Happy Anniversary To Me!

It's not often that I toot my own trumpet but October sees a rather lovely anniversary that I'm most definitely going to be celebrating. Next month marks two years since I started writing features for the wonderful Glitzy Secrets.

And I want to celebrate this for so many reasons. Firstly, I LOVE the Glitzy team. They're great people and they're incredibly supportive (especially of my other book writing projects) but mostly, I admire how they completely 'get' the wedding world. I have to say that I really look forward to receiving my monthly briefing document from them because I just never know what I'm going to be asked to write about and that's such a treat.

I also really admire the fact that Glitzy Secrets blog about things they know their clients are going to be interested in. It would be really easy for to just fill GS Inspiration with loads of features that purely promote their products but they don't and I think that's brilliant.

So, if you'd like to hop on over to Glitzy Secrets to check out the blog, do. It's packed with features and new ones are published on a very regular basis. Just follow Glitzy Secrets on Twitter to find out when ever new piece goes live.

If you're wondering where to start, here are a few of my own personal favourites but trust me, there's loads here to enjoy:

If you'd like lots of lovely blog content for your own blog, just get in touch - tamrynlawrence@gmail.com. Although Glitzy Secrets name me as the author of the features on their website, I write for many wedding professionals 'anonymously' too!

I do always seem to get given anything period or with an historical slant. Can't think why!

I do always seem to get given anything period or with an historical slant. Can't think why!

Welcome To Flossy & Willow - Wiltshire's Newest Bridal Boutique

As you might know, I just love the team at Perfect Day Bride, the super stylish bridal boutique in the Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon. So, when they told me they were opening their second shop just a few minutes away, I couldn't wait to find out more.

And I wasn't disappointed. Flossy & Willow has the same cool contemporary feeling and friendly, knowledgeable staff that ooze passion for their work yet the wedding dresses on offer sit at a different price point to Perfect Day. The latest collections from LM by Lusan Mandongus, Mikaella by Paloma Blanca and Willowby by Watters not to mention the vintage inspired delights of Eliza Jane Howell are all available from £900 to £1500.

The girls at Flossy & Willow have been absolutely overjoyed by the reaction to their new venture and, as you ca see from this feature I wrote for Love My Dress, it's no surprise when the boutique is this fabulous...

images by  Evoke Pictures

images by Evoke Pictures


May Your Days Be Merry & Bright

So, here I am, about to flick on the out-of-office, mix myself a Snowball (filthy, I'm so sorry) and kickback for the Christmas holidays. But, I couldn't let this moment pass without saying a huge and heartfelt thank you to some of the people who've made the last twelve months all kinds of brilliant.

Coco Wedding Venues, Katrina Otter, Perfect Day Bride (and the forthcoming Flossy & Willow), Wedding Yurts, Glitzy Secrets, Tarnia Williams, Liberty In Love, Pudding Bridge, Coco & Kate, Roberta Facchini, Chosen Wedding Collective, Always Andri, Vivien J, Oyster & Pearl, Olofson Design, Hot Pink, For The Love Of Weddings, Gemma Milly, The Wedding Industry Awards and of course, the ever-fabulous Annabel and everyone at Love My Dress are just a few of those who've made me smile throughout the year. I also must mention The Wedding Reporter and The Little Wedding Helper for simply being all-round ace.

I'm going to be taking some time out with my family and friends now until Tuesday 5th January when I'll be back and firing on all cylinders, ready for more wedding words and stories in 2016 (2016?!? OMG!!) and I look forward to seeing you there.

Finally, all that's left to say is whatever you're doing this festive season and however you're celebrating, may your days be merry and bright.

So much love,

Tamryn x

p.s. if you can't quite disengage the work-brain over the holidays and want to get a head start on the planning for the new year, I've still got a few spots left for my 2016 Planning Sessions and if you need words for websites, brochures or blogs, why not drop me a note now and I'll get back to you in January...

Success Is In The Trying

Oh dear blog, I have neglected you so badly but summer... well, summer was a speeding bullet of busy. And to be honest, early September was more crazy than ever because my son went to senior school.

Now, I've written about this fantastic place before and I have to say that now he's there, the school is even more amazing than I thought it could be. Son has made the jump to seniors without a care and that little jump up has made him take-off. He's flying already and I couldn't be happier.

You see, the school really gets the kids going - they're all about being curious, being independent and being brave. They want the kids to make mistakes because, as the Head said, you make mistakes when you're outside of your comfort zone and it's when you step beyond those cosy little barriers that you've created for yourself that the good stuff happens.

So, as we start (and please forgive me for saying this) the run towards Christmas and the New Year and we begin to think about what we've achieved this year and what we'd like to aim for next, remember that success isn't simple and different people use different measures. You're not the same as anyone else in any way, shape or form so why in heavens name would your success look the same as yours?

But mostly, look at whether or not you tried. Because if you did, you're already most of the way there...

Springing Back Into It...

For someone who loves writing and makes her living from writing, I've been really really bad about writing for myself of late. And I don't just mean here on this blog but for the purposes of this post, we'll content ourselves with talking about this blog. Or this not-really-a-blog as I probably should call it.

Anyway, I have nothing whatsoever to complain about because so far, 2015 has been all kinds of awesome. Since Christmas, I've worked on some absolutely amazing projects, have met lots of wonderful people and have so much goodness in the pipeline, it's unreal. I promise, hand on heart, to be far more diligent about keeping you and this let's-try-and-make-it-a-blog-again on track over the coming months.

So, to ease me back into this and to bring you up to date with some fab things you might have missed, let's have a little run down of what's been going on this year so far...

The brilliant Perfect Day Bride has had a complete makeover - new look boutique, brand spanking new website and beautiful new logos and images (courtesy of Xander & Thea) so if you've not yet taken a look, then I suggest you do...

Whilst we're talking about Xander & Thea, have you seen that exquisite new website yet? I absolutely adore Alethiea's images- they seem to have flown to my screen straight from an art gallery wall. You might also want to take a look at her engagement shoot tips over on B.Loved as well...

I'm always so proud to say that I write for the fantastic (and multi-award winning!) Love My Dress and it's a privilege to be a tiny part of Annabel's brilliant and inspiring creation. My catalogue of features grows by the week but I'd like to draw your attention to this piece all about the stylish Belle & Bunty. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Hannah and Alice of late and I hope this feature does their creativity and passion justice.

Image by  Julie Michaelsen  as seen on  Love My Dress

Image by Julie Michaelsen as seen on Love My Dress

I've also been writing for the sparkly Glitzy Secrets and you can find my musings over on GS Inspiration. I'm really loving writing these pieces although I have to admit to spending far too long finding images to inspire me. But hey, when you love what you do, no time is wasted. Right? Right?!

I am also having to sit on my hands (well, not really but you know what I mean) as I write this because I've been working away behind the scenes with lots of super talented wedding suppliers on new websites, new projects and all manner of fabulousness so do come back soon to find out what else I've been up to of late. Oh, what a tease!

Yes indeed, 2015 is shaping up to be a right good 'un.

How To Stand Out At Brides The Show...

"You'd never have had anything like this ten years ago," said a wedding planner friend to me on Saturday as we met on the stairs at Brides The Show. I was descending, past the huge light-up letters that must have been every bride's selfie spot of choice at the show to the vintage photo booth and Imagination Room and she was heading up to The Sommelier's Table, wedding cake exhibit and Wedding Planner's Lounge. And she was right - times they are a-changing.

Brides-The-Show-Letters.JPG

After too many years of wedding fairs/fayres in nondescript hotel function suites where 6ft tables draped with white linen cloths, complete with the creases that come with laundry service ironing, are guarded by wedding suppliers who had their sales patter down pat, the wedding industry has most certainly evolved into something softer, chicer and a damn sight more pleasant.

Yes, there are still the 'bag-hunters' at events like Brides The Show - those who want to cruise the stands picking up as many impressive looking branded bags as possible whilst ditching everything that's inside as soon as they're out of sight. There are still also the slightly confused looking men, the trying-to-be-excited-even-though-it's-not-about-them bridesmaids and the Mums who might as well wear badges saying 'I have no idea what's going on here'. But, happily, their numbers are dwindling.

So, the challenge for wedding professionals who spend a lot of their time and money in prepping for an event like Brides The Show or good quality regional/local event is - how to stand out. And, from what I saw on Saturday as I wandered around the show, there are basically two ways to do this.

The first is one I really don't recommend and that is to style it out, Old School. You know what I mean by this. I mean the stands that are still manned by the vaguely predatory sales people. They have no finesse, no real connection with the person they're talking too - they've been given their targets of brides to sign up and damn it all, that's what they're going to do. The Old School stands are either too bland or too try-hard. They're often a bit too corporate and a little bit soulless. They're staffed by employees who trot out the company line, not owners or enthusiastic assistants. They're not great and they stand out a mile. I'm sure they get enquiries and I'm sure they pick up business but they don't connect with type of bride who becomes a virtual ambassador for the brands she chooses. It's transactional, nothing more.

On the other side of the walkway (literally in some cases) there are the exhibitors who've got it spot on. Their stands, whatever size they are, are welcoming and well styled. These companies, whatever their size, are staffed by good people doing good work. The chat is engaging and genuine, not a conversation that's clearly steering you round to the 'can I take your details' closer. Brides linger on these stands because they want to, not because whoever is talking to them WILL NOT LET THEM GO. Brides who love this approach rather than the wham-bam-thank-you-maam hit and run outlined above are the ones that will sing your praises online talk about you to their friends and become your own unpaid PR. Working relationships with these consumers are easier - you're more well suited, you understand each other and, like a good marriage, you're coming to the relationship as equals. Yes, some show visitors might pass you by if they don't get you. And that's fine - you don't want every client, you want your clients. And they're there - you just have to show them you are too.

The Revival Rooms  at Brides The Show

The Revival Rooms at Brides The Show

So, in short, how do you stand out? By being real, authentic, genuine, welcoming, passionate and friendly. You get that your stand is more than just somewhere to store your brochures for a weekend, it's a little look into how you work with your clients and a real reflection of the brilliance they can expect from you. 

It seems unlikely that a great quote for planning a successful wedding show stand, or indeed planning any event or project where you interact with potential clients, would come from a baseball movie but it does...

"If you build it, they will come."

Just build it right.

Halfpenny London  at Brides The Show - Cool. As.

Halfpenny London at Brides The Show - Cool. As.

The Rosewood London 's stand was pretty, full of personality and absolutely spoke volumes about the hotel. 

The Rosewood London's stand was pretty, full of personality and absolutely spoke volumes about the hotel. 

Totally loved  Minna Hepburn 's stand...

Totally loved Minna Hepburn's stand...

Nila Holden 's session in the Imagination Room was standing room only and she spoke from the heart. Perfect.

Nila Holden's session in the Imagination Room was standing room only and she spoke from the heart. Perfect.

Let Us Lay In The Sun...

I did this yesterday. I lay in the sun, in the grass, and counted good things. Last week was, well, interesting to say the least and I'd reached the end of it feeling deflated. One slightly negative thought tends to throw open the door to all of its friends and they all come rushing in, determined to party like a fresher at university.

image via  Pinterest

image via Pinterest

Work, feeling a bit under the weather, a son home from school with the same bug, builders and plumbers intruding on my peace, emergency trips to the vet, the inevitable crash after the Thames Path Challenge and a myriad of decisions and jobs just made me want to scream. I didn't scream however. I went for a run and tried to run so fast everything would be left behind. That definitely didn't work but hey, I might have given passing drivers a laugh.

Then, I read this article about the stresses of homeworking on The Telegraph website and I found myself nodding along in agreement. Yes, the washing. Yes, the deliveries. Yes, the feeling that you're part house-keeper part home-worker. Yes, the continual battle to get people to take you seriously. It was the perfect piece to read after the week I'd had. Woe woe woe. Sob sob sob.

But it was perhaps at  that moment that the wide open door in my head that was allowing all of the shouting horrid thoughts in was slammed shut. And it was slammed shut by the prospect of the alternatives. Because, however tough this whole working for yourself balance thing can be, the key words in my previous sentence are the ones that made me lay in the sun and count the good things. I work for myself.

A few years ago, I had a short and unhappy dalliance with the corporate world. I would don my office attire and leave home before my son was even dressed for school and return home in time to cook dinner, shout about homework left undone and put him to bed before doing the whole damn thing again the next day. The holidays were worse - no flexbility, no fun, no opportunities to take an hour in the afternoon for a game of badminton and catch up later. I spent my summer in an air conditioned office trying to share an enthusiasm for weddings that no-one else wanted or understood and attending meeting after meeting where nothing was done and no-one spoke their mind. I happily left. I'm not cut out to work like that, for people like that and in that kind of environment.

So when I re-read The Telegraph piece, I looked at it differently. I want this lifestyle. I want to walk my son to school while he still wants my company. I want to go for a run, to pop out if I choose to and I want to be the grown up, working to my own schedule and making my own decisions. I want to have flowers on my desk, pretty on my walls and the freedom to pick and choose my clients. This creative, difficult, fantastic, hard, soul-breaking, heart-filling life is the life I have chosen and it is good. It is full of opportunities and devoid of dullness. I don't have meetings that make my eyes glaze over. I have meetings with people that inspire me to do better. I don't do someone else's bidding. I dance to my own tune.

And, that's worth the juggling, the balancing, the ups and down and any amount of washing you like.

The Must-Have Of The Season - Glitter...

Judging by my diary, my jeans and my inability to walk in heels, I've clearly not been f-rowing it at London Fashion Week (although, Miss Bush's updates on Facebook have been, let's face it, as good as being there). However, despite my distinct  lack of design credentials, I can tell you, good wedding folk of the world, what's going to be hot this season.

Glitter.

I can actually hear you tutting from here and muttering under your breath at my super slow uptake of this wedding trend. But, before you unfollow, unlike and block me forever for being so utterly hopeless, let me refer you to this...

glittering_eyes

People that sparkle are always the the best to be around. When someone loves their work, speaks with passion and acts with spirited intent, they are irresistible. But this quote by the sainted Roald Dahl goes deeper than that - it's about living a life that lights you up and it's about watching the world with a sense of wide-eyed wonder. 

Because being part of someone's wedding, being involved in such momentous occasion is not something that should dull you. Yes, yes, I know the mechanics of business can be dull - none of us got into this to do the invoicing or pay the VAT bill - but the weddings, the brides, the grooms, the families, the stories and the emotions are what set our businesses apart from the everyday workaday world so many of us left behind.

If you've involved with weddings, watching with glittering eyes should be the simplest thing in the world. It should be the way you recharge your batteries and redouble your efforts. When you see what's around you, you should see something special and be proud to be a part of it.

The full quote from the marvellous Mr Dahl reads... "and above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places."

So, let your eyes glitter this autumn. And who knows what you'll find.

A Summer With Shades Of Coco...

I am beyond happy that I get to work with the amazing Emma Hla of Coco Wedding Venues. Coco, if you've been somewhere with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears, is the most deliciously designed website. Every style of venue can be found here, including some that you just won't find anywhere else. It's beautiful, it's stylish and it's making a splash for all the right reasons. Despite only launching earlier this year, Emma & Coco Wedding Venues made the shortlist in the prestigious 'Best Designed Blog' category in Wedding magazine's blog awards. Whoop and whoop again.

coco-wedding-venues (1).jpg

However, Emma's super stylish eye extends beyond the screen and she collaborates with the equally lovely Katrina Otter to produce beautiful shoots the brim over with detail and pretty aplenty. Earlier this year, the duo directed a shoot at Narborough Hall that's already featured on Rock My Wedding and in Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine. I also happen to know that there's more of this shoot coming up in other excellent magazines soon so keep watching.

The Coco Wedding Venues/Katrina Otter shoot features in Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine...

The Coco Wedding Venues/Katrina Otter shoot features in Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine...

In August, I was thrilled to be able to go behind the scenes at Emma & Katrina's latest shoot at the beyond stunning Iscoyd Park. This delectably house, nestled on the English/Welsh border played host to some tip-top talent and I am almost having to sit on my hands now to make sure I don't spill any of the secrets of the shoot before it's published. However, I can promise you that you're going to love it.

The very talented Rebecca Goddard capturing something beautiful...

The very talented Rebecca Goddard capturing something beautiful...