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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Hanami Dream announce winner of the wedding UK Blog Award 2019

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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Wedding marketing advice published

Wedding marketing advice published

Marketing article featured on Bride magazine

As well as writing an award winning wedding blog, I’m also a wedding marketing specialist, with 17 years experience in a number of industries.

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.

Hanami Dream was founded in 2014, which combines my marketing skills and photo shoot experience along with my passion and knowledge of the wedding industry and local market. My marketing background gives me the insight and experience to help local wedding businesses with their marketing strategy and promotional plans.

So I’m 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.

Keep an eye out for more posts where I share marketing advice for venues and wedding industry professionals from small, local, independent wedding businesses in and around Witney, Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. 

 

 

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Wedding judge interview with the UK Blog Awards

Wedding judge interview with the UK Blog Awards

Proud to be the wedding judge for the UK Blog Awards 2019

 

Checkout my interview with the UK Blog Awards to see how I got started and what being a judge means to me.

https://blogawardsuk.co.uk/an-interview-with-nicola-jackson-blogger-at-hanami-dream-and-our-ukba19-wedding-judge/

 

 

 

 

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Hanami Dream in the press

Hanami Dream in the press

So pleased with the press coverage that Hanami Dream has been receiving recently.

Did you see page 14 of the Oxford Mail on the 19th Janauary 2019? You might have spotted a certain wedding blogger and UK Blog Awards #UKBA19 wedding judge in there!

Plus the Witney Gazette covered the article online too.

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Join me for my next Cotswold wedding styled photo shoot

Join me for my next Cotswold wedding styled photo shoot

Following the success of the recent Secret Garden and Journey to the Centre of the Earth bridal styled shoots, Hanami Dream are proud to announce their next styled shoot for spring time this year.

The shoot is planned for this spring in the Oxfordshire countryside of the Cotswolds and I’m excited to offer the opportunity for local suppliers to join with me. So let me know if you’d like to provide products to bring my creative ideas to life in a wonderful new inspirational shoot.

 

The beauty of styled shoots (versus a real life wedding) is that this is your opportunity to be a little more extravagant and really show off what you’ve always wanted to do. You can indulge your fantasies. Maybe you’ve got a new product that couples won’t have seen yet or you want to create something really unusual that you wouldn’t normally do.

Styled shoots are a collaboration of like minded people that can create great things together but perhaps don’t have the budgets to produce this kind of work if they all worked independently.

Everyone works pro bono, so it is just your products that you’d need to provide to be involved. Nicola from Hanami Dream organises and styles the shoots. And the rewards are amazing with great imagery of your products in an amazing lifestyle surrounding, plus inclusion in all my promotion of the shoot and a feature on Hanami Dream’s blog, which is a UK Blog Awards winner in 2018 and wedding judge of the UK Blog Awards 2019. So there’d be plenty of exposure of your beautiful products.

Hanami Dream styled shoots have been published in Bride Magazine; Your Glos & Wilts Wedding magazine; Your Berks, Buck and Oxon Wedding magazine; SoGlos Weddings.

My shoots bring together wonderful local suppliers. Together we showcase the amazing talent that our part of the UK has to offer the wedding industry and all benefit from the lifestyle imagery and promotion.

If you’re local and are interested in showcasing your products in my next shoot then please email Nicola from Hanami Dream and outline what your product is and how you think it would fit in and enhance the theme. I’ve put together a mood board I can share if you want to get an idea of the kind of things that I’m after.

I am looking for some of the following (although this list isn’t exhaustive – if you can offer something I’ve not thought of I’d love to hear from you too): 

  • Accessories (jewellery, bridal hat, shoes)
  • Bridalwear (separates with one part black – maybe dip dyed)
  • Cake (dark/black icing with fresh flowers)
  • Celebrant (and clothing)
  • Décor (dark, reflective and metallic)
  • Favours
  • Florist (wild flowers, dried flowers and grasses)
  • Hair & Make Up
  • Lighting (neon)
  • Suit (and dark floral tie)
  • Stationery (mirrors and bright florals)
  • Tableware (unusual crockery, cutlery, coloured glassware)

I’ll only be including one supplier from each category (ie only one florist will be used for the whole shoot) to provide clarity and clear communication.

You can see from my previous shoots that I really like close up detail shots which show off everyone’s products very nicely – it is all about the little details that bring any event to life.

I look forward to sharing more news as plans unfold for this collaboration.

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Judge at the UK Blog Awards 2019

Judge at the UK Blog Awards 2019

Winner at the UK Blog Awards 2018

Usually at this time of the year, I’m asking you to kindly support me and vote for the blog in the UK Blog Awards. As you may know, I was absolutely delighted to win the UK Blog Award in the Individual Event and Wedding category last year. And so, it is with great excitement that I’m pleased to say that I am a judge at the UK Blog Awards 2019.

The UK Blog Awards

The mission of The UK Blog Awards is to recognise the unique and resonant nature of the Internet community – from bloggers to Social Influencers and through organisations and individual creators. The UK Blog Awards is the most prestigious, and the only, multi-industry awards honouring online excellence.

Now in its sixth year, The UK Blog Awards continues to celebrate the most resonant and engaging content creators in the UK, those inside and outside of the prevailing trends.

This year, they have expanded the mission by introducing even more categories and there’ll be a completely live and online stream of the UK Blog Awards where the winners and highly commended bloggers will be announced in April.

Photography by Squib Photography

 

 

My judging credentials for the UK Blog Awards 2019

Being a judge for the UKBA19 is a great honour and a wonderful next step and evolution of my involvement with the UK Blog Awards.

I’m delighted that my wedding blog, Hanami Dream, won the individual Event and Wedding UK Blog Awards 2018 (as well as being a finalist in 2017 and highly commended in 2016). Being a judge of the UKBA19 will combine my marketing skills, blogging experience along with my passion and knowledge of the wedding industry.

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 in 2014. I’ve also obtained my Diploma in Wedding and Event Planning with the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planners.

My marketing background gives me the insight and experience to help local wedding businesses with their marketing strategy and promotional plans.

All this will put me in great stead when reading through the blogs in the wedding category.

Photography by Farrow Photography

 

My judging criteria of the UK Blog Awards 2019

I’m looking forward to reading some fresh content, with a unique angle and a new take on topics. I can’t wait to read the blogs, especially those tackling novel subjects that are ahead of trends and give a modern stance on the world of weddings and modern alternatives to old traditions.

I love something that reads well, speaks to the audience, looks good, plus uses its own imagery. I’m not a fan of too many typos and spelling/grammatical mistakes (which I think harks back to my proof reading days when my boss used to mark my work with a trusty ‘old red’ biro!)

I love that the wedding genre overlaps many other categories nowadays, with topics touching Eco, Law, Lifestyle, Fashion and Finance amongst others.

The current trend in the world of weddings is about making your mark, being different, not having a cookie cutter wedding like the next person, and personalisation. I believe that should be the same in the blogging world – make your own niche, be yourself, be unique and do what you do best.

Blogging for me is about being a content creator, a journalist in your own field, reporting on your area of expertise as you see it.

Menu and floral display on table | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

 

UK Blog Awards 2019 wedding judge

I’m looking forward to being inspired by the wedding blogs I have the pleasure of judging. I’ve already judged the first round and look forward to the next exciting steps.

Take a look at all the finalists of the UK Blog Awards 2019 in all 27 categories.

 

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2018 review of the year

2018 review of the year

I hope you’ve had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas. At this between and betwixt time, I often take the time to reflect on the past year. And what a fantastic year it’s been for Hanami Dream weddings and special occasions in 2018.

Highlights of 2018

My blog has had a really exciting year and continues to go from strength to strength. The highlight of 2018, has to be winning the event and wedding UK Blog Award in April.

I was also thrilled to obtain my Diploma in Wedding and Event Planning from the UK Academy of Wedding & Event Planners to become a Certified Wedding and Event Planner.

I was pleased to be shortlisted in the Foxy Deer Awards and the Cotswolds Awards. Plus I was a finalist in a Pantone® colour trend challenge again.

Hanami Dream blog

This year, my focus has been on developing the blog commercially, as well as providing inspiration to brides and grooms in the Cotswolds. And 2018 saw a new look for Hanami Dream with a logo refresh and a complete redesign of the website.

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

As well as some submitted real wedding inspiration:

Along with my own winter bridal styled shoot:

And a video of my secret garden styled wedding shoot:

Trend posts have been exciting to write this year as we’ve had 2 royal weddings to draw upon this year:

I continue my review of local wedding venues:

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

See the top posts of 2018 on Hanami Dream.

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 few wedding venues, a children’s toy hire company and a vintage Rolls Royce hire company.

I’m delighted to have enquiries for different aspects of the business including venue styling and consultancy, as well as such lovely testimonials from happy couples and suppliers I’ve worked with in 2018.

In print

I have been chuffed that some of my shoots have been published in print this year 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 has been published in Your Berks, Buck & Oxon Wedding magazine and have an article in Martha Weddings due to publish any day.

Looking forward to 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.

Meanwhile, I’m excited about being a judge at the UK Blog Awards 2019 early in the new year.

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 2018 and here’s to an exciting and very Happy New Year!Candles and firelight tablescape | Journey to the Centre of the Earth | modern ethereal winter styled bridal shoot by Hanami Dream | agate | marble | airplants | tulle | pale blue | gold | Oxleaze Barn | Gloucestershire | October 2017 | Photography by Squib Photography www.squibphotography.co.uk

 

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