MODERN, MAGICAL WEDDING DESIGN FOR HOPELESS ROMANTICS
Today’s supplier spotlight is the lovely Valentina from The Stars Inside, a wedding design studio offering visionary wedding services to creative couples. And when we say visionary and creative, we mean visionary and creative – Val used to be an astrophysicist and a circus performer before putting her uber talented hands and eyes to weddings. It’s a cliché that no two weddings are the same, but genuinely, no two of Valentina’s projects are the same as each is infused with such personal details. If you get a feeling of super warm romance just from Val’s words below, just IMAGINE how you’d feel with her planning your day. Oof!
WHO ARE YOU + WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
My name is Valentina, and I run The Stars Inside – a modern wedding design company based in London. I partner with creative couples and brands looking to make some magic in London, in beautiful English countryside locations, and across Europe. I offer design, styling, and planning support for weddings and elopements – I’m here for the stargazers, the dreamers, and the hopeless romantics. I’m all about giving my couples back their time and peace of mind, while planning visionary, playful, and experiential weddings full of light and love.
DESCRIBE YOUR WORKPLACE
I work from home, in my apartment in Islington, in North London. I live with my wonderful husband James, who has patiently allowed me to turn one of our rooms into a wedding addict’s studio: a big desk full of lists, a bookcase full of folders and odd bits, flowers, neon signs, classical music, and an area of floor designated for my latest creative project. When not at home, I can be found discovering venues, hot-desking with my laptop around my favourite coffee shops, fan-girling over coffee with suppliers and clients, and running around photoshoots.
WHERE + HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
With a plot twist! So, before being a wedding planner I was an investment banker. Before that I was a circus performer. And before that I was an Astrophysicist. I’m actually 150 years old (LOL) – Ok, so I’m actually 32 but the rest is true! While working at the bank, I had the great joy of levelling up from girlfriend to fiancée, and started planning my own wedding. We were time-poor and idea-rich, so we started working with a wonderful wedding planner, who turned out to be even more of a SUPERSTAR when our original UK wedding venue went bankrupt and closed after everything had pretty much been planned. We started from scratch with a new plan (we ended up getting married in Tuscany, in Italy, where I’m from). Throughout those 2.5 years of working with her, I fell in love with the wedding industry, everyone in it, and everything she was doing for us. I started interning with her, doing training courses, networking, and designing my brand – all the while still working full-time. After we got married and came back from honeymoon, I quit my job at the bank and jumped into this industry with both feet. I absolutely love it.
FAVOURITE WORK TO DATE?
To be completely honest every single project I have the joy of being involved in is my next favourite thing! I’ve loved being involved in creative photoshoots, especially when the suppliers and professionals I work with end up becoming close friends. I’m involved in an ongoing series where we’re bringing to life stories and characters from our childhood as inspiration for the modern, stylish couple, co-planning with the amazing Kayleigh Keen. Very recently I had the pleasure of co-directing a surreal-fashion-meets-bridal shoot at Aynhoe Park with the brilliant Emma-Jane Lewis Photography, and loved it.
WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My inspiration tends to come from my interests – I love books, cinematography, videogames, travel, fashion, and every kind of art. We moved country every few years when I was little, for my parent’s work, so I love taking inspiration for the cultural experiences I’ve had as well. I’m hugely inspired by my family, my friends, and all the INCREDIBLE talent in this industry.
DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY
My days vary a lot, which is something I love! Some days I might be glued to my laptop at home or in a coffee shop all day, so deep in the zone that I forget to have lunch… And other days I might be out and about all day, meeting people, running errands, sourcing props, and organising things. My Fitbit has a lot of trouble giving me goals – my admin days might get me up to a few hundred steps, while a wedding or shoot day will see me hitting the 35,000 steps mark!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO?
When I’m winding down, I love spending time with my hubby – going to the cinema, restaurants, or exhibits. We’re both foodies and we love finding new favourites! Our holidays are usually all about quiet, remoteness, and peace, so we love out-of-season beaches, wild camping, and quaint countryside towns. We’re also both super geeky gamers so staycations in front of the PC are a big part of our chill time together!
FAVOURITE WEDDING VENUE
The UK has so many stunning venues, but I’d say I definitely have a soft spot for country houses and anywhere with a magical, otherworldly feel about it. I love the kinds of venues where I can imagine my couples finding a home away from home, and having a weekend full of downtime with their loved ones. I loved getting to know Aynhoe Park, the Wilderness Reserve, and Huntsham Park, for example. I also love thinking outside the box and discovering cool new venues like art galleries, urban hotels, and theatres.
TRENDS YOU HOPE TO SEE THIS SEASON
I’m not much of a trend-follower myself, but I do love the way inspiration weaves its way through different spheres of art, fashion, and decor, and then is interpreted anew for the wedding industry. I would love to see more couples tearing up the rule book and doing what THEY want – smaller weddings, destination weddings, and new traditions. I love when couples embrace authenticity, creativity, and immersive design – indulging all the senses and thinking about what truly reflects their story, in a mindful and honest way.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN
Starting out in a new industry, I would say I was definitely pulled into the comparison game, trying to be mainstream and being everything to everyone. It’s scary to be niche, and to not know if anyone will ever fit the tiny Venn diagram overlap you’ve created for your ideal client. So many wonderful business owners I’ve met have advised me to focus on being authentic, on just being me, with all my quirks and oddities. As unsettling as that is to start with, I really believe that it’s been the key to connecting with like-minded suppliers and clients, and is helping me grow my brand in a direction I can be proud of, and can sustain over time.