Welcome To The World Alana-Bo

Never have I ever been so besotted with anyone like I am with this girl. Yes, I can finally say, this is my daughter Alana-Bo – who arrived safely on 19th June. And my goodness, I love her so, so much! So much, my heart could burst.

Alana-Bo {Bo meaning ‘precious’ in Chinese} was born exactly four weeks before her due date and it was all a huge surprise when she made her appearance.

I attended my 36 week midwife appointment that very morning not knowing that just 8 hours later I would be holding my sweet little girl in my arms. Alana-Bo was born by emergency c-section as she was breech and unbeknown to me, I was actually having contractions and was dilating very quickly. I was laying on the bed strapped to the monitor while having a joke with Paul as we tried to guess what the monitor results were showing us – Paul Googled the bottom reading and he said ‘It shows you’re having contractions!’…

I just stared at him, laughed and said “I can’t be, I can’t feel a thing!’.

Two hours later, with a rumbling tummy as I wasn’t able to eat since I was admitted, the doctor appeared and sat on the edge of the bed and said to us “You are going to meet your baby tonight – we need to send you straight down to theatre for a cesarean”

Woah… it was happening fast.

We both remained very calm but my first thought was I don’t even have a hospital bag packed for baby and we really need to be telling our parents that they will be meeting their grandchild very soon!

I was excited, nervous and feeling emotional. But above all, I was excited and could not believe that I will finally be meeting our little one. A month early.

At that point we still didn’t have a clue whether we were having a boy or girl but I was convinced I was carrying a boy.

Forty five minutes after since seeing the doctor… our little one entered the world! Yes, it really was that quick!

All I could see was a mop of jet black hair as they were checking this little person over to the right of me. I was holding my breath as the noise in the theatre meant I couldn’t quite hear our little one moaning and groaning – eventually for what felt like forever, I heard this loud cry from across the room. I could then breathe again!

Daddy cut the cord, took one look at this little person we had created and then came back over to me, kissed my forehead and told me excitedly “We have a girl!” It was then when I felt over-whelmed and emotional. Finally, she’s here. Finally I get to hold her in my arms.

This is the start of a new chapter in my life and one I’m loving every moment of.

Alana-Bo is truly precious and I’m sure every parent would agree, she really is my everything.

Carms xoxo

{our first cuddle – just minutes after Alana-Bo entered the world!}

 

LucyLJuly 1, 2014 - 3:14 pm

MANY congratulations on your beautiful daughter Carmen! I am sure she will bring you even more joy with each day xx

CarmsJuly 8, 2014 - 8:45 am

Thank you so much LucyL! xoxo

LindsayAugust 5, 2014 - 11:42 pm

Congratulations! She is adorable!

MattSeptember 10, 2014 - 6:59 pm

She’s beautiful! Congratulations!!

CarmsSeptember 12, 2014 - 3:52 pm

Thank you Matt!

Tracey + Hardip ~ Chinese-Indian Fusion Wedding at Northbrook Park ~ Surrey

Tracey + Hardip’s wedding will brighten up your day in so many ways.

This is the gorgeous wedding of a couple who were an absolute joy to work with and I’m grateful to them for having me. Anyone who knows me and who has followed my journey since the start of Carmen Weddings will know I have a huge love for fusion weddings – the colours, the traditions and that added uniqueness of who they are as individuals and as a couple. This sums up Tracey and Hardip’s very special celebration.

On their wedding morning I was greeted by a calm bride, her bridesmaids and three amazing gowns – and Elie Saab was Tracey’s chosen designer for her main white gown. Simply stunning. But they were all beautiful and I couldn’t wait to see Tracey make her entrance in each and every one of them. But first, the bride was beautifully made up by the lovely Mariam Jensen and hair with Jenny of Yuko London.

That morning the weather was a little unpredictable – sunny, then drizzly, sunny, then cloudy… and all I could think about was ensuring Tracey and Hardip were going to have their beautiful outdoor ceremony in the gardens they both so hoped for. But in the meantime, the fantastic team at Euphoric Flowers were creating some incredible arrangements for the bride and groom and adding some gorgeous touches for the ceremony.

The day flowed smoothly with beautiful traditions such as the Chinese Tea Ceremony and the Indian Sagan. In The Orangery the most amazing cake and dessert table by Rachelle’s created a wow factor, the fab team at Simon Clarke Films were capturing all those precious moments, emotions and details… and one of the best moments for everyone has to be when the grooms ultimate favourite band made their surprise appearance for their guests to kick start the evening – The Brand New Heavies!

You can see  how this very pretty day flowed by these stunning captures from a very wonderful and talented photographer - Marianne Taylor

Marianne Taylor Photography Elie Saab Wedding Dress - Marianne Taylor Photography Chinese Bridal Make Up - Marianne Taylor Photography Marianne Taylor Photography Marianne Taylor Photography Northbrook Park Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography Chinese Door Games - Marianne Taylor Phootgraphy Northbrook Park Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography Euphoric Flowers - Marianne Taylor Photography

Northbrook Park Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography

Chinese Tea Ceremony Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography Chinese Tea Ceremony Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography

Chinese Tea Ceremony Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography

Indian Sagan Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography

Marianne Taylor Photography

Northbrook Park Wedding - Marianne Taylor Photography Ombre Wedding Dessert Table - Marianne Taylor Photography Rachelle

The Brand New Heavies - Marianne Taylor Photography

 

. . . . .

Photography – Marianne Taylor Photography | Wedding Co-Ordination + Styling – Carmen Weddings

Venue – Northbrook Park | Dress – Elie Saab | Shoes – Jimmy Choo | Florist – Euphoric Flowers

Cake + Desset Table – Rachelle’s Bespoke Cakes | Make Up Artist – Mariam Jensen

Hair Stylist – Yuko London | Stationery – Coppia Creativa | Videographer – Simon Clarke Films

Catering – Sanctuary Catering |  Band – The Brand New Heavies

Nathalie - Buttercup Bus VW PhotoboothFebruary 4, 2014 - 8:09 am

Wow – this wedding really caught my eye. The food issuing my tummy rumble. The traditions really add to this lovely, colourful wedding. What a gorgeous outdoor ceremony setting too!

BernadetteFebruary 8, 2014 - 9:55 pm

Such beautiful styling Carmen, looked like a stunning wedding

CarmsFebruary 10, 2014 - 12:07 pm

It sure was a very pretty day! Thank you for your lovely comment :)

CarmsFebruary 10, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Thank you Bernadette – it was a very pretty day! x

ToobaJune 17, 2014 - 4:54 am

wow it looks so beautiful . Simple,classic and stylish.

earcandySeptember 8, 2014 - 12:34 pm

The photography and the bride in groom in this are stunning! Fantastic work, thanks for great post as well.. The food is mouth watering :-)

PhilOctober 10, 2014 - 6:19 am

Hi,

These pics make me so happy, Carmen. I’m so happy for you guys. Thank for sharing! May I feature one of your pics on a dating/social networking website I am building?

CarmsOctober 14, 2014 - 7:41 pm

Hi Phil,

This wedding is a clients wedding – please contact the photographer, Marianne Taylor Photography’ to ask for permission as they are copyrighted to her. Many Thanks

I Think This Year May Be My Best Yet!

I can’t predict the future nor will claim to know that this new year is going to be one amazing year… but at the end of 2013, I just knew I had some very exciting planning ahead and yes, it may just be my most amazing year E.V.E.R… and here’s the very reason why…

Baby Scan 12 Weeks

… yay! hello to our little one, our bebe Muffin, who is very happily tucked inside my tummy : )

On Monday morning, when life was kinda getting back to normal after the holidays, the very first appointment we had was for our 12 weeks scan. As this little one is our first, I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew I had to drink a lot of water and be ready for that pressing down on my tummy feeling during the ultrasound!

As I laid on the bed in a dark room, Paul and I held hands and gave each other a little squeeze as the sonographer started maneuvering her device over my already biggish belly. Feeling a little anxious but then… there it was doing a little jump! I wondered whether the pressing down on my tummy startled bebe. I let out a little squeal as we spotted our baby’s head, it’s legs and the little flashing white dot of it’s heartbeat. Throughout the scan, bebe had it’s hand over it’s face too… maybe it’s a little camera shy.

Oh my, this is it. This is our little one.

Finally, we met our baby who is growing healthily inside this tummy of mine. It’s exciting. It’s a little strange and it was yet to still fully sink in that by this summer we will have a little one of our own. It’s special. It’s scary but at the same time it feels so, so natural.

Paul and I are absolutely ecstatic and with a more accurate due date, we now know he or she is due just before our 5th year wedding anniversary in July.

I have to be honest, I’ve already had to turn down weddings for this summer {which is so, so hard} but thankfully the sweet brides totally understand and I really appreciate their amazing words of congrats.

Although for now I’ve made the very difficult decision that I’ll be taking things a little slower, I am however, already taking bookings for 2015 and I’m going to spend more time on my blog as I’ve so missed it during last year as I was just so busy.

I’m really looking forward to what this year is going to bring and I hope to be sharing more features on my blog on weddings and the snippets of life as a soon-to-be-working-mami!

And in case you’re wondering if I’m beginning to show, here’s a piccie of me and my 10 week bump {I’m now 13 weeks, so a little bigger than this photo!}… from my final wedding of 2013 with the very gorgeous Laura who got married in Edinburgh back in December.

Heaps of love

Carms xoxo

Lisa BakerJanuary 10, 2014 - 11:08 am

Carms,

I’m so happy for you and Paul! It is such an amazing experience and so exciting when you get to see it for the first time on the ultrasound!

I totally understand where you are coming from with regards turning down work and having to take things a little bit slower – it doesn’t come easy when you run your own business and are used to going full throttle – but it will be totally worth it and you’ve made such a success of your business so far that you will have no trouble picking up where you left off when you decide to!

I’ll pass on any tips I get after having our little one in March!

Congratulations again!

Lx

CarmsJanuary 10, 2014 - 12:37 pm

Thank you so much Lisa! It was very exciting and now we cannot wait until our 20 week scan :)

It’s amazing to know when other planners understand how hard it is having to work a little slower and every time I feel more energetic, I try work at the same pace again because that’s all we know! Thanks for the reassurance – I really hope after bebe’s arrival, I can pick it back up from where I left it.

I look forward to your tips and I’m so very excited for you right now! Not long to go and I wish you a very healthy pregnancy over the final few months.

Lots of love xoxo

LucyLJanuary 27, 2014 - 11:27 am

CONGRATS Carmen, what wonderful news!! I am sure life as a mummy will bring you so much joy that you shan’t miss work too much :)

On the other hand, I look forward to more blog posts from you!

Lucy xx

CarmsJanuary 29, 2014 - 8:08 am

Thank you so much Lucy! It’s going to be a nice little challenge this year but all in all, it’s going to be good.

Carms xx

BernadetteFebruary 8, 2014 - 10:01 pm

How darn exciting, I’m so excited you’re starting your journey into parenting this blog post might be helpful http://www.ukawp.com/blog/for-wedding-planners/life-as-a-planner/how-can-you-be-a-successful-parent-business-owner/

Lots of love

Berni xx

CarmsFebruary 10, 2014 - 12:16 pm

Thanks so much Berni! And what a fantastic post you’ve shared – it was definitely worth a read and I will no doubt re-visit again. You’ve always inspired me with running a very successful planning business, the UKAWP and juggling life with 3 children so there’s definitely no better person to write the post!! xoxo

Louise - Bow OccasionsFebruary 10, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Belated congratulations Carmen. I have only just seen your news. I too am expecting our first baby due in April. Must be the year for wedding planner babies :) I hope pregnancy is treating you well xx

CarmsFebruary 11, 2014 - 11:26 am

Congratulations to you too Louise! Not long to go until baby Bow Occasions – I hope you’ve had a good pregnancy so far. What an exciting time for us planners with so many babies due in 2014 xoxo

This Year.

This time last year when I sat writing this post, I didn’t think I’ll be writing today’s so soon. Okay, sure it has been another 365 days but my goodness, where has this year gone? Maybe it’s true when people say ‘As you get older, the faster it goes‘ or perhaps it’s just because working in this business, every day and month is so well planned that the days are quickly filled, hence it feels like it passes you far quicker than ever before.

Writing this final post of 2013 makes me a little emotional, a whole lotta happy and that warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness… but I’m also feeling very ready for another new year. It’s almost time for me to look at what needs to change, what needs to be done even better and where to take Carmen Weddings. I’ll be taking some time to sit down in January to really have a long, hard think about the more serious business plans. It’s not going to be easy decisions but I’ll just have to make sure there’s some fun along the way!

For now, I’m so excited to be taking a look back at the year… the majority being the good. The very good. And some not so great moments of 2013. Every one of those experiences has taught me some great lessons in which I can only take with me and learn from.

Spring was traveling at a steady pace and it was all about preparing for the months ahead which meant a much needed holiday before the craziness. Not only that, my sweet cousin was getting married in Hong Kong, so with flights booked for our trip to Hong Kong, Xi’An in China and a sunny break in Penang it was my ultimate way to start the year. Giddy with excitement is an understatement to how I was feeling.

 

Pauline + Frankie – Hong Kong 

They were married on the Saturday in The White Chapel at The Auberge – Discovery Bay, followed by cocktails and dinner, then on the Sunday their Banquet was hosted at the glamorous Mira Hotel at Tsim Sha Tsui. I’ve grown up with this girl since we were babies and from a very young age we used to lie side by side in bed talking about anything and everything… including our future wedding days! So to see her walk down the aisle and marry her best friend was one of the most emotional moments for her and for me. She looked absolutely stunning in all of her stunning dresses – from her bespoke wedding dress to her glamorous Elie Saab evening gown and her Chinese Kwa…

 

Our Far East Trip

Paul and I managed to spend more time in Hong Kong with family and friends and it was really fantastic to be in the city with my parents too – the first time in my life we were all visiting together!  A huge highlight of my year.

We then had a history filled city break in Xi’An.  

A wedding planner friend suggested to me two years ago to try and get away before the busy wedding season and she was so right. This trip meant that when I was back,  I was completely refreshed for the summer.

I have dreamt of visiting the Terracotta Warriors Museum for quite some time… and we made 2013 the year to do it! It was a pretty amazing experience…

Then a short flight over to Penang was the best thing we did. Three weeks away from home and ending it with a week in the 33 degrees heat was simply bliss. I loved so much about Penang and I really didn’t want our time here to end.

 

Chinoiserie Inspiration Shoot in Hong Kong

Planning an inspiration shoot wasn’t easy being 6000 miles away but it was really worth it! More on where this was featured further along this post…

Amy + Neil | Nottinghamshire

Back on UK soil my first wedding of the year was Amy + Neil’s lovely wedding at Holme Pierre Pont Hall in April. A sweet wedding for a couple who truly deserved a special day…

Emma White Photography

 

 

Katie + Andy | Leicesteshire

Katie + Andy were married in their local village church with a most fabulous and fun filled reception at home in a gorgeous tipi. I loved so much about this couple and their wedding – so relaxed, so many sweet and personalised details… just gorgeousness all round. Katie just naturally pretty with the sweetest personality – so when I saw her in her dress with her girls, I knew her entrance to their church would be simply beautiful and Andy would be one very proud groom.

Emma Case Photography

 

Espana – A Little Last Minute Break

Paul and I wasn’t planning another break after the Far East trip earlier on the year but when friends invited us to visit for a long weekend in Spain, we couldn’t help ourselves and decided to hop on a flight and off we go!

 

Highlight Visit – Highclere Castle

One of the highlights of this year included a venue visit with my clients to the magnificent Highclere Castle, which you may recognise in the famous television series of Downton Abbey. A personal tour of every room and corner of Highclere Castle was a dream to my clients and a place I’m proud to say I’ve had the pleasure in visiting.

 

Tabitha + Chris | Oakham – Rutland

Rock My Wedding Real Bride Tabitha, and her now husband Chris were married on a very hot summers day in Oakham, Rutland… and I was so proud to have been a part of their wedding team. So many pretty details and sweet moments, a gorgeous Kula Tsurdiu dress and brilliant family and friends! These two are seriously one of the loveliest couples I’ve had the pleasure to have worked with.

Their sweet ceremony at the fabulous Oakham Castle which was then followed by a relaxed summery marquee reception at the Fox & Hounds, it really was so lovely to see every one of their guests enjoying their day as much as the bride + groom!

Tabitha + Chris Leicestershire Wedding

Carmen Weddings on Instagram

 

Rachel + Simon | Hertfordshire

Summer 2013 and we really couldn’t be more grateful for the glorious weather. Another hot summers day {in fact, it was very hot!} and this time for the gorgeous Rachel + Simon for their stunning wedding in Hertfordshire. A traditional Jewish wedding with a huge team of vendors who worked so, so hard on their incredible celebration {think along the lines of 100 plus team members!} A lot of hard work and hours were put in during the build up and on the day, but every ounce of energy we had put into their wedding made it so worth it… and a huge thank you for how welcoming Rachel + Simon’s family were throughout.

I remember all the details so clearly – the Delphine Manivet gown, the outdoor grand piano for their marriage under the stunning Scarlet & Violet chuppah to all the touching Jewish traditions… this is one wedding I will never forget.

Carmen Weddings on Instagram

 

Tracey + Hardip | Surrey

Tracey + Hardip had a very beautiful yet stylish wedding at Northbrook Park in Surrey…

The fusion of two cultures in one day is always a big favourite of mine and I’m so, so pleased to have been there on their wedding in making sure it came together perfectly. The morning’s weather was hit and miss but that moment when Tracey walked down the aisle outside in the gardens was a very special moment to them and to me. Nothing brings a planner more joy than when you see it turn out exactly the way they hoped for.

Tracey made such a gorgeous bride and I promise I will be blogging their full day with all the details very soon!

Marianne Taylor Photography

 

Lai-Chi + Yih | Derbyshire

Lai-Chi + Yih’s wedding was a mix of vintage with the cutest details along with touches of the Chinese traditions. I adored working alongside this couple in so many ways and bride looked amazing in her Kula Tsurdiu dress and her Chinese Kwa. I remember their speeches so well too… yes, I had a few happy tears too!

This couple paid attention to all the little details which made their day and it was clear that it was of great priority that their family and friends were having a great time, and this was exactly what we had set out to ensure they got for their special day.

I cannot wait to see all the professional photos and I hope I can share them with you soon!

Cuong Phan Photography

 

The Manor | Somerset

It’s always an honour to be invited to great events but sometimes in the busy months I do have to say no… but on one occasion towards the end of the wedding season, I  took a drive to The Manor in Somerset. A fantastic day and evening we had with a bunch of great wedding friends and spending some time with their two amazing Newfoundland dogs… including Bently.

Isn’t he just adorable?!

 

On Style Me Pretty

Remember the inspiration shoot I mentioned earlier which I had planned in Hong Kong with Bridelicious? Well, I was ecstatic when Style Me Pretty featured it! What a moment it was to see it grace the pages of this world famous blog and we were so, so proud that we made it happen.

I’m yet to blog the whole shoot and share all the details with you but you can see the feature here.

Jada Poon Photography

 

Laura + Tom | Edinburgh 

My very final wedding of the year was one which I had planned in just 3.5 months and took place on 21st December.

Laura + Tom’s winter wedding in Edinburgh was exactly how I had imagined a beautiful wintery wedding to be but more importantly, it was what bride + groom visioned and they enjoyed every moment of their big day in the magnificent city. A Cathedral service followed by a beautiful reception at Prestonfield House - it really was beautiful.

I cannot wait to see their professional photos but for now, here are my sweet peeks!

 

As 2013 draws to a close…

it’s clear that without the love and support I’ve had this year I wouldn’t have been able to share the above sweet moments and love stories.

A huge thank you to all who have been a part of it… from my clients, their families {I adore the mum’s and dad’s so much too!}, the suppliers I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside, my husband, family, friends and of course my sweet pooch Pugsie.

Next year will be an interesting year but I know it will be just as amazing as it has been over the last 12 months – I refuse to have it any other way!

Not only am I grateful for the opportunities and to all the people mentioned above but being in this job makes me so thankful to the kind weather I’ve been lucky to have had, the fab Costa and Starbucks staff I spend a lot of time meeting at service stations when on my travels, to all the delivery people who bring me package after package of wedding goodies… and to the florists like Planet Flowers who create such amazing arrangements for my couples and for when couples who gift me such awesome flowers! I’m a lucky girl right?!

It’s Not All Been Easy

As fantastic as the year has been and I couldn’t have been more proud of where I’ve managed to take Carmen Weddings, I’m not saying it’s all been plane sailing, that it’s all perfection, that I’ve become best buddies with every single vendor I’ve met along the way… trust me, some days are very tough.

I’m a small business owner who pours all their heart and soul into every wedding and the couple I work for and at times it brings me great challenges. Some small, some big and some you do occasionally take to heart, It’s only natural.

But I think the toughness of this job should be saved for another post, another time!

And as we’re now so close to 2014…

I would like to wish you all a very, very Happy New Year – wishing you great moments, fabulous opportunities, amazing health and a ton of happiness for 2014!

Huge hugs + love from me and my cuddly assistant – this-squishy-face-pooch xoxo

 

LucyLJanuary 7, 2014 - 2:45 pm

Awww Carmen, what a lovely post! So nice to see all the weddings you have planned and helped in 2013, and it’s always great to focus on the positive as the year ends. Although I am a teeny bit intrigued by the tough times! Hope you have an even better 2014, can’t wait to see more wedding pics, and I must send you mine too at some point – sorry! x

CarmsJanuary 9, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Thank you Lucy! 2013 was a great year and I hope this one is going to be just as amazing too. I look forward to seeing your wedding photos :) x

Happy Anniversary Lydia + Roland

On this slightly chilly day, it takes me back to where we were a year ago… the very wedding of Lydia + Roland.

Their wedding was a day filled with so many emotions as I remember there were a few challenges along the way. From last minute change of venue {which was one reason why Lydia + Roland felt they needed my help} and some personal challenges thrown in too, which meant that even just 7 days before their big day, we wasn’t sure whether their wedding would go ahead.

But… a year later, I can honestly say, their day went smoothly, surrounded by every single one of their loved ones and now this couple have started a new life together on the other side of the world! It’s amazing how one year changes so much, but today, I would like to wish this very lovely couple huge congratulations on their new adventure and a very Happy Anniversary! xo