Five minutes with Natalia, founder of luxury wedding and event planning agency Golborne

Following a career in corporate events Natalia launched Golborne in 2012. She has since built the business to become an extremely well respected luxury wedding and event planning agency. Here she elaborates on what gave her the confidence to start an agency, her dream event and how she juggles motherhood with running a business.

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You started Golborne 7 years ago now. Starting an agency can be a daunting leap, as well as an exciting one. What made you know it was the right thing to do?

All my life I have been surrounded by entrepreneurs. My parents, brother and cousins all run their own businesses so maybe it’s in my blood! When I made the decision to start Golborne it was the year of the 2012 London Olympics. There was such a buzz around events in London so it definitely felt like the right time.

I trained event agency side for 5 years first and then by 2012 I had also been working in-house for a large corporate for 3 years. I was running a huge calendar of events and had proven myself enough to be allowed to grow a team. Within the firm we were respected as event experts and this gave me the confidence that I could go out alone. Alongside what was already a busy and demanding role I launched a new venue within the grounds of my family home, Golborne Manor (the inspiration behind our company name!). Here I organised and ran many beautiful marquee weddings in the grounds. I juggled my full time city job with travelling back to Chester to create dream weddings. It was a crazy time, however I totally loved it. It convinced me that starting out on my own was what I truly wanted to do.

My experience working both client side and venue side really helped me make Golborne successful. That experience is gold dust. Working for a large corporate I learnt how to manage stakeholders within a partnership which has been integral to winning work for the corporate side of our business. My little black book of suppliers was also invaluable. Creating my own business offering corporate & private event management alongside a luxury wedding planning service felt like a natural next step. I haven’t looked back since that day!

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You are mother to a gorgeous little boy, Jack. How do you juggle running a business with being a mum?

It is definitely a juggle at times, as it is for all working parents, but I love being a mum and I love running my own business.

There are lows when it comes to being your own boss but also so many highs. You’re constantly switched on to ensure you’re winning new business and I find it hard to switch off sometimes. You’re constantly on call because you care so much. In my opinion though, the highs outweigh all of this. I have so much flexibility. I can work from home lots and I can leave work early to collect Jack. I was able to dictate where my office was located and I moved our office from town to Clapham to be closer to his nursery. That flexibility is incredible and makes things so much easier.

I also have a very supportive and amazing team which makes all the difference when you become a parent and your priorities have to change.

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Events is such a high pressured industry and is apparently in the top 5 most stressful jobs in the world! You must love it though, what is it that gives you the biggest buzz about events?

I do love it, I really do. I love coming to work both in the office and at an event. Resolving problems to find a solution that works for everyone gives me such a sense of satisfaction. It’s also so social and I love dealing with lots of different people from venues, suppliers and clients. One of our fabulous event freelancers once said to me ‘working in events is like a jigsaw puzzle, you just have to keep juggling everything until it all fits together and then you succeed’. This is so true and I love that challenge!

We are lucky enough to work with incredibly talented suppliers and venues, the best in the industry. I love sourcing the right suppliers for the client and brief and then bringing all of these suppliers together to create an amazing event. My favourite moment is when set-up is complete and you give the go ahead to security to open the doors. You just know its going to be an incredible evening for your client and their guests. As busy as the job is I always take a second to appreciate that moment. It is a very rewarding job.

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As most people know, running a business is stressful. How do you manage stress?

I used to get more stressed when I was younger but I get less stressed these days. I’m quite a calm person most of the time. I write lists, lots of them! I always feel better if everything is written down on paper. When you're an event planning agency it's fast paced and high pressure but I do love that! I find that exercise and running especially really helps me clear my mind if I have had a tough day. Jack is also a huge distraction from any work stress. It is hard to stay stressed about work when you have a very cheeky toddler around. You just don’t have the time to sweat the small stuff anymore. It has made me focus more and I’m definitely more effective.

If you had unlimited budget and access to any supplier, venue and option available what would you plan for your dream event?

There are so many amazing venues and suppliers I love working with! I’d love to plan a marquee event within the grounds of Hampton Court Palace as I have never done this before. it would be a summer party, a big birthday party! Bringing lots of people together for a really fun and memorable evening. I would have lots of different named DJ’s playing throughout the event with sets from a sax player and percussion. There would be free flowing champagne and colourful cocktails in beautiful glassware served in the grounds in the sunshine. I’d love a variety of delicious food stations, lots of sushi and incredible desserts. There would be beautiful tableware from Duchess and Butler. Around the space there would be stunning high floral displays and trees everywhere bringing the outside in. 

I would also make sure I had lots of stylish furniture. It can be a challenge to persuade clients to spend significant budget on beautiful furniture. We think it’s so worth doing though. It really brings the look together. The dream would be to browse Great Hire’s site and be able to pick any furniture you like! We would of course have all-singing-all-dancing production from Wise and a few headline big name music acts to get everyone dancing. 

To be able to really go to town and have the best of the best would be so wonderful. I’d still use all the suppliers I use on a daily basis though. They’re the dream to work with so of course I’d use them for my all-out, unlimited budget made up party!

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Events is very much about creating memories and your role as a luxury wedding and event planner allows you to help create those magical memories every day. What is your favourite event memory that you’ve created?

I always come back to a few. Those memories you create, especially for the weddings, really make me smile when I think of them. I would say that the magical Harry Potter inspired wedding we created for Brian and Daisy at the Natural History Museum is up there. Firstly, it is one of my favourite venues to work in. There is so much you can do creatively to the spaces to transform them. Despite being a museum they are actually very flexible with what you can bring in and do to the spaces. We find that every time we work there the space looks so different.

The couple had an idea of incorporating a wizardry elegance theme to their wedding because they both loved Harry Potter. However they were understandably nervous about the result looking a bit cheesy or overly themed. It was our challenge to make sure we captured the magic in a stylish way. We worked very closely with them and our trusted suppliers to bring to life their vision in an elegant and memorable way with subtle touches and nods to their passion for Harry Potter.

They were a dream to work for and they really trusted us to deliver on our ideas. We created a grand, enchanted forest setting with magical touches throughout. It was an incredible wedding to work on. 

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Finally, can you leave us with a top tip or tips for creating an effective event?

My top tip for creating an effective event is to spend the time sourcing the best and right suppliers for your occasion and budget. Ensure you build a strong and respectful working relationship with your supplier and venue teams during the planning process. This will ensure that you get the best out of them at the event. At the end of the day your event is nothing without your suppliers. It is a team effort and they really are crucial to achieving a successful event.

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