Please introduce yourself:
Hello, I am Heather Dsenisi and I am a registrar for Islington and London City Registration Service. I register births, deaths, conduct marriages and civil partnerships, as well as helping people to make applications for citizenship or settlement in the UK. I run our Instagram @sayidoislington, which showcases our couples, venues and suppliers, and manage our advertising and promotional programmes. I have been working at Islington for two years, but I have been working in registration for ten years.
1. Where do you call home?
The beautiful Islington Town Hall on Upper Street.
2. What made you want to set up your business?
Hmm this is a hard question to answer for me, Laura, because I didn’t set it up!
(Heather is a registrar at Islington Town Hall!)
3. Why the wedding industry?
It was slightly accidental that I started working at my first register office, but there’s so many things to love about it. Apart from the obvious reason that going to a lot of weddings and civil partnerships is fun, I personally also love the old records, seeing lots of tiny babies, being nosy in the amazing places you go to for ceremonies and the peculiarities of the laws we follow.
4. What’s the best part of your job?
Sometimes when you aren’t having the best day, being around people on one of the happiest days of their lives always manages to magically put you in a better mood! Also unlike a lot of suppliers, registrars might go to quite a few ceremonies in one day, so there’s always something new and exciting at each one.
5. What’s the worst part of your job?
Sometimes people forget that we also register deaths, so trying to help people who are very distraught with losing someone they love can be really hard. It’s difficult to know what to say.
6. What’s the weirdest request you’ve ever had from a client?
‘Where would you like me to put the eagle?’ At another register office I worked at, a couple wanted an eagle to swoop in with the wedding rings. A huge bald eagle. Inside the town hall. They pointed out our policy ‘didn’t say no eagles’!
7. You’re surrounded by beauty in your job, what do you find beautiful?
I like the natural beauty of minerals and gemstones. I love all the different kinds of marble used to build our Town Hall, I find it fascinating to look at.
8. Best piece of advice to offer to those getting married?
Don’t do what is traditional just because it is traditional, on your big day. Do what is special to both of you.
9. Who or what is your biggest influence?
I would have to say my friends. They work in different industries from me, like publishing and fashion, but they have achieved such amazing creative things that it really inspires me.
10. Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
‘Nobody has time in their life to make puff pastry from scratch’ – my mum. I try to remember this in a wider sense to use my time wisely.
11. What was your career plan B?
Calligrapher- although I do sell on Etsy so it’s more of a side plan!
12. Tell us something surprising about yourself!
As a teenager I made up a cipher language to write secret notes and diaries and I still use it today for writing private things. It’s a bit of an odd thing to do but has been very useful!
13. Pints and pies or coffee and cake?
Pies and coffee…
14. What’s your favourite shop?
Choosing Keeping on Columbia Road or Quill in Islington. Both places for great stationery! Julia who runs Choosing Keeping is a friend of mine and everything they sell is beautiful. Quill is where I get all my calligraphy supplies and they are always really lovely.
15. If you could buy any building, which would it be?
At the moment I want to live in a cosy lakeside lodge on an island in Canada.
16. Favourite film?
The Breakfast Club.
17. Your biggest pet peeve?
People who sit next to you on the bus when there are lots of free spaces. Why do they do it?
18. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cheese. Lots of cheese.
19. Favourite thing to do on a rainy day?
Calligraphy or crafts – I have so many art supplies. Everything in our house has been macramé-d recently but my partner has begged me to stop!
20. Cosy night in or big night out?
Definitely a night in! I am a real homebody.
21. What’s the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for you?
My partner is very musical and he wrote and recorded a really great song about how much he loves me once, that got him a lot of points. But really I think it’s more romantic to be supportive and caring like he is all the time, rather than a one-off gesture.
22. Most perfect place for a sunrise?
Anywhere looking over calm water.
23. Invisibility or flight?
24. Do you believe in fate?
25. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I think that everyone being more self-aware and empathetic to each other would be a good start to improving the world.
Thank you so much to Heather for taking part! A real insight from the other side of the wedding industry and how she does her job! And who would have thought she was a secret professional calligrapher?? Talk about multi talented! Loved reading this, but perhaps I am biased because I got married at Islington Town Hall ❤️
Brilliant answers, another great read – thanks Heather!
Also, here’s some handy links if you’d like to find out more about Islington’s wedding services and recommended suppliers (of which I am one!):