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Day in the life: Vintage events planner

13 July 2011 2 Comments

Helen Ruff, based in Shoreham, is creative director of Doily Days, an event company specialising in vintage theming. Here she tells us what an average day on the job entails.

Helen Ruff from Doily Days

Whether I spend my day at the computer, in the studio or out and about depends on what events are in the diary. There are people I liaise with regularly such as Craig who owns the camper vans we hire out, Auntie Val and Andy who make the jams and chutneys for afternoon teas and wedding favours but mostly it’s just me, Heart FM, metres and metres of fabric, bubble wrap and lots of washing up liquid!

Typically I’ll get up at 7.30am, switch on the TV, computer and kettle simultaneously, have some breakfast, do my exercises and check emails before jumping in the shower. I start work at 8.30am – responding to emails and sending quotes and invoices. I phone Craig a lot about the campervans, to check availability, prices and to run through details for upcoming jobs. I also speak to Andy regularly about the jams and chutney – what they can/can’t do at short notice, whether they can do specific fonts on the labels etc.

VW hire from Doily Days

For lunch I usually pick up a sandwich from the bakery, take a break and flick through interior and wedding magazines. They give me ideas and contacts. I have a large canvas in my studio that I use as a mood board, pinning up images that inspire me or even scraps of fabric and ribbons.

After lunch I usually have to go out – sometimes over to Worthing to discuss menus and logistics with the chef, or to Storrington to pack and collect favours or to buy new fabrics. I might need to go to the wholesaler for sweets or, occasionally, I’m asked to supply products, such as china or favours, for magazine photoshoots, so I need to get them ready to send off.

Wedding event planning by Doily Days

I usually have plenty of emails to respond to on my return and I do a bit of social networking, I’m on Twitter on @DoilyDays but am more into Facebook: I share links and photos and check out other wedding and vintage suppliers.

Late afternoon is when I get practical. I might have to wash up, sort out and pack some china. Matching teacups to saucers is what really takes the time!

At about 6pm I start to wind down, pour myself a glass of wine and think about dinner. Often I will relax in front of the TV while sticking labels onto favours and tying on fabric hats. Sometimes I have helpers who are only too happy to fill their glass and pitch in – a good opportunity to catch up on the gossip!

VW hire from Doily Days

That all sounds rather civilised doesn’t it? But if I have a big catering job on or last minute order I can be up til the small hours – tired, stressed out – wrapping china, tying on fabric hats or running through logistics. Then I’ll be up early to buy flowers at the market. It’s all part and parcel of this crazy life I’ve created for myself, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s all worth it when I’m sipping on a glass of champagne at the end of a successful wedding or when I get sent professional images of the events I’ve worked on.

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  • Val Challis said:

    Helen works incredibly hard and is a delight to be around , she visits my kitchen to check out what new products we are making, if it be chocolate orange marmalade or an off the wall flavour that no-one else producers, my jams, marmalades and chutneys ,reflect todays tastes ! different, off the wall, or traditional , thats why Doily Days and Auntie Vals go together so well ,wether it be for a wedding favour or a party, Doily Days can come up with the those special ingrediants that make it go so well !

  • heather Shuker said:

    It is great working with Helen at Doily Days – always lot’s of lovely china , knick knacks and details to photograph!

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