ and foundation of the event, I let each collaborator bring their own creativity to the space. I left them to work their magic, they are absolute experts and giving them the space to show off their creative flair just allows them to give the most spectacular finish, working together to complement each others work.
As with my own wedding planning, the hardest part, was by far finding the perfect venue. At the beginning of January, I was ready to give up, until I was introduced to the divine RSA House which absolutely surpassed my expectations! As soon as I walked through the grand pillar entrance and beautiful Georgian building, with a modern vibrant twist, I knew instantly.
The Benjamin Franklin room was perfect, light airy grand and modern. It had the right ‘feel’. I had the pleasure of working with Elise. From the moment I walked in, staff were attentive, warm and friendly without being pretentious and this refreshing service fed through to the evening, even after the event when we were all exhausted, nothing was too much trouble.
Elise Parham at RSA House added, “It was our pleasure to host such an influential and important event. We open our doors to many happy couples throughout the year, and we feel that our diverse, modern and inclusive approach to wedding planning is the perfect fit for Nu Bride”
The Benjamin Franklin room was refurbished in 2012 and is licensed for wedding ceremonies. It just lends itself to weddings so beautifully, based in the heart of London, this venue is so gracious, traditional, yet modern cultural oasis.
A little history lesson: Until the mid-19th century the Benjamin Franklin Room was the Repository or Model Room and was used to exhibit models of prize-winning inventions. It was later converted into a library and reading room and is now used as an event facility. It was named the Benjamin Franklin Room in 1967 to mark the Society’s long association with the USA: Franklin was an active member and supported the institution in its early years.
The four columns were installed in 1922 to replace Victorian display cases installed in 1863, themselves a replacement for four Doric columns erected by the Adam brothers to support the Great Room above. The marble chimneypieces were originally installed in the Great Room, but were relocated during the refurbishment in the 1920s. The room was renovated in 2011-2012, by Matthew Lloyd Architects when a solid oak floor was installed and a new chandelier designed by Troika.
Putting it Together
By now you will have realised there is nothing glamorous about putting on an event. It’s hard work isn’t it!
Fresh new planner Jemma-Jade of Jemma-Jade Events is already making a mark in the wedding industry and came highly recommended. I was so excited to have her on board, especially since I didn’t have the privilege of a planner at my own wedding. However, 3 years later, I realise I am STILL a control freak, and I STILL loathe RSVP chasing but as much as I get stressed with the initial planning, I do for the most part, love it. So Jemma-Jade came on board for on the day co-ordination and styling. She just makes everything better! So calm, organised, intuitive and creative. She was absolutely my saving grace on the night.
I had the wonderful Joyce Connor of Brides and Beauty (another Nu Bride Ambassador ), wave her magic wand and pimp me up for the night whilst having a good old catch up. My tutu was via designer MD House via Etsy who made this for me and posted it within 6 days! Shoes = Choo, top Coast!
Because of the short time frame with putting on the event – my original plan was to send e-invites. But after very quick convincing, Jinder at The Finer Details came on board in a flash.
Jinder absolutely understood the ’cause’ and provided so much inspiration behind the scenes to add some of Nu Bride’s personal touches including quotes and cute goody bag tags, which I LOVED. For me, that’s what events should be about, the little details. Adding your mark and your personality throughout your event.
Jinder created beautiful modern, pocket fold invitations with a luxury pearlised finish in champagne gold and ivory. Setting the tone for the event ; she added a sash around the invitations with Nu Bride’s signature quote “We are all beautiful, we all matter”
Those of you who have been following Nu Bride for a while, know I like to inspire, and love a good inspirational quote, so Jinder weaved this into the night and provided all of our guests with a stunning 10 x 8″ print to take home and frame.
Amie Bone Flowers were Mr Nu Bride and I’s wedding florists back in 2012 and when I accidentally bumped into her at The National Wedding Show last year and found out she was entering the luxury London wedding market, I knew I wanted to collaborate with her and her brilliant, generous, honest and down-to-earth team and I earmarked her for this, as the perfect event. Amie has a talent for matching flowers with peoples personalities, so she knew what flowers I would like and boy did she get it right! And I love the use of wine glasses as vases!
When I first walked into the Benjamin Franklin Room, I gasped when I saw Amie Bone’s show-stopping pedestals, featuring a vibrant mix of Hydrangea’s gorgeous Cerise Vanda Orchids, a splash of red Naomi roses (my favourite), Gloriosa and quirky Miss Piggy Roses! The vases and glasses were adorned with elegant lace and pearls and subtle touches of romantic red rose petals around the stylish champagne gold sequinned linens
Queen of cakes: Elizabeth Solaru of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium really is the most generous, genuine and talented person in the industry. My wedding angel who was one of the first to support Nu Bride when I started blogging in 2012! Once again Elizabeth Solaru surpassed herself with her wonderful and opulent sweet treats and her brilliant attention to detail . From grand tiers and her clever attention to texture, detail and height, to delicious red velvet cupcakes ( Nu Bride red!) to chic cute cookies and delicate rose decorated cupcakes in a brilliant signature ECE frame. Oh and those cake pops got devoured! The cake table was definitely the talking point and congregation area of the evening!
Lighting and Production
Light Motif came on board just a week before the event and I was absolutely staggered by what they created and the investment they had in blending the lighting to add to the overall theme. Providing a splash of red Nu Bride mood lighting and a brilliant red and gold renaissance pattern in the ceiling. Adorning the space with storm lanterns, and candles adding to the ambience and bringing the floral and decadent sweet treats into the spotlight.
They also supplied their super chic mirrored bar, provided by Light Motif Simply Bars, which really added a sense of class and style while serving guests.
Production really does add another dimension to weddings and events, which I don’t think many couples are aware of or fully appreciate, myself included, up until now. Stunning.
The Canapés & Champagne
Now my little guests beat me to it and ate all the canapés! I heard the goats cheese arancini were absolutely delicious. I could tell, people were chasing the waiters around the room trying to grab more.
Guests were served generous lashings of inventive, beautifully presented and moreish canapés including; Black pepper macaroons, severn wye smoked salmon, soft herb cream, gruyere, potato & truffle tartlet, roast butternut squash, walnut & tor goats cheese arancini. Duck satay, cucumber relish, coriander and rounded off with a mango & lime meringue pie provided by award-winning caterers; Harbour & Jones via RSA House.
Glasses were flowing with delicious, light Bénédict Jonchère Grande Reserve champagne that I discovered last year via the brilliant The Perfect Cellar. The only champagne I enjoy! 3 lucky guests and their better halves were also treated to a fantastic prize draw to win a wine tasting experience courtesy of The Perfect Cellar!
Oh the lovely Daria at Plenty to Declare photography is such a delightful person to be around and her work, well, see for yourself in her brilliant photography. Everything is an honour and an absolute pleasure for her. She worked so hard on the night and was always there to capture every single moment, every detail and as you can see, the essence of the night perfectly.
I first worked with Jo & Apos on my very first styled shoot Grace – they took a chance on working with me, I was a novice, no idea what I was doing and they were supporting me and have been ever since. I love their work and LOVE them as incredibly gentle and kind human beings and I have no doubt that’s why some Nu Bride readers have booked them for their wedding days and why they are Ambassadors. They put together the incredible edit of the event above which captured every important detail and gives you a warm dose of how infectious the energy was on the night and a touch of how important it was for me to share my message. PLUS, they turned the edit around in under 12 hours. I nearly had a cardiac arrest. Absolutely incredible.
The entertainment was put together by elite, bespoke entertainment agency; I Can Create who create conceptual quality and bespoke acts to complement any event. I Can Create acts are well-respected in the music industry and are often well accomplished acts performing with seasoned professionals such as Mariah Carey & Stevie Wonder. I wanted something modern with a soulful twist and the rest was up to Waleed of I Can Create, who gave us a little Valentine’s treat; 4 gorgeous musicians to serenade us and provide us with fresh soulful sounds and cheeky smiles featuring the incredible Sean Rumsey fresh from LA. They were an absolute delight !
The Night & The Message
I was SO nervous on the night and on the run up kept having nightmares no-one would turn up. lol!
The night had a wonderful upbeat energy and a lovely uplifting buzz and was touched by the effort everyone made.
It was so wonderful to meet Nu Bride readers and Rhiannon and Maurice and Nana and Fritz! That to me is what this is all about, providing a space where I can help you plan your wedding, where I can inspire you and make you smile when the wedding planning politics are tipping you over the edge ! But most importantly, I hope, where I can, make you feel validated, by providing you content that resonates with, and represents YOU.
Mr Nu Bride and Nu Bride Ambassador John Nassari discussing photography ideas!
I gave a little speech on the night talked about my engagement, the wedding industry, my award and my own battles with self-worth and identity which was very difficult for me to get through without crying. I showed my guests a tiny clip of Dark Girls documentary featuring a little girl no older than 5, identifying what she thinks is pretty and ugly, purely based on ethnicity. (Which I asked illustrator Crisi Miki Wiki to recreate in a diverse bridal illustration, seen on the plasma welcome screen as guests entered)
I explained how I first saw this clip 2 days before I started Nu Bride and amongst my own frustration with feeling under-represented, invisible and completely un-beautiful as a bride-to-be, this clip motivated me to want to make a positive change in the wedding industry. So that if I am ever lucky enough to become a mother, that my little girl will see beauty in all ethnicities, but especially her own. For her to feel validated because she can see positive images that represent her across all media platforms that aren’t just segregated. So that one day when she is lucky enough to get married she feels represented, beautiful, validated and that she matters too.
I said a little something like this;
The need for acceptance and ultimately, validation starts when we are children. It’s a human condition and it is important. But it is so hard to feel validated when you are not visually represented in an inclusive way. I ask everyone in a position of power in the wedding industry just to consider how to be more inclusive when they market their brands. Little girls all have their fairy-tale dreams, they need to ‘see’ that there is diversity in beauty, it is up to us to inspire a generation and educate them and for us to be inspired to be better.
We are all beautiful, we all matter.
Of course I couldn’t let my guests go home without a party bag! Packed with gifts from Amara, Amie Bone Flowers, The Finer Details, Elizabeth Cake’s Emporium. The Gorgeous Sian and Ian Stuart heading home!
An abundance of love for your support and to everyone who came; without you it is all completely pointless. I shall continue to do my best to inspire you and to make the industry even more gorgeous!
Happy Valentine’s Day Beautiful!
PS. Don’t my Nu Bride dream team rock!
Event Curated by Nova Reid: Nu Bride
Cinematography: Urban Cinematography
Photography: plenty to declare photography
Cakes and Sweet Treats: Elizabeth’s Cakes Emporium
Champagne: The Perfect Cellar
Entertainment: I Can Create…
Flowers and Décor Styling: Amie Bone Flowers
Production & Lighting: Light Motif
Stationery: The Finer Details
Styling and on the day Co-ordination: Jemma-Jade Events