Wow! What a year! The photo below from my wedding in April sums it up for me – ‘do what you love’. Unintentionally, 2016 was the year of Me. My wedding (my baby) and my blog (my passion) took over my life, in a good way. I started a new married life, I started a business, and I started doing what I loved. I started really enjoying myself, and I couldn’t stop. Suddenly, things that I would fret over in the past seemed insignificant. I simply didn’t have time anymore. I was on such a serious mission of (unintentionally) doing what I loved, I even quit my job!
In a similar format to my highlights last year (see my 2015 highlights here), here’s my best bits of 2016:
Engagement Anniversary at The Ritz – January
This will be remembered for all the wrong reasons….! It was a lifelong ambition of mine to dine at The Ritz, so I booked it as a little treat for the hubby and I to celebrate our engagement anniversary – fitting, I thought, since we got engaged in Paris the year before. Read my post on it here!
My Dad’s Birthday Dinner at the St Ermin’s Hotel – February
This was just a really lovely evening with some great food, great wine, and great company. We picked the St Ermin’s Hotel as the setting looked quite glamourous and ‘birthday worthy’, and I had heard great things about the chef, Adam Handling – a fellow Scot and a former MasterChef winner. He didn’t disappoint and this was one of the best meals I have ever had in London. Just the right mix of classic and contemporary with a lot of creative flair thrown in. Adam Handling has now moved on to his own venture, The Frog, and I can’t wait to try it out. This is also poignant as I have just found out that my own wedding is through to the final of the Wedding of the Year competition with Your London Wedding magazine, and the prize is a luxury overnight stay at the St Ermin’s Hotel! I really hope we win!! (You can vote for us here!)
Wedding Countdown Celebrations at the Top of the Gherkin – March
Like The Ritz, this was another dining ambition of mine. However, the top of The Gherkin is usually a member’s club run by Searcy’s, so I didn’t hold out much hope for this, even if we could find the money…! However, they open their bookings a few times a year to the public and I was lucky enough to nab a lunch deal after subscribing to their mailing list. It was a gorgeous day and we had such a lovely afternoon together, not discussing the wedding! Read my post on it here.
Getting Married – April
Sorry! I couldn’t not include this!! It was very self-indulgent in a lot of ways, but it was also so lovely seeing the happiness it brought to a lot of our family and friends. I also realised after all the time and effort planning my wedding, I could use it as a catalyst for other good causes too. Through our wedding gift list with Prezola, we managed to raise over £1k for our chosen charities; the British Heart Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. On top of that, I married my best friend and had the party of my life. So much fun in just one day. My wedding also triggered a new passion for me and was the launch pad for my business, and without it I wouldn’t be where I am today. See a couple of pics from my wedding here.
The Honeymoon of a Lifetime – May
This could be about 10 blog posts worth that I haven’t even got around to planning or scheduling yet…! Highlights include having an overwater bungalow and swimming with dolphins in Mo’orea, getting a water taxi to our beach bungalow and experiencing luxury like never before in Bora Bora (cover photo), and crying at the midnight parade at Disneyland in California! (The Frozen part was soooo good!) Another personal highlight was making the hubby go on the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios so many times he was sick…!
Starting My Business – June
As a total cliché, I started my business after planning my own wedding. I realised I was better at it than my 9-5, and that I got so much joy from making other people happy (which I definitely didn’t get in my old job). One of the best things I have ever done, but it’s hard to pinpoint this to one month. I had been planning my business for a while and building up my blog, contacts and work for some time, but I finally left my day job as an Operations Manager at the end of June.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’m still unsure some days. Starting your own business is hard. Marketing, finance, photography, graphic design, press, social media, website stuff – as well as the bit I’m actually trying to make money from – that’s all me. It was my dream to help people plan their weddings in a more flexible way as a Wedding Tasker. It was a massive decision and leap of faith to leave my career, but one that I know I will never regret. As my blog following began to grow, more and more people started asking me to help them with their weddings, and I started to see something in myself I had never seen before.
A client is not just a customer for me, it’s someone who has entrusted me with one of the most intimate and special moments in their life, that will in turn produce memories to last a lifetime. Whether it be a hen do, wedding, honeymoon, or party. I do this because I love it, so every event I plan, I plan as if it is my own. No matter how big or small my part is. The happier my client is, the happier I am. Ultimately, my job is all about making people happy, and I love that.
Celebrating My Best Friend’s 30th in Dublin – July
I had been so consumed with my wedding and starting my business that it felt like I hadn’t seen my friends in forever. Only 2 weeks after quitting my job, I remember going to the airport en route to Dublin thinking, ‘what am I doing?!’. One; am I actually giving Devine Bride a serious go, and two; if so, why am I spending a fortune going to Dublin on a girls weekend when I have just given up my steady income?! It turns out it was exactly what I needed and we all had a great weekend blowing off steam. Read my post on it here.
Travelling France and Spain with my Dad – August
Newly self-employed, I had never enjoyed such flexibility in my life. Before I got too busy with my business, I wanted to capitalise on this new-found freedom. So, my dad and I did a mini tour of France and Spain for 2 weeks. We started off in Bordeaux, travelled on to Biarritz, crossed the border into Spain and on to San Sebastian, then finished off in Bilbao where my sister came out to meet us for the weekend. My absolute favourite was San Sebastian; you can read my post on it here or view my post on Châteaux Romance in the South of France here. August was a great recharging time for us both and, despite bickering a fair amount, we had a great time! It was rare and lovely to spend that time exploring new places with my dad.
Turning 30! – September
After a tough but rewarding few months trying to get my business off the ground, I had a mini meltdown a few days before I turned 30. Not because I was turning 30, but just because the change in lifestyle had really hit me by this point and working mostly from home was so new to me. It was hard (I’d never worked so hard in my entire life), and it didn’t help my hubby was working late a lot of September (thanks Brexit). Anyway, little did I know he and my sister had been planning a surprise party for me at The Piano Works in Farringdon. Such fun and I still can’t quite believe they pulled it off! It was like my wedding again minus the stress of actually planning it!
Winning Best Rising Star at The Wedding Blog Awards – October
This was a turning point for my business. I got great press and exposure from the Wedding Blog Awards and even gained some new clients. But most of all, it was nice to be recognised for something I’d been working so hard on – I’m still riding on a high from it. I have much more confidence in myself now, and it gave me a bit of a boost when I most needed it after my mini meltdown in September! (See above!) Read my post on when I won at the Wedding Blog Awards here.
Two Scottish Weddings in One Week – November
These were the first two weddings that I had attended since truly establishing my career in the wedding industry. The couples are both close friends, but I was honoured to have actually been part of one if them, designing all their stationery. I had a bit of a moment to myself seeing all my stationery in real life when we arrived at their wedding, as despite working on various other weddings I hadn’t actually attended them as a guest!
First Christmas as Mr and Mrs – December
The year has been…. Fast and jam packed! Our first Christmas as Mr and Mrs was spent having a very chilled time at my new in-laws, being waited on hand and foot! We thoroughly enjoyed relaxing and taking it easy this Christmas, in comparison to every other year where we’re running about mad trying to see all our friends and family back in Scotland. We took some much-needed time to ourselves, and it was great.
2016 was a blast, but I am so ready for 2017!
I can’t wait to share the next chapter of Devine Bride with you, stay tuned to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what I’m up to! (Next up is 2 weddings in Nigeria this coming week!! #derayo2017)
Never miss a post by subscribing to my blog – if you’re viewing this on a computer, there’s a big box just below, at the bottom of the page, where you can enter your email address
and you’ll get every post delivered straight to your inbox!