8th January 2018 . Business Private Bits

Hello 2018, Be Nice Now…

Hello Uttersons. Well, we’re eight days in to 2018 and I thought I’d jump on here whilst I have five minutes to update you on my life. Because that’s what you’ve really been missing, right? I know I’ve missed updating a faceless masse on my personal comings and goings, that’s for sure. Kent Wedding Planner

In case you only follow this blog and are not my real life friend and/or don’t follow me on any other kind of social media (very unlikely but you never know), 2017 was a pretty good year for me work-wise. I started the year with seven weddings booked and took on another four before the season began, giving a total of eleven weddings for 2017; my biggest and best year to date and one that I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do without the help of Helen, my glorious Assistant Planner. Together we coordinated some utterly delightful days at three family homes and a tucked-away campsite in Surrey, and planned and designed a bevy of truly beautiful, creative and dynamic weddings in four Kentish barns, a Whitstable beach-side house, and an East London warehouse. Happy clients, happy days.

Images below by Dominique Bader, Michael O’Sullivan, Voyteck Photograpy and M&J Photography

I rebranded. I’d been meaning to for a good year or so, but I decided 2017 was the year to do it, and although the whole rebranding process is a long, expensive, and, at times, treacherous slog, I’m so glad it’s done. Five years in and I have a much clearer idea of what I’m worth and who my ideal client is, and it was so important to put together a brand, website and pricing structure that reflected this. You can read a little more about that process here.

Posing nonchalantly by a beige wall with a massive bunch of flowers all in the name of a ‘brand shoot’.

And then, in the autumn I decided to enter Utterly Wow in to The Wedding Industry Awards, and lo and behold, we only went and bloody won Wedding Planner of the Year in the South-East. A real ‘cherry on the cake’ of a fantastic year (as I said at the awards event Miss Malaprop-style after they had announced our win- see below).

On a more personal level, 2017 saw Frank turn from a happy, funny 1-year old to a mainly happy but increasingly stroppy, dramatic and wilful 2-year old. I adore spending time with him (when he’s in a good mood) but I’m not going to pretend that I don’t also love, cherish and look forward to the two days he’s at nursery, and the times when generous grandparents, aunts and uncles volunteer to take him out for the afternoon. We are so incredibly lucky to have family close by, and I don’t want to ever take that for granted.

My cutie pie on Christmas Day

And then of course, we wondered if it might be time to go for round two. You can’t control these things, but not wanting to rule out an entire wedding season by having a spring/summer baby, we found ourselves with a two month window of opportunity back in May/June, before agreeing that if I didn’t get up the duff then and there, we’d leave it another six months and try again around now. I think we were both pretty stunned when I fell pregnant in that second month. And here I am, 31 weeks cooked and on the final straight. Mini Hemsley #2 (gender unknown although everyone including ourselves is predicting another boy) is due on the 9th March.

I’d love to say I’m excited, but I’m really bloody anxious, actually. If you read the two posts I managed to write in the first few months after Frank was born, you’ll know that I found the newborn stage ABSOLUTELY FUCKING HORRENDOUS. Being so sleep-deprived I could barely think; having a colic-y baby who wanted to be permanently attached to me and in particular, my right boob; struggling to deal with the loss of identity and independence; crying… all the time. It wasn’t an enjoyable period. And now I’m finding it really hard to fathom going through all this again, but with a demanding 2-year old at my feet, constantly whining to be picked up, poking the new baby in the eye no matter how many times I say ‘No’, throwing a hissy fit when he asks for a biscuit and I try to give him an apple instead, wanting me and only me to give him breakfast/get up with him in the morning/get him dressed/get him in the car/put him to bed etc etc infinitum…

I’m also more than a little anxious about how I’m going to keep up with Utterly Wow. I’m giving myself a ‘maternity leave’ of sorts from March to mid-May to adjust to my new life as ‘Mother of Dragons’, I mean, Mum of Two. Helen will be manning the helm over that period whilst I do my best to turn my emails off and not be too involved or bossy… but it’s going to be hard for this control freak right here. Then it will be back to it as our 2018 wedding season kicks off, conveniently in time for the 4-month sleep regression.

Oh and did I mention that two weeks before Christmas we decided to begin a fairly major house extension in a crazy attempt to get it done before the new baby arrives? We’re adding a large single storey rear extension to create what will be a pretty big open plan kitchen/diner/family space and separate utility room, and the works are (rather ambitiously) set to complete around a week before my due date. Which means that in all reality, we’re going to be living either at Paul’s nan’s or in a dusty bomb site by the time the new baby arrives. When I think about what I looked like for the first few weeks of Frank’s life (manky old dressing gown, boob out, dog tired and generally a crying mess), and then I think how I’ll be the same this time round except also trying to have serious conversations with builders, kitchen fitters and tilers, I’m not sure whether it makes me want to laugh satanically or cry hysterically. I think it’s a bit of both.

BUT, of course, the positives behind all this chaos and trepidation really do outweigh the negatives. We are having another baby and *hopefully* completing our family. I hear so many parents (including my husband) question how they will love another child as much as their first, but I know just how much our hearts are going to expand to let this one in, and every time it boots me in the rib/gut/genitals I get that bit more excited about meeting him or her. And we’re having a house extension! Nearly a month in and both Paul and I still can’t believe we’re actually doing it what we’ve only ever hypothesised about. To think that by the summer we will have this huge family space to live in and enjoy is just so exciting. Never mind that we won’t be able to afford to ever go out or eat Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference again. We’ll have two kids by then anyway- time to forget any kind of social life!

And finally my wonderful, growing, creative business that fulfills me in so many different ways. I’ve turned down weddings for this year, as I have to be sensible and not take on too much, but I have some lovely, lovely clients and we’ve been powering through the planning since the autumn months in an attempt to get as much done before March as we can. I can definitely see a slight shift in the type of weddings I’m planning and designing this year compared to last. This year my clients are a little less bohemian and a little more classic and understated, but we’ve got some cracking design schemes underway and I’m very excited about seeing them all come to fruition.

2018, I’m ready for you; you big, beautiful, (slightly overwhelming) bastard.


Sama x