Celebrating 6 years of Hanami Dream

Celebrating 6 years of Hanami Dream

Fourth of July

What did you do this fourth of July? Did you celebrate the easing of lockdown due to corona virus (COVID-19) in most of England? Did you go off to the pub? Get a hair cut? Or tie the knot?

The fourth of July is often a day of celebration with Independence Day and local Alice Day. Plus it also marks the 6th birthday of Hanami Dream weddings and special occasions!

  • six years since my first styled shoot – the Alice in Wonderland shoot in 2014 started it all for Hanami Dream
  • six years since my first tweet – from my first tweet in 2014, to a combined social media network of nearly 7,000 followers
  • six years since my first blog post – now 387 blog posts later and a UK Blog Award in the trophy cabinet
  • six years of accolades – including being shortlisted in the West Oxfordshire Business Awards 2020
Photography by Farrow Photography

Photography by Farrow Photography

six years of celebrations

This year though my own celebrations are a bit more subdued. With over 100 days of lockdown under my belt, home schooling 3 children and supporting my husband, I’m quite exhausted.

Over the last few months I’ve felt anxious, over whelmed, and often found things quite hard going. On the other hand, I’ve also found it extremely rewarding and wonderful to see my children’s amazing work and to see them blossom, learn and grow. They seem to just take everything in their stride and it’s been nice to share more experiences with them.

Photography by Farrow Photography

six more years’ experience

Until mid March, I was enjoying providing marketing consultation to some local, independent wedding businesses in and around Witney.

But it does feels like there’s been lots of tricky decisions to tackle recently. For me, one of those has been to pause my marketing support for the time being and take a break from the business side of things due to continuing family commitments in the unprecedented circumstances.

Photography by Farrow Photography

six years of supporting couples with wedding planning

Where possible, I’m still blogging (there’s some great guest posts, wedding inspiration and other content in the pipeline to share). Otherwise, there’s one job where my focus needs to be right now. My time is dedicated to one thing. And that’s being a mother. I’ll review, regroup and reassess things over the next few months.

Photography by Farrow Photography

taking a breather

Sometimes we need to take a break, to reflect. Because taking a step back sometimes means we can regroup and plan our next route. A pause isn’t stopping but getting our breath. A minor hiatus. Let’s hope that the storm we are riding at the moment is followed by a rainbow.

Photograph by Farrow Photography

keeping it local

I love working with small, local, independent wedding business in and around Witney, Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. And now more than ever we need to keep it local. To think and buy locally and seasonally. And not only for weddings. Recently I’ve been so grateful for discovering new amazing local suppliers and companies diversifying to keep us all going.

Photography by Farrow Photography

work with Hanami Dream

Please get in touch if you’d like to advertise on the blog, submit your own wedding details, would like to collaborate on a shoot, or write a guest post. Together we can support the local wedding industry and inspire brides and grooms for their special day.

Happy birthday to Hanami Dream – let’s see what direction the future holds.

Photography by Farrow Photography

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“It is always a joy to partner with a talented blogger”

“It is always a joy to partner with a talented blogger”

“The Ashmolean Events team have been lucky enough to collaborate on several features on Nicola’s Hanami Dream wedding blog.

It is always a joy to be able to partner with a talented blogger that has a flair for capturing a couples’ wedding journey and tell the story of a venue, in a way that inspires couples for their special day.

I have been following Nicola’s blog for a while now, both as an event professional, and on a personal level from the perspective of a bride-to-be. I absolutely love how she collates her styled photoshoots to provide inspirational ideas for weddings themes, providing great tips and insights into wedding trends.

I particularly enjoy reading the features on wedding traditions – packed full of fun and interesting ideas on how people have celebrated, and put their own unique twist on rituals like the couples toast to the wedding getaway car!”

Events Manager, Ashmolean Museum – June 2020

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Stronger together

Stronger together

Speechless

I’ve been quiet for a while. I haven’t really known what to say or do. Things are so hard to comprehend. It’s overwhelming. It’s scary. And it’s pretty much unbelievable.

What a year! Brexit, floods, Caroline Flack, storms and now a pandemic virus. Events that are happening now are completely unprecedented and will change our lives forever.  I keep thinking about how strong my grandparents must have been to live through the war.

Brave little fish

I read a book to my youngest yesterday called ‘Swimmy’ by Leo Lionni (originally published in 1963) and the message really hit home to me. It is a beautiful children’s picture book about a brave little fish that is left all on his own after his school of fish are all eaten. He has to find his own way around the ocean, meeting lots of amazing other creatures on the way. He meets new friends but they are too scared to come out of hiding to explore the wonderful world around them. ‘Swimmy shows his friends how–with ingenuity and team work–they can overcome any danger.’

Be kind

I hope that one thing to come out of this horrible year is that everyone is just a little bit kinder to everyone. To support one another. To keep it local and to help those in our community. Everyone is going to be affected by this and we need to stick together. We need to be more like Swimmy.

Come together

It is encouraging to see how companies are thinking outside of the box and diversifying. Adapting. Getting creative. Seeing what opportunities are now available to them. Taking a change of direction.

Technology, virtual solutions and social media are resources that our grandparents didn’t have in the war. Yes, they can be dangerous tools if used in the wrong way, but they are also amazing to bring people together, keep them talking and help them not feel so alone or lost.

Wonderful wedding suppliers

The wedding industry is getting hit hard. Everyone’s business is being affected. It got me thinking about what I could do to help the wonderful local wedding suppliers near me.

Stronger (virtually) together

So I’m offering my blog as a vehicle to local wedding businesses whilst this crazy scene plays out.

  • Please let me know if you’d like to place a free banner advert on the blog.
  • Or whilst your work load is possibly reduced, maybe you’d like to write a guest blog giving top tips from your part of the wedding industry – this would get shared across all my social media.
  • Or you’d like to submit a real wedding or styled shoot that you’ve been involved in.
  • Or perhaps you’d like to be involved in my next shoot (the April one has been postponed) and could start thinking about what you could produce.
  • Or you need help with virtual marketing, ideas on how to diversify or adapt to the current environment, or any other suggestions that you think I may be able to help you.

On hold

Wedding planning will (and should) still go on – it’ll be good to look forward to an amazing celebration when all of this is passed. 

 

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2019 Review of the year

2019 Review of the year

I hope you had a wonderful 2019. The end of the year is a great time to reflect and look back on achievements. I’ve really enjoyed another year and celebrated 5 years of Hanami Dream weddings and special occasions in 2019.

Highlights of 2019

The highlight of the year was being a judge at the UK Blog Awards 2019, making it in to the local press as a result, and working alongside fellow judges of the UK Blog Awards.

I also was pleased to have more of my work published both marketing related articles and also wedding styling trends in Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wedding magazine.

And I held an Instagram challenge in May.


Wedding blog

My focus has continued on developing the blog commercially, as well as providing inspiration to brides and grooms in the Cotswolds.

Wedding tips

The blog has featured posts on different elements of wedding planning:

Wedding inspiration

As well as some submitted real wedding inspiration:

Wedding trends

I always love writing trend posts such as:

Wedding venues

And I continue my local wedding venue reviews:

Photography by Nicola & Glen

Wonderful wedding wares

Plus the blog has featured some wonderful guest posts from local wedding professionals (with top tips and an insight in to different elements of wedding planning from their area of the wedding industry):

See all the top posts of 2019.

Marketing support

I’ve continued to provide marketing consultation to some local, independent wedding businesses in and around Witney, Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. It’s great to combine my marketing experience, with my local knowledge, in the scope of the wedding industry.

Some of my clients have included a fantastic florist, a couple of wedding venues, a vintage Rolls Royce hire company, and other couples and suppliers:

I’m delighted to have enquiries for different aspects of the business including business development and consultancy, and it’s great to receive lovely testimonials from happy couples and suppliers I’ve worked with in 2019.


Now is also a great time to look forward to the brand new year ahead. I’ve lots of plans afoot including focusing the blog on supporting and promoting local wedding professionals, services and venues #keepitlocal.

And I can’t wait to produce more styled photo shoots and have more opportunities to collaborate with local suppliers. Plus watch this space for my wedding fairs with a difference coming soon.

Please get in touch if you’d like to advertise on the blog, submit your own wedding details, would like to collaborate on a shoot, write a guest post or need some marketing advice and guidance. Together we can build the local wedding industry and inspire brides and grooms for their special day.

Many thanks for your support in 2019 and here’s to an exciting and very Happy New Year!

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Top blog post in 2019 on Hanami Dream

Top blog post in 2019 on Hanami Dream

  1. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/top-spring-2019-colours-from-pantone/
  2. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/top-fall-2019-colours-from-pantone-for-autumn-weddings/
  3. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/top-local-catering-vans-for-weddings-in-the-cotswolds/
  4. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/top-spring-2020-colours-from-pantone/
  5. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/top-local-wedding-transport-suppliers-in-the-cotswolds-get-me-to-the-church-on-time/
  6. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/wedding-venue-review-lapstone-barn/
  7. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/wedding-traditions-dont-forget-the-silver-sixpence-in-your-shoe/
  8. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/changes-in-marriage-law-for-outdoor-weddings/
  9. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/wedding-venue-review-bodleian-library/
  10. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/winner-at-the-uk-blog-awards-2018/
  11. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/inspiration-coral-and-gold-festival-wedding/
  12. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/top-local-wedding-favour-suppliers-in-the-cotswolds/
  13. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/wedding-venue-review-ashmolean-museum/
  14. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/wedding-venue-review-merriscourt/
  15. http://www.hanamidream.co.uk/wedding-venue-review-millets-farm/

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Pantone® announce the Color of the Year 2020

Pantone® announce the Color of the Year 2020

Pantone® have picked a soothing and refreshing blue as their colour of the year for 2020. Don’t feel blue! You’ve got ‘Classic Blue’ to get you through the first year of the new decade.

Classic Blue

Funnily enough blue was my hot tip for the Pantone Colour of the year in 2020 – take a look at my review of the Spring/Summer 2020 colours. And Classic Blue sits perfectly in the beautiful seascape of colours to embrace next year.

As Pantone® Vice President Laurie Pressman said, it is “a timeless and enduring blue hue, timeless in its simplicity … Classic Blue is calming and confident. It mixes well with shades across the color spectrum and serves as an anchor on its own.”

It is “a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection”. … “It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.”

Calming influence

The emphasis on a bold primary colour feels like a big back to basics statement and a strong, emotive and versatile colour.

Classic Blue (also known as Pantone® 19-4052) feels like a good palette cleansing colour after the vibrancy of Living Coral in 2019. Perhaps a safe choice, hopefully not political but beautifully calming in a sea of constant change and uncertainty at the moment.

It is natural, neutral and nautical.

2020 weddings

Classic Blue is exactly what it says on the tin. Classic. A core basic colour and a stylish accompaniment to any vibrant pop of colour. I look forward to seeing couples incorporating Classic Blue into their wedding colour schemes in 2020.

#COY2020

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Celebrating 5 years of Hanami Dream!

Celebrating 5 years of Hanami Dream!

What a day for celebration the fourth of July is: Independence Day, Alice Day and also the 5th birthday of Hanami Dream weddings and special occasions!

five years since my first styled shoot

Yes, July marks five years since I published my first styled photo shoot under the umbrella of Hanami Dream. After that Alice in Wonderland shoot in 2014, came the Wizard of Oz, followed in 2016 by a Wind in the Willows wedding. The following year saw the addition of 3 more styled bridal shoots: a modern Edwardian Secret Garden themed wedding, a real break from tradition with a Festival style wedding and also a lovely winter Journey to the Centre of the Earth themed wedding. I love working with amazing local suppliers!

Photography by Cat Stephens Photography

five years since my first tweet

From my first tweet in 2014, to a steadily increasing readership (and social media following) with around 1,600 unique page views a month on average. Plus a combined social media network of over 5,500 followers and ongoing promotion and networking means this is ever growing.

five years since my first blog post

It’s crazy to think how much has evolved over the past five years; now 367 blog posts later and winner at the Event and Wedding category at the UK Blog Awards last year.


five years of accolades

I have had my styled shoots published in print and featured in Your Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wedding magazine and Your Glos & Wilts Wedding magazine. Plus, an article I wrote on 2019 wedding styling trends was published in Your Berks, Buck & Oxon Wedding magazine.

I was proud to have one of my wedding marketing advice articles published on Bride magazine to help wedding suppliers to start and maintain a good company blog.
And Hanami Dream featured in the local press covering the role of judge in the UK Blog Awards 2019.

five years more credentials

I’m really pleased with my honoured collection of accolades, which include #QueenOf Wedding Inspiration by The Royal Connection, the #SmartSocial award from Marketme, #BrightPig’s Business of the Week, WOW Winner picked by Jacqueline Gold CBE. As well as winning Theo Paphitis’s #SBS (Small Business Sunday).

During my career I’ve obtained my CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing and worked in various marketing roles for 13 years before starting my own business. I’ve also obtained my Diploma in Wedding and Event Planning with the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planners making me a Certified Wedding and Event Planner.

Over the last year, I’ve been pleased to be nomiated in the Foxy Deer Awards and the Cotswold Awards.

five years of supporting couples with wedding planning

I launched #UKWedLunch nearly 3 years ago, as well as being a guest host on #BrideHour and this year I was the wedding judge at the UK Blog Awards 2019.

I was also pleased to see the entries for a #WonderfulWeddingWares Instagram challenge this May.

five more years’ experience

As well as writing an award winning wedding blog, I’m also a wedding marketing specialist, with 18 years experience in a number of industries.

As well as providing inspiration to brides and grooms in the Cotswolds, I’ve continued to combine my previous 13 years of marketing experience, with my local knowledge, in the scope of the wedding industry. I provide marketing consultation to some local, independent wedding businesses in and around Witney, Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds where I’ve been affectionately titled the Wedding Inspector – a bit like the Alex Polizzi of the local wedding industry!

work with Hanami Dream

It has certainly been a busy year already and it is excitedly looking good for the remainder of 2019.

I’m looking forward to working with more local wedding professionals, services and venues #keepitlocal. And I can’t wait to produce more styled photo shoots and have more opportunities to collaborate with local suppliers.

Please get in touch if you’d like to advertise on the blog, submit your own wedding details, would like to collaborate on a shoot, write a guest post or need some marketing advice and guidance. Together we can build the local wedding industry and inspire brides and grooms for their special day.

Happy birthday to Hanami Dream – now where is the cake?!

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Join the #WonderfulWeddingWares Instagram challenge this May

Join the #WonderfulWeddingWares Instagram challenge this May

#WonderfulWeddingWares May 2019

Join the #WonderfulWeddingWares Instagram challenge this May with Hanami Dream!

What is #WonderfulWeddingWares?

This month long challenge is about making new contacts, finding new people to follow and discovering the amazing talent our region has to offer the wedding industry. It’s the little details that bring any event to life and a wedding is a culmination of many different beautiful and wonderful wedding wares from an array of amazing suppliers.

In this challenge there is a new wedding theme for each day of the month of May – simply post your photo to your Instagram feed along with the #WonderfulWeddingWares hashtag. There’s no need to take new photos to join in – you can choose to tag an existing image that you have already posted that you feel fits the theme well. And don’t worry if you don’t have an image for every day – just do the ones that fit your products.

Who is #WonderfulWeddingWares for?

This challenge is for any wedding supplier offering their products to couples getting married in the Cotswolds, UK such as: photographers, venues, stylists, stationery designers, florists, dress makers, favour producers, tableware renters, prop hire companies, jewellery designers, cake makers and anyone else who provides a place, product or service that make up a wonderful wedding day.

It’s a great opportunity to showcase your own wonderful wedding wares. Tell your friends and colleagues – let’s get as many involved as we can.

Just tag your posts with #WonderfulWeddingWares

When does #WonderfulWeddingWares start?

Get ready for the start on Wednesday 1st May 2019. I can’t wait for May – with two bank holidays and my birthday thrown in there too, plus it’ll be great to see the different ways you creative lot interpret each theme. I will also pick a selection of each theme from different suppliers to make mood boards to share on social media and my blog.

#WonderfulWeddingWares prompts

Here are the #WonderfulWeddingWares prompts for May 2019 (weekends and bank holidays in bold):

  1. Eco
  2. Circus/carnival
  3. Medieval
  4. Industrial
  5. Great Gatsby
  6. Red
  7. Pink
  8. Gold
  9. Yellow
  10. Chocolate
  11. Purple
  12. Blue
  13. Spring
  14. Summer
  15. Autumn
  16. Winter
  17. Rain
  18. Outdoors
  19. Nighttime
  20. White
  21. Black
  22. Pastel
  23. Green
  24. Bold colours
  25. Tartan
  26. Mismatched
  27. Sparkly
  28. Lace
  29. Paper
  30. Fruit
  31. Festival

Follow Hanami Dream, the creator of this challenge, on Instagram.

 

 

 

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2019 Review of the year

Hanami Dream announce winner of the wedding UK Blog Award 2019

UK Blog Awards 2019

I was delighted to judge the wedding category in the UK Blog Awards 2019. In case you missed it, on Friday night I had the honour of announcing and announce the winner and highly commended blogs. 

Take a look on YouTube or read my speech below.

Wedding category announcement

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the announcement of the winner and highly commended wedding blogs of the UK Blog Awards 2019.

My name is Nicola Jackson from Hanami Dream – a wedding blog based in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds. And a very proud winner of the wedding UK Blog Awards 2018. I’m delighted to hand on the baton to the winner this year.

 

 

Eco friendly weddings

It’s a sad fact that, by their nature, weddings can be quite wasteful.

So it’s great to see more couples addressing this by choosing eco friendly options to reduce the impact that their wedding day has on the environment.

More and more couples are going greener, thinking seasonally, reducing paper usage, keeping it local, having a smaller more intimate day, offering alternative menu choices and making more diy elements themselves. They’re considering how they can reuse elements after the day by donating any wastage to those less fortunate, offsetting the carbon footprint and reducing costs.

 

 

Marriage laws

Changes in the law have also had an impact on the diversity of weddings taking place and weddings are becoming more and more personal.

So it’s great to see this evolution and diversity being mirrored in the blogging world –

 

Wedding blog finalists

I’ve really enjoyed reading the finalists’ in this year’s wedding category and seeing how they portray a modern stance on the world of weddings and addressing up to date alternatives to old traditions.

I love that the wedding genre overlaps many other categories too such as Eco, Law, Lifestyle, Fashion and Finance amongst others.

I encourage more wedding blogs to enter next year – it’s a great exposure and experience and a wonderful chance to show off your own niche.

The finalists this year have epitomised the diversity of the wedding industry, showing originality, a forward thinking conscience and how we can all start to make a difference. They are as personal and individual as the weddings they report on.

The finalist are:
fierceblooms
Gay Wedding Blog
Magpie Wedding
Quirky Nuptials
Say I do on a budget
The Lovely Little Label
Unconventional Wedding
Wed in Central Park

 


Winners of the wedding category of the UK Blog Awards 2019

By the power vested in me by the UK Blog Awards, I now pronounce that the highly commended wedding blog is… Fierce Blooms
A wonderful personal voice showing authenticity, highly environmentally conscience and amazing story telling that paints a picture.

And it gives me great pleasure in announcing that the winner of the wedding category of the UK Blog Awards 2019 is…
Gay Wedding Blog
Not only a fantastic design with strong imagery but a clear purpose showing originality and diversity.

Huge congratulations to all the finalists and a very well done to the winners in this year’s UK Blog Awards.

Enjoy the celebrations.”

 

 

 

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