Alison of Tea Cup Events has carved out a career specialising in the planning and coordination of weddings, in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW. She brings with her a passion for interior design, creativity and event management, and just a little touch of Southern Highlands charm to the events she plans! You may just need her for conceptualising your event, or planning from beginning of your wedding journey to the end of your wedding day – Alison offers the flexibility to cater for your particular needs. Here’s Alison’s story….
How did you get into event planning?
I have always loved attending weddings, parties and events, and I think I have been a natural ‘organiser’ from a very young age. The idea of being able to coordinate weddings and events and be a part of somebody’s special day was an exciting prospect, ending with the reward of being able to be there on the night and see it all come together, so in my last few years of school I decided this was what I wanted to pursue. I completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Tourism Management of which a component was Event Management, and this re-confirmed my interest in event planning. I worked in the city for an event company during my first year out of university, where I was involved in the coordination of Sydney Movie Premieres, parties and corporate events which even meant a trip to Vietnam for an Asia-Pacific conference coordination.
What was the catalyst for starting Tea Cup Events?
A goal of mine has always been to start up and run my own event planning business. In 2011, we decided to move back to the Southern Highlands for the beautiful lifestyle it offers which I had experienced growing up here. It was the perfect opportunity and circumstances for me to finally start up my business, so it was then that Tea Cup Events was created.
Image courtesy of Tea Cup Events
What packages do you offer the bride and groom?
I offer 2 different types of packages – Planning Packages & Wedding Day Coordination Packages. All of the packages are based on the amount of time you require my services for, and we tailor them to suit the specific tasks you want me to carry out.
My planning packages are very popular for busy couples who don’t have the hours to spend searching for suppliers or ensuring all the little details are perfect. Some of my tasks can include sourcing decorations, recommending & confirming suppliers, accompanying you on venue visits, providing checklists and ensuring you haven’t forgotten anything along the way. It is also very helpful for couples who don’t live in the Southern Highlands and can’t make the trip down each weekend to meet with suppliers and organise certain elements that require site visits.
My ‘Wedding Day Coordination’ packages are proving to be very popular. Having a wedding coordinator attend all or part of your special day will ensure the day runs smoothly and allow you to enjoy every moment. Even if you are super organised, there are several elements to be done the morning of the wedding which you may not wish to allocate to family or friends, so they too can enjoy getting ready. I can set up the ceremony area, add any decoration to the reception venue, ensure name cards are correctly placed and make sure all suppliers arrive on time, as well as be there to coordinate the whole event so everything runs to plan. I can also do any set ups at private homes or parks for ‘do it yourself’ style weddings. This package is ideal for couples who have booked a reception venue that is unable to allow access the day before for decorating. The venue will be decorated and set up by me exactly as you had planned, with no surprises as you walk in as husband and wife.
Images by Thomas Stewart Photography
If your budget is not huge, what do you recommend as a base package, and why?
I have designed my packages with budgets in mind, so you can just choose to use my services for the certain elements that you really need assistance with.
A Wedding Day Coordination package is a great place to start as this also includes a face-to-face meeting prior to the day to discuss all details, as well as my attendance at your wedding rehearsal. If you book this package, then you can also opt to add a few hours of planning along the way if you find that you need it.
What other services do you offer?
I offer hourly consultations which you can utilise if you have decided to plan your own wedding. We can meet early in the process to get you started or ensure you haven’t forgotten anything closer to the big day. Or else I can offer suggestions or recommendations on certain elements or decisions you are having trouble making. I find that brides and grooms like the fact that I am a ‘neutral’ party when it comes to decisions on venues and suppliers. I know all the local places very well and can offer my professional unbiased opinion and recommendations when it comes down to the couple making their final decisions.
I am also available to help make ‘homemade’ decorations and invitations, as well as offer ideas for styling, themes and colour choice.
What trends do you see coming in the next 12 months for weddings?
There is definitely a trend towards relaxed country style homemade weddings with an emphasis on creating a ‘fun’ night for guests, with many opting for open air garden weddings with thousands of fairy lights and giant outdoor games. I am seeing a lot of rustic handmade decorations, colourful flowers, ‘cheese wheel’ wedding cakes, soft pretty colours, weddings dresses that are flowing and comfortable, non-matching bridesmaids dresses and more personal bonbonniere.
Image by Thomas Stewart Photography Styling by Pearl & Petal.
Are you able to offer the bride and groom fresh suggestions for styling, and to personalize their wedding, as well?
Even though I am not a stylist as such, I can certainly offer suggestions and advice in regards to styling your wedding. I am always looking for new and fresh ideas for weddings to stay away from the ‘cliches’ that some wedding styles can adopt. I work closely with some wonderful stylists and florists that have amazing ideas and help turn your imagination into reality. Personalisation is also very important and I like to offer ideas to my brides and grooms for small personal touches to be included throughout the day.
You now have access to Redcourt – a wedding venue in the Southern Highlands (Exeter). Can you tell us a little about this venue?
Redcourt is an exclusive private home and garden in Exeter that is now offering its grounds for weddings and events. It is a stunning venue perfect for intimate garden weddings or larger extravagant marquee soirees, with 30 acres of exquisite gardens and stunning rural views offering a vast array of locations for a ceremony and reception. The property also boasts a gorgeous Federation homestead with luxury bed and breakfast accommodation for the bride and groom.
Image courtesy of Tea Cup Events
What are your most favourite moments in wedding planning?
It is such an amazing feeling to be able to help create such an important event in a couple’s life, and I love being able to experience it from the initial scribbles on paper to seeing the day come to fruition.
I also get to meet such great people and new friends along the way.
The best part of my job though is to seeing how happy the bride & groom are as they become husband and wife, watching their guests having an amazing time, and a few days later receiving a lovely thank you note from the bride and groom saying how everything on the day was better than they imagined.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I never start a day without having planned it the afternoon or night before. I find that if I have my tasks set out ready for the next day with a plan for what I want to accomplish then I am much more constructive in my work. I am also then much more prepared for those ‘unplanned’ and ‘urgent’ things that can pop up at any time.
I don’t really have a ‘typical day’, but on the day of a wedding I will start it with a good coffee from my local coffee shop ‘Rush Roasting Co.’ (best coffee in the highlands in my opinion!), and then arrive early to the venue. I ensure any suppliers who should have already arrived have done so, go and check on the bride to make sure she is calm and doesn’t need anything, manage any ceremony or reception set ups and make sure everything is perfectly in place. I’ll then chat to the groom when he arrives and liaise with the celebrant and MC so we are all on the same page. From there we get onto the formalities and I ensure the bridal party are in position and ready. After the ceremony I will make sure staff are ready with drinks and canapés for the guests, and that everyone is seated in the reception venue as per the run sheet. Throughout the evening I see to it that everything runs perfectly to time, and that the venue staff are providing excellent service at all times. At the conclusion of the wedding, I will gather up decorations and flowers to be delivered or picked up by the bride and groom the following day. Then it’s home for a nice glass of wine and a relax!
What do you love about the Southern Highlands as a wedding destination?
There are many great things about the Southern Highlands as a wedding destination. The countryside is spectacular offering stunning backdrops for photos, and there is a great range of venues and local suppliers, with fantastic local food and wine on offer.
Many couples are also choosing to have a ‘country wedding weekend’ rather than just a day, and the Southern Highlands is perfect for this. Guests can come down a day prior to the wedding for some leisurely activities such as wine tasting, visiting antique shops or playing golf, and then stay on after the wedding when there is often a post wedding brunch on offer hosted by the newlyweds to continue the celebrations.
The grounds of Redcourt – image by Thomas Stewart Photography
What do you like to do in your spare time?
With a business and a 2 year old daughter, I don’t have a huge amount of spare time, but when I do I love sitting down with a good glass of red wine and some beautiful cheeses, listening to music, reading a good book or eating at great restaurants. When I have a bit more time on offer then I love to travel to weird and wonderful places, or just sit on a beach somewhere and do nothing!
The good life is……
Sitting in the sun with family and friends enjoying good food, good wine and a few good laughs!
Thank you Alison for sharing your story with us today. To find out more about Tea Cup Events please visit the website.
Headshot courtesy of Alison at Tea Cup Events