Monday, 31 October 2011


Happy Halloween everyone! We had an amazing time setting up for the Halloween party. Though one thing I can safely say is that you cannot start shopping early enough! We started about 2 and a half weeks ago, when the shelves were full, and you could take your pick, and there was hardly anyone interested in Halloween at that time as like most people, they thought it was too early. But if you want a fab looking event, being organized is key to a successful party. So my tip for your future events, it get your decorations early! That way, down the track, as the day gets nearer, if you may need extra spiders, or pumpkins, you won’t be caught short when all the shelves are bare, or just left with the tacky, cheap looking decorations, that you don’t want!

So to set up, we arrived at the house around 11am in the morning armed with bags of pumpkin lanterns, lots of fake spiders, insects, cobwebs, candles, skeletons, skull heads, you name it we had it!
The first thing we had to do was to clear out all of the ornaments and picture frames from the fireplace, shelve and window displays so we had a blank canvas to work with. The family were kind enough to go out and do their food shopping whist we setting up, and left us too it.
Over the door frame we hung up a large sign with the words, ‘KEEP OUT’ across the top. Hanging from the sign were long black streamers to cover the door way. On the floor we lay, what were supposed to be plastic table cloths, but they were so enormous that we decided to lay them on the floor, as they had blood splatters all over them which every effective.
Though after we thought we had finished setting up, we looked across the room, and realized that we didn’t have enough decorations. So we had to make a mad dash out to the shops and get as much as we could. The shops very were busy with everyone buying the last of their Halloween d├ęcor and costume accessories, but luckily Halloween was still a few days off, so not everything was completely sold out!
So back at the house, the family came home from shopping and absolutely loved what we had done, but we but we still had more to do and so we got to work adding to the rest of our decorations. About an hour later their toddler woke up from his afternoon nap, so we had to decorate around him, which was a bit of an unplanned challenge, however he seemed to really enjoy the living and dining room being turned into a haunted house.
On one of the main walls we had paint and wallpaper friendly stickers of a witch on a broom and a haunted house with bats flying around it. (When you peel them off, they leave absolutely no marks!) On the shelf underneath we hung cobwebs to make it look more eerie. On top of the cobwebs we placed lots of old looking bones and skulls. Also clustered together we had lots of candles that were used to light up the room, complete with pumpkin lanterns which made all the decorations look especially spooky. One of the doors had a large sticker on it that had ‘keep out’ written in blood. Yeah we were really going for an unwelcoming look!

Around where the bay windows held one of the food displays stations. Here we did actually use one of the blood splattered table cloths for its actual purpose! We had food trays in the shape a haunted house, Halloween colours. In the compartments we placed eye ball and pumpkin shaped chocolates with mini Halloween character shaped chocolates all foil wrapped. They looked great! Cake HQ also helped us set up, and she made plenty of amazing Halloween cake pops, cupcakes, and cookies, which all tasted divine. We placed candelabra’s either side of the food, so give it all a spooky feel.

On the wall opposite in the middle of the wall housed the fireplace, which we used as a focal point. Draped over the top we had lots of hanging cobwebs, with spiders, and bugs attached, and either side stood two tombstones with glowing red eyes in the dark, which looked great. Inside the fireplace we placed pumpkin shaped lights amongst the candles. And lay around the bottom were objects such as bats and fake body parts, which all looked very disgusting.

As the family had been avoiding the living room, for the past few hours, when we invited them to come in and see what we had done to their living space, they were over the moon. The kids especially loved the cobwebs and glowing tombstones and everyone adored the Halloween shaped cakes!
All the guests at the party loved the set up, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

If you have a party coming up, why not get in touch today at:
And see what we can do for you. 

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Halloween is coming..eck!!

Halloween is definitely one of the most funnies times of the year! You get to dress up, scare your friends and eat lots of candy and chocolate. Most of us will be attending many events in and around the neighborhood, or at a friend’s houses, where for one night only, you can decorate your venue to look as disgusting as possible, and also serving horrible looking food – just as long as it tastes nice!  So whatever you get up to this Halloween, let your hair down and have a great night! Happy Halloween!


This year The Grape Vine Events will be planning a family Halloween party, which we are particularly excited about! Mainly as we get to decorate another person’s house, trash it, and make it look as disgusting and scary as we like! The family want a party suitable for adults and children, with games  such as apple bobbing and jack-o-lanterns carving, and of course there will be a prize for the best costume!


Although Halloween is a great, fun holiday, many of us do not know why we actually celebrate Halloween. However this holiday dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Around  2000 years ago during the time of The Celtics, (from Ireland, UK and Northern France) the New Year was celebrated on November 1st. They believed this day symbolized the end of summer and the start of the dark, cold winters, which back then was associated with higher mortality rates. During the festival, people would light bon fires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits.

The Roman Empire ruled most of Celtic Territory by around 43 AD. One of the festivals they celebrated at this time of year was to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is an apple, where it is believed that this is where the tradition of ‘bobbing for apples’ comes from, which is still played at Halloween parties today.

Around the eighth century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1st All Saints Day, a day to honor the saints and martyrs. The night before was named All Hallows’ Eve, which over time evolved to what we now know as Halloween.

On the night before the New Year, it was believed that the boundary between the living world and the dead becomes blurred, where ghosts could return to earth to cause trouble and damage crops. The Celts also thought that whilst the spirits were here, Druids (Celtic priests) could make predictions about the future. People would generally find these predictions a great deal of comfort during the cold, dark winter months.

By 1000 AD the church made 2nd November All Souls’ Day to honor the dead. The day was celebrated with big bonfires, parades and wearing fancy dress costumes such as the devil, saints and angles. This would probably explain why today we dress up in scary ghoulish outfits.

Today’s Halloween celebrations are much more fun! It has now evolved into a secular holiday and more child-friendly holiday, where families’ friends and communities get together to throw spooky parties, play games and children go trick-or-treating.


The aim is to look as scary, ghoulish, deathly, or downright disgusting as possible. It is also a goodtime to trash the popular looking dress up characters, such as cheerleader to a dead cheerleader, or bride, or a dead bride covered in blood, ECT. Here are some examples: 

  • Vampire 

  • Witch 
  • The Devil 
  • Evil Bride 
  • A Ghost 
  • Skeleton 
  • Werewolf 
  • Frankenstein 
  • The Grim Reaper 
  • A Zombie 
  • Scarecrow 
  • A Mummy 
  • A Dead Nurse 

  Or popular horror film characters such as:

  • Freddy Kruger 
  • Jason from Friday 13th 
  • ‘IT’ the Clown 
  • Jack from The Nightmare before Christmas 
  • Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas 
  • Uncle fester from the Addams Family 
  • The Scream Mask Character 


To make sure you throw a great Halloween party that’s one to remember, you will need to have great decorations! You want your guests to be wowed yet scared at the same time, as they arrive at your home.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas in how
to decorate your home. 

  • Place pumpkins with candles or torches inside them so that in the dark, they glow and look spooky! 
  • If you have any tree’s in you’re front or back garden – even better – place scary looking lanterns, or hanging skeletons, or ghouls from the tree’s. 
  • Like size cut outs of skeletons, or ghosts hanging the ceiling also look particularly effective 
  • Rubber or plastic spiders, bugs, snacks, skulls 
  • Scene setters – great to stick on the wall! These can come in different types of scene’s for Halloween such as: Ghosts, rows of skeletons, haunted house scene, pumpkin fields, zombie scene’s 
  • Hanging garlands such as rows of pumpkins or skulls, or just simply saying ‘Happy Halloween’ 
  • Hanging cobweb curtains 
  • Window stickers such as blood stickers 
  • Glow in the dark stickers, or hanging decorations such as skeletons, spiders, zombies 
  • Food displayed in large eye ball bowls, skeleton heads or in purple, orange and black 
  • Also stick to Halloween colours such as black, orange, green and purple!
So whatever you get up to this Halloween, I hope you have a great night and make sure this is one to remember!

See you next week, where we will be blogging about our Halloween antics!

Monday, 17 October 2011

A Vintage Theme

Vintage is a beautiful theme for many different types of parties. True it is not everyone’s personal taste, but you cannot open a wedding magazine theme days with seeing pages dedicated to vintage dresses, centerpieces, favours, ect. Any budget can create a stunning wedding. Try using old photo’s of family members weddings in vintage frames, old jewelry boxes, your grandmothers old broaches or jewelry.

You can associate vintage from the era of the roaring 20s with the Art Deco style, right up until World War II, usually with a colour palette of neutral tones, grays, creams and off whites, with lots of lace and pearls. You can carry on the theme right through to the invites, decor, cake, music, and dress attire. 

Using patterned glass trays, or vintage trays like these ones about are great ways of displaying your food at parties. You may have seen glass displays like these all over your grannies house, who would have thought how great they would look in a setting like this?

Vintage floral displays styles have a hand picked look about them. And for an extra vintage twist here, flowers are displyed in glass jars. They look great! It is also a great touch in the tables by having buttons scattered across the table. 

The building below is a great example of Art Deco. I building like this would be a great place to have your party or possibly wedding. Most of these great buildings have their original features which would make for great photo opportunities. This would carry on the theme very well, and couple with the right decorations, would look like an amazing party.

Last year I had the pleasure of working on the set up of a vintage wedding. There was a lot of hard work involved in putting this wedding together, but it has been by far my favourite I event I have worked on! On each table stood tall glass vases, each displaying different flower designs such as different coloured roses with lots of foliage, or large candles in a jar with pearls and candles sitting in the middle. All centerpieces had 2 mirrors underneath them with lots of different shapes handles. Some of the table had handbags, all hand made by Rosa, or jewelry boxes with feathers and pearls in them.
To compliment the theme was white table cloths, gold table runners, and the chairs were covered with satin gold chair covers and white lace tie backs, which made the whole room look like a million dollars!!

Each table had something different about it. No two were the same, which is what the bride wanted. It was a large task. One that I didn’t know how we would have finished it on time.  
The venue is very close to the centre of Sydney in a place called Pyrmont, and from the balcony area you can get a shot of the Harbour Bridge.

We were so tired at the end of the day, and we finished a couple of hours before the guests arrived. Apparently they went back a couple of hours later to light all the candles, and it looked even more spectacular! They waited until the bride got their so they could see the look on her face, and her face was a picture. Which was nice. The only downside to this wedding, I heard the next day, that Rosa and her sister went back the next day to clean up, and collect the vases, handmade bag, ect, but the guests seemed to have helped themselves to well… pretty much everything! They all wanted a momentum of the day. I’m sure this style would be very much in demand in the future. I just hope she got all her bags back!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Do I Need An Event/Wedding Planner?

A lot of people believe that it is only the rich and famous use wedding or event planners. And they not! They have the money to burn to throw fabulous parties, and if we had their money, I am sure we all would, right? But trends are now starting to change. We don’t live in a world any more where Dad goes out to work to support the family, whist Mum stays at home and tends to the children and the house hold. Mums are now working as well. The tending to the household is now shared between Mum and Dad during the evenings and weekends. So what do they do when it is time to plan a big party for the child’s sweet 16th or wedding? They work full time; where are they going to fit into their busy life styles planning a wedding or party.
Well let’s face it. We like to pretend we are superman, or wonder women, and for most of the time we are. But we all just don’t have all that free time to put the effort in to truly make an event an amazing success. We are a stubborn nation, and asking for help is not very… British is it? But hiring an expert, will allow you to enjoy your event, and make sure the party goes off without a hitch.
But before you consider hiring an event planner, you will have lots of questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask me! Here are the most common questions or statements, to help you put your mind at ease:

  1. "I can do everything myself, as my friends and family are going to help.”

Brilliant! That is exactly what I wanted to here. It’s amazing that your family and friends are willing to help out. However, if you have too many family members in loved, you may find that this will become ‘their’ wedding. I have had brides complaint to me in the past where, there family members were trying to force their idea’s upon the bride, which were not the brides tastes, and in turn family members would often squabble with each other over everything. However, hiring a wedding planner, doesn’t mean that your family can’t help out. Just the opposite in fact! The wedding planner is there to direct the whole process. For example, they might gather the family together for a meeting, and then assign tasks to each family member and help everyone in that designated area by putting them in touch with suppliers or helping to brainstorm ideas. So instead of taking this special event away from the family, the event planner would simply be there to help.

1 2. “I don’t want to make a decision yet as it’s too soon to start planning the event/wedding.”

I can see why anybody would think that, after all the event is over a year away. However, did you know that most large events or weddings take around 12 – 18 months to plan for? Therefore it is essential to get started with planning the event/wedding as soon as possible. Also a lot of reputable suppliers will be fully booked if you leave the planning to the last minute. You want to be at an advantage, to start booking early so that the best people are available for the event. After all, you want everything to go off without a hitch, so early planning is essential.

            3. "We are just having a small event; there isn’t a need to hire an event planner.”

Even though you are only having a small party, there is still a lot of preparations to do. All a small event means is less people, it doesn’t always mean less tasks. You still have to let everyone know about the party, via phone or sending out invites, ect. Then there’s the theme for, the decorations, catering, entertainment, such as hiring a DJ, or putting music onto an ipod, shopping for an outfit. Then on the day of the event, the venue (even if  it’s your backyard, living room) has to be decorated, making sure all breakables are moved out of the way, setting the food out, setting u a table for the food. Also if it’s a children’s party, what type of games will they be playing? Then afterwards, let’s not forget the clean-up. You also want to make sure all your guests get home ok. So after putting all this into consideration, every party has a lot that goes into it.
Remember as well, it is a small party therefore the price tag for these types of parties is usually a considerably lower budget than planning a soiree for 200 in an elegant ballroom.

4.       “You don’t have enough experience to plan my wedding.”

I myself am new to the industry, therefore my prices in the beginning will reflect this. The benefit for people looking at hiring an event planner is that you get to have your event planned at a much cheaper cost, and I get the experience. However no event planner will have no experience, so to put your mind at rest, ask to see their portfolios. I will happily show you mine. In fact you can see it right now. Search my blog for photo’s from some of the events I have done, or check out my Facebook page ‘The Grape Vine Events’ now.
When you sit down and talk with event planner about your idea’s, do you get a good feeling from them? Do you feel like they are listening to you and helping you to make your ideas come to life? Do they put you at ease and make you feel as though you can trust them? If in doubt, you can always ask to speak to some of my happy clients.  

1 5.      “I can’t afford to hire an event planner!”

A lot of people say this to me, and to be honest, when you think of celebrity weddings that are in magazines and on TV, we know they were all planned to perfection by a wedding planner! But lets be realistic here. We are not in Hollywood. Most of us work 9-5 jobs and don’t earn 6 figure sums. As an event planner, I can negotiate the best possible prices for you, so that you save money. On average, with many vendors who I am in contact with reduce their prices for me by around 10-15%. Therefore that is my fee already paid for. On top of this, it could also work out cheaper for the bride still. However I am also the best person to ask, for ways to look at budget friendly options so that you stay within that all important budget.

  6.  “Will your quote change, throughout the process?”

A very important question to ask your event planner. If they cannot give you a definite answer, then walk away now! I will sit down with the client and get a feel for the event, then come up with a tailor made quote. However a bespoke quote, could possible change. For example, if you decide to have a wedding reception, in your friends back garden for 40 people, then within 2 months the guest list has swelled to a whopping 300 and you would now like to hold the reception in a swanky city centre hotel, their original budget you would have set would now need to be completely reworked, and so would the quote as now the work load would have increased significantly. If this is a concern for you, I do have packages available to choose from that are a fixed price that will not change throughout the whole event.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Wedding With A Tropical twist!

You never really know how much actually goes into a wedding, unless you are part of the planning process. There is so much involved that goes on behind the scene's which you will never know about. After the wedding day, would of cast a tough to the hotel staff cleaning up after your reception, or returning all the gifts to the brides and grooms home? Well up until planning my wedding, or being involved behind the scenes, neither did I! 

My wedding was planned over the course of 12 weeks. However a wedding The Grape Vine Events were recently involved with last month, was put together in a crazy 7 weeks! (photo's pending) Yes that's right, I said 7 weeks. Now I know in the event planning world that anything is possible. So if you are planning a wedding or event so close together, just to let you know, it can be done! 

One of the first weddings I helped out with in Sydney was in around April 2010. The guests list was for around 350 people. To set up the wedding we had to get there early in the morning. A lot of the things that we would need to dress the venue had been delivered the night before and put into a storage room. However some of the staff members had been going in and out of the storage room all night and due to carelessness had broken some of the vases. There was the exact amount of vases in the storage room, and there was no replacements. Luckily, Rosa drove back and pick up some more from home, so crises over! However it did put a huge dint in our set up time. The theme for this wedding was white and coral. This was a beautiful combination, which looked really great with the birds of paradise colours that work well together.

At the entrance, there was this beautiful display of the table greeting guests as they arrived, which really sets the tone for the tropical look of the reception. The baskets are for guests to place money in as gifts for the bride and groom.

The reception room looks absolutely stunning! The white against coral works very well together. It feels as though it is the height of summer, even though it was Autumn and starting to get cold, you would never think so being in this room. 

As you can see the table displays look fantastic! Tall gases wills with clear pebbles, water, a tall palm tree style leaf in the background and 2 birds if flight in front. So simple, yet look how fantastic, not to mention cost effective they are! I think any bride woud be very happy to have these flowers as their  centrepieces. 

I thought you might want to see the club done up in a different way. Its the same club again, but with different decor. It looks completely different, and both brides have completely different taste, but both times, I helped out here, the rooms have been set  up by Rosa and her team beautifully. Here the theme is black and green. Obviously they are not your typical 'wedding colours' but the whole room looked great.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How It all began - wedding on a budget

I often get asked why I first became interested in event and wedding planning. Well is goes back to when my fiance proposed to me in early 2010. At the time we were living in Sydney, Australia. I was so excited, I instantly got to work on planning our wedding. As usual when you are getting married, it is an extremely exciting time. All you can think about is what type of dress you are going to have, the theme, the cake, the photography, the wedding cars... the list is endless!

But we were faced with a huge set back. In March of that year, I had a 'No Further Stay' placed on my visa therefore, I only had 3 more months with my fiance, before I had to return to England. Even though I was heartbroken at the time, to take my mind off having to be separated from my finance I decided to get to work planning the wedding. My new visa meant that I was not allowed to work, so during the day would be spent planning our wedding, which was now set for just under 12 weeks away, and money was very tight! 

However, it seemed friends and family were all there to help, and we had to make the best with what we had. So we got married at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages in the center of Sydney. The room itself is really nice. It has a church feel to it, as the seats are set out like church pews in a dark wood colour, the walls are a romantic red. 
We had our reception in our back yard, as it was a huge space, with a great covered area for parties, and it was completely covered on the off chance it rained. However we were all convinced it would rain, due to the horrific weather the week leading up to the wedding. On the day of our wedding, a monsoon was supposed to hit, but we woke up on the day, and for the first time in nearly 2 weeks, the weather was beautiful! Just sunshine and bright blue skies... We were so lucky, and it stayed like that for the whole day.

My dress was beautiful. As there way no way I could afford to buy myself a wedding dress, I decided to wear a dress which I owned and absolutely loved! This dress became the theme for the wedding, using black, orange and yellow as the theme colours. The garden was decorated in the evening with black, yellow and orange balloons, streamers and fairy lights.
So as you can see I followed the theme on here with the invitations, which I designed myself. I simply took the pattern from the dress and used that as the invitation designs. We did have a few issue's with getting them printed out on time. My husbands cousin is a printer so he printed the invitations for us free of charge. However, the first designs were far too dark as the fade in the background did have black in it just like the dress. So when the stationery were printed it was far too dark. So they had to be sent back and adjusted, which wasted a lot of time considering the time frame was already incredibly tight, and by now the wedding was only a month away. But the end result worked out great.
For our 'cake' we had cup cakes. Due to being on an extremely tight budget I was very happy and touched when my Sister-in-Law offered as a wedding gift to bake us cup cakes for the wedding. In keeping with the theme, she placed daffodils around the edges of the floral patterned cake stand. They were yummy! Literally after the speeches, I turned around and they were gone!

My beautiful flowers were free of charge and were done by a lady by the name of Rosa, who lives in the western suburbs of Sydney. She runs an amazing floral business from home, as well as chair covers. I had the pleasure of helping her out whilst I was in Australia to set up a handful of weddings, and loved seeing the events come together. Due to me helping out, she didn't charge me. The flowers were a surprise as I told her what I like, and she came up with this stunning creation! Yellow roses with a few orchids, and large Autumn coloured leaves, around the edge. The yellow/autumn colours fitted in well with the theme.
Lastly, a friend drove us to our wedding and tied ribbon to the front of her car. I didn't know she was going to do this and I loved it! 

To all future brides and grooms out there let me give you one bit of advice. When your wedding day arrives, after months of planning, researching, tears of frustration and stressful moments that you lost sleep over such as worrying if you have the right colour napkins, and that you are worried it might rain, that relatives who don't want to sit together, or if your wedding band doesn't show, the only thing that matters on the day is that you are marring the person you love, and that is the most important element of your wedding day. 

We spent so little money on our day, and I was so sad to go to bed that night - at 3am! We didn't want to go to bed! - I just didn't want the day to be over. I loved every minute of it. The only down side was that none of my family were there to celebrate with us. Therefore we have decided to have an English blessing next year. Just a small celebration with close family and friends. This time around I will be wearing a white dress, hiring a venue and going on a honeymoon after the wedding. 
We can't wait, and I will keep you post about it!

Welcome to The Grape Vine Blog!

Hi everyone

Welcome to my blog! The Grape Vine Events are a wedding and events company based in Manchester. I love everything related to events such as weddings, charity fundraisers, corporate events, parties -  well pretty much any type of event. We have lots of exciting events coming up from an Alice in Wonderland themed bash, plus lots of weddings with my different themes and more! 

Events planning is a huge passion of mine. It is a great opportunity for me to get creative and to show off my artistic  talents, whilst helping clients to have a successful and fun event. I love the whole process from start to finish from deciding on a theme, to picking the decor and of course the actual event itself. 

However, over the past few years many of my people have told me that they find planning an event to be stressful, time consuming and a huge inconvenience for them. This is where I come in. Today with out busy schedule's many of us don't have the time or the know how to plan an event, and some can find this a daunting task. 

I will work with you to create an event that not only will you enjoy, but one which you will remember for years to come. Don't let budget restraints restrict you of having the event which you deserve, email me today at: 

and together we can create a truly amazing event. I look forward to hearing from you.