Ashleigh Needs never thought that event planning could be a life long career but life took a very different turn after she planned her mother’s second wedding, some celebrations for friends and then her own wedding. So after a little online research and a reality check of what she wanted to do with her career, Ashleigh came across the Australian Academy of Wedding & Events Planning, and Style by Ashleigh K was born. While Ashleigh talks about the road less travelled, she also gives us some practical tips on how to plan a baby shower 

1. What was your inspiration behind your event planning business? 

I have been working in the events industry for over five years prior to starting my business. Everything from coordinating weddings in Melbourne reception venues to assisting with catering companies during peak season. Amongst planning my mum’s second wedding, a collection of celebrations for friends and then my own wedding, friends began asking, why aren’t you doing this for a living? I honestly didn’t know a Wedding Planner/Designer was an actual paying job.

2. How do you prep for baby shower events? 

Baby showers begin with the overall style, the look of what mummy to be wants the celebration to feel like and be about. Is it a high tea style affair or a relaxed bbq with beers and bubbly? Once we lock in the style, the finer details can come into focus. Everything from the colour palette to catering, flowers, beverages, invitations, stationery, furniture, décor and even games will be tailored around this style to create a flawless celebration of what the mummy to be wants for this precious moment in her life.

3. How do you source for decor/styling products?

I try to utilise décor from my own hire collection, however as I am still a small business I reach out to other local businesses to help cater for my client’s requirements. Whether it be fine china, vases or furniture, I try to source locally to ensure we keep all business in the Bendigo community. However, if I believe a certain piece for my client’s baby shower is something that can be used for other events in the future, I may consider souring these from Australian companies and add them into my hire collection. This is basically how the collection has grown so far.

4. How many hours does it normally take for planning? 

Planning a baby shower can take anywhere between 30-40 hours depending on what we are creating. As there are still plenty of vendors to work alongside to create the event, we do spend the bulk of our time sourcing, liaising and working with our vendors to help pull the look together with minimal stress to our clients – however they do have the final say on all aspects.

5. Do you have a day job as well or is this your full time business? 

I have two businesses under my wing at the moment, Style by Ashleigh K and most recently the Bendigo I Do I Do Wedding Expo. The expo takes up the bulk of my time in the off wedding season, so I am rather busy year round with weddings and the expo. I feel I have an all-round view of the industry with these two businesses’ and I love what I do and hope to not have to go back to another workplace again.

We are currently working on a third business – an online directory for Country Victorian Brides – a one stop shop for the wedding suppliers, tips, tools and industry knowledge of how to pull together the perfect country wedding with minimal stress. The Country Bridal Collective is currently on Social Media, however we are in the midst of creating a website. Stay tuned!

6. What is the most important thing to consider when planning baby showers? 

I would say budget is a big factor as we can only do so much with what we have, although we do try and stretch a penny as far as possible and utilise our industry contacts to secure small discounts if we can.

There are also other contributing factors we need to consider, time of year/location and due date. Ensuring the celebration is not too close to the due date, generally 6-8 weeks out is ideal. And in regards the location/time of year, if it is December we need to understand it may be 30+ degrees, not ideal for a mummy to be and vice versa for June/July. Always have a backup location.

7. Message you will like to give to other parents/parents to be out there?

A baby shower doesn’t need to cost the world. It simply needs to be a celebration with your absolute favourite people with the food you love, the drinks you want and of course a comfy seat for mummy to be to ensure she is relaxed and enjoys this beautiful time before her life becomes a little more chaotic and she is unable to see these people as often as she would love to.