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Coco Wedding Venues – A Q&A With Emma Hla, Founder & Editor

 

Today’s post is rather special in many ways. It’s the first of this year’s Q&A articles with amazing people from the wedding world, it features a wonderful, multi-award winning woman AND there’s great advice by the bucket-load. What’s not to love?

Before I hand you over to Emma, let me just explain why I love Coco Wedding Venues. To start with, it’s practical, pretty and totally inspiring. Emma packs the pages with handpicked venues and every listing in this gorgeous directory includes so much information plus plenty of personality. It’s like you’re getting a private tour of each fabulous place by your very own guide! Lastly, Coco is stylish and down to earth – it’s a place to spend time while you choose your wedding venue and then revisit throughout the planning process. Honestly, I sigh with happiness.

But enough! Let’s get straight to business and hear from Emma Hla, Founder & Editor of the downright brilliant Coco Wedding Venues

 

The Town Hall Hotel, an East London wedding venue is featured on Coco Wedding Venues. Image by Amanda Karen Photography and cake by Lily Vanilli

 

Tell us more about your business?

Coco Wedding Venues is the UK’s only style focused wedding venue directory and we launched in December 2013.

I started Coco Wedding Venues because it was something that was missing during my own wedding planning.

I was so excited to get engaged and I couldn’t wait to start plotting our big day, but as soon as we started looking for a wedding venue all enthusiasm was lost. The wedding venue websites we came across didn’t excite and inspire us. I’m obsessed with style, stories and of course anything that’s pretty but nothing seemed to capture this for me. For my husband-to-be, the functionality of these search tools frustrated him.

So Coco Wedding Venues was founded…

I wanted to focus on venues, as it was personal to my own planning journey. I also love to travel and have a passion for interiors; wedding venues encompass all of this for me. Plus, it’s such an important part of the planning process and to know that we’re helping couples at the very start of their journey is just so exciting to me.

 

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I love the day-to-day of running an online business.

It’s flexible, it allows me a certain lifestyle (random coffee meetings and dog walks are good for the soul!) and it gives me a hefty dose of pretty on a daily basis, which feeds my creative side.

But I guess the best part of the job has to be the people using the site. Since setting up Coco Wedding Venues I’ve heard from numerous brides all looking for their dream venue. Some excited, some really rather terrified but it’s wonderful to know you’re with them for those first major planning decisions.

I’ll never forget that very first bride who contacted me – she was so full of love for the directory. This particular bride also went on to marry at one our venues in the most spectacular of fashions and she was truly the epitome of the stylish girl I had in mind when I created Coco.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to couples, what would it be?

Can I give two…? One is really tough when it comes to venues!

First up would be to breathe. You’re engaged, it’s a wonderful time so don’t rush these first planning decisions because they’re big. Discover what your wedding day means to both of you, chat through how it should feel, look and then get that initial budget down.

Biggest piece of advice…? Read the small print and ask lots of questions. We simply adore each venue we list, they’re there for a reason but couples must make sure that every element of the wedding venue suits their big day vision. What’s included, what’s not included, how flexible are they and do the terms & conditions look A-ok with you.

This is a decision that has to be made with both the head and the heart; it’s a tricky one because there really is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ venue so there will be compromises along the way.  

 

What are the most popular venues for 2017?

Our couples know what they like. They have their own individual styles but keep an eye on emerging trends from fashion, interiors and design. They of course want their wedding & their wedding venue to reflect all of this and more…

In 2016 we saw the rise of the ‘back-garden wedding’ where the at-home vibe overflowed. This isn’t going away for 2017, but not all couples are fortunate enough to have a tipi-sized field as a garden so we’re seeing home-from-home venues becoming increasingly popular. One such venue is the wonderful Weekend Weddings at The Copse.

Hygge has been a key word on everyone’s lips and it continues into the wedding world. Think log cabins, toasty wood burners and secret woodland hangouts where there’s an abundance of blankets, kisses and whiskey. If that sounds like your kind of thing then fforest weddings is the ultimate woodland wedding venue.

Leaving the woodlands and the back gardens behind, let’s head into the city. The city wedding has many guises, from chic and elegant to raw and industrial. But I’m crushing on a ‘Room with a View’. So if you’re going to marry in a big city then let’s see it! Ceremony & Reception venues with floor to ceiling windows, vistas of cityscapes and a roof garden to boot are hot property. A personal favourite is Ace Hotel London.

 

Fetcham Park is a grand countryside house with beautiful murals on the stairwell. Image by Amanda Karen Photography

 

So there you have it, thank you Emma for telling us more about Coco Wedding Venues and if you’re looking for your wedding venue then you really need to head over there to find the perfect wedding spot for you.

Until next time,

Amanda x

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