I’m delighted to be supporting a fellow member of the Inspire Network and wedding industry colleague with her exciting new venture.
Gemma Jay has created a unique wedding planner and supplier directory, in which Creative Calligraphy is featured, that couples will be able to treasure long after their big day.
The Wedding Handbook brings together every type of business that couples need while planning their nuptials and unlike other directories, there are no ‘preferential’ choices – anyone with a reputable wedding-related company can feature.
Event planner Gemma is dedicating the wedding ‘yellow pages’ to her parents Malcolm and Beverley Hagan, from South Hylton, Sunderland, who were tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in France in 2013.
She said: “Mum and Dad were childhood sweethearts, who were very much in love and were married for 34 years. Dedicating the Wedding Handbook to them is a fitting tribute to their memories.
“Soon after their death I realised just how much in love they were and how important marriage was to them. That’s when I started doing market research and planning the Wedding Handbook. It’s taken two years to get me to this stage, but now I’m ready to take it to the next level.
“I’ve put together the Wedding Handbook to give couples a real choice. Although there are online directories available, this is a hard-backed quality product that people can keep as part of their wedding memories.
“I love the idea of people gathering together to look at the book and plan their wedding; it’s so much more traditional and in keeping with the idea of marriage than making lists from the internet.”
The first edition of the Wedding Handbook will feature businesses in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Gemma aims to take the idea nationwide, with different books for each part of the UK. She is also working on versions of the book for gay couples to plan same-sex weddings.
The Wedding Handbook features businesses supplying everything from bridal wear and wedding cakes to venues, transport and honeymoons.
Each page has a doodle section for keeping notes, plus sticky tabs to mark the pages and a memory stick where couples can store their favourite suppliers in one place.
Gemma trained in performing arts and dance and even spent three months learning to be a stuntwoman in Australia, before returning to the UK to manage gyms and fitness clinics.
But she realised her forte was as an organiser and she set up Visualized Event Specialists to manage corporate events, awards ceremonies and offer wedding planning services. The wedding planning quickly took over and sowed the seeds of the Wedding Handbook.
Gemma said: “Most directories feature preferred suppliers, but the Wedding Handbook provides couples with a real choice to suit their budget. You could choose a photographer charging £200 or one charging £2,000 – it’s up to you.
“We do demand every advertiser is fully insured and that they meet the regulatory requirements for their sector, so for example, all caterers must meet the food hygiene regulations and anyone supplying electrical items must have a PAT (portable appliance testing) certificate.
“It’s about providing a quality service at a price to suit each couple, who can build up their own individual record of their wedding in their own unique book.”
The Wedding Handbook itself makes a great pre-wedding gift for couples to keep forever to remember their special day. Copies can be ordered from her website here (add the discount code wed1 at the checkout for 10% off) and Gemma is also taking them to various wedding fairs throughout the region.