The Golborne Collection is a luxury experiential events company founded by Sarah Kay and Natalia Hollingsworth. The pair hold a reputation for producing high-profile events in the UK's most prestigious venues.
Sarah reflects on her and Natalia's partnership and values, their approach to creation and the shifting landscape of the wedding industry with the help of an old wedding day tradition: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue...
We’ve both loved hospitality from a young age and still do now. Natalia grew up in a B&B and used to serve guests their breakfast before she left for school, prior to convincing her parents to turn the grounds into a wedding venue. Equally, I had a strong desire to be an air hostess. There was just something about serving the little drinks and (in my day) the boiled sweets on departure! I used to always convince my parents to let me serve canapés and wine at their dinner parties before they sent me off to bed.
We’ve seen some new traditions emerge over our time in the industry—a lot more speeches from the brides and maid of honour which we love. In general, the focus is now on finding a format that allows guests to spend as much time together as possible and guests are more open to these informal celebrations.
We just love delivering great service and having happy guests—that's what it’s always been about for us.
Choosing the right suppliers and building a great team is so important. We’re only as good as our suppliers so we spend a lot of time nurturing those relationships.
We know very quickly if a supplier is right, but it’s hard to put our finger on exactly why. It tends to be that they take great care and attention with the brief and initial site visit, have great ideas and interpret our brief well. If we have a good rapport and trust alongside that, we know it’s a winning combination.
But one of the things that the last few years have taught us is that love is the most important element of the day. Our expectations, traditions and previous thoughts have been somewhat shaken and challenged. Did we expect so many people to have 30 people receptions or even to forgo a wedding altogether? No, but they did and it worked.
In a way, it put less emphasis on the traditional, expected format. We feel that couples have more confidence now to have a celebration that’s true to them. What’s important is that we can all be together to celebrate and, given the couple of years we’ve all had, we just don’t take that for granted anymore!
Natalia and I have so much respect for each other and our contrasting skill sets. We think in exactly the same way—often an email or message will cross, and we’ve said exactly the same thing or we arrive at meetings in almost identical outfits!
Our views on how events should be designed and delivered as well as the future of the business are very aligned. It works so well that we often say we are each other’s dream business partners, yet our skill sets couldn’t be more different. I adore the creative—the marketing, pulling together proposals and pitching. Natalia loves the planning—excel sheets, finances, and working through all the minute details with suppliers. Natalia is our operations extraordinaire.
We like to have thing thoroughly planned but the best wedding planning wisdom I have ever heard is this: the guests don’t know what was planned. It can be a huge amount of pressure to plan someone’s wedding day and we spend a lot of time working on the details and ideas. So, of course, we feel quite sad if everything doesn't go just so on the day. For example, if it rains and an outdoor idea we had planned can’t be used. But the guests will never have known and to them, the day is perfect as it unfolds. Guests at a wedding are the most forgiving guests, as at the end of the day they’re there to see the couple wed and they’re not so worried about whether the speeches went on for 10 minutes longer than they were meant to or that they forgot to eat the late night snacks. It’s a good reminder for both planners and the couple!
Colour is very important in wedding design. Although, I think times have changed in that you no longer need a strict colour theme. In years gone past, people seemed to choose one colour whereas now it feels more tonal—which we love.
When we design and present moodboards for the celebrations we plan, we are trying to capture a feeling, a season or a moment in time. That leads to a wider colour palette with various elements fitting into it—it feels more considered. The couple, the venue and the time of the year also have a strong influence on the colours chosen. The colour scheme for our last wedding felt soft, inviting, and natural.