One of the great things about working for myself at home is being able to use Twitter while I work. I've made some valuable contacts and lovely friends through it and it provides virtual 'office gossip', which is in some ways better than 'real' office gossip as you can literally switch it off if you're too busy or don't feel like getting involved. Twitter is great for picking up on different things such as information and events like networking meetings. Earlier this year I picked up on the Taunton Tweet Up which I made the effort to go to (yes, it's a long old drive from West Sussex to Somerset, but it was worth it as I tied it in with visiting family). It was great to meet some of the people I'd been tweeting with as well as making new contacts within the industry.
I'd been quite apprehensive whilst driving down to Somerset - sometimes it's difficult to walk into a room full of people you've never met before, but I'd committed myself to going so there was no chickening out! The first people I met were the Marry Me In Somerset girls, Abi & Lisa, along with Rachel and Lucinda, two of the Wedding Ideas Magazine 'herd' - all of whom were very friendly and welcoming. Another person I met in Taunton was Pam Wallin who is the driving force behind the Weddings In Surrey Directory. Having tweeted with her many times over the past year or so it was wonderful to finally meet her - like the Marry Me Somerset girls and all the WIM herd she is as lovely and friendly in person as she is on Twitter! I met many more wedding industry people that evening and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
When I saw a tweet a while ago about another Tweet Up, this time a little closer to home, I signed up for it immediately and put the date in my diary! Organised by Pam Wallin and Wedding Ideas Magazine, it was held at Fetcham Park House in Surrey, a beautiful wedding venue near Leatherhead.
I'd allowed plenty of time to tackle the A24 to Leatherhead as the evening was due to start at 6.30pm and arrived around half an hour early, plenty of time to admire the splendour of the reception rooms before they filled up with other attendees. If it's country house elegance and style you're looking for then this venue definitely fits the bill and the Laguerre murals in the hall and stairway give a dark, richly opulent feel whereas the reception rooms are decorated in light creams and gold with intricate and colourful high ceilings.
|Louis Laguerre Mural, Fetcham Park|
In contrast to the previous networking Tweet Up in Taunton I was not feeling at all apprehensive and had been looking forward all day to meeting more people that I had been chatting with on-line and some that I had yet to connect with. The list of attendees was for around 160 and we certainly filled the place up both physically and in noise level!
By the end of the evening, this country girl who is usually found in either slippers around the house and office or wellies outside walking the LGs was feeling decidedly footsore after several hours in gorgeous high heels, but very positive, buoyed up and raring to go! I may not be a wedding planner, but I do have an incredible list of contacts within the industry now and it's always wonderful to be able to recommend a supplier to a bride - weddings and their planning can be an absolute minefield of information and can leave couples and their families feeling that they don't know where to start. So if you're looking for a Wedding Planner, a Florist, a Harpist, a Caterer, a Cake Designer, a Candy Buffet or a Chimney Sweep (yes, really!) if I can't personally recommend one it's likely that I know someone who can.
I's so easy to become insular and isolated when you work at home for yourself, easy too to be in need of a little 'spark' or 'va va voom' and meeting like minded professionals can really help to give you a boost. So many thanks to Pam and WIM for organising such a lovely evening!