It’s not often that I feel an urge to write a personal blog post. Usually my posts are sporadic at best, usually shouting from the rooftops about the latest event we have hosted (because if I don’t, who will, right!?) or our super talented blog woman – (wonder woman) Mirlah will show you some wedding & styling pretty to get you in the mood.
I’m just feeling the love at the moment & want to document it. Partly for selfish reasons as I can look back on the post to remind myself of what a great year 2013 has been to us & how far we have come. And ok, just writing it all down makes me sound like a complete show off (I appreciate that!!) but it reminds me why I set up the business & why it should continue to grow.
This past few months have been an incredible wave of goodness. The weddings we have hosted have been wonderful & the families we have worked with have been the best. Some have become friends & all have been so so happy with what Darby & Joan offered them.
Our corporate clients (well ok, just the one!) – The White Stuff - were over the moon with our pop up tearoom that we did for them a couple of weeks ago and this is definitely an area of our business that I am looking to build upon. It will hopefully be an easier task now we have a high profile client under our vintage belts & they can support us by offering glowing references.
The hen party side of the company has grown at a phenomenal rate. Afternoon tea is still a huge hit with lots of brides-to-be & shows no sign of slowing down for 2014. We were approached this week by A Hard Days Knight to join their recommended suppliers. They are a Midlands based company offering accommodation & activities for families, hen parties & stag parties. Gorgeous holiday cottages, wonderful service & some brilliant ideas to help you plan your weekend. Our friend Richard, who owns The Bespoke Bartender, helped us on our way with these guys – so thank you! If you girls like cocktails & handsome men to be a part of your hen do, (hello?!) then it is worth checking them out.
Deb Kendall of Fabulous Places. She has been a tremendous support & cheerleader for us over the past few years. We met at an event & since we have been working together I count her as a friend & someone to share ideas with & the occasional slab of cake. We have been involved with her business for three years & her endless championing & friendship has been invaluable. Make sure you have 16th & 17th November in your diaries to come down to The Roundhouse for the Fabulous Places Christmas Market. Bigger & better every year. All the exhibitors are hand picked, the best at what they do – all I can say is bring a wad of cash because you will be spoilt for choice. We host the pop up tearooms there & it is one of the highlights of our year. Ridiculously busy & a little stressful, but loads of fun & we love it.
Our very first wedding fair was with Save the Date in 2010. A complete baptism of fire & I felt like an frightened imposter in the midst of so much flair & experience. I look back now at my stand & I screw my face up (I’m doing it now!) as I remember how haphazard it looked. I’d like to think that we have evolved, improved & become much more confident in our style now. We exhibited with them on Sunday at The Roundhouse for the Wedding Event with a Difference & I can honestly say that we felt very comfortable there, surrounded by the best stylists, designers & retail outlets that the Midlands has to offer in the world of weddings & events. More than anything it was just great to be with wedding peeps that we know & have worked with over the last few years & to meet new businesses who were exhibiting there for the first time.
Again, Lydia & Abi from Save the Date have been brilliant. We meet for a coffee & spend the morning gossiping & laughing about everything but weddings. They are another local company who have supported us from the beginning, so thank you girls. And Abi – I still say that you should have been in our Dolly photo shoot! Next time I’ll get you….
This post has ended up being a lot more wordy that I anticipated – but I guess I blog like I talk – a lot, quickly & half the time repeat myself & there is far too much of it!
Finally (at last) my business would not be here at all if were not for the wedding peeps I have met along the way. Those who I speak to every day on the phone, those who I email daily, those who keep me going with their support & laughs & business recommendations. So I raise a glass (well it is 6pm now) to some of you guys who have made our journey possible – Tineke, Yummy Little Cakes, Emma Cleveley Photography, Timeless Couture, Matt Brown Photography, Chloe Adlington, Butterworth Photography, Save the Date, Benessamy Wedding & Event Planning. Thanks guys – YOU ROCK.
My job. Is challenging, hard work, brilliant, surprising, sometimes a little bit overwhelming and always, always good fun.
2013 for us has been, to put it in my 9 year old’s words “a bit crazy”. We have been ridiculously busy with weddings, hen parties, garden parties, christenings, have made it through the finals of the National Vintage Awards, been published in a proper, very fabulous book written by Pearl Lowe, & have hosted the biggest pop up vintage tea rooms in the Midlands with Fabulous Places for four events at The Roundhouse.
So when our official wedding season ended in the third week of September, we were a little relieved. Time to breathe, time to wade through the mountain of receipts and sort out the spreadsheets (yawn), time to plan how we are going to burst into 2014, time to look at the business and decide where to take it and how many staff we need to do it, time to go treasure hunting for more stock and pretty things. Time to, dare it say it, relax a little.
Not to be.
A phone call on a Thursday quickly turned into a booking with the White Stuff at their head office in Brixton the following week.
They are the coolest company. Check out their blog for details on what they do, why they do it and how they do it.
So off we went down to London. My car bursting with boxes, and I can honestly say that there was no room to breathe in there. My driver will concur.
Their idea was to treat their 220 staff to afternoon to as a thank you for their hard work, commitment and success over recent weeks. We provided everything and their directors served the afternoon tea wearing our vintage aprons. How cool is that?
I was apprehensive about the job. This was the first really big corporate booking we had taken on and I was worried –
1. Would they like us?
2. Would they like me?
3. Would we be what they expected?
4. Would they love our cakes, smiles, personality and styling?
5. Would they love our service so much that they wanted us to come back? This is always in the back of my mind whenever we provide any kind of service. No matter what the job entails, if we bowl people over as much as we want to, they will book us again. And that makes us happy. And happily it does happen a lot.
My stress was unfounded (when will I learn??!)
Their offices were as suitably gorgeous as you would imagine, filled with furniture, props and stuff that I would die to have. Their staff made us very, very welcome and Matt and I had a really really good day. Special thanks to Helen for everything and being generally fabulous.
Everyone LOVED it and filled their happy faces with cakes, scones, rocky road, flapjack, caramel tarts & brownies.
Issy was super company and helped to clear away a lot of the crumbs that were left on the floor.
A massive thank you for having us.
It wouldn’t have happened without my partner in crime, who drove, navigated central London, took photos, set up teacups, washed up, packed up, carried boxes and was generally my right hand (wo)man. Matt Brown Photography
I came home feeling on top of the world and it has spurred me on and given me masses of confidence to do more corporate events for similar companies. The experience was invaluable and so all I can say is – watch out! We are coming to getcha.
Hello Lovelies! I hope you are well and looking forward to the weekend. We’re back with some more ‘Vinspiration’ for you, and this week we’re taking a closer look at Vintage Styling, in particular the props. I’m a total fan of the little details and using a variety of props and decor really do help set the tone for your vintage affair!
So without further ado, here are 5 must have props for a Vintage Style Wedding, Party, Afternoon Tea and just about any event you want something a little special for. All the images are from events we have styled. If you see anything that catches your eye and you would like to hire, get in touch.
1) Vintage China
Definitely top of the list! When it comes to Afternoon Tea vintage mismatched china is the must have accessory to any tabletop. I don’t know about you but drinking tea out of a china teacup just somehow tastes better than an ordinary mug. Maybe it’s because of their dainty nature and the fact that you can really take your time perfecting your brew. Starting by pouring from a wonderfully patterned teapot, stirring with an ornate teaspoon and adding a drop of milk and sugar from the pretty little pots and jugs.
The charm of vintage china lies in the fact that it doesn’t have to match. Once part of a matching set somewhere along the way different pieces get collected or misplaced and you end with a collection so eclectic that when mixed together just, well, works! It’s like each piece has it’s own little story which adds to the magic of an Afternoon Tea Style Event. What’s better if you fancy adding a bit of vintage to your Hen Party, who says those teapots have to hold tea? Mix up some delicious cocktails and feel oh so classy whilst supping in a mismatched teacup. Cheers! (Hic!)
Darby & Joan have a variety of Vintage pieces to hire. Whether you want to just opt for teacups and saucers or add a few cake stands and vintage platters, we can help tailor your needs from our extensive and, if we do say so ourselves very pretty range. All our prices include washing up, so you don’t have to! Just take peek here to view our vintage china hire list and prices.
2) Vintage Typewriter
It’s always a good idea to have your guests write you a little message at your wedding or party to look back on, but if you’re fancying something a little bit different and want a real talking point then a Vintage Typewriter may be the way to go. Many of your guests may never have used a typewriter and so it adds a bit of fun and with no undo button you might be in for some unusual messages. We have both working and non working typewriters available to hire. Just take a look here for more information.
3) Vintage Suitcases
What can’t you use a Vintage Suitcase for? Stack them up and just use as props or tables, open them up and store goody bags or favours or simply use as a place to collect your cards and gifts. With so many uses you might not want just one and we have many suitcases and vanity cases available to hire.
4) Vintage Bunting
I don’t think there’ll ever be a day where we tire from bunting. There’s just something so fun about it. When you rock up to a wedding or event and you spy some bunting, it instantly puts you in a good mood and you just know you’re in for a good time! Drape it from the ceiling, hang it over furniture, hook it to the tables. Go crazy! We totally approve, more is more! Although relatively easy to make, you do usually need reems and reems of it, so if you don’t fancy DIY’ing, you can hire Vintage Cotton Bunting from Darby & Joan from just 50p a metre.
5) Vintage Tablecloths & Linens
Now we’re not one to shy away from a wonderfully rustic bare wooden trestle but we do love a well dressed table. We’ve got cupboards full of beautiful patterned, lace and plain linens to dress your tables and we’ve got plenty of vintage doilies too! Teamed with Vintage China and a vase full of your favourite blooms your table setting will ooze sophistication and most definitely look the part! Take a look at our Props and Hire list for more information and prices.
So that completes the list, what do you think? Would you add anything else or perhaps you tried a Vintage Typewriter Guestbook? Let us know! For information on pricing or prop hire just get in touch we do love a good vintage affair!
For more photos of events we’ve styled just hop on over to our Facebook Page, and do come and say “Hello!”
Find out more about Darby and Joan in our News Archive below...