Some people buy shit presents, almost like they have never met the receiver before in their lives. I guess I mean thoughtless gifts. They make me a bit sad. Why bother with a gift if you’re going to run in to a supermarket and pick up the first thing you see. I think it’s better to say ‘I didn’t get you anything yet because I couldn’t find anything special so your present will be late‘. No doubt the person will appreciate the gift more this way.
With this in mind I was considering a gift for my parents to say Happy New Year, as a family 2014 was up there with the worst, so I wanted it to mean something.
As I was mulling over ideas I saw a FaceBook update from Bottle Bazaar and it clicked, they love wine and I could personalise a message, I emailed India, the brains behind the business to ask her if she could choose a dry white wine and create a label that said ‘Bring on 2015!’
The box arrived safely and timely and the was a thing of beauty itself. The label was perfect and Mum and Dad went with the recommendation of enjoying this crisp white (Ugni Blanc/Columbard) with fish n chips. ‘It was bloody lovely’ said Dad, 81 and Mum has kept the bottle in her kitchen as she really did love the gift.
So there you have it, gifting, it’s an art.
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How did you get into the wedding industry?
I’m a milliner and accessories designer, making hats, fascinators, wedding veils and fabric flowers from vintage and eco-friendly materials. My designs are strongly influenced by 1940’s-1960’s fashion, but with a bit of an alternative, modern edge. I’m still quite new to the wedding industry. I originally trained as an illustrator/animator, and would never have imagined working in the wedding industry, but I have always loved working with textiles and learned to make my own clothes as a teenager.
I started selling a few pieces on Etsy in 2011 as a sideline and got more requests for my fascinators and fabric flowers for weddings, so I decided to look into it further. I realised that there was a growing demand for unusual, non-traditional pieces for weddings that really reflected the couple’s personalities and were kind to the environment, so that’s what I decided to focus on. My first proper wedding commission in November 2013 was for seven rainbow bridesmaid headdresses for a wedding in Italy! It was a challenge but also a lot of fun, and I’ve been gradually building up the business from there. I’m now teaching fascinator workshops and running crafty hen parties too (see my workshop page). It’s been a mad few years, but totally worth it.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I get a kick out of problem solving – coming up with a design that’s just right for my customers and that really reflects their personality. If they go away smiley and confident about how they look, I know I’ve done my job right.
Have you made any friends in other suppliers?
I still feel like the new kid in school a little bit, but despite my initial worries people have been very friendly. Kelly has been great to work with, as have Georgina and Shannon from Ruby and Stardust, among many others. I go to a monthly meet-up with local wedding suppliers as part of the Oxfordshire Project, and it’s always nice to catch up with people and swap ideas over a glass of wine.
What do enjoy most about wedding fairs?
I love talking weddings with both the couples and the other suppliers. It’s a great time to get to know people better and exchange ideas, so that everyone goes home feeling inspired and excited. The presence of free cake is also very welcome!
Have you ever made friends with a bride/couple?
It’s not always possible if long distances are involved, but I do like to keep in touch with some of the people I’ve worked with on Twitter and Facebook to see how they’re doing after the craziness of wedding planning has settled down. I worked with a lovely couple called Siobhan and Lee last year on a Halloween/Day of the Dead themed wedding, and they sent a very kind thank you message just before Christmas.
What’s your guilty pleasure at the moment?
Chocolate stout – it’s the perfect winter tipple.
Tuna salad with black olives.
Celebrity husband or wife?
It’s a close run thing between Nathan Fillion and Tom Hiddleston – I like a chap with a bit of a cheeky twinkle.
What’s your best bit of advice you could give a couple for their wedding day?
Try not to let the pressure get to you too much. Avoid thinking of it as the Best Day of Your Life, but more as the first of many fantastic days together as a married couple. If the stress of planning gets too much, take a break and do something fun together to remind yourselves why you’re doing this in the first place.
If you didn’t do what you do now, what would be your dream wedding industry job?
If I were any good at it, I’d love to do cakes. Some of my friends, like Rania of Magic Mixer Cakes & Bakes, are incredibly talented bakers and cake decorators. It must be great to be able to create something that’s beautiful to look at but also delicious!
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