That was then and this is now
I’m Jo, and for more than a decade my life has involved planning beautiful bespoke weddings in Italy under the Accent Events brand.
Like all the best adventures, my path here wasn’t linear I have had some interesting detours. My life changing moment came when my first husband passed away, the idea of carrying on as usual wasn’t an option for me, so I left my corporate job in London for an escape route. I escaped to many places, I became a tour leader for groups of adventure travellers.
I met people of all nationalities and ages at different stages in the lives, with the notion to explore the world. It was during my second season of tour leading that I met my Aussie husband Martin (who has been an indispensable part of the A-Team). Over the years of travel and event planning I discovered that heading into places I didn’t know, thinking on my feet, and planning events and tours for different types of people brings out the very best in me.
I decided to start Accent Events when I hit a milestone birthday. I no longer count those and chose to celebrate my years in terms of energy and new projects!
My personal goal was to create something from the ground up where I could use my creative skills. The freedom to work from home fitted with my lifestyle. We relocated from London to the wide open spaces of Cambridgeshire along with our three dogs and set about renovating a 1930-style bungalow. It was here that the idea of Accent Events took hold.
I knew that my style of bespoke wedding planning would be natural and fresh, honest and uncomplicated to remove any anxiety of wedding planning in Italy.
I have for the best part of 14 years lived a life I dreamed about.
And then this happened
2020 was a pivotal year for the world. Change happened at pace. Some important decisions were made. I am one of the many who decided to change the way I support destination wedding couples and in a small way reduce my carbon footprint on our fragile world.
There’s an alchemy in those moments in life you never forget. When you can recall with brilliant clarity the smell of the air, the taste of the wine, the sound of the music drifting in waves on the balmy air. Those elements combine to make something that is bigger than the sum of their parts. That’s what we’re seeking. To line up each nuanced detail alongside a backdrop of emotions, senses, history, culture.
To nurture exactly the right conditions for a bit of magic…and sometimes we need to be fearless in that pursuit.
An accent of Alchemy
MAKING IT EASY FROM THE START
Wedding planning was a career change for me. When I got to the point that I was going to do this, nothing was going to stop me.
I took a leap of faith from a heavily process driven role in IT in to a different world.
There was a phase 1 collaboration that didn’t turn out as planned but had some very good life lessons. I had a short break before going solo.
One of the main values for Accent Events was to make planning a destination wedding free of apprehension and concern. Wherever a couple was based, here in the UK or in a different hemisphere by choosing me as their planner I would make their dream happen.
I had the self belief that I could make a successful transformation. I had the passion to do this. Other than supporting on corporate events and my time as an adventure tour leader and latent memories of spoken Italian at home I had no formal professional training. I am not saying that is the right way to enter wedding planning but it was my path.
Dress for the job you want
There was much to learn, hours of research, reaching out to other planners, some generous others not so much, but all that did not matter when I secured my first client and they signed my agreement. Accent Events launched in Sorrento, September 2009 it was magical.
I was made for this, planning, researching, working behind the scenes, solving problems and riding a vespa between locations and making dreams come true. This was my life for a total of 14 years. There was the excitement of early morning journeys to the airport, arriving to Milan, Naples, Rome, Florence to do site visits and research and then for the wedding events.
Attracting my ideal clients
It has only been in the last 3 years that I finally got my message and language on point. I was connecting with couples who were ready to “say yes” to those things that ignite your senses, that will wow your loved ones in an atmosphere unlike any other, this is what counts. They were seeking life-affirming moments, when shoulders are relaxed, and there is an underlying feeling for something deeper.
Second time around couples always held a special place in my heart.
I’m for intrepid individuals who aren’t afraid of the road less travelled.
Who are fearless in their pursuit of happiness whenever that may come long.
We are lucky if the person we want to share our life with finds us sooner rather than later.
Sometimes we will experience sadness but love finds us again and that’s when it is important to be authentic.
Have gratitude for second chances and be fearless in your happiness.
I speak from experience and that is why I will be your biggest cheerleader.
When the mix is right you will have an experience just like Fiona and Richie who brought their families together from across the globe to this countryside villa Tuscany.
An amazing day captured by a super talented photographer, Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions.
After 14 years of having a commuter wedding planner existence I am making a shift to virtual consultancy sessions, I have Covid to thank for this change. Connecting across the globe is not new but evolving how I support couples in their destination wedding planning is a new area for me.
I find this exciting sharing knowledge and experience for couples to use and implement in a way that is right for them.
I am letting go of full bespoke planning. There are people and places I will miss seeing on a regular basis. The camaraderie that binds through the love of the work we do has always been a joy for me and will continue through supplier recommendations.
I am hoping my husband and my dogs will love having me home more too.
You can read about how to have a wedding that makes your soul sing in my blog post.
Lauren & Stuart
“Jo – or we prefer ‘Superwoman’ – is an absolutely incredible wedding coordinator. Words cannot describe just how fantastic she is at her job. When I first spoke to Jo, I was clueless about where to begin with our wedding and she was immediately warm and helpful and made me feel as though she had all the time in the world for me. She conjured up many dreamy scenes of the range of possibilities available in Italy, from beach weddings and Lakeside settings to enchanting rustic villas.
Jo embraced our ideas and made suggestions too based on her wealth of experience. She completely understood what we hoped to achieve and was infinitely helpful, even to the point of taking fans and candles in her hand luggage for us!
Over in Italy, she insisted she and her husband Martin do everything, and their help was an absolute godsend and their attention to detail was incredible. We were overwhelmed by Jo and her team; we couldn’t have done it without them and will be eternally grateful.”