Jennie Beard of Hansley Beard

Hansley Beard Wedding Design

Something to celebrate? You’ll be in safe hands with Jennie Beard, founder of Hansley Beard Events and Wedding Design Studio, who has 17 years experience in the business.

Jennie Beard, originally from Rotherham, was made redundant from her job in community services six months ago. Until then, she had planned and styled weddings and events after work and at weekends. It was this sudden change in lifestyle however, that gave her the push she needed to start her own business.

Jennie said, “[previously] I couldn’t promote my services too much, as I just didn’t have the time to take on all the jobs. Now there is no stopping me!”

Jennie has designed many weird and wonderful events, most recently a ‘monster gothic ball’, which took place in a village hall in Derbyshire. There were candelabras, skulls, cobwebs, the odd severed finger, and of course a huge inflatable Frankenstein to greet the quests of the 40th birthday party.

Other themes have included Egyptian, Buddhist and Arabian. Nothing seems too bizarre for Jennie, “If you give me enough time to prepare, I will do my best to give people what they want.”

Jennie is best known for her vintage styling. She is eager to get across however, that she is more about styling in a classic and elegant way. “Vintage just happens to be what people are into at the moment.” She tells me she has been a fan of vintage long before it became ‘trendy’.

“I’m not following a fad. I’ve always collected china. My degree was in archeological science, as I love all things old, and my parents have always been into collecting antiques. They’re dealers and are completely obsessed with crockery and teapots!”

Jennie has many plans for her business

Jennie currently works alone. This is something she would like to change, she is hoping to do so through Social Enterprise.

“The business side of Hansley Beard would remain the same in terms of what is on offer, but I would start a training programme for people in events, styling and crafts, so that they can work for me. I’m currently taking a course in social innovation at Sheffield University, to try and get funding for such a scheme.”

Jennie’s plans don’t stop there

Jennie’s ultimate ambition is to have her own venue that can be hired by clients.

“It would be lovely to have a place that people can do what they want with. Often there are so many restrictions and people have to make lots of compromises. It’s a shame. I want people to feel at home on their special day.”

Jennie would also like to expand her business so that she has a retail section.

“I would like to stock items that I’ve found are usually quite difficult to get hold of. Many things that people want, they have to spend hours scouring the internet for or can only get from America or China. I want to take all this hard work away from them. It would be nice to expand the business as well. Particularly with weddings, I don’t get repeat customers, and I’m not wishing divorce on anyone!”

Hansley Beard on Abbeydale Road

Hansley Beard on Abbeydale Road

She told me there are lots of antique shops, with hundreds of traders around the area her shop is based. Not many people know about them, so she is working with the other traders to develop a project to officially brand the area as the Sheffield Antique Quarter. Jennie is working with Sheffield City Council to move this forward.

“It’s the small antique and vintage shops who don’t have the know-how to create websites and to publise their shops. They often belong to an older generation who are not computer friendly. Lots of students go to Division Street for their vintage garments, I’m sure they would love the vintage shops this area has to offer.”

It’s not all hard work though

Jennie has found a little time for glamour in her hectic schedule. Recently she took part in a glossy photo shoot at the Millennium Gallery to promote the Sheffield wedding industry.

“Usually we’re the ones in the background dressing other people and places. It was nice to be the ones getting pampered for once.The message we wanted to get across is that you don’t have to go to London to get first class services.”

Jennie tells me that one of the hardest aspects of her job is interpreting what people want, but  she said, “often on the day, they tell me it’s better than they expected.”