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Eli Luxury Events & Weddings

Our Blog

An ongoing series of informative entries & our planning journeys 

How Corona Virus has affected my business


 What is Covid-19

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.Everyone must stay at home to help stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading. Wash your hands with soap and water often to reduce the risk of infection.- source nhs uk

So the events industry has almost come to a halt as it was announced no more gatherings of more than 2 people.

As an events organiser myself I welcomed it with both hands as we all want to combat this virus and the best way to spread the virus was amongst ourselves at gatherings. So we had to close down, well not close down but had to suspend all gatherings. I had parties and weddings coming up between March and June and all the organisers gave that painful call saying they either had to cancel or postpone the event.

It was painful for those cancelling as they were more devastated that they would not be able to celebrate at a later date. This meant refunds from my side. As a small business any deposit that comes through is used on not only preparations towards that event but also other non-event-related items too. The deposit is also non-refundable of course. In this case, it was quite a difficult one as the cancellation was a forced cancellation due to this pandemic. It wasn't the client's fault and neither was it my business's. The business agreed to come to a compromise. I agreed to pay back half of the deposit over 3 months. The client was happy with the arrangement given that I had started some preparations and had had a few trips to and from the venue. So yes, I had to loosen up my terms and conditions this time around.

I am glad that all of my other organisers , brides and grooms decided to postpone their events to a later date. What's stressful is that most venues are already booked by other organisers so to try and find a date from August onwards is a bit difficult. Whatever available date given by the venue has to fit in with your photographer, caterer,  speakers, AV company, videographer, event stylist, planner, make-up artist, saxophonist, etc, etc! That's where the frustration comes in as some vendors may not be available and you end up being forced to yet again push the event. So, in this case, as a planner I have informed my clients that they can postpone with me to any available date between now and 12 months. I am also speaking to other vendors whom I was working with on these events to also see if they can extend/stretch their allowed postponement times to 12 months too. That way we still deliver the great event with all the vendors a client was going to have to execute their event. This, in turn, gives the client some peace of mind, it's better to lose money than a client. 

So how has it affected my business?

Currently, I have no income as we are not running any events between now and whenever the lockdown is lifted. So it's a bit of a difficult time for my business. The government has, however, put something in place that self-employed individuals can apply for. This gives me a little bit of a safety net for now. I appreciate a government that looks after its citizens at a time like this. It shows that we are all in this together. We just have to hang in there and stay safe. #stayathome

What are my plans

So I spend my days in the house with the kids, homeschooling and sometimes just enjoying catching up on the TV. This altogether becomes tiring and can be mentally draining.

However, this website was designed during the first week of quarantine, which I am immensely proud of as I never had time to do one and never managed to raise enough money for a professionally looking website. So with so much forced time on my hands, I managed to design this website. I am thankful to my friends and family who provided constructive criticism.  It is still work in progress but for now, this website does what I need it to do from my end. Oh well, I will wait to hear feedback from the user too so we can get it to a better place. 

I am also helping a colleague set up their business as well as attending event meetings online which I am finding helpful to keep me informed and event-industry-worthy.

I would like to set up and run virtual events to help individuals who would like to venture into events planning. In the meantime, I opened a youtube channel where I am trying to build my confidence in front of the camera before I can run live events online. Have a look at it when you get a chance here.

What I take from this lockdown

  • One of the things to note is to separate your business income from your income. Let the business pay you and you make individual savings.
  • The business should also have its own savings.
  • Never use up all the payments for any other projects except for the intended purpose. This will, in turn, help you manage your cash flow and finance properly.
  • The business must have a business continuity plan in case of eventualities. As a business be always prepared for such unlikely events.
  • Have different streams of income. One will definitely sustain you when others are on a forced halt.

#staysafe #stayathome 

Who is Taffy?

25 March 2020

Hello , my name is Taffy also known as Tafadzwa Hope Chinembiri. I was born in a family of 4 ( 3 girls and 1 boy) and I am the 2nd born. Growing up with parents who are leaders at church meant having a lot of visitors at home. This is where I must have gotten my love for hosting from.

Moving to the UK opened up so many opportunities for me. I studied Law and International Hospitality management which I passed both. Initially, I thought I would be a Lawyer but somehow I ended up back with my passion for hosting.

My first business was a catering company which I co-owned with my cousin Tracey Simbi. I remember sitting in my bedsit back in 2010 writing down our aims and organising our launch. We were so young but so zealous! We were excited about our business together as we both loved cooking. What was great is we both had strengths in different areas of the business which made it so simple to run the business together. We launched our business in March 2011 -Taff-Tracee Caterers - please see pictures here. We got a lot of support from our families and friends and a lot of recommendations and good feedback meant more work.

In 2013 I got married and I bought most of the items for the decor. At that time, however, I did not have an eye for designing or detail because looking back I most certainly would have done it so differently given the experience I have now and I most certainly would not have had 600 guests!

The birth of Eli Venue Dressing

I got pregnant and I went on maternity leave for 1 year when Elijah was born. This meant staying at home looking after my son. I am a very hands-on person and sitting down doing nothing is not something I can do for long. I started advertising the chair covers that I had in the garage for hire instead. All of a sudden I had lots of enquiries and some clients also wanted centrepieces and fitting. I had no clue whatsoever but I started investing in different centrepieces and taking pictures and posting on my new Facebook page that I had created. I learnt on the job. This is how Eli Venue Dressing was formed. With more experience and working with different planners and event stylists, I gained a lot of knowledge about this Industry. I went back to work, however I was still hiring items out and my inventory was growing too which was exciting.

The birth of Eli Events and Weddings

I have always worked in the Hotels as mentioned before. I worked myself up to an events management role at The Hilton Birmingham Metropole which is where I last worked. The experience gained over the years is enormous. My customer service skills were polished and my eye for detail increased. I never stopped working during the weekends hiring my decor items out.

What's exciting about working in the hospitality industry is that you learn on the job and you gain new skills with every event. This is because every event or client is different. After styling so many events I decided to also concentrate on event planning as this is what I was doing anyway at work. Even with my clients I always found myself either helping on the day or helping with the planning before the event. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is how Eli Events and Weddings was birthed!

I give my all in everything I do. I put myself in the client’s shoes and I treat their money as mine, that way I always give them value for money always. As stated before different clients bring out a new skill in you…..always! I laugh as I type this because I have just been reminded of a client who made me realise I needed to toughen up more and another who made me realise I needed to learn to say 'no' and it was not bad to say no….so many incidents to share which I will be sharing over time.

I love being a planner. I do my best always and if you choose me I promise to deliver over and above your expectations. I work with a lot of amazing businesses that also help me excel in this role. All my event outfits are sourced by Loz Boutiques. Lorraine always makes sure each outfit brings out the real me, the professional me always. Go check her out.

I am also part of the amazing Zimispired team - which is a team of creatives working together an event at a time to make sure its executed by the best in the industry!

My first Destination Wedding 


Here I will be sharing my planning journey for Mbali and Maz's destination wedding in Cape Town. I will also share my experience and answer any questions that have been coming through my inbox since i started posting the event on my instagram and journey also posted  on my youtube page. Click on the picture to see some of the videos. 

I will also advise on what to look out for when planning a destination wedding and what to avoid.