Member Focus – Amore Star Events
Its a great pleasure to introduce you to UKAWP Professional Planner Member Amore Star Events, who have been organising and planning weddings professionally since 2014. Tell us about yourself Gilly….
How did it all start?
I have always been obsessed with the fairytale idea of weddings, for as long as I can remember. I used to play dress up with a bed sheet wrapped round me, a pillow case on my head, and my Mum’s heels on. When I was at university I attended a talk given by a successful wedding planner who was part of the university’s Alumni. (Sonia Abrams who at the time ran Sparkle and Wow). Until then I thought wedding planner’s just existed in The States and that only wealthy celebs hired them. I had no idea that the job existed in the UK and that there were people out there doing it right now. I contacted the Sonia and arranged work experience with her on a large Sikh wedding in North London for 1000 guests. I LOVED it, and from there, I was hooked.
I set about trying to get more work experience to learn as much as I possibly could and to find out if I’d be any good at it. I was in the middle of a Media and English degree, because I thought the media industry looked exciting, but the thought of being a wedding planner working for myself seemed so scary. After a great deal of research, I sent my CV out with an explanation of who I was to a number of wedding planners who appealed to me, asking whether I could shadow them. (I now get that email myself, and will always respond, even if I can’t help them). Out of the many emails I sent, most of them went ignored, but one wonderful lady responded. Andri Benson. I met her for a coffee and we clicked instantly. She kindly offered me the chance to assist her on a wedding and I never looked back. I’ve assisted her since and still do to this day on many weddings. After a career break travelling the world, I returned back to the UK and got back in touch with Andri. I will never forget her words: ‘You know that you could do this yourself, why don’t you?’ So I did. Andri introduced me to the UKAWP and I attended 121 coaching with Sandy and learnt the basics of how to start and run a business. I was paying off my student loan, in a junior media role with little income but I managed to launch Amore Star Events in 2014. I work full time in the media world still, but escape to wedding and event heaven in my spare time.
Do you have a favourite venue?
Busbridge Lakes in Surrey. It’s a marquee venue in the grounds of a private estate and bird sanctuary. I discovered it just as I was launching my business and held my very first styled shoot here. It’s just a little bit different from other marquee venues I’ve been too and is run by the family. There is absolutely no fear of feeling like you’re on a wedding conveyer belt here plus it’s a complete blank canvas – perfect place to let your imagination run wild.
How would clients describe you?
One of my clients once said that ‘every bride needs her Gilly’ which I loved. I try and really get to know my couples as much as possible and often end up become very good friends with them through the planning process. I’d like to think that they would describe me as friendly, calm in a crisis, and knowledgeable.
Wedding planners or suppliers you particularly admire?
To be honest, anyone that’s had the confidence to really make a go of it, push boundaries, and make money out of doing what they love is an inspiration to me.
How do you unwind?
Escaping London to the seaside with my other half. I love nothing more than switching off my phone and the outside world and being by the sea with my future hubby. Dorset is a particular favourite of ours, in fact it’s where he proposed in 2017.
If that’s not an option, then snuggles on the sofa with our cat Guinness, with lots of candles on, a glass of red, and a good series to binge watch.
What trends are you seeing for 2020?
White weddings – timeless and classic, but I’m seeing a lot of florists and stylists featuring them more and more frequently.
Eco friendly weddings – plastic free, recycled or online stationery, local suppliers etc.
Bringing outside inside – botanical, greenery, indoor trees. Certainly the safer option in the UK weather wise, but also looks fab in the right space.
What is your signature dish?
I make a mean chilli con carne. Although I often use cauliflower rice and tons of veg with turkey mince as a slightly healthier option.
Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love work on?
This took me AGES to decide on. I’ve limited my list to two, as I just couldn’t decide!
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi: they announced their engagement the day after same-sex marriage was legalised in California. Followed by a small private ceremony at home. I’m a big fan of Ellen, and just know it would have been a small yet beautiful affair…my favourite.
William and Kate – it had been so many years since a Royal wedding, I adored the lead up and how the whole country got into the spirit of it! I love all of the traditions, but that there were a few things that the couple decided to change and modernise.
What is your vice?
Haribo Giant Strawberries. I could eat them all day every day. I usually have something sweet in my pocket during a wedding when I’m on my feet all day and these are my absolute faves.