I first came to wedding planning much the same way as many of my fellow students; I spent a large part of 2015 planning my own wedding and the prospect of no more “wedmin” after the big day horrified me! After years spent working in the legal industry and later for an international fine art house I found myself in the cliché position of feeling as though I had lost my direction. Long hours spent commuting to London were taking their toll and although I had always toyed with the idea of starting my own business it seemed like too big a risk to take when, like many of my generation who had been churned out of university straight into a recession, I kept reminding myself how grateful I should be to have a stable job at all. It wasn’t until after my own wedding day that I finally decided to take the plunge when my father wrote me a very touching letter expressing his support for my self-employment ideas and including the following quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar; “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures”. Suffice to say I put my big girl pants on the following day and handed in my notice!
It is still very early days for my wedding planning business and there is still a great deal of work to be done but I’ve had the time of my life so far getting to know my fellows in the wedding industry, working with some fantastic brides and pitching at some really fun and quirky wedding exhibitions. I’ve invested in advertising with some great magazines like RocknRoll Bride and have also been featured on some high ranking blogs including Rock My Wedding and Style & the Bride. Earlier this year my husband and I fulfilled a long-held dream and adopted a young greyhound from Battersea Dogs Home, in addition to which I do a lot of fundraising for animal welfare causes, so I definitely find I have a much healthier balance in my personal life than I did this time last year. From a selfish perspective I am also lucky enough to get to relive all the excitement and joy that comes with planning a wedding over and over again!
My company’s name “Three Graces” refers to the three daughters of Greek god Zeus, otherwise known as the charities Beauty, Charm and Joy. Greek mythology was one of my favourite subjects at school and considering that beauty, charm and joy are three qualities essential to the success of any wedding it seemed like a no-brainer to name my business after the Graces! Although I’m always delighted to assist brides with any type of wedding, my real passion is concept or themed weddings. Nothing would inspire me more than if a bride came to me and asked me to design a wedding based around her favourite childhood book, a piece of theatre or a beloved pastime. For example, just imagine how enchanting it would be to walk into a reception room decked out as a replica of Anna Pavlovna’s salon from Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, complete with dashing waiting staff dressed in that iconic electric blue Hussars jacket! It is so important for every wedding to be a unique reflection of the couple’s personalities and this is why I try to encourage my couples not to get too hung up on the latest wedding trends and instead to think about the things that are really important to them and bring them pleasure in life. If that means throwing some of the more traditional wedding elements out of the window then so be it!
I know that many brides feel wary of going down the concept wedding route for fear of creating something that looks gimmicky or over the top, but my role is to help them bring that concept to life in an elegant and tasteful way so that every little detail from the big décor items to something as small and insignificant as the cocktail napkins all contribute towards the theme. As well as offering the full wedding planning service I also provide on-the-day event management for brides who just need someone present to co-ordinate their big day, as well as budget friendly “inspiration packages”, planned proposals, elopements and other romantic events.
“You took so much of the stress away from Paul and I on the day, went above and beyond the call of duty – hoovering the marquee just before the wedding , keeping the dog out of the marquee and clearing up after the event, just to mention a few of the things . You were just always there quietly making sure that every thing was running smoothly. You were so easy to get on with that we thought of you as one of our wedding guests. At the same time we know how good you were in sorting out any problems that arose during the day – in fact so good that we had no idea that there had been a few problems until after the event. We have no hesitation in recommending you. Everyone needs a Sarah at their wedding .”
S & P, Parents of the Bride