For my traditional wedding, Edmina would be the on the day co-ordinator ensuring everything from start to finish ran like clockwork. Now for those who know me; coming from a production/ events background I find it hard to entrust anything l do to anyone, like anyone. None the less it was clear Edmina and I were both on the same page and I could leave the running of the day to her with all confidence.
From handling suppliers with a smile and managing that odd one troublesome aunty with grace; seeing Edmina in action gave me peace of mind to really enjoy the day! Her attention to detail was impeccable and her creative initiative saw my vision for the big day go one step above my expectations. Not only did my family insist on adopting her after, but the event was an all round success and her level of professionalism and passion left an imprint with both guests and suppliers. Going the extra mile where needed to ensure the day was perfect – working with Edmina was most enjoyable!
We catch up with the brain child behind the business to find out more about Aleeka Events and the beauty behind the brand!
[Styled by Aleeka Events]
1. What was the inspiration behind the name Aleeka Events?
Aleeka, pronounced AH-LEE-KAH, is a name of West African origin and means “Most Beautiful”. I chose this as I wanted something that would be a reflection of my business, and when teamed with ‘events’ it translates into ‘most beautiful events’.
2. How did you get into event coordination?
Planning events has always come naturally to me, and is something I have been doing for close family and friends for a number of years. However, Aleeka Events was created out of the desire to solve two problems, and we all know every story starts with at least one.
Weddings can be expensive, and for couples who want that ‘chic, stylish and luxurious’ aesthetic, this would probably end up costing them a fortune. More often than not, they would probably have to settle for a wedding they don’t want and feel excited about, or end up hiring a planner that they really can’t afford, therefore spending much more than they anticipated.
I found there were a lot of couples in the UK who wanted a to infuse their West African heritage into their wedding day and also hire the services of a planner, however, couldn’t do so as they either had to settle for a planner that (1) did not know nothing or very little about their culture, or (2) did not come across as professional and reliable.
These two problems birthed the story and concept behind Aleeka Events. We specialise in providing a chic, stylish and ‘affordable luxe’ aesthetic for the savvy and sophisticated client, with a premium range budget. We believe our clients do not need the budget of a celebrity to achieve such a goal, and use our comprehensive ‘little black book’ of wedding and event suppliers, who share similar business values to us, to create the aesthetic and feel our client’s desire.
We also specialise in culture-specific planning services for the Western couple with West African heritage. This is the couple who want to infuse their culture and traditions into their wedding/event and do so with ease. We use our inherent knowledge and experience of the West African culture to plan and create weddings and events that are culturally infused. This specifically includes sourcing high-quality suppliers that understand our client’s needs and can deliver on this.
3. What do you love most about what you do?
Getting creative! It’s the part of wedding/event planning that I get the most excited about. From creating a dreamy colour palette, putting together a mood board, and then seeing this translate into the final design is so fulfilling.
4. Who inspires you?
Within the wedding industry it would have to be Mindy Weiss, Jenny Schneider, and Hey Gorgeous Events. They are all different from each other but run well established wedding and event planning businesses, and aim to have similar successes to them one day. On a personal level I would definitely have to say my mother. She is the most strong and hardworking woman I know, and is a real role model when it comes to putting your all into everything that you do, no matter the task.
5. When coming to events, if you could summarise how Edmina works / operates in 3 words, what would they be?
I would definitely have to say calm, focused and great attention to detail, no matter how small.
[Pictured above: Edmina Johnson]
6. Having seen your work first hand, you are very much about excellence and attention to detail – why are these such important characteristics to have in this industry?
Why thank you! For me, it’s all about placing myself in the client’s shoes and asking myself what type of service would I like to receive. Everything Aleeka Events does, is done with style and finesse. We challenge the belief that luxury is only for the rich and famous, and that you just have to settle for the standard. The way we do this is by collaborating with like-minded suppliers who share our concept of culture, style, chicness and affordable luxury, but who also appreciate that this doesn’t have to break the bank. We just happen to plan aesthetically gorgeous and culturally infused wedding and events!
7. With all things there are always struggles and challenges, what have been some of yours thus far in getting established, and how did you overcome them?
I would say the biggest challenge so far has been trying to establish myself as a wedding/event planner in the UK wedding industry. However, I have found that being consistent and having a focus (i.e. knowing who your ideal client is, what your brand stands for, and creating core bsiness values) has helped in gaining recognition and growing my following across my social media platforms. I officially launched Aleeka Events in November 2016 and although it’s not even a year old yet, I feel I have accomplished a lot and made some good industry friends so far.
8. Venturing out and starting a business and chasing a vision is never easy? What inspired you to be a girl boss and start your own company?
I really do believe that my generation are full of go-getters! I have so many friends that have started their own ventures and just made things happen. This is inspirational in itself and has definitely played a part in spurring me on with my own business. However, my biggest inspiration has to be my faith in God. This keeps me chasing my vision, keeps me hopeful for even better things to come, and keeps me grounded.
9. Is their a quote you live by, or words that you hold dear spurring you to keep on keeping on?
There’s so many, but if I had to choose one it would be
“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”.
[Pictured Above: Edmina with supplier King Solomon Catering]
10. We collaborated with you on an African traditional engagement. Who were some of your favourite vendors and what did you like most about the event?
I’m going to be a bit biased on this one (as I’ve worked with her on a special project before!) but I would definitely have to say Amy from Amy O’Boyle Photography. She’s amazing at what she does and so easy to work with. I also enjoyed working with David from First Class Chefs. He created some unique and delicious canapés! My favourite part of the day had to be when the bride and groom walked out to see both of their families after the ceremony. It was a special moment and to me marked the beginning of a new chapter together (yes, I know I’m a big romantic at heart!)
[Pictured Above: Chef David Meegoda (First Class Chefs) canapés – Curry Goat shots, Rice & Peas sushi, Ackee & Saltfish Moneybags]
11. How do people go about enquiring about your services?
The best way to enquire about my services is via my website. There’s a really simple enquiry form on the contact page that allows you tell me some key information about your wedding or event. Once I receive this, I then contact you to arrange an initial consultation and find out more about your exciting plans!
In addition to my website, you can always drop me a brief message on my social media platforms including Instagram @aleekaevents, Facebook @aleekaevents, and Twitter @aleekaevents, and we can then schedule a telephone call.
Visit www.aleekaevents.co.uk to see her extensive range of services
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