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Oh my gosh guys, I have been truly rubbish at writing blog posts this year.  My last entry was in February! I do have excuses though as I went on holiday at the end of February to the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica and moved house (finally!).  I’m also working on a secret project behind the scenes which I hope to be able to share with you soon which basically takes up all of my time – exciting stuff!

Anyway – today, I wanted to discuss lighting your wedding.  To me, lighting is a simple yet hugely effective way of creating a lovely atmosphere and enhancing the design and feel of the day.

Lighting always gives a soft ambient glow, especially as the daytime turns to night.  Here are some examples of different types of lighting which you could encorporate within your wedding decor:

  • Candles – Probably the most beautiful, simple yet effective use of light. Can be used in lanterns, candelabras and votives. A couple of words of warning – check that your venue allows naked flame candles and BE CAREFUL  where they are placed.  Long dresses could get caught, hair and clothing could be set alight, foliage from floral displays are very flammable. If any of these things were to happen (and I have seen it myself) this would really put a dampener on proceedings.  Make sure you use hurricane vases and holders to keep things safe.  Some like to use battery operated tea lights to give a similar effect but end up being safer.  Also make sure you have someone who will light all the candles, whether this is the venue manager, wedding planner or a friend.  Purpose made candle lighters are the easiest to use as they are long and safe (less burnt fingers from matches!).
  • Fire light – If your wedding is taking place in the colder months, there is nothing more welcoming then a lit open fire to warm you up from the cold. Fire pits are a great way to add atmosphere in the gardens at night and give off a lovely warm glow.  Make sure there is some seating nearby and some lap blankets available.
  • Fairy Lights/Festoon Lights – Twinkly fairy lights make spaces look enchanting and inviting. You could drape them in the trees/hedges outside or have them above a dancefloor area.  Make sure that you hire these lights from reputable companies with relevant PAT testing certificates.
  • Uplighters and dimmed lighting – You could hire in coloured (to match your theme) lighting to create depth to a room, especially if the room is quite neutral and blank. Dim the lights if you can if you want a more romantic feel.

So think about “getting the glow” at your wedding – you may not have thought of it yet but perhaps it’s something to consider? Many event hire companies should be able to help.  Do make sure they have good testimonials and relevant safety certificates though.

Have a great week!

Olivia x

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One of my Summer 2016 clients is looking to have beautifully crafted macarons to give to her guests.  It got me thinking about the plethora of options available to couples looking to show their appreciation to their guests attending their special day. Over the years I’ve seen so many creative ideas!

Favours will add a personal touch to your big day.  If you’re all about the design, a favour can add a stylish addition to your tablescape/theme.  Here are some examples to help you choose the favour right for you.  By the way, a favour isn’t an essential element, so if you’re on a tight budget you might want to omit this from your plans.

Sweet Treats

  • Macarons in transparent boxes/bags – you want to be able to see these beauties right?! Add some ribbon in your choice of colour along with a personalised label
  • Pick ‘n’ Mix – fancy a trip down memory lane? Fill bags with nostalgic sweet shop favourites
  • Hot chocolate cones/jars – perfect for Winter weddings.  Create your own layered jars with hot chocolate, marshmallows and sprinkles
  • Truffles
  • Biscuits, shortbread or fudge

Tip: Get your pals to help you create these mini gifts.  Make a night of it with cocktails and nibbles!  You can buy crafty bits from local craft stores or eBay.










Bottoms up!

  • Homemade sloe gin or flavoured vodka in mini bottles – it’s a celebration isn’t it?!
  • Mini bottles of fizz
  • Limoncello in mini bottles

Tip: Make sure your venue is ok with you bringing in alcohol.  Some venues have strict licenses.  












  • Drink token – you could set up a tab at the bar where each guests receives a free drink using personalised drinks tickets
  • Lottery ticket/scratch card











  • CD of songs played on the day with personalised sleeve
  • Badges/magnets
  • Charity donation
  • Hand written personalised letter – I LOVE THIS!














  • Candles
  • Seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Sparklers
  • Matches with “The perfect match” on
  • Christmas baubles










Little ones

Some of the items above won’t be suitable for children.  Think about putting together “bags of fun” for any little ones attending your big day.  You could include colouring pencils, quiz books, puzzles, toys and sweets.












So many online retailers provide either the elements to make the favour or the complete product.  It really depends on what time you have spare and your budget.

If you don’t fancy putting the favours on the tables, you could look at providing a “favour station”, I’ve seen this with sparklers, sweets and cakes and it works well.

The above list is certainly not exhaustive and anything goes – so get your creative hats on!

I hope that provides some help to you!

Have a great week.

Much love,

Olivia x

*Images courtesy of pinterest

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I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are now enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation. Now that the year is drawing to a close I wanted to write a post about 2015, because honestly, it’s been the best so far at Host HQ! The business has been running now for nearly 3 years and I feel it’s really flourished. I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who I have worked with over the last twelve months and those who follow and support Host Event Management. I love what I do, it’s hard work and challenging – but nothing else beats it!

The year started very well as I was lucky enough to attend The Bristol and Somerset Wedding Awards in February. To my shock and surprise I won the category of “Best Wedding Planner” for the second year, which was rather nice. It was brilliant to catch up with my local wedding industry friends. The evening supports The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation who organise and fund weddings for terminally ill people.


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In March, following on from the success of the Christmas Masterclass which was held in November 2014, I organised the Domestic Goddess Workshop where local ladies learnt skills of being a good host.  The classes included event planning, table styling, gift wrapping from Wrapped to Perfection, cake decorating from Liz at Finishing Touches, flower arranging from Becci at Bijoux Floral Design and colour consulting by Charlene at Colour 4 Life.  There were even make-up tips from Jessica Mills MUA and Jewellery to purchase!

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In April, I was chuffed to see the Italian inspired wedding shoot which was created in July 2014 published in Wedding Venues and Services Magazine and followed by a post on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings in August.  The full list of suppliers involved can be seen on the link to the blog.

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My first wedding of the year was in June for Marianne and David.  Read more about their day here. I loved this wedding.  It was held very close to my home in the gorgeous village of Oldbury-on-Severn.  The photos captured by Sophie Duckworth were dreamy!

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My second wedding was for Katie and Matthew in July.  I will write about their special day on the blog soon.  Here’s a few photos of the day courtesy of Alice from The Vintage Wedding Photographer. 

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The next was Lucy and Stephen’s big day held in August at Walton Castle in Somerset.  It was great to work at this venue – so historical.  Again, I will write about this wedding soon.  Photography by Rupert Marlow.

Lucy and Stephen








The final wedding of the year for Host was for Robyn and Richard.  Their reception was held at Hilles House in a magnificent marquee.  I will write about this in the new year (I have lots of writing to do haven’t I?!). Photography by Oliver and Ruth.

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On a personal note and after a busy Summer, Mr R and I headed to Tuscany in September on an Italian adventure. We had the best time, Italy is just steeped in history and culture.  Here’s a few holiday snaps – the gondola ride in Venice was fun!

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Many of you won’t know this but I have a love of musical theatre.  I am a member of Thornbury Musical Theatre Group and played Katie Brown in this year’s main show, Calamity Jane in October.  I think it’s really important to have hobbies and interests outside of your working life.  For me, it’s another outlet for my creativity.  I absolutely adore being part of the group.







My final project of the year was a styled shoot.  I try and organise at least one a year and this time I chose a Highland theme that suited Autumn/Winter weddings.  The shoot was held at Berkeley Castle.  A whole host of talented, local suppliers joined forces to create a sumptuous, luxe feel, shot by the lovely Albert Palmer. The shoot has already been published on national blog English Wedding and it will soon be published in a magazine.

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It’s been really cathartic to reflect and take stock of what has been achieved in 2015.  I’m full of energy for 2016 and have some exciting projects in the pipeline, which I hope to share with you soon.  I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.  I’m off to prepare for my forthcoming NYE party!


Much love,


Olivia x

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This Summer I was lucky enough to be involved with the planning and running of Marianne and David’s special day.  They contacted me a year before their proposed date, needing some assistance as they lived in London and had demanding work schedules.

The wedding was held in June near my home town of Thornbury in a gorgeous “chocolate box” village, Oldbury-on-Severn.  It’s a lovely village where Mr R and I have spent several Sunday afternoons taking a walk towards the river followed by a cider in the local pub The Anchor Inn.  The ceremony was held at St Alrida’s church which sits on the top of the hill, overlooking farmers fields and the River Severn.  This church is set, without doubt, in the most idyllic location in the whole of the County – a really gorgeous Gloucestershire Marquee Wedding!  The reception was held in a traditional poled marquee courtesy South West Marquees in one of the fields just down the hill.  All the guests had to do was take a short stroll to the marquee where Pimms was served on arrival.

Marianne’s dress was a gown designed and made by a dress designer in London and looked so beautiful.  David is Scottish so of course wore a traditional kilt and looked great.

Marianne’s Dad is a local tree surgeon who donated felled branches to decorate the marquee.  The branches were attached to the ceiling structure of the tent, creating an “outside-in” natural feel.  Plain wood long tables, folding chairs and blue and white gingham table runners added to the rustic theme.  The family decided to arrange the flowers themselves, picking these from local cutting garden, Organic Blooms.  The food was just gorgeous! Lovingly prepared and served by Cotswold Cooks, the guests enjoyed standing starters, roast chicken with seasonal vegetables and a huge slab of Victoria sponge with fresh strawberries and cream.  The whole day was captured beautifully by Sophie Duckworth.  A Ceilidh got guests dancing well in to the night provided by Bristol based, Lupercalia.  The day was filled with so much love and it was a pleasure to be part of it.

Gloucestershire marquee wedding planned by Host Event Management

Gloucestershire marquee wedding. Photograph: Sophie Duckworth

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Hello all,

I am back to the UK after enjoying an Italian adventure with Mr R.  The trip was totally amazing and much needed after a busy Summer of wedding loveliness!

I’ve had some time to reflect whilst being away, remembering the wonderful clients weddings I have worked on in 2015.  Each and every wedding was a pleasure to be a part of.  I witnessed so much love, fun, dancing, eating, drinking and the couples individual style.  I love my job as a planner. It’s very touching to know that you get to play a role in someone’s special day.

More often than not us wedding planners feature at the bottom of the list in terms of suppliers required for a couple’s wedding.  Maybe it’s due to finances or maybe the couple want to plan everything themselves.  On the contrary, married guests who meet me say  “I wish I had booked you for my wedding”.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right?  I ask why and I am met with “We couldn’t relax and enjoy the day properly.  We were constantly interrupted with questions from our suppliers.”  It really upsets me when I hear this response.  A day which two people have so lovingly devised over a long period of time to make it there own but weren’t actually able to enjoy the fruits of their labour!

Here art some of the duties and issues that I have had to troubleshoot,  “behind the scenes” at weddings this year:

  • Buy 120 litres of bottled water when the marquee water source was not working
  • Stand by a faulty generator and switch back on every time it failed, whilst waiting for a new one to arrive so guests could listen to the speeches on a microphone
  • Help elderly guests take their seats safely
  • Light candles throughout the day and replenish as and when required
  • Provide extra toilet roll when it had run out at the end of the night
  • Provide bar services
  • I took 4 guests home when they couldn’t get a taxi
  • Filling confetti cones 30 minutes before the service as the bridesmaids ran out of time
  • Made announcements such as introducing the new Bride and Groom into the room
  • In control of music playlists and microphone
  • Taking away a guests table setting who could no longer attend
  • Answer any questions such as “where are the loos?” or “what time is the wedding breakfast?”
  • Team briefing with the catering manager and staff
  • Helped caterers serve food, paying special attention to any guests with dietary requirements
  • Administer first aid to a child who had fallen over
  • Stand outside the church door with a white umbrella waiting for the bride and groom to leave when the heavens opened
  • Move 120 chairs from an outdoor ceremony to the marquee (with lots of help from the ushers!)
  • Fold 140 napkins, insert a menu, tie with twine and add a sprig of rosemary (took a solid 2 hours)
  • Ask the caterers to devise something for an unknown special dietary requirement
  • Look after a guest who was ill and sit with them
  • Move 10 hay bales to create a seating area for the guests
  • Take delivery of alcohol and store in fridge unit
  • Lay over 500 place settings to include napkins, favours, placecards
  • Hang many metres of bunting
  • Lay a cake buffet table
  • Find the track that was required for the signing of the register that had mysteriously disappeared on the playlist (I knew the song was super important to my couple)
  • Help a supplier place 120 sets of vintage china
  • Organise food and drinks for the suppliers
  • Supplying safety pins for a broken zip on a guest’s dress
  • Meet with suppliers when they arrive and make sure they have set everything up that’s been ordered
  • Constantly liaise with suppliers on the day to keep them informed of any time changes or issues

Being a wedding planner isn’t all glitz and glamour, it’s really, really hard work! You are on your feet for at least 12 hours (and usually the day before) and have to deal with many unplanned stressful situations.  That is what I am hired to do. Take the stress away and ensure that my clients have the day they deserve.  My aim is to always run a smooth and memorable event that my clients can look back on fondly and cherish forever.  A wedding planner is a calming influence that can discretely rectify any problems that may arise, behind the scenes.

So, if you are currently planning your wedding and are considering employing the help of a professional planner, have a look at the above and ask yourself: “Do I want to fully embrace my special day?”.  I think the answer will be yes! All my services can be found here, so do get in touch for a chat – I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time….

Olivia x

Photo Credit: The Vintage Wedding Photographer