5 Top Tips for Planning the Perfect Party

When you’re organising a fabulous party, be it a birthday party, an anniversary party or any other sort of surprise celebration party, of course you want to be the host (or hostess) with the most (or mostest)! but ideally you want to achieve that without running yourself completely ragged in the lead up to the event AND surely, it’s not too much to ask that when you’re spending all that money and inviting everyone you know, you want to actually have fun and enjoy the party!  It is a celebration after all!!!

So how do you achieve it all without risking a migraine, just as the first guests turn up?

Well, as an events planner with years of experience organising parties and events of all descriptions, Zoë from Serayah Events has some top tips, to ensure your event goes with a bang! (For all of the right reasons!!!)

Picture by Kaizen Nguy

The budget

How much you intend to spend on the event naturally underpins everything! The food, the entertainment, the number of guests you can accommodate and the venue! What sort of look do you want to create, what sort of scale? If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, a good party planner will be able to give you an understanding of the budget you would need, including their fee and then you can adapt accordingly.

Picture by Any Shamblen

The perfect venue

Selecting the ideal venue for your event is key! If you have a theme in mind, you want somewhere that reflects that or is a blank canvas to enable you to achieve the look you want.  Marquees are fabulous options as you can put your stamp on the event and make it all your own! You also need to be clear on the numbers you want to invite, to ensure that the chosen venue can accommodate them all.  That said, you can definitely get away with inviting a few more as you’ll invariably find that only about 70% of those you invited will actually turn up anyway.

The entertainment and the theatre

At any good party, guests will remember the fabulously fun party atmosphere, the awesome music they danced the night away to, the colours and lighting that set the mood, so it’s always worth prioritising your spending there first!  Creating that wow factor will hit your guests on their arrival and stay with them after they’ve left. The bigger the statement, the better!

Photo by Alexandre Castro

Food and Drink

Parties aren’t all about the food, but if you’re serving alcohol (particularly if its free!) you definitely need to give guests something to soak it up with, otherwise you’ll be dealing with the repercussions all evening (and most likely in the days afterwards, if the party is being held in your home or garden).

Give your guests something they’ll remember, something that looks and tastes incredible and fun, but something that is easy to eat, ideally in bitesize pieces, so that they don’t have to juggle a handbag, a glass as well as a plate.

Picture by Jenny Dorsey

Someone to keep all of the plates spinning

Ultimately the best way to spend time with your guests, dance the night away and ultimately just have lots of fun, is to ensure someone is there to manage the proceedings for you! Their role is to design and set up the marquee or venue, to coordinate proceedings, to book and deal with the suppliers, to oversee the entertainment and the food service, to deal with any issues (ideally without you ever knowing about them), and so on and so forth before, during and of course, after the party, because the last thing you want to be doing is clearing up the glasses and dirty plates the next morning… particularly after all of that bubbly!

To find out more about our party planning services, visit our Party Planning & Events Management page or drop us a line here.

We’ve Been Featured in ‘Your South Wales Wedding’ Magazine…

… So this month’s super exciting news, is that our gorgeous Woodland Wedding styled shoot, set in the Vale Resort last year, has been featured in the May/June 2018 edition of the wonderful Your South Wales Wedding magazine.

We naturally couldn’t be more delighted to see all of our hard work and the fabulous results of our efforts and those of the myriad awesome Welsh wedding suppliers, in glossy print, especially as we even made the front cover!

So please do check us out and tell us what you think…



Behind The Scenes at a Styled Shoot

As you may be able to tell from this blog, one of our very favourite things to do in the world is a styled shoot 🙂

And as you have probably seen, when not doing events, styled shoots and parties, Zoë also has a wedding planning podcast, called The Icing on the Cake.  This podcast is all about giving couples inspiration when planning their weddings and as a result, it seemed a fabulous opportunity to tie both of these elements together and create a podcast episode about all things styled shoot!!!

Usually the podcast is recorded at the studios of the fantabulous production company Bengo Media, however, for this episode, we’ve escaped the studio and are on location at the beautiful and historic Exchange Boutique Hotel in Cardiff Bay…

So if you want to tune into the podcast, you can hear Zoë and Hanna Bousouf (whom you can also listen to in episode 4 of the last series of the podcast, called Styling Your Wedding (& my love/hate relationship with Pinterest). You can read the notes for that episode and have a listen to that one right here) ) creating an Opulent Masquerade Ball shoot at the Exchange and get a behind-the-scenes view as to what we got up to! It is jam packed with our thoughts, ideas as well as interviews with some of the amazing suppliers we brought in to help us realise our vision.

If you want, you can also have a more detailed read of the blog post dedicated to the shoot with lots of gorgeous images too. Enjoy!

You can subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes on TuneIn or on Stitcher or listen to this episode here:


If you like what you hear, leaving a five star review will be amazing as it will help other future brides and grooms find the podcast more easily.  Thank you so much! Zoë xx

Welsh Businesses need to feel the love for GDPR

Valentine’s Day marked 100 days to go until The European Union’s much-talked about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) becomes UK law, on 25th May, and business owners and managers across Wales are in a race against time to comply – and could face maximum fines of up to €20m, or 4% of revenue if they don’t.

All businesses, local authorities, charities and other organisations which hold personal data need to understand the new law and make changes to how they operate when the GDPR supercedes the current 1998 UK Data Protection Act.

However, it’s a daunting task for many because the new Regulation has been issued as a 100-page legal document by the EU and applies to all data held, including customer information, employee details and even applies to facial recognition in the form of photographs.

Two Welsh-based companies, Serayah Styling & Event Mgt. Ltd. from The Vale of Glamorgan, and Starrd Solutions Ltd., of Pontyclun, near Cardiff, have joined forces to help companies based in Wales understand the new Regulations by offering one-day GDPR Awareness training workshops – currently available in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea – to cut through the legal jargon and offer practical, simplified advice.

“Recent research shows nearly half of all Welsh businesses
don’t think they’ll be ready by the 25th May deadline”

Paul Binning, of Starrd Solutions, and an accredited GDPR Practitioner, said “the new law is wide-reaching and presents a significant shift in the way organisations must protect and use the personal data they hold, as well as offering much greater level of rights to us as individuals. The Regulations are complex and to understand them fully takes a long time. Our one-day workshop breaks down the new law, summarises the basic requirements and helps everyone – from heads of departments to small business owners – to understand what they need to do ahead of 25th May, and beyond.

Every single business must comply with the new regulations, yet recent research shows nearly half of all Welsh businesses don’t think they’ll be ready by the 25th May deadline, and many still know little about what needs to be done.

For more information on the awareness training workshops, go to

www.serayah.co.uk/courses or email training@serayah.co.uk.

Also follow us on www.faccebook.com/GDPRAwareness for news, tips and support.

Opulent Masquerade Ball Styled Shoot

Hanna and I wanted to create a completely different look for this styled shoot, so when I visited the Exchange Hotel in Cardiff Bay last year, I knew we had the perfect venue to create something really special.  With a fantastic team of amazing Welsh talent on board, we got to work to create this Opulent Masquerade Ball shoot which could be used as a stunning style for a winter wedding, a celebration party or a gala dinner.

As well as creating the shoot, we also produced a podcast episode over the couple of days, to give you a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into the makings of a styled shoot.

We hope you love what we have created….

Set in the stunning and historic Exchange Boutique Hotel in Cardiff Bay, we faced the challenge of creating something truly incredible within the striking, dark and heavy surroundings.

We selected a vibrant colour scheme of beautiful purples, golds and reds to contrast with the deep mahogany walls.  The backdrop for the shoot – the Great Hall was used for many years, as the trading floor for Wales’ booming coal trade and incidentally, it is where the first ever £1million cheque was written!  We were really keen to give readers the inspiration to create a unique and alternative look, be it for a wedding, celebration party, or black-tie gala dinner.  We deliberately selected a team of incredible Welsh suppliers to provide all of the décor, floristry and cakes for this Opulent Masquerade Ball shoot.

To find out more, have a listen in to our podcast episode into how we created this styled shoot, on The Icing on the Cake: A Wedding Planning Podcast.

The key for creating the look was the use of heavy fabrics, draped as table linens, napkins and over chair backs. Candles softened and warmed the overall look and delicate peacock feathers against the gold charger plates and deep red napkins balanced the style perfectly.

Alternating the height throughout the table using incredible floral arrangements, candlesticks, candelabras, a chandelier and fabulous cake as a focal point, added to the luxe look, completed by the black velvet chairs draped with the sumptuous red fabrics cascading to the floor.

The floral designs, created by the uber-talented Forbesfield, brought height, luxury and a fabulous array of tones, complimenting and highlighting the colour scheme throughout the tablescape.  And to really offer that ‘je nais sais quoi’ our model Ellie wears a completely floral mask and a floral tattoo down the centre of her back.

The Vale Cake Boutique created three incredible masterpieces for the shoot with the pièce de résistance being the collaborative work with Forbesfield, called ‘Exposure’ a cascading floral cake.  An absolutely mind-blowing piece of master crafts’wo’manship and definitely a hot new trend!

Ellie wore two gorgeous ‘Mascara’ evening dresses from Sally Evans at Boutique Box in dark blue and in black and Nathan Palmer Bespoke Tailoring certainly didn’t disappoint with our male model Leighton, showing off two of Nathan’s bespoke creations, the first of which was a black and gold floral evening suit and the second – a white woollen tuxedo with contrasting orange detailing.

Supplier Credits:

Styling: Serayah Styling & Event Management www.serayah.co.uk
Venue: The Exchange Hotel https://exchangehotelcardiff.co.uk/
Photography: Morgan James Photography www.morganjamesphoto.co.uk/
Florist: Forbesfield Flowers www.forbesfield.co.uk/
Cake: The Vale Cake Boutique www.thevalecakeboutique.com/
Dresses: Boutique Box www.boutique-box.co.uk/
Suits: Nathan Palmer Bespoke Tailoring www.nathanpalmer.co.uk/
Hair & Make-up: Minxies Beauty www.minxiesbeauty.com/
Décor: Megan & Claude www.meganandclaude.co.uk
Décor: Pistachio Inc. www.pistachioinc.co.uk/


How Serayah Events came about…

When you’re from Wales and you meet someone from London, it’s not unusual (forgive me the stereotypical Tom Jones pun!) to receive a comment along the lines of “oh, have they got electricity in Wales now”, or “I didn’t realise you could get online in the Valleys”, a comment typically followed by a crafty snigger on their part celebrating their own cleverness, and a tired inward sigh on yours,  whilst displaying a face not unlike one of those emojis with a straight-line smile, trying not to look fed up.

For all of the development of Cardiff in particular in the past couple of decades, Wales as a whole is still seen as a backwater by many of those who have never visited, and that is, largely, an unfair opinion on a beautiful and progressive country.

However, being ‘out in the sticks’ – the capital, Cardiff, is over two hours from London, a fair distance from Birmingham and even further from more trendy cities such as Manchester or Liverpool – means that actually, Wales does miss out on some trends and new fads and that’s certainly something we noticed when it came to event styling.

“I’m a professional wedding planner based in South Wales and initially created Serayah Events to offer clients something completely different, as we are really limited in Wales as to availability of unique and fabulous décor.”

The main trends – vintage chic, rustic and the like – hit us because they’re ubiquitous, but with many years of event planning experience between the team, for all the glamorous and iconic venues around us and the beautiful scenery, we agreed that there was just something missing… a certain je ne sais quoi.

The world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many more, means anyone can see what’s happening not just in London and Manchester, but New York, Sydney, L.A., Tokyo and Cape Town more easily than ever. But taking a couple of images and applying them to create a desired theme or style, to get the exact look & feel you want, isn’t an easy job – so that’s where we come in!

“We were seeing the same styles and designs again and again and found that our clients were desperate to source something beautiful and bespoke that wasn’t the same as they had seen at every other wedding, birthday party, Christmas party or Corporate event they had ever been to.”

As experts in our field, we follow all of the key accounts, interact with bloggers and trendsetters and as Flash would say on their advert… “We do the hard work, so you don’t have to”.

“During our conversations with some of the fantastic venues with whom we work, it soon became apparent that there was also a desperate cry for corporate companies needing help and support to create, design and manage amazing and unique events.”

During the London 2012 Olympics there was a whole team created to manage this and the head of that team was ‘Director of Look & Feel’ now, whilst Brand Director may be a more traditional title but we know exactly what they meant, and that’s pretty much what we wanted to create with Serayah Events Ltd.

We are the experts you can rely on, we are the people who can see what’s happening around the globe, we tirelessly work with incredibly talented local suppliers across Wales (where possible) and England, to ensure that the newest trends and styles are available to the market in South Wales and the South West.  We want to bring all those ideas to life for your big event, whether that happens to be a wedding, a corporate function or conference, birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs – the lot!

“With our expertise, knowledge of trends and the relationships we have built with some of the top suppliers throughout the UK we saw the opportunity to create a service that would provide clients with something different and of course an unforgettable event.”

Woodland Wedding Themed Styled Shoot

Serayah Styling & Event Management was created because Hanna and I both felt that there was a real lack of something different here in Wales.  Our clients were looking for something beautiful, bespoke and different from every other wedding they had seen and whilst we knew that the talent and creativity was here amongst wedding professionals in Wales, there was just no opportunity for them to showcase their ideas.

This styled shoot came about to do just that….  We hope you love it as much as we do.

The look is all about bringing the outdoors inside, creating a natural soft, whimsical and pretty yet striking effect. 

Shot in the conservatory at the Vale Resort in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales, overlooking the resort’s beautiful grounds, lake and golf course, we wanted to inspire couples whilst creating something accessible for them and so used natural, easily sourced elements such as ivy and twisted branches from the Vale’s gardens for the main centrepieces, creating the effect of being outdoors throughout the room, with twinkling lights and lots of layering of sparkling fabrics and special little touches.

We kept the colour scheme very natural with lots of green foliage and twisted branches and some white flowers to lift the look, tall pillar candles creating lots of twinkling light and gold candlesticks, charger plates and fabrics, with coloured glassware and just a pop of deep red to create a warm, luxurious feel against the clean backdrop.

We loved these stunning crossback chairs as they perfectly complemented the theme and are actually incredibly comfortable for guests to sit on too!

We wanted to create a truly bespoke, beautiful and unique cake and this fabulous hand decorated floral design with gold leaf and a hexagonal marbled base tier by the Vale Cake Boutique, worked perfectly against the backdrop.

Kieron is wearing a fabulous navy and black bespoke, tailored tuxedo designed by Nathan Palmer Bespoke Tailoring and Keshia looks truly beautiful in this gorgeous Aire Barcelona delicate lace fitting gown, with a mild sweetheart bust and beaded butterfly finish.

We wanted a very natural, whimsical and unstructured bridal bouquet, which smelled as heavenly as it looked and complemented this with Kieron’s buttonhole to move away from the traditional single rose, in keeping with the style of the shoot.

Supplier credits:

Stylists: Serayah Styling & Event Management – www.serayah.co.uk
Photographer: Lewis Fackrell Photography – www.lewisfackrell.co.uk
Florist: Sara Caroline Floral Design – www.saracaroline.com
Cake: The Vale Cake Boutique – www.thevalecakeboutique.com
Bridalwear: CocoMio Bridal  www.cocomiobridal.com
Groomswear: Nathan Palmer Bespoke Tailoring – www.nathanpalmer.co.uk
Stationery: Made By Fallow – www.madebyfallow.co.uk
Hair & Make-up: Minxies Beauty – www.minxiesbeauty.com
Décor Hire: Cotswold Vintage Party Hire – http://cotswoldsvintagepartyhire.co.uk
Décor Hire: Pistachio Inc. – www.pistachioinc.co.uk
Chairs: Blue Goose Hire – http://bluegoosehire.co.uk
Venue: The Vale Resort – www.valeresort.com
Models: Keshia Taylor & Kieron Davies