Welcome to this week’s Supplier Story! ‘Supplier Stories’ is an original Bridebook Business article series, where we go behind-the-scenes and into the wedding world through those that know it best – the experienced and talented venues and suppliers across the UK.
So whether this is your first story or 10th, enjoy as we look into the industry as a whole, and celebrate a true story in itself! Who says couples have all the fun?
This week we’re sitting down with Iona Thomas, a truly talented musician whose combination of singing and playing the harp has moved wedding-goers and music lovers all over the world.
With experience performing on big stages (including Glastonbury and Live Lounge); as a backing artist on international tours; and as a resident musician, Iona is no stranger to the limelight but Iona has recently decided to take on a new challenge – the Wedding Industry – and we couldn’t be happier.
So without further ado, Iona over to you!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Iona and I’m a singing harpist!
2. Share your story?
I started playing harp when I was about 7 – I saw a lady playin harp in a local concert and I was absolutely in awe. My mum said if I was still asking her in a years time then she would consider taking me for lessons… 6 months down the line of asking her every day I think she’d had enough and took me to my first lesson. I continued to play throughout school and university and was always gigging alongside my education. By the time I graduated I already had quite a few gigs lined up, so decided that I would continue playing professionally… and here I am now!
3. What drew you to the wedding world?
There is always quite a big demand for harpists at weddings, I did a few and loved the atmosphere, environment and being part of a really special day. It’s just such a lovely thing to be part of.
4. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the wedding industry currently?
To be honest it’s always been quite smooth sailing for me in the wedding industry. I guess personally a challenge for me is keeping my set list up to date. People often request chart songs which requires learning a few new songs a month.
5. What wedding trends are you seeing in the industry?
Maybe not a trend – but since being made legal in 2014 it’s been nice to see more same sex marriages!
6. What is the biggest challenge you face on the wedding day itself?
I try and prepare myself as much as possible so that I have minimal to worry about on the day of the wedding – but I still always worry that maybe my car won’t start or my speakers won’t work on the day. Touch wood it’s always been fine though.
7. How do you feel technology is changing the industry?
For me, a lot! Social media and the internet is a great way to promote my music to potential clients. I’ve had a couple of bookings from someone seeing me on someone else’s Instagram story. As well as that, in terms of equipment there are always new and improved speaker systems coming out and my electro-acoustic harp, which I believe is one of the first to have been built, was only made in 2012.
8. What has been your biggest time saver this year?
Well currently my biggest time waster, which will hopefully turn into my biggest time saver, will be the FAQs section I’m about to add to my website. After replying to endless emails to questions like “can you play outside?”, “what do you wear when you perform?”, I’ve decided to make one big list with the answer to everything!
9. How do reviews affect the industry?
I think massively. Internet reviews can really make or break a business. Assuming everyone gives accurate and honest reviews I guess they can only be a good thing though.
10. How do you get to know your couples before the big day?
Depending on how they found me really. If they booked me at a wedding fair obviously they met me and heard me then. When I get bookings online then I can send them a list of dates that I play at hotel bars around London so that they come and watch if they like. Alternatively just always being available by phone and email is important I think.
11. What do you think makes you unique?
I think by being a Singing Harpist I am relatively unique – there aren’t many of us. And I can definitely vouch for this after having a few people enquire about the same date I tried to find someone to pass my extra work to… it was not easy!
12. What do you think makes for the perfect wedding?
I guess perfect is subjective! But I would probably say that it would be more about the relationship of the bride and groom and how well everyone gets on on the day instead of things like venue, décor, etc.
13. What’s your favourite wedding memory?
I’ve been booked as a surprise a few times, that’s always nice. Other than that I’ve performed at a few amazing weddings abroad. I played at one in this little town in Italy some years ago, on top of a big hill in the sun with a view of the valley. It was beautiful.
14. What do you love about Bridebook?
I think Bridebook is very innovative and current. Being able to compare suppliers all within one site, with all the information and price comparisons I think is great. Also, I love the Bridebook team!
Any other comments?
Thank you Bridebook team for the interview!
A huge thank you to Iona for sharing her Supplier Story. Iona specialises in pop and contemporary music, giving chart classics a quirky, and romantic twist – check out some of her beautiful performances in her Bridebook profile.
Want to feature in your own Supplier Story? Get in touch with Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.