I met Valentina a couple of years ago at Grind a coffee shop in Soho. I loved hearing her story and witnessing her infectious passion and energy for wedding and elopement planning.
What made you specialise in wedding planning and styling?
Thank you so much for having me on the blog, Charlotte! Such a joy and honour to be here.
I actually discovered this passion while working with a wedding planner myself. We started planning our wedding in 2015, and by the time we tied the knot in Tuscany in summer 2017, I was absolutely hooked! Our wedding planner became a friend, a confidant, and a mentor, and I’m so grateful to her for introducing me to the wonderful behind-the-scenes magic of her work.
I’ve learned so much over the last three and a half years since launching The Stars Inside, and now I have the joy of supporting couples with planning and styling intimate weddings and elopements all over the world. There’s honestly nothing else I would rather do! I absolutely adore the unique combination of creativity and problem solving that this role requires, and I’ve never felt as rewarded and fulfilled as I do when working closely with incredible couples telling the story of their love. Despite having found this calling a bit late in life, following careers as an astrophysicist, a circus performer, and an investment banker, now I know this is where I’m meant to be ♡
How does your process work?
I first meet my couples over a video call, or preferably hugs and coffee in person when that is safe to do, which is when I start getting to know them and their vision for their celebrations. I create a bespoke quote and proposal with them, and if they choose to move forward working with me, I kick off planning right away! Over the course of the time we have together, I help them find their perfect venue, assemble a dream team of vendors, design the look and feel of the day, manage their budget, and handle all of their admin and logistics too.
Every couple will have different “stress points” when it comes to planning their wedding: one couple might love the practical bits but feel lost when it comes to the creative side, while another may have a very keen sense of aesthetics but need help bringing it all together. Others may be looking for equal amounts of support in both spheres, which is absolutely fine too. For me it’s all about adapting myself to them, giving them the peace of mind of knowing everything will be handled expertly, thoughtfully, and carefully – and giving them time to do more of what they love.
I hope that by working with me they have more space to enjoy being engaged, to have FUN planning their wedding, and know that everything about their day is in the most trusted hands. My support is wholehearted and very comprehensive: I encourage plentiful, open communication with no limits on time or topic so that I can be there for them in any way they need.
What is your favourite type of brief?
Over the last few years I have been specialising in more intimate weddings, though this isn’t just about the size of the guest list: it’s about the approach the couple has to create a welcoming, heartfelt, immersive atmosphere for all of their loved ones. I get very excited about opportunities to create celebrations where there are time and space to be present together, with plenty of meaningful and considered detail, and attention to how styling can help tell their story in a really personal way.
I don’t work on any ONE single style of wedding brief, for me, it’s more about weaving the couple’s personality through every element, in whichever style feels right for them. I’m also really passionate about travel, so I adore when couples want to celebrate with their friends and family by taking them to a beautiful destination! A lot of couples I work with live internationally, and I love discovering new places with them.
You recently added podcaster to your repertoire by Launching “The Stars Inside” podcast in June, connecting with fellow industry insiders. How are you finding creating the podcast?
I am absolutely LOVING it! This podcast was a little passion project I started during lockdown last year, and it’s been a huge source of joy for me. Not only has it given me scope to learn lots of new skills, it’s also connected me to amazing people and given me a creative outlet that has been invaluable during these difficult times. I have always wanted to start a video series for YouTube but had constantly been held back by feeling self-conscious on camera!
Through the podcast, I’ve discovered that I feel really comfortable in front of a microphone, and I even feel that it’s helped me overcome some of my fears. Finding out more about suppliers and couples is something I really love, and the education element of the episodes is also super important to me: I truly believe that to be clear and transparent is a form of kindness and one which I hope to contribute to within the wedding industry. I’m so grateful to all of my guests and listeners who have supported me and listened in, it really means the world to me!
What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have a self-care ritual?
I wouldn’t call it a ritual per se, but I do try to give myself a routine – particularly when working from home as much as I have been lately. My alarm goes off shortly after 7 AM, and I use those first few hours of the day to wake up slowly, reading and drinking coffee – or going out for a short jog, which I try to do at least three times a week. Between around 9 AM and 7PM, you’ll find me at my desk in my home office, though sometimes I switch it up by working on my laptop in the kitchen or in the living room. In “normal” circumstances, I love taking my laptop to parks and coffee shops and working in new spaces.
I would also normally be out and about a lot for meetings with clients, with suppliers, or visiting venues. You’d also “normally” find me attending wedding showcases, running photoshoots and editorials, and hitting up exhibits and galleries for the latest in art, interior design, and fashion. Weekends are usually either set aside for family time, during which I try not to check my phone and emails quite as much – unless of course, I have a wedding that weekend, in which case it’s all hands and heart on deck!
How have you found the lockdown?
Of course, I miss seeing my clients, and being able to meet suppliers and visit venues – and am heartbroken for this industry and for all the couples have had to postpone their celebrations. I can’t wait for weddings to be able to safely and joyfully happen again! But, for now, I try to do best to stay productive and positive, keeping calm and carrying on. I’ve been helping couples postpone if they needed any support with that, and I’ve continued planning for 2021 and 2022 weddings in the meantime.
I’ve also caught up on some projects I’ve been wanting to explore, refreshed my branding and website, and generally kept myself busy in a mindful and creative way. I’m very lucky to have a comfortable home office and a lovely husband who I adore spending time with, so our lockdown life has been quite peaceful. I think it’s so important to keep reminding ourselves of all we have to be grateful for, despite the dark waters around us.
Your wedding/ elopement shoots are incredibly unique. Where do you find inspiration? Films, exhibitions, art, fashion?
That’s so kind of you, thank you so much! My number one inspiration is the couple themselves – their personalities, their passions, and their histories. By connecting with couples and suppliers that are aligned with me, I also find that very often my work can take inspiration by my favourite places, favourite books and movies, favourite genres of art, favourite colour combinations, and so on – I love being able to pay homage to beauty in all of these forms, and there is nothing more exciting than feeling that the person you’re speaking to totally “gets it”.
I love looking to fashion, art, architecture, history, and pop culture when I’m brainstorming ideas. Also, when I’m trying to recharge my brain, I like branching out to non-work related things, as I feel it gives me a fresh perspective on my inspiration. If I have some down-time, you’ll see me reaching for the latest fantasy series I’m reading, or cosying up with my husband in our videogame cave. I use what spare time I have to nourish my creativity by travelling, visiting art and photography exhibits, creating with others, reading, and generally widening my horizons – sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected of places!
Do you have a favourite garden to visit?
I don’t think I could pick a favourite, but I absolutely LOVE discovering new ones! In normal circumstances, my husband and I love exploring manors and gardens in the countryside. I’m happiest when surrounded with nature, so gardens with flower beds and water features and plenty of wildlife really light me up!
Lastly, What is your favourite flower?
Oh, what a fun question! I absolutely adore flowers – I’m not sure I’ve ever met one I didn’t love. I’m a huge fan of ‘Café au Lait’ dahlias, chocolate cosmos, and grey-white orchids. I’ve also been known to fall in love with big gorgeous roses!
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If you would like to know more about our services please head over to our Contact Page and get in touch. I would love to hear all about your project!