The Masters Of Modern - Carmela Weddings and Events

Toast.life chats to luxury event pros Carmela about their exquisite weddings and events

Event planning pros and husband and wife team Carmela tell us about their unique style of modern and luxurious weddings and events, as well as their expert tips on how to plan a seriously stylish party like a pro this season.

Modern. Luxury. Timeless. Carmela have over 15 years’ experience in wedding and event planning. Founded by husband and wife team Lisa and Sam, their work is inspired by modern aesthetics, and together they are known for planning, creating and delivering unforgettable weddings and design led events that are authentic, luxurious, and the epitome of style.

“Our style is modern and very un-chintzy!” explains Sam. “We love to incorporate influences from fashion and current trends, bur always respecting timeless design. No chair covers or candy tables! Our ethos is very much - there are no rules.” 

Sam And Lisa Carmela Events

With that in mind, Sam and Lisa’s journey to where there are now wasn’t exactly straightforward. Personable and confident, Sam has always had success in customer facing roles, whilst the multitalented Lisa has worked as a lawyer, an investment banker, an actor, a TV presenter, an events coordinator and more, and currently alongside Carmela  she is also a successful business coach for female entrepreneurs.

“Lisa has a business brain like no other. She sees opportunities in a flash and is the sworn enemy of procrastination, making decisions and taking action in an instant! I am much more of a people person and love building relationships with customers and contractors.” explains Sam. 

“But together I compare our role to that of a referee! What I mean is, if we do our job properly you'll hardly notice we're there, but if we weren't there it would be absolute chaos! So, as a bare minimum, we need quick thinking and decision making, a cool head, excellent people skills, conflict resolution ability, a keen eye for detail, styling knowledge, a logistical approach and a very thick skin!”


Carmela Weddings And Events Decor

It was Lisa who started Carmela  (which is Lisa’s middle name, in case you were wondering) around 5 years ago. Sam was still working full time elsewhere but was involved from day one. As the business grew, he became more involved in all aspects of planning, and earlier this year he left his job and became ‘a 100% bona fide wedding and events planner’, as he describes it. Carmela has a reputation for creating luxury events that are a unique combination of both modern and timeless, and Sam and Lisa are incredibly creative and versatile in their approach.  

“We're often asked if we only work in modern, urban venues and the answer is a massive no! We’ve planned weddings at Exeter College Oxford and The Savoy. We love to work in a historical setting, and whilst respecting it we bring in little touches to create that Carmela look. The modern feel comes very much from the décor, in particular the lighting and the floral arrangements. Then you factor in stationery, tableware and outfits and you can start to further your modern aesthetic.” explains Sam. 

“With regards to being luxury, this is very subjective. Most of our clients see luxury as quality - of food, drink, entertainment, service - as opposed to ostentatious displays” 

Carmela’s clients, Sam explains, tend to work in the creative sectors, such as design, media, and advertising, so they tend to already have some sense of style and a strong desire to create something that is completely unique and that truly represents them, which Carmela is entirely ready to deliver.

“The three-day wedding we planned at the Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk had it all - a fabulous couple, awesome flowers and lighting installations, and a weekend's worth of activities from yoga to a private cinema!” Sam enthuses. 

“We absolutely loved the couple’s personalities and approach, so although it was a lot of work, it was great fun all the way though planning and delivering.” 

Carmel Event Tablescape

Roz John Wedding Carmela Weddings And Events

As well as weddings and events of all shapes and sizes, Sam and Lisa are also masters of what they describe as ‘pop up parties’,  which is when they supply the whole package, from the marquee and the bar and the food, to the lighting, entertainment and furniture – all at a reasonable one off cost, meaning that the client only has one point of contact, rather than having to deal with dozens of different suppliers. 

“For our clients it's all about quality, without being ostentatious. There's a much bigger emphasis on food and drink with organic and locally sourced produce being a must for most. They also want entertainment - not just a DJ! There are so many great acts out there, it a real joy for us to find the perfect act” explains Sam. 

“The beat boxers at a wedding we planned in Paintworks Bristol were pretty awesome - the faces of the guests when they started were classic…!”


Being event planning pros, I am curious to know how Lisa and Sam’s wedding day unfolded. Sam explains that it was an intimate affair on a farm and vineyard in Malta (Lisa is half Maltese) with 40 of their best friends and family. The style was a retro and eclectic 50s mash up, which may be very different to their style today, but it was something at the time that reflected them, and it is this very concept that is integral to Carmela’s approach.

“We love to work with couples to find out what makes them ‘them’, and we are proud of our ability to make every event different” explains Sam. 

“This can only happen if we know who our couples really are and what makes them tick. We like to say we never create a ‘cookie cutter’ wedding!” 

And this is no easy feat in the current digital age of Instagram, Pinterest and more – all of which provide wonderful sources of inspiration, but also create a challenge for professionals such a Carmela who are trying to create something that is truly unique and unforgettably authentic. The secret to success, it seems, lies is not just what you know, but who you know.

“We used to do ‘on the day’ planning but found this didn’t work as we ended up working with suppliers we had never met before, but still were judged by their performance which impacted on our reputation” he explains. 

“So now we will only work with suppliers and contractors that we know and trust – this is 100% the most important element in ensuring that a concept that sounds good and looks good on paper will also look fantastic on the night.”

Taryn And Mark Carmela Weddings And Events

As well as ensuring that any event runs smoothly and without a hitch, Sam and Lisa also work tirelessly to ensure that the event looks the part too. And so, for creative inspiration, they turn to fashion, architecture, films, TV, interior design and more.

“Everywhere we go we’re taking photos and jotting down notes for how we can build things that we've seen into weddings and events. I love the creativity and meeting and getting to know so many fantastic people” enthuses Sam.

“We also love finding new bars, restaurants and hotels in different places - all in the name of research of course!” 

As well as continuing to develop their ‘pop up party’ offering, Carmela are already busy planning weddings and events for 2019 and – unbelievably - 2020! So if you’d like to work with Sam and Lisa, you’d better act fast.

Carmela Events

To hear Carmela's Top Tips For Event Success and This Autumns Trends take a look at their piece on TheEDIT  now. 

If you’d like to work with Carmela, you can find contact details and more info on their page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book.

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