Melina Nicholson

What have you been up to since you graduated from the Wedding Academy?

Since graduating in 2017, I have continued to grow my Destination Wedding Planning business, which started in 2011 here in the Cinque Terre, Italy, into a full service planning and styling agency. We have launched Cinque Terre Honeymoon, been featured in top wedding blogs including: Trendy Bride, B.LOVED and the Perfect Palette and were winners of the Luxury Travel Guide Wedding Awards for Italy.

What’s your favourite part about running your wedding or event business?

Given we work with couples from all over the world, many in interracial relationships and we ourselves are multicultural, we love the different family and cultural traditions that couples bring to their weddings. Often our job is to find ways of blending different traditions for instance the time we celebrated a tea ceremony in an Italian vineyard for a Singapore and Italian couple, or when we found a local focacceria to make Challah bread for an Inter-faith Jewish blessing or when we helped with translation as our Italian DJ coordinated the “kidnapping” of the bride as part of a Russian wedding game. It such a thrill to recreate age-old traditions from around the world with an Italian twist.

If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out what would it be?

Say “yes” to everything. Without clients you don’t have a business. So the first five years you just want to gather as much experience as you can, even if you don’t make much of a profit. This could mean having another job while you develop your business. Once you have established yourself, with some great testimonials and accreditations, then you can start to pick and choose what type of business you want to be and the clients that best fit your mission statement.

How did the Wedding Academy help you in your journey?

I am a strong advocate for up-skilling so I decided to study the Certificate in Event Design to officially add the expertise of wedding event styling to my bag of tricks. The course gave me not only the theoretical background to event design but also practical tips and tools that I now use every day. Who knew there was such a trick to tying a simple bow? Now even my gift wrapping looks amazing! And the more I learn the more I want to know.

It also improved my appreciation of the difference between wedding planning and wedding designing. I learnt that they are two completely different skill sets, requiring distinct qualifications and should be recognised as separate services. We are now an agency that provides both services: planning and design.

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