WEDDINGS

A Stylish New Wedding Directory from Coco Wedding Venues

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Yesterday our real life bride Danielle told us all about her venue search, but tell me lovelies, how are you getting on with yours?  It’s pretty much the first item on every bride-to-be’s list, but let’s be frank, finding the perfect venue can turn into a bit of a marathon!  Whether it’s endless hours scouring uninspiring online directories, or weekends spent roaming the country only to find ‘the one’ isn’t quite as you imagined, there’s got to be an easier way, right?  That’s exactly what Emma Hla, founder of Coco Wedding Venues, thought when planning her own wedding, so she set up a wedding directory with a difference. One that appeals to brides just like you, hand picking the most stylish and elegant venues with professional, friendly staff and bringing them to you with a beautifully designed and curated website that brings the joy back to wedding planning.

I caught up with Emma to find out more…

How did your business come about…?

Coco Wedding Venues has a direct link to my own wedding planning journey – in particular, the venue hunt! The boy and I sadly fell at that first hurdle…  Our natural first step was to search the Internet, but the wedding venue websites we came across didn’t excite and inspire us. The functionality of these search tools also frustrated me, I thought the process should be fun and inspiring and a little bit romantic. Sadly it didn’t quite work out that way.

So I got to thinking – how would I like to search for a venue and what would I like it to look like…?  I simply wanted to merge the functionality of a venue search tool with the stylish wedding inspiration found on beautiful wedding blogs. So Coco Wedding Venues was founded…

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What did you do before…? And how did you get where you are today…?

My career has always been in fashion retail. I used to run around London looking after various accounts and fashion brands – Being in this industry has given me a great grounding in people management, customer service, the power and importance of great design and brand ethos as wells as vital marketing and business skills.  With all of this behind me, and a (gorgeous) supportive start-up husband who gave me the encouragement I needed – I made the jump into creating Coco Wedding Venues.

Before Coco, Mark and I spent some time travelling together and I also had time to plan our wedding… So the last year has been a fabulous experience and I’m a super lucky girl.

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Describe your style…? Who or what inspires you…?

My personal style is classically British with an eclectic twist…  I’m inspired by stories, heritage, gorgeous branding – whether it’s a beautifully packaged tin of biscuits, a new hidden gem of an interiors boutique or the latest designer offering.  I’m also inspired by my Mum – probably the most stylish lady I know!

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What’s your favourite wedding trend and what would you like to see next…?

At the moment I’m crushing on woodland, bohemian weddings… The simplicity and beauty is just so romantic. I particularly love lashings and lashings of foliage… My house is full of the stuff. Such a stylish, yet affordable, wedding floral alternative.   However, juxtaposed to this I would love to see a more Classic, luxurious style coming back into play – I certainly want to see some Grooms in a black tux!

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What’s your favourite wedding moment…?

I love seeing those moments of the Bride and Groom getting ready… I think there is something so magical, so charged with excitement in those captured images. It makes me feel a bit tingly… When I was eagerly awaiting my own wedding photographs, it was those images of my boy before the ceremony that I wanted to see…

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What’s the best part of your job…?

My day is surrounded by prettiness… Pretty venues, pretty weddings, pretty photographs, pretty design, pretty everything!

I love anything to with design, style and creativity so for me being in this industry is just fabulous.  I also love it when gorgeous Brides-to-be drop me an email asking for help searching for their perfect wedding venue. It’s a privilege to be involved in those first steps of a couples wedding-planning journey.

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How do you help couples find that elusive perfect venue…?

My personal mission is to provide couples with pretty and unique wedding venues via a stylish and simple-to-use directory that will inspire…  You can search for your wedding venue using six simple style categories – Bohemian Beats, Rustic Romance, Modern Vintage, Classic Elegance, City Chic and Coastal Cool.  Peruse these style categories to find inspiration, or simply use the region and venue type filters to get to the nitty gritty… Coco Wedding Venues also has a Blog where we will share style inspiration, news and events and, of course, our beautiful collection of venues.

For venues – I want to offer a stylish and bespoke way of getting your venue across to a new audience.  I write the listings and create the image galleries and take great pride in creating a beautiful homage to each and every one.

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What makes you different…?

From the moment you land on the homepage for Coco it looks and feels completely different to other Wedding Venue Directories – think clean, stylish, beautiful and of course relevant to the Bride and Groom of today!  The Directory is very visual – the full width slide showcases six beautiful venues from the Coco Collection. If one takes your fancy simply click through for the write-up or glide down to explore what Coco is all about – the Style Categories.  Each write up includes details on The Setting and The Vibe giving you an overall impression of the location and the feel of the wedding venue.The Need to Know facts tell you the important bits of info such as ceremony/reception capacity, facilities and service level.

But here comes my favourite bit… The image galleries.  Click through to a mood-board showcasing useful images of the venue spaces juxtaposed with delicious real-wedding images that you actually want to see!   Weddings that are full of love, warmth and inspiration, hinting at current wedding trends and style.  When designing the initial idea behind Coco Wedding Venues I wanted to think about who our visitors would be and the reasons behind creating a new style of venue directory…  In terms of functionality – the Venue Finder filtering system is both clever and simple to use. The site is also responsive – so whether you are searching on your mobile, tablet or laptop your experience will be second-to-none.

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What’s your next challenge…?

Well, we are a baby in this big world of weddings and are taking our first steps…However the response has been fantastic so far and this has lead to some very exciting collaborations planned for 2014. Coco has also been asked to contribute to an exciting project and I hope to reveal more over the next few weeks! In terms of functionality we will always strive to ensure that Coco is developing on the tech side and so we have several site improvements planned in for Spring – feedback is always welcome and if there is something you want to see then just tell us! We would love to hear from you…

On a personal note we have a new addition to the Hla household… Gatsby – a 2 month old Yorkie. He’s stolen our hearts, but I do feel this is a new challenge!

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I’m excited to be working with Coco on a number of exciting projects in 2014… watch this space!!

Visit Coco at www.cocoweddingvenues.co.uk

Louise

After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

You’ll also find me working as an Editorial Stylist, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as contributing as a founding member of bridal inspiration hub Aisle Society, and running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive from our super pretty base in London. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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