Exceptional Events With Studio Sorores

Creating exceptional events with sensational sister act Studio Sorores

Two of the UK’s leading events industry experts have recently joined forces to create a business that offers exceptional event planning, styling, flowers and design all under one roof, and they just happen to be sisters too. TOAST.Life chats to Georgia and Jessie Westwood about Studio Sorores and what it takes to be a one-stop shop for exceptional events.

What do you get if you combine one of UK’s leading floral designers with an award-winning wedding planner and expert event stylist? A completely unique one-stop-shop for exceptionally beautiful, flower-filled, perfectly planned events - that’s what. With over a decade of combined experience in interior design, floristry, installations, fine art styling, event planning and production, sisters Jessie and Georgia Westwood decided to join forces last year and together they launched the incredibly exciting - Studio Sorores.

Studio Sorores Sisters Katiejuliaphotography

(Studio Sorores Sisters Image Credit:  Katie Julia Photography)

“If you’d told me I would be doing this 15 years ago I would never have believed you!” laughs Jessie.

“When I left school I thought it was more pragmatic to follow a more academic route than to follow my passions, so I studied law and pursued a career in the city! In some ways I’m extremely glad as it gave me an incredible foundation on which to build my own business”

But what about becoming a lawyer? Well it never happened, instead Jessie spent seven years running her own independent event planning and styling business; she won numerous awards for her continued commitment to excellence within the wedding industry - she was named ‘Wedding Expert of the Year’ in the prestigious Luxury Travel Guide Wedding & Honeymoon Awards  2017, she was included in Country Life Magazine'sTop Ten Wedding Planners That Mean Business’ and named as one of the ‘15 Female Event Planners Leading The Industry’ by Maxmillion Events.

“It took a lot of soul searching to realise how much I missed the more artistic side of my life. I never once dreamed that I'd be running my own successful business doing something I truly loved...I suppose having children really inspired me to run with big ideas and take more risks for longer term gain” she explains.

Simultaneously, sister Georgia was running her own floristry company based in London and was experiencing similar success; she was credited as one of the leading independent floral designers in the UK, working with private clients as well as major brand names including Vogue, HSBC, Dove, The Evening Standard and more. 

“I’ve always been a creative person and really struggled to find the right thing to focus my energy on. It took me years of trying out different careers before realising that I am far more business minded than I had initially thought, and also that you can be an artist as well as a businesswoman!” she explains.

“Flowers became my art form and were my gateway to combining business and art. Very quickly everything fell into place and just made perfect sense”

Before discovering floristry, Georgia worked as a freelance set designer/prop stylist and before that she had trained as an architect, so it’s safe to say the Westwood sisters are multitalented (to say the least) and the forming of Studio Sorores felt, as Jessie describes it, like a ‘natural progression’.

“We found ourselves working together on more and more projects, and our clients really loved our family connection” she explains.

“It gave us a synergy and an edge over our competitors I think. In the end it just seemed silly to keep peddling two different bicycles, and instead made so much more sense to pool our knowledge and resources to offer a more comprehensive and smoothly operated service. We both have very different talents and clear roles in the company, but we work together on absolutely everything. We push each other to new levels all the time and it often feels like one wouldn’t exist without the other!”

“We often work pretty silently and efficiently when on site together...” adds Jessie. “As sisters just a quick look or gesture can tell the other one exactly what they need to know!”

Studio Sorores Table Image Credit Katiejuliaphotography

Studio Sorores Image By Katie Julia Photography

(Studio Sorores Image top By Depict Photography, Image Belo by Julia Photography image bottom)

Based in both London and The Cotswolds, Studio Sorores launched officially in 2017 but it had been in the making for at least a year before that. The name, in case you were wondering, is inspired by the word ‘soror’ – which means ‘sister’ in Latin. 

“Nobody liked the name at first!” laughs Jessie. “Although it certainly stuck in their minds, and it was a word that kept coming back to us. Aside from stating the obvious it also reflects on the incredible network of women within the industry whom have supported our separate ventures over the years too. It was a nod to them as much as anything, and we continue to support a huge team of talented freelancers as well as mentoring new creative entrepreneurs too”  

In their new guise as Studio Sorores, Jessie and Georgia’s fully comprehensive offering is the one of the very first of it’s kind to provide full event production in house. This dynamic duo are masters of not only the event planning, but also the styling, the design and the flowers, making them a one-stop shop for exceptional events.

“It means that the design of the event and more importantly the feel of the event is cohesive throughout” explains Georgia, and Jessie agrees.

“Georgia hits the nail on the head with that word "cohesive"!” she adds. “In all of my design plans I find that floristry is often at the heart of it, so to have an overall vision and event journey that I can map out together with a floral designer from the start is a huge benefit to the client. On a very practical level it also minimises any confusion or conflicts of interest, as everyone has different interpretations of ideas! As well as saving the client time and money in sourcing all of those elements separately”

Georgia describes their style as ‘timeless, memorable and organic’ whilst Jessie adds ‘laid back luxury’ to the mix. Their design plans are known for being that elusive but integral blend of beauty-meets-practicality, with guest experience at the heart of every concept. 

“I think people come to us for a certain look, but they also come to us because they want something that stands out from the crowd. They expect a personal approach, which works in our favour as it means we have to constantly think about new ideas. It’s certainly never boring!” smiles Georgia

“We do a lot of weddings, private parties, public installations and photo shoots. Getting the seal of approval by Anna Wintour was a real highlight…and we did the most incredible wedding in Wales, working with our absolute dream team of vendors. I just loved every aspect of that wedding. The couple had complete trust in us and it really paid off!”

Studio Sorores Table Florals Image Credit Zosia Zacharia

Studio Sorores Place Setting Image Credit Zosia Zacharia

Studio Sorores Dinner Setting Images By Zosia Zacharia

(Design by Studio Sorores Image Credit Zosia Zacharia)

Weddings, as we all know, can come with a lot of pressure. What if it rains? What if people cancel? What if the caterers break down on the M1? And on the day, is there even a small chance that the overall look and feel created by Jessie and Georgia might be somehow different to what their bride and groom imagined? Of course not.  

“I still manage to amaze myself when we create events and they are even better in real life than we imagined!” enthuses Jessie.

“When we create design plans we walk through each space carefully and very practically. How big is the room? How much light is needed? What is the exact dimension of each piece of furniture? How will it be placed? The level of detail and planning required in successful event design is super high. That being said... sometimes an idea doesn't quite work the way we want it to and we need to be flexible and quick thinking to ensure the ideas are re-workable in the space and time available. It's a lot of pressure and requires a lot of calm!”

“It often comes down to experience, therefore an element of trust is required from our clients. Jessie and I often have a very clear vision of something that a non-trained eye just can’t visualise” Georgia adds.

“We use a lot of moodboards, drawings, and mini samples if necessary. When it comes to flowers, so much can determine how things look on the day. When dealing with a living product, you often have to make very quick design decisions if something isn’t working. Always be open to changing your ideas and thinking of a plan b!”

Image Credit Katiejuliaphotography White

Studio Sorores Image By Katiejuliaphotography Marquee Style

Studio Sorores Table Image Credit Katiejuliaphotography

Tableplan Studio Sorores Image Credit Katiejulia Photography

(Styling and Design Studio Sorores Image Credit Katie Julia Photography)

From unforgettable flowers and beautiful design to sensational styling and divine details – Georgia and Jessie have an abundance of creativity and take their inspiration not from the likes or Instagram and Pinterest, but instead from the client themselves.

“Building a picture of someone soon gives you ideas to start exploring” enthuses Georgia. “The client is at the heart of each event design process, but we are always looking around us and collecting ideas and imagery in the studio. We are both huge fans of interior design, and fashion - in fact Georgia and I are both quite different in personal style, which is super helpful in checking the balance and fit of what we want to create”

This unique combination is evidently integral to Studio Sorores’ successful delivery of what they describe as a ‘more modern approach’, seen not only in their designs and planning, but in their incredible floral design too.

“I always take note of the shapes and textures that you see in nature. I firmly believe that flowers shouldn’t be tamed, so the shape of an arrangement may be completely inspired by one single stem that curves in a particularly intriguing way! Our floral arrangements and installations are organic and artistic rather than ‘perfectly’ formed,” Jessie explains.

“We don't just tick boxes, we don't follow trends, and we sometimes break all the rules. We think about the event as an experience - the scents, taste, sounds, and textures are all considered. We listen and we like to let our clients have fun along the way. Less showing off, less spending for the sake of spending, and more focus on overall experience and core values - from big brands to private individuals - it's the same process”

2018 looks set to be another busy year for the Studio Sorores, and I can’t help but wonder whether offering such a comprehensive and all encompassing service creates challenges that at times may feel overwhelming, even for two such evidently talented, experienced and accomplished women.

“It’s the challenges that I love really. It can really push you to the limits of what you’re capable of and then when you do succeed and it all looks amazing and everyone is smiling and having an incredible time I feel so incredibly happy” beams Georgia. Jessie is quick to agree.

“I guess I always feel the pressure to do the very best job I can do and I don't think I'll ever stop feeling that, but I love the people, the connections, the drama, the fast pace, the adrenaline... the challenges are all part of the fun!” 

Studio Sorores Image Credit Depict Photography Outdoor Florals

Studio Sorores Image By Katie Julia Photography

For more from Jessie and Georgia then head over to TheEdit for their inspirational Inspire Me about 2018 event style, their top entertaining tips, thoughts on the Royal Wedding and more. If you’d like to work with Studio Sorores  head over to the their profile in TOAST’s Little Black Book for contact details and more information. 

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