Planning a mini wedding

After a spike in coronavirus cases couples across England are faced with the prospect of cutting down their long awaited wedding plans to an intimate ceremony of just 15 people following the latest government guidelines.

Prospective brides and grooms may be feeling the pressure after being forced to axe people from their guest list and now dealing with an empty-feeling wedding ceremony.

Here are a few ideas for planning your mini nuptials.


With only 15 people, couples may find their wedding feels a little emptier than they had imagined when they first began planning. 

In order to fill the space and create an intimate setting for the ceremony try adding a statement visual piece in the room, such as a floral installation.

By adding extra flowers that fill the room in height and width or a large central table for all 15 guests to sit at as the focal point of the room, people won’t notice the extra space. 

Use candlelight and lanterns for a warm, romantic glow instead of bright lighting.


Despite your big day not looking quite how you envisaged, there are still ways to make it feel more personal. 

By making the wedding day an experience it will make the day extra special. 

Small in size doesn’t have to be small in nature. Create some fun experiences for your guests to do together. 

Try getting the guests to play games to get everyone involved . 

Consider making any social distancing measures fun – getting married at this time is something you won’t ever forget so use it.


With a smaller, more intimate ceremony, couples may have managed to save a lot more money than they originally anticipated. 

Use the extra cash you would have spent on your ‘big do’ to splurge on priority items. 

Have two or three ‘stars of the show’ such as Michelin star food, an open bar, a live singer, gorgeous flowers on every surface, or a venue you didn’t think you could afford before.  

Splash the cash on a wonderful outfit, venue, or restaurant experience for you and your handful of guests, with only the finest champagne being poured all day long.


Set up a big screen to connect with people who are unable to make it on the day. 

You could live stream your first dance and zoom greet everyone afterwards, so they get to wish you well after you have tied the knot, even asking your virtual guests to dress for the occasion.

That way you get to see all your guests in their finery, getting emotional during the vows and see their happy faces celebrating with you.

Or ask people to do readings and speeches via Zoom.  


The wedding should reflect you and your partner’s tastes and be a celebration of the things that you both love. It is easy to get swept up in trends and pressures of how to do things but try to remain true to your own list of ideas and ensure you are planning the wedding that is in your mind, not that of the planner or a relative. Take advice and take time to consider what you really want to see, the structure of the day and those elements you are not willing to compromise on.

And even if it’s just the two of you on the dance floor make sure you live in the moment and cherish every single minute of your special day.

Meetings Industry Association confirms government go ahead for small events

The Meeting’s Industry Association confirms that business events can still take place where they follow the pre-existing COVID-Secure guidelines, following clarification on last week’s ‘Rule of 6’ announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association said in a statement:

“Throughout the course of the pandemic we have lobbied rigorously to demonstrate the harrowing impact COVID-19 has had on the industry, so we are delighted to have received confirmation today that business meetings and events holding up to 30 people can continue.

“While this is welcomed news, the lack of clarity provided to venues and event organisers respectively over the course of the last week does however hold significant implications which government must recognise. In the four days that have passed since the Prime Minister’s announcement, 76.5% of venues recently surveyed confirmed that this has led to direct event cancellations, with some cancelled events equating to values upwards of £50,000. This business reflects not just much-needed revenue, but a lifeline for many venues.

“Through our UK Venue survey last month we already know that venues have averaged a £2,398,600 loss of business to date, which coupled with restrictions on operations and the generation of revenue has led to some 126,000 job losses since the pandemic began. For a sector left at standstill for so long cancelled business can no longer be borne, with the impending end to the government furlough scheme forecasting a further 140,00 job losses.

If venues cannot open for business at larger capacities soon then they simply must be funded, before this £70bn economic driver is simply no more.”


(source: Event Industry News)





Fri 5 March – Mon 8 March 2021

Join us for an intimate gathering of like-minded women in the beautiful Perthshire countryside.

We’ve created something very special with Gaia – an informal fun holiday weekend with our own exclusive entertainment.

Hosted by singer/songwriter Horse McDonald, we also welcome the inimitable VG Lee and surprise special guests.

Drumkilbo House is ideally located just one hour’s drive from Edinburgh Airport in an area of Perthshire that marks the beginnings of the Scottish Highlands.

Many of our guests have attended since 2014 and have become part of the Gaia family. We have been fortunate to watch people make amazing memories and been there when lifelong friendships were formed.

Why not join us for this fabulous short break?

Gaia Weekender


What’s included:

3 nights dinner, bed and breakfast ( two nights formal catered dinners).
Champagne welcome.
Two buffet lunches.

Tea, coffee, soft drinks etc.
Honesty bar.
Exclusive performance by VG Lee, Horse and special guests.

Deposit £100 per room


Glamis Suite – large double bed, adjacent sitting room, en-suite with enormous bath, power shower and wc. (Room booked).

Strathmore – double bed with private bathroom £650 room price (£500 for sole use).

Wallace – twin beds with en-suite shower and wc £650 room price (Room Booked).

Bruce – twin beds with private bathroom £650 for the room (£500 for sole use).

Lady in Waiting – double bed with en-suite bathroom and private wc £650 for the room ( Room Booked).

Nairne Suite:

Lovely double bedroom £600

Single room £295 ( shared shower /wc with the double room).

Cox suite:

Extra large room with Super King bed £600

Charming room with small double bed £500

Single room £325 (Room Booked).

Separate WC, shower room and bathroom shared with Cox Suite.

Payments can be made throughout the year.

Please advise room choice at time of booking.

If you require any further details please contact me.



Booking Terms and Conditions


A quick hello to our valued customers.

As a family owned business, people are at the heart of everything we do, so your safety and health is, and continues to be, our top priority.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the situation within the travel and event industry is changing daily.

All of our events for 2021 are going ahead as planned, with more being added. We deliberately keep the group size of our holidays small and will continue to do so.

Until we can see you all again in person, please take care of yourselves and each other.

AJ and Team Gaia

Our Gaia Tribe
                                        Our Gaia Tribe

This crazy time will pass

These are crazy, unprecedented times.

When this period is over, and it will be over, we will need to get back to life.

To reconnecting and celebrating what we still have.

We will need to thank each other for being there to help us.

Both personally and professionally.

One thing that will help us get through what lies ahead are plans to bring life to the future.

What plans and dreams do you have for your future? What do you need to do to start making them happen now?

On a personal level we are here for each other as a team, supporting and comforting.

On a professional level we are here for you now.

Start thinking about how you will want to celebrate the life of your business and the lives of the people around you and give them something exciting to look forward to.

We must ground ourselves in the knowledge that this will pass and that life will return, for most of us, but sadly changed forever

Stay hopeful for a brighter future galvanised by shared human and business goals.

We are only a phone call away.

Events industry will change after Covid-19, the Creative Engagement Group’s Ben Atherton says

The Creative Engagement Group’s global client engagement director, Ben Atherton, believes that the live events business will inevitably change beyond the outbreak of Covid-19 and has outlined his own five predictions for the “new normal” in the sector.

Penning his thoughts in C&IT Magazine, Atherton discussed how the live events business has gone into “shock” mode.

“Everything from the Olympics to the Great British Beer Festival has been cancelled or postponed in the wake of coronavirus, not to mention numerous branded activations”, Atherton said.

“Yet, given time, all that we hold dear and appreciate about the industry will still be there, we just might not immediately recognise it.”

The first of five changes Atherton envisages for the industry will see the use of virtual and hybrid engagement platforms become mainstream.

“The adaptability of many event agencies to pivot to virtual and hybrid engagement platforms when live events were cancelled or postponed has meant clients could continue to work, drives sales and connect with their audiences”, Atherton explained.

“It’s been very valuable. If you think of the coronavirus period as the beta testing for these types of services, then the full release will see virtual as a genuine complement or alternative to live events.

“Some clients were already there, but many more have been forced to embrace virtual. Corporate planners will increasingly be asking for the service as part of their channel mix and not just as a cost-saver against live events.

“We’ve talked before about how VR can be used in the enterprise and now the whole suite of virtual and hybrid tactics will become properly integrated and uptake will soar.”

Secondly, Atherton believes that the live events industry will return to normality with a renewed focus on sustainability, particularly with regards to the environment.

“As restrictions ease, the temptation will be to jump on a plane and get back to business and I do think the live event industry will return strongly. But the intersection of sustainability and virtual meetings will be irresistible, and that’s the tipping point we’ve needed.

“I foresee a massive rise in genuine debate and action with clients and agencies alike getting serious about live events with sustainability at the core. And that’s not just a debate about air miles, but the whole supply chain and impact of live events from fabrication, design, staging, power usage, waste management, and digital delivery of the content too.”

On this note, Atherton believes that the industry has much to do and the other side of the coronavirus outbreak provides an ideal opportunity.

“It will be time to get our house in order and put the hard lessons of the coronavirus impact and the ecological imperative of climate change to good use”, Atherton said.

Furthermore, Atherton believes that new creativity in the events sector will be crucial, as individuals will have become accustomed to staying at home and that provides opportunity for stellar creative to be used to help persuade people to return to live events.

“Driving all of this,” Atherton explained, “will be the brilliant creative minds that fuel our industry.

“Connecting virtually, engaging differently, driving behavioural change, justifying a return to travelling, supporting inclusivity, keeping events and meetings the most interesting, valuable and dynamic part of the marketing mix will help drive a new wave of creativity.

“There are amusing anecdotes on social media about people wistfully remembering four hours sat next to the finance team at a corporate sales conference, but the reality is people do miss meeting. However, it will need some stellar creative to persuade people to really return to live events.

“Communicating creatively is going to be massively important, whatever the channel.”

Furthermore, Atherton believes that the experience of working through the coronavirus outbreak remotely could pave the way for a positive change in one’s work and life balance.

“The balance between the day job and where you do it has been tricky”, Atherton said.

“The phrase ‘work is something you do, not somewhere you go’ has rarely been a more accurate sentiment. But it has proved possible. People have adapted, managers and clients have developed an understanding of the new timetables of daily life.

“Could this signal a sustainable and positive change in our work and life balance? I think it could, and should, and predict that, as various parts of the world return to a regular working pattern, the best bits of what we have been able to do from home will be kept alive.”

Atherton also sees cause for encouragement by the wider industry response to the crisis, as rival agencies have chipped in to help out staff, and personnel within agencies are also striving to play their part.

“Of course, people will lose jobs and some businesses will go under; it’s an inevitable consequence as the events industry re-balances and this will affect corporate events to sponsorship and all the services like insurance and health and safety that underpin them”, Atherton begins.

“But, from Mash Media’s letter to the PM, through to Glastonbury offering hand-sanitiser and PPE to the government, we have seen genuine care for, and from, those in our sector.

“Agencies that usually compete are helping each other out. Clients that aggressively pitch work are showing some understanding of workflow and resources and are trying to hold onto relationships and help their marketing partners cope. Intra-company, we’re seeing people volunteering to re-skill and move to busier parts of the business or take a temporary reduction in hours to help cashflow.

“All the personal attributes that make people in our industry such diligent and creative individuals are still shining brightly. Long may the collaboration and care continue.”

Despite one of the key measures of the UK lockdown being the need for social distancing, Atherton concluded that separation has, in reality, helped unite the sector.

“Social distancing has possibly helped bring us closer together as a sector”, Atherton said.

“This is something that I think will become more apparent when the ‘new normal’ arrives for live events”.

COVID-19 Update


A quick hello to our valued customers.

As a family owned business, people are at the heart of everything we do, so your safety and health is, and continues to be, our top priority.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the situation within the travel and event industry is changing daily.

All of our events for 2021 are going ahead as planned, with more being added. We deliberately keep the group size of our holidays small and will continue to do so.

Until we can see you all again in person, please take care of yourselves and each other.

AJ and Team Gaia


As with all organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on our Gaia Events. Unfortunately, given the current situation and guidelines, we have suspended our programme activity until the end of the year.
We’ve taken this decision to prioritise the wellbeing of our participants, delivery partners & workforce. We will be reviewing this situation weekly. We shall now focus on maintaining engagement with our participants and ensuring we can resume activity when circumstances allow.

Take care.

AJ and Team Gaia x

Virginia Woolf: In her steps, IOW

We are excited to announce a new event for 2020:

Virginia Woolf: In her steps – The Isle of Wight trail.

Dates available throughout June.

Virginia Woolf

If you want a new and enhanced understanding of Virginia Woolf’s life and work, spend some time on the Isle of Wight in her footsteps.

Dimbola Lodge, in Freshwater Bay, is the former home of Woolf’s Great Aunt; the pioneering Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, whose striking Pre-Raphaelite style portraits quite often featured Woolf’s mother Julia Prinsep Duckworth.

Cameron bought two adjacent cottages, later linking them with a gothic tower, to become a quirky ramshackle building that seems entirely in tune with its former owner and her somewhat bohemian lifestyle.

The lodge became something of a creative hub at the heart of a community of artists, writers and thinkers dubbed the ‘Freshwater Circle’, and included the likes of Alfred Lord Tennyson, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, William Alingham and Cameron herself.

Dimbola Lodge
Dimbola Lodge

Tennyson’s nearby home, Farringford House was another cultural centre. It is one of the Island’s most important Grade 1 listed historic estates, and has been restored to its 19th century heyday.  In this secluded spot on the Isle of Wight, the new Poet Laureate and his family sought a retreat from the clamour of London life. But while Farringford provided a tranquil domestic haven, it also attracted many of Tennyson’s eminent friends, becoming a locus of intellectual and artistic activity.

Farringford House
Farringford House

It was on the island that Woolf wrote her only play Freshwater: a three act comedy satirizing the Victorian Era. Although only performed once in her lifetime. It has been translated into many languages and produced in many countries since.

Virginia Woolf researched the life of her great-aunt, publishing her findings in an essay titled Pattledom (1925) and later in her introduction to her 1926 edition of Cameron’s photographs.

Freshwater A Play


Queen Victoria, her island residence Osborne House and her love of the Isle of Wight, figured large in the lives of the Freshwater residents. Osborne House itself was a salon outpost for the Freshwater Circle.

Osborne House





Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West

Woolf’s friend, lover and muse Vita Sackville-West.