A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Sotonye Deru, Founder of SD Weddings Management, inviting me to a networking evening in London and what made this invite even more special was I had been asked to attend as a VIP! I of course accepted, but I had no idea of the impact that Ice the Cake had already had on the organisers of the event. I love to talk and I love to help people, it’s really important to me to do the best job I can, so to be asked to attend in such a prestigious way was an amazing recognition of Ice the Cake and the journey so far…
So on the evening of the 25th June 2013, together with a group of Ice the Cake members, I made my way into London. It was lovely to have a night out with the girls and we had a giggle on the train. At 6.30pm we arrived at The Gilt near Tower Hill, an opulent cocktail bar – which just happened to have Happy Hour until 8pm 🙂
We were greeted by the lovely team from SD Weddings Management and shown to our VIP booth. As the venue began to fill up I realised that apart from the ladies I arrived with, there were only about 3 familiar faces in the room, which for me was great as it meant I would be leaving with some wonderful new contacts and learning lots about some great new companies (I LOVE learning!).
I’m not the best at speaking with people I don’t know, as like many, I lack confidence especially talking about myself – I can talk forever about the fabulous ITC members, but ask me to talk about me and I run a mile. So the event was a chance to push my boundaries.
When it was announced that we were going to begin with ‘Speed Networking’ I did have a little giggle to myself. I realised I now had to participate in something I ask my members to do every month at our networking events (usually I’m just ringing my cowbell and loosing all inhibitions shouting at everyone to move on to the next person!). It was scary! But I took a deep breath and began chatting. It was great to meet so many people and I was delighted to hear about all the incredible businesses and unusual concepts. The event had a diverse mix of suppliers from various categories, but one thing that was so lovely was there was a real sense of community, with everyone genuinely interested in what others had to say.
Later in the evening the wonderful Seyi Olusanya, Owner of Cedar Events, spoke about her experiences and I believe truly inspired every person in the room (no wonder she won Most Inspirational Supplier 2011 at the Ice the Cake Awards!).
The evening rounded up with ’30 second speeches’ from some of the attendees and enabled us to gain a brief insight into their businesses. At the end of the event I was invited to the stage to talk about Ice the Cake!! Those who know me, would know I was terrified, but everyone was so lovely and supportive whilst I spoke, it was a really humbling experience – thank you so much Sotonye for giving me such an incredible opportunity.
I asked Sotonye, to share some of her inspiration behind the event and here is what she had to say…
“As a team, we have come to understand and appreciate that the wedding industry is about your skill and also about who you know; which vendors you have worked with and which vendors you have an ongoing relationship with. Brides are almost certain to book a vendor if they have come highly recommended by a reputable vendor they are already using, so referrals from wedding vendors are like Gold dust. Knowing this and identifying that many up and coming vendors do not have the opportunity to meet vendors all the time, we decided it would be a great idea to create a business networking event that would bring established and up and coming wedding vendors together in one place; to get everyone networking, exchanging business cards and connecting. WVN ‘The wedding Vendors Network’ was launched on the 25th June 2013 and we look forward to hosting more events; where those who work within the the wedding industry can network and truly grow their business through referring others and reputable vendors referring them.”
Sotonye advised: “After planning my own dream wedding for 400 guest and having so much fun doing it, meeting new vendors and seeing the day unfold as planned, I decided to extend the arm of my already established Events Management company to Wedding Coordination. I had attended sooo many weddings where the bride was late to the church some by 2 hours to weddings where guest were fighting over seats and really wanted to ensure couples that they could have an elegant, sophisticated, well timed and coordinated wedding with the help of a wedding coordinator and a team of event professionals. So I came up with a name and a USP for the business and SD Weddings MGT was born.
Our job as a team is to simply assist every couple who comes to us in making sure that their dream wedding becomes a reality and to send them off on their honeymoon happy, relaxed and confident that everything is in control. Our services are designed to save the couple time, money and stress and is perfect for the bride that doesn’t know where to start or has made her own plans, believes she has everything handled, but would like an expert to go over everything with her in extensive detail or for the bride who has hit a road block in her current plans and needs some professional advice, support and assistance with finding qualified wedding professionals, contract reviews, family issues and so on.
We really love what we do and look forward to working with more engaged couples, here and abroad. Knowing that a couple can rest 3 months before their wedding day and actually spend some quality time with each other without having to run around the day before is what makes the service we provide priceless. We are truly in the business of making couples and families happy, stress free and rest assured.”
I am delighted to announce that as part of the evening we gave away the opportunity for one of the attendees to have their business featured on the blog and the winner was the lovely MC Rodstar (pictured with me above). I am really looking forward to finding out more about him and sharing a fabulous article with you later in the month!
Thank you again for inviting me to this fabulous evening
Photography Credit: Adebayo Deru Photography