This edition of my supplier love blog series introduces you to Ashleigh Li, the LA-loving, London-living Liverpudlian behind Pink Palms Events. Pink palms is a wedding and events planning and styling business Ashleigh launched off the back of being inspired by the pink ombre skies of LA while she was living there with her husband and daughter. Pink Palms Events was born from Ashleigh’s passion for bringing daring visions to life and this interior design-trained planner and stylist is certainly one like no other. Her distinctive, super-cool style is one that fits right in with the Malarkey cakes vibe and I’ve been itching to collaborate with her.
Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her creative process and her most memorable adventure…
Tell me about you! What’s your background, an unusual fact about you & your journey into the wedding industry
So, my journey into the UK wedding industry has been a varied one! I started in weddings when I lived in LA, I was so inspired by the creativity of the whole city. For a few different reasons I decided weddings where the right fit for me, and set up Pink Palms. The idea is the name will always remind me of the pink ombre skies & the palm trees so I’ll always feel inspired!
I trained in interior design previously so I bring a lot of those elements & ways of working into my wedding designs, and I am SO passionate about bringing the industry forward and modernising what we can offer couples!
What do you love about your job? What job title would you give yourself?
I definitely think the label Creative Director fits best with what I do. I do offer wedding planning too but I won’t focus solely on the logistics, the creative side of things is where it’s at for me! I absolutely love that every day is different: some days are quiet ones at home and I’ll get lots done, others are out & about at meetings with people I know and love or brand-new people.
What inspires you and your work?
I am an absolute massive fan of colour! I will take inspiration from anything colourful really, art or interiors or florals and work with it to create a design around something that inspires me. I’m a huge advocate for weddings that represent the couple as individuals, and colour is quite often a big issue-they feel whitewashed as soon as they step into the wedding world. I’m determined to change that!
Could you tell me about your wedding styling. What’s your creative process?
The process is the same for each client but the results are different each time. That’s because I focus on the couple, not on what I offer, so I get varied inspiration each time. When a couple first start working with me, I ask lots of questions and have a method to analyse them and their style. The issue is when those styles don’t necessarily align….! But I take both of their personalities, or sometimes it’s just the person who is making the creative decisions, and create designs based on what I know they’ll love. It’s how I keep things fresh and make it less about me, it’s not about me at all really, I just analyse what they like and show it to them! It’s also how I get to work on such a wide variety of wedding designs which is so important to me.
What’s different about the service you provide to others in your area?
I sit between planning & styling, I’m not a furniture rental company and I’m not a venue stylist. I’m the one who suggest suppliers who will blow the couple away, because I know their styles align. I’m kind of the creative glue!!
What is your favourite part of the job & why?
I say this to my couples all the time: venue visits!!! I absolutely LOVE venue visits with my couples, you see their faces light up as they start imagining how their day will look and we get SO creative. I also get to know them really well from those visits and it’s such a special time.
What’s the biggest bit of advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?
Really nail your budget. I’ve noticed recently couples are spending anywhere between 60-75% of their budget on a venue & catering and this really leaves so little room for all the other elements that you WILL want later on down the line.
And how about advice to them during this pandemic?
This is all about communication & negotiation and we are all in this together! Couples and their families have been saving for years (and there is so much emotion tied up in that pot of money) and suppliers have their livelihoods on the line. Having stressed parties on both sides sometimes can make for tense conversations. I would be really open & honest with your suppliers, and keep the relationship positive and moving forward wherever possible.
Photo by Joanna Bongard
What’s your favourite food (if you can choose)?
Ramen, sushi & poke! LA staples 😋
What is your favourite cake flavour?
Oh, now THIS is a toughie!!! I’ve got to say it’s about the icing & filling flavours for me, they make it or break it in my opinion. I LOVE a strawberry milkshake flavour filling!
Photo by Parrot & Pineapple Photography
What do you do when you’re not working?
Since lockdown I’ve massively got into gardening-it’s so zen! Yet productive! I love being outside in nature so it’s win-win. I’m also a big sports fan so usually at weekends you’ll catch me watching the football.
What’s your most memorable adventure? Tell me all about it!
The Road to Hana in Maui or the North Shore on Oahu – Hawaii is a MUST! We went on our honeymoon and created memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives, it’s such a special place!
Photo by Beth Lavin Photography