The latest in our Faces of Bedford series features Gemma Lander, a wedding and event stylist.
Gemma’s explains what inspired her to set up her business and how badly the entire events industry has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Over to Gemma, in her own words…
After my own wedding, I had a huge amount of ‘bits’ and decorations left over. I loved the planning process so much and I just couldn’t bear not to be involved in weddings anymore!
At the time what I did was quite unique – a gap in the market. There weren’t many people doing this at the time.
I was a DIY bride as I did it all myself – all the decorations and details. When the day actually came around there wasn’t anyone who could set it up for me.
We set up the day before but my husband Chris had to go back on the morning of the wedding and it was so stressful for him!
I had left some flowers that were meant for the cake. They were in jam jars and they had labels on. He saw the labels and thought I’d forgotten to wash them off so drove all the way home to do that.
When the cake maker was setting up the cake she was looking for the flowers and was told they were not for the cake, so my cake ended up with no flowers on.
I then had random jam jars with flowers in – bless him though he had gone to all that extra effort and he even missed breakfast as he had no time and wanted it perfect and right for me.
If there was someone there who could go in taking that pressure off, how much less stressful would it be? That’s how it all started. That and my eclectic collection!
I have been in business for six years. Things were going great until the pandemic and last year (2020) should have been the best year so far. We had some huge events alongside weddings – music festivals, outside events – which would have been huge for us – the turnover would have doubled and taken us to the next level.
The events industry has suffered hugely. Many people assume if the roadmap stays intact that everything will be fine but forget though that a lot of bookings being taken now won’t happen for another 12 months to two years.
I was born and raised in Bedford, as are my parents and grandparents; fourth-generation Bedfordians.
I love it. I hated it as a teenager, never thought I’d end up here – but now I would never move away. I appreciate what Bedford has and the community.
Faces of Bedford was set up during lockdown by commercial and wedding photographer, Dan Davies, to showcase the extraordinary people that make Bedford brilliant.
If you would like to nominate someone for the Faces of Bedford project, please email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Faces of Bedford Instagram page for the full gallery.