Happy New Year gang! (lets ignore the fact its February)
My new years resolution was to be more present on my website and dedicate more time to my little old blog. Fun fact - but the way I actually became a makeup artist was through blogging itself! I started off reviewing products about 6/7 years ago over on good old blogger! You could say that obsession lead me to where I am today and I absolutely love writing, so this year I'm going to do more of that!
So let me introduce you to the newest series on my little blog - Meet My Favs! Every month, I shall be interviewing some of my favourite people in the industry, be it wedding, creative or otherwise! By favourite, I mean, these people are my ride or dies, I love working with them, I love creating with them and I wholeheartedly recommend you check them out and become their number 1 fans, like I am!
So let me introduce you to Valentina from the beautiful and magical - The Stars Inside!
Hello lovely - Thanks so much for having me! So, my name is Valentina, and I live in London with my wonderful husband James. I'm Italian by passport and family, but have always traveled: I've lived in New York, Brazil, and Rome, until I made a home in the UK just over 12 years ago. I founded The Stars Inside last year after falling in love with the wedding industry while planning my own wedding, and it's been the best decision I ever made! I've come to this industry after careers in Astrophysics, Circus performing, and investment banking, and I love that now I can use all the different parts of my personality and skillset (except maybe hanging by my toes on a trapeze...but never say never!). My wedding planning and styling brand is all about being creative with beauty, about playful storytelling, and about being true to what you love.
I've hugely enjoyed getting to know lots of incredibly talented suppliers in London and the UK (both in person and over social media), and particularly having the opportunity to stretch our legs creatively together with some really fun photoshoot concepts. My background in theatre and circus has taught me to enjoy detail, immersiveness, and the creation of an "ambience", which photoshoots are perfect opportunities for. I love finding inspiration is unexpected places, and brainstorming with other creatives to bring to life something unique. I've been welcomed so warmly into this industry, and I hope to continue learning, giving back, and bringing together teams that love working together.
I think my bucket list wedding job would be one where the couple's three key words are: beautiful, fun, and extraordinary - a wedding where we bring to life an experience for guests that is so full of rich detail, interactive features, and curated aesthetics that they feel transported to another world, and don't know where to look! For anyone who has been to a Secret Cinema event before, I'd imagine it to be like the wedding equivalent of that! :)
I hope the company will continue growing and reaching couples who love what I do - while building some deep friendships along the way, with clients, colleagues, and suppliers alike. I'd love to get to know the wedding scene in London in more depth, but also do more work in the South West: having lived in Bristol for 8 years, I had the opportunity to get to know that area quite well, and would be so excited to go back there to work with all the beautiful venues and amazing local talent. I would also love to be involved in more weddings abroad, especially around Italy and Europe.
What I love most about weddings is telling a couple's story in the way that most creatively, authentically, and meaningfully resonates with THEM. I love that couples are increasingly embracing unconventional options (for venue, styling, food, ceremony, etc) that is more true to their own personalities, and are interpreting traditions in a modern way. I also love that more couples are embracing 'themes' - not in the over-the-top sense, but rather as an undercurrent, concept, or "feel" that helps unify the narrative of the day. In terms of recent style trends, I've loved seeing more couples use wild, asymmetric greenery; large statement floral installations; dark, dramatic, moody colour palettes with a bit of an edge; celestial, nocturnal, or geometric details; and gorgeously detailed, textured, or unusual stationery.
Gorgeous bouquet as part of Valentina's "elopement" wedding shoot
Photo credit: Nataly J Photography
To be honest, the only thing I would say I dislike is when weddings feel a bit "cookie-cutter", or traditional for the sake of ticking boxes - sometimes this can result in a day that is visually a little bit stale and vacuous, while also not being particularly fun or meaningful to the couple or their loved ones. There are no wrong and right answers when it comes to weddings, as long as everything is in fact the couple's choice. Personally, from an aesthetic point of view, I would recommend staying away from anything that feels too novelty, too gimicky, or too staged - or too much like a replica of Pinterest (Ok, I'll confess to one pet peeve: chair covers with bow sashes!).
This is such a great question! :) My husband and I got married in late July 2017 in Tuscany, and we honestly had the best weekend EVER - I wouldn't change a thing. The only tiny amendment I'd make is that I think I'd wear my hair down: I chose an updo at the time because I never usually wear it up, and thought it might feel and look more 'special' - where in fact I think I would have felt more myself with my hair down! Having said that... my hair stylist (Lara Navarrini) did an absolutely fantastic job creating a beautiful updo which perfectly matched the rest of my look, showed off the back of my dress, AND stayed firmly put all day - plus my hair is very long and thick, so I might have melted in the 30 degree sunshine with it down!
I would say the biggest challenge of wedding planning can often be the balance between the emotional and practical side. For me, as a planner, one of my top priorities is making sure that couples don't feel pressure in either of these spheres, which means supporting them in whichever way they need most. Sometimes this support involves tasks which, I know, can be delicate: whether it's managing expectations, being strict with the budget, putting things into perspective, or taking breaks. Also, there will occasionally be factors outside of everyone's control, and I will always be completely invested in making sure the couple and family are as happy as possible - and can look back with incredible memories and no regrets.
Reaching the end of a wedding planning journey with a couple knowing that their story has been done justice, that their relationship has grown stronger and ready for the future, and – hopefully – that a friendship has blossomed with them along the way. I just can’t stop smiling at the thought of that!
I have the great joy of having a series in the works with YOU! I've loved being a part of your series of fairy tale styled shoots (Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Beast have been awesomely fun), and I'm really excited about what it might lead to throughout 2018 and 2019. Watch this space...
I really really loved reading Valentina's answers, she is an absolute gem and her website and work is bloody gorgeous! If you need some help styling, finding inspiration or planning your wedding or event - please give Valentina a little email, you definitely won't regret it AND I guarantee you will definitely make a friend!