It is with the utmost pleasure that I introduce you to this super special and incredibly soulful individual.
Valentina Ring, of The Stars Inside, is someone I have fan-girled over for quite some time and she made so happy when she accepted my invitation to feature in my blog series. She is someone who stands out in the wedding industry not only for her incredible talent at pulling everything together and making it look absolutely amazing through her powerful storytelling …but also for her gentleness, her kind heartedness and her ability to bare her soul. She speaks from her heart and is so genuine, you can tell that everything comes from a place of kindness which speaks volumes in itself.
So Valentina and I have yet to meet in person, although I was so excited to be on her supplier team for an upcoming photographer’s workshop in Cappadocia, Turkey. But like so many things that are being impacted by the Covid virus, the workshop has been put on hold. I know our time will come where we will get to work together – I honestly cannot wait!
Valentina writes with such eloquence and grace and so I’m going to let her tell you about herself in her own sweet words. I’ll be surprised if she hasn’t stolen your heart by the end.
Have you always loved weddings? And what made you decide to become a wedding planner / stylist?
I’ve ALWAYS loved love – I’m guaranteed to be the soppiest person in any room, at any time! I’ve always loved weddings, but I hadn’t really ever imagined myself working in the events industry to be honest! As a bride-to-be, I had the joy of working with a wedding planner, and it was hand-on-heart the best decision we made for our wedding. What she did for us meant so much – and I know for certain that she’s the reason our celebrations turned out to be as full of meaning, beauty, and happiness as they did. We were going through a difficult time back then, personally and professionally, and when our wedding venue suddenly closed due to insolvency, we found ourselves having to start all over again with planning, and it was only thanks to her that we were able to turn all those memories into something so positive. Experiencing being on the client side of this made me realise that I was falling in love with the job she was doing for us, and with all the passionate, creative, hardworking people I was meeting in the wedding industry. It made me want to be that person for other couples going through their own wedding planning journey.
When did you start your wedding planning business? Did you do something else before?
I have a somewhat unusual background, and I love using everything I’ve learned over the years to serve my couples and colleagues in the wedding industry now. I actually started my professional life as an astrophysicist, then trained to be a circus performer (a trapeze artist, to be precise!), and then was hired by one of the largest American investment banks as a stocks trader. Now, there is nowhere I would rather be! I founded The Stars Inside in 2017 because, for me, this is the most personal and rewarding pursuit of beauty and happiness, and the answer to questions I didn’t even know I was asking. Working in this industry means doing more of what I love, and it means using all my different skills towards a happy purpose. I look back and I know – this is who I choose to be. I didn’t start a wedding planning business because my particular combination of analytical, problem-solving, and creative skills (and the fact that I love weddings!) makes this the perfect career for me – that’s HOW I am a wedding planner. The why is the stories, the love, and the precious moments when families begin and grow. My why is that this is where I can give the most to others, while being most true to myself.
I love your business name, could you tell me what it means to you?
Thank you so much – my business name is really special to me! When I was brainstorming what to call my brand, I was reflecting on the duality of my own personality: my affinity for the world of scientific analysis versus my passion for artistic expression. I wanted to find a name that embodied this fact that, as humans, we’re so much larger than the sum of our parts. We have human bodies which follow biological and natural laws, but the complexity of what goes on inside us is infinite. That heart, consciousness, creativity, love – those are the stars inside of us. I also loved the idea of paying homage to my background in Astrophysics! Celestial-inspired imagery, and the concept of light, have always resonated with me, and it was so special to be able to bring that into my business; one of my favourite quotes is “We are all broken; that’s how the light gets in”, and it’s always made me reflect on the idea of the light inside of us getting out through those same cracks.
I know my actual name seems very lucky/romantic for a wedding planner (Valentina Ring!), but it just didn’t feel right for me to use that – I knew I wanted something evocative of a “feeling” rather than descriptive of a specific service or person. I love the idea of letting the brand grow and evolve organically, maybe in unexpected ways, and having a name that wouldn’t be too specific or restrictive in future.
How would you describe your style? Is there a kind of wedding that you love more than others?
The signature at the bottom of my emails says “Head Storyteller” – and for a while before that, it said “Professional Third Wheel”. All of that is part of what I do! As a planner, I have a very comprehensive, wholehearted, and holistic approach to my work – I’m all in, every step of the way. My favourite way of partnering with couples is to start working together as early as possible in their wedding planning, so that we can take that whole journey together. I work very closely with them, support them in every decision, create the look and feel of the whole experience, and then ensure it’s executed seamlessly on the day itself. I pride myself in going above and beyond to make sure the day is as beautiful as it is meaningful – I really believe in weddings being an opportunity for togetherness and true connection. I also work really hard to look after my suppliers! As a wedding planner, I have the very privileged position of being able to champion both my couples’ and my vendors’ needs, and I take that responsibility very seriously. Over the last few years, I’ve naturally resonated more with couples having intimate weddings or elopements, with a small guest list and a focus on experience and authenticity for each of the loved ones joining them for this special day. I also tend to connect with couples for whom travel is something they’re excited to involve in their plans (so destination weddings either in the sense of UK couples having weddings abroad, or couples that live abroad coming to get married here) – probably because travel is such a big part of my own life! My specialty is multiple day, small, destination weddings where couples want to share really magical moments with their closest loved ones, or just the two of them.
In terms of my style, I don’t really fall into a specific category – which I know seems like an odd thing to say! My signature and specialty revolves around the creative process itself – what excites me most is to take the seed of an idea and bring it to life over the course of the months during which we work together. In that sense, there are three common threads to all the work I do:
I believe that a wedding is a story of the couple, and as such it’s more about how everything works together than the individual style of any given element. The ceremony, reception, and party are chapters, and each should “feel” like what hanging out with the couple feels like. The process of planning the wedding is part of it too, as the couple grows stronger and more in love with each other’s thoughts.
I believe in the art of meaningful and thoughtful detail – whether there’s one or hundreds. In that sense, I can get just as excited about a clean, minimalist vibe as I can about a surreal, fairytale wedding. What matters to me is that every detail is curated to have purpose, depth, and a part to play in the story – and is told in a seamless choreography.
I believe in the power of play, and of colouring outside the lines with intention. It’s about freeing the imagination of the inner child – the removal of preconceptions, the uninhibited exploration of space, and the magic that happens when you take ideas and feelings to the edge of realism. It’s about playing make-believe.
What makes you unique?
I’m trying to discover that myself! I suppose I would say that the plot twists and turns that have led me to where I am today have made me someone with a very broad and open perspective. I love connecting with humans on a very deep level, but I also love delving into the nitty gritty of how things work; I’m just as happy philosophising about the meaning of life and love, as I am puzzling logistics and problem solving. I’m all in from both a creative and practical point of view, which hopefully means I can adapt and serve my couples and suppliers in whichever way is right for them.
Do you prefer sunrise or sunset?
I’ve always adored sunsets, ever since I was little – it was always my favourite moment to sit outside and take it all in. But to be honest, they’re both spectacular! Since doing more photography with my husband as a hobby, we’ve discovered the joys of dawn light and sunset light, both so wonderful in their own way.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love being inspired by my own interests! By connecting with couples and suppliers that are aligned with me, I find that very often my work can take inspiration by my favourite places, favourite books and movies, favourite genres of art, favourite colour combinations, and so on – I love being able to pay homage to beauty in all of these forms, and there is nothing more exciting than feeling that the person you’re speaking to totally “gets it”. I love looking to fashion, art, architecture, history, and pop culture when I’m brainstorming ideas. Also, when I’m trying to recharge my brain, I like branching out to non-work related things, as I feel it gives me a fresh perspective on my inspiration. If I have some down-time, you’ll see me reaching for the latest fantasy series I’m reading, or cosying up with my husband in our videogame cave. I use what spare time I have to nourish my creativity by travelling, visiting art and photography exhibits, creating with others, reading, and generally widening my horizons – sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected of places!
What colour palettes do you love?
All of them! I love broadening my work to the whole colour wheel, and exploring how different colours can be paired together. When I’m working on a photoshoot or collaborative project, I often ask myself – what colours can I use that I’ve not used before? I love the challenge of discovering new combinations. When it comes to client’s weddings, I start from the colours they are naturally attracted to, and then build a palette that complements and contrasts it in a balanced, aesthetically harmonious way.
What do you love most about your job?
My favourite thing about my work is building relationships – both with couples and with wedding professionals!
Once a couple decides to book me, we then work very closely to plan and style their celebration together – I love getting to know my couples really well, as that helps me uncover how to weave unique, personalised elements into their wedding concept. I believe in creating with, rather than creating for: being their planner is a partnership, and I always afford it the attention it deserves. I support them every step of the way, and the more tight-knit the relationship becomes, the more wholehearted and comprehensive my support can be – which means a lot to me. My brand is all about creating beauty with meaning, instilling a sense of belonging, and curating heartfelt and mindful experiences for my couples – which I can’t really do without understanding their values and the unique quirks of their relationship and their journey together so far.
I also love getting to know fellow wedding suppliers – I’m consistently absolutely blown away by their talent, creativity, and work ethic. I’m always really fascinated to hear about different people’s journeys, how they got here, what they love about their job, and whether there’s any way I can help. I feel that understanding this means I can better serve my suppliers, which in turn means we can all work together in harmony for our couples – as a wedding planner I have the very privileged position of listening to the needs of both sides of the industry (the service providers, and the service receivers), which means that, hopefully, I can bring them together in an educated, respectful way. With great power comes great responsibility… *giggles*
I become friends with the people I work with because I love my job, and because they are so much more than “clients” or “suppliers” to me. I believe that connection and trust foster all the best things in the world.
Where is your favourite place and why?
My favourite place is always the next new place I go – I fall in love so easily, and am always happiest when discovering somewhere I haven’t been before.
What’s your favourite cake flavour?!
I have so many favourites! I adore moist, sweet, carrot cake – I love lemon cake – anything with coffee or hazelnut – and I go crazy for anything indulgently chocolatey.
Is there any advice you can share with newly engaged couples looking to book suppliers for their wedding?
I have so many, but if I had to choose my top three, I’d say:
You don’t have to start planning the day after the proposal – or even the month after. If you want to, great! But it really is fine if you don’t. There is no set rule, and you should both take your time to enjoy the feeling of growing stronger together in this new way. You’ve never been a fiancée before, and certainly not to your partner in this moment, so savour it and cherish the memories it will bring.
Be safe, and trust professionals.
For most other things in life, we don’t hesitate to look for experienced advice or help – so try to treat your wedding in the same way. There are wedding professionals of every type, every budget, and every style, so find your people and invest in the things that matter. And one final thing: it’s very unlikely that you will need it – but, absolutely, get wedding insurance. It’s a one off expense that is lower than you think, and much lower than the risk you’re taking by not having it. My husband and I found ourselves confronted with the heart-wrenching (and highly improbable) scenario that our chosen wedding venue went bankrupt 9 months after we booked it, when most of everything else was already paid for and in place. Could you afford to pay for a second wedding if you’d already paid for 75 percent of your first? The answer for us was no – and had we not had wedding insurance, we would have had to make the awful decision of cancelling the wedding and putting it off until who knows when. Organising a wedding is one of the best feelings ever, but it is expensive – no matter what your budget is, it’s a lot to lose.
Communicate gently, all the time.
Try to make sure that you run decisions by each other as transparently, honestly, and open-mindedly as you possibly can. If you find yourselves disagreeing, be gentler than you think you need to be when dismissing your partner’s opinion – it might be something more important to him/her than you realised. Emotions tend to run a little higher than normal when talking about weddings, and sometimes you find yourself having a much stronger opinion about something than you thought you did (“I’d rather not get married at all than have chair covers at my wedding…” – guilty…). So just talk. You’re REALLY good at it normally, and chances are you’ve been acing it for years as a couple, so don’t let this be any different. If you’re that kind of couple, laugh at yourselves and at how difficult or surreal some decisions are. And if you’re not, don’t – but either way don’t forget to tread gracefully and talk all the time.
How can couples find you to book you for their wedding?
If you’re looking for some support for your wedding or elopement, and think I might be the right partner for you, I would LOVE to hear from you! You can get to know me and my services on my website and get in touch with me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Instagram.