Member Focus: Stacey-Marie Chalk

Today I’m delighted to introduce Stacey-Marie from Cherry Topped who is one of our associate members based in Reigate. Here at the UKAWP we love Stacey-Marie enthusiasm and we think you can see her personality through her answers below.


How did it all start?

The gradual realisation of working in a corporate environment without any potential for being creative hit home when I started to plan our wedding(s); one in South Africa and one in England, two very different celebrations! I realised that wedding planning combined the elements I loved from my experience in purchasing such as research, supplier sourcing, relationship management and project management with the creativity which I once used to be so involved in and had missed. Having the opportunity to plan someone else’s wedding a few months after becoming Mrs C, this cemented my rumbling thoughts of what my next steps should be…

How would clients describe you? 

My first client described me as a perfectionist and having consideration for every last detail, hence the origin of my company name “Cherry Topped” – everything is with a cherry on top! I have been told I have a calming nature (important for the morning of the wedding especially!), an eye for creativity and style and being able to bring out ideas which suit my clients’, as well as being very organised (of course a necessity in this job!) and professional.

Wedding planner you admire?

Without sounding ‘cheesy’, I admire Kelly, Sandy and Bernadette for not only the work they do as wedding planners and business women, but the work they do on top of their full individual business calendars, to promote professional standards within the wedding planning industry and to support and promote the members of the UKAWP. It is an admirable ongoing achievement!

ahh thanks Stacey, you’ve made us go all goey inside 🙂

How do you unwind?

I love a good book when I can allow myself to pick up a novel instead of the laptop! I love cooking and going for walks around gardens and stately homes or bike rides with Mr C. We love our food and wine so we try to make up for it with walks and bike rides, though we haven’t quite learnt the trick to doing it in equal amounts! 😉 Going for a good boogie to some decent music or doing some Lindy Hop to some wonderful Big Band swing music!

What themes are you working on for 2010/11? 

A subtle Mary Poppins theme is one that I am currently working on for next year, and I am just so excited by it! When my clients mentioned that they had considered Mary Poppins, I got quite enthusiastic about it (hopefully not too much that it frightened them, hopefully it encouraged them!) There is so much you can do with this theme: “spoon full of sugar” sweeties, silhouettes, floating umbrellas to dress the venue, “practically perfect in every way” quotes, spirit bottles disguised as medicine bottles for favours, stripes, animals, carousel horses, lucky chimney sweep…the list is endless!

What trends are you seeing? 

The style trend for the bride next year appears to be quite classic and elegant, with reference to the old Hollywood glamour era and a Grace Kelly feel. There are lots of ballerina style dresses, full floor length skirts with layers of soft tulle, soft cotton lace, belts, birdcage veils, gloves and definitely straps and sleeves rather than strapless.

What is your signature dish?

If we’re talking cooking then it would have to be “Stacey Pasta”, as named by friends at University. I would make this for them when we got back after a night out on the town and they loved it! In true student style I’d use any ingredients going (within reason), although it has since evolved to something a little more sophisticated using garlic, white wine, crème fraiche, thyme and mushrooms for the sauce base, adding a bit of chilli if required. Add in anything else you fancy such as bacon, chicken, asparagus..!

Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love to design?

It would most definitely have to be Audrey Hepburn, who has been my idol since I can remember! Her weddings were relatively understated, I imagine due to her career being filled with glamour and exquisite costumes, but I would love to do a Cecil Beaton influenced wedding for her. His styling and costumes were just so beautiful and creative, and suited her perfectly.

Is the job as glamorous as you thought? 

It is romantic, creative and wonderfully rewarding, but certainly not glamorous. I wouldn’t be able to do a very good job if I swanned around on my clients’ wedding days in a fabulous designer dress and stunning high heels sipping champagne! Having said that, it is important to dress professionally and appropriately as well as keeping yourself ‘well groomed’ at all times as your personal presentation counts for a lot in this industry.

What is your vice?

I’ve just asked Mr C, he has provided me with a lovely big long list! Dancing, flowers, shoes, bags, dresses, diamonds, treats, Christmas, parties, red wine, champagne, real ale, fluffy cute animals… not necessarily in that order! None of those are particularly bad though are they!? : )

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