Life can get boring at times and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing the same routine, day in and day out. Last year I decided to make a conscious effort to set myself more challenges and personal targets where I would push myself out of my comfort zone. One of these “challenges” is the London Marathon. I decided to enter the London Marathon 2018 on a whim (not really thinking too much about what I was actually signing up for, nor expecting to get a place!) with my boyfriend. Fortunately for Matt, he didn’t get a place… and I did! I decided to go through with this and will be running for Alzheimer’s Research as my Nan is currently living with Dementia. To raise money for this charity I decided to put on a Charity Valentine’s Ball! – another huge challenge I had set for myself!
Now, I’m no runner I’m actually far from it. The only running I do is running for my train in the morning when I’m late (which is 95% of the time!) The past 3 months have been pretty hectic to say the least. Countless nights of staying up late; planning, emailing, designing my tickets, keeping track of my budget, finding raffle prizes etc. I had over 100 guests attending – all friends, family, strangers who wanted to support this amazing charity. It was hard work but the night was a huge success and I’m so pleased with how the event went!
I decided to hold a ball instead of any other fundraiser, since my Nan used to love holding her own big events and getting all dressed up. I thought this was the perfect event for her to come along to to enjoy with us too. I love any excuse to get a new outfit and dress up, so couldn’t wait to see everyone else in their best outfits either! The dress code was black tie – so ball gowns for the ladies and tuxes for the men. I wanted to keep my outfit classy but simple, with a little bit of sparkle. I absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous dress from Caris Closet which had a Gatsby style to it. I held my Charity Valentine’s Ball at Braxted Park. This is usually a wedding venue and you can definitely see why. It is absolutely beautiful! I went for their “Pavilion” room which has a bar, stage, dance floor and could hold up to 300 guests. It was the perfect size for my guests to be able to enter, have reception drinks, take photos, mingle with others guests, be seated at their table and then later on have a dance, all without feeling too cramped.
On entering the room I had hired out a flower wall from Essex Event Hire which went down amazingly (especially with the girls!). Flower walls are great to make the backdrop of any photo’s that little bit more special. They then were given a drinks token to have a glass of bubbly, cocktail or beer!
After a few drinks and everyone finding their tables, a 3 course dinner was served. I was so pleased with the menus offered and feel that everyone was able to enjoy a meal that was at a high standard and suited to all dietary requirements. After the meal, I gave a short speech explaining more on why I was holding the event and what it was in aid of. I am not a fan of public speaking so kept it short and sweet and hoped that nobody realised quite how nervous I was standing up there! We then played several rounds of “boobs & bum” ( a hilarious twist on head and tails! ) which was so much fun and I was so pleased to see every single person got involved to play. It really lightened the mood and got everyone laughing and talking to people they may not have done previously. Whilst still in the high spirits, it was time to pull the raffle – as you can see from the photos below we had some extremely happy winners!
Planning the ball wasn’t all smooth sailing. I had some minor hiccups along the way such as our original photographer having to cancel due to personal family reasons just 2 days before! After a quick, and very panicked, message on Facebook to find a photographer – I had the lovely Grace get in touch from https://www.photographybygrace.co.uk/ The previous photographer was brilliant, but I feel like this was a blessing in disguise. Grace was absolutely amazing and as you can see through her photos, she is incredibly talented! I would not have found her if we hadn’t had the photographer no longer be able to come, so what was a very stressful situation at first soon turned into a very positive one with an amazing outcome! Grace usually shoots weddings, so I knew going with her would be reliable and since the ball is somewhat similar to a wedding reception, she would be well experience in shooting at this event. You can find Grace on Instagram here and facebook here.
As I said before, the event was a huge success and I am so pleased to say we raised approx £1775 for Alzheimer’s Research. You can see more photos of the event below to see how happy everyone was and how much fun we had! Now time to get my training on track… wish me luck!
Thank you so much to all that attended the ball or got involved in the raffle! As a thank you, I have been given a 20% off booking code for Tea by The Sea. Please quote “Alzheimer’s Charity 20” when booking for your visit! (Code valid until 1st May 2018)
My dress was from Caris Closet – you can shop it here
All photos taken by Grace – https://www.photographybygrace.co.uk/