What influenced your career?
Raised in western Sydney on a vegetable farm with hard working parents who have a strong work ethic and taught me the tools required to be determined to rise above challenges and to be passionate in your chosen path. After school I completed further studies while working three part time jobs and pursued my career in sales and marketing. I started in events casually whilst in Sydney for school events and personal functions.
When did you create Hunter Events NSW?
In early 2018 my family settled into the Maitland region and I needed an exciting career path with my youngest two at home less. I told my husband one day I wanted to be an event planner. Within 24 hours I had registered the business name, personally designed the Hunter Events NSW logo and our website. With business cards in hand I met company after company, venue after venue some 300-odd wedding businesses I have now collaborated with to build the backbone of support I needed to service my clients.
I told my husband I wanted to be an event planner. Within 24 hours I had registered the business name.Louise Manning
I smashed my goals and targets month in month out in the first months of business and had a nice combination of weddings and private celebrations, but I had a drive to create bigger public events. At the Hunter Valley Information Centre I met and collaborated with more businesses and listened to a presentation from the Paul Bennet Airshows (PBA) team regarding the Hunter Valley Airshow they were planning for April 2019. I had just set up my office in East Maitland. Then together with the PBA team we created the brand-new Airshow at Cessnock Airport and attracted some 12,000 patrons to the region.
Hunter tourism has taken a hit from a slow retail climate, the bushfires and corona virus. Has this affected your business?
In my opinion these items have not significantly affected the local and destination wedding side of our business enquiry is strong and the stunning Hunter Valley has never looked better. These issues have affected the corporate event market, so I've been told by several leading resorts in the Valley.
Why did you decide to host the first Wedding and Wine Festival on Sunday, February 23?
I had this vision early on to create an event far more then just a wedding expo. I often see couples wander through an expo collect flyers pop them in a bag and feel far too overwhelmed to the point where they almost get nothing from it. I wanted our guests to have a day out to enjoy the festivities, learn a lot and be spoilt rotten with endless entertainment. Then of course I added the wine component, considering the event is based in the Hunter Valley and weddings and wine are a perfect pairing. As a mother I know all too well how important it is to keep the kids entertained too, so we have created a kids zone.
What can people expect?
Whether you're getting married or just want a family day out this event has been designed for absolutely everyone. In the wedding zone, there will be110 businesses exhibiting. On stage there will be hair and makeup demos, entertainment, wedding fashion runway, bridal dance demonstrations, wedding cake decorating demonstrations and more. The kids zone includes face painting, balloon twisting, art and crafts, games and prizes. The festival zone will have local market stalls and wine and liquor from our region's best vineyards and distilleries and have a variety of master classes on stage. The day will be complemented with an aerobatic air display from Paul Bennet and finish with a massive prize pool for our Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children charity raffle.
Three of your four children have hearing and sight impairments. How has this impacted your values in business?
Beyond the many tears my husband and I have shed over not just one diagnosis but three, it's been nothing short of a mentally straining nightmare. We had no option but to rise above each hurdle thrown our way. Our kids know no different, their needs have made us stronger, more focused and more determined and the challenges that come with the endless appointments, the communication challenges and life in general makes us appreciate time. These experiences, continuous and ongoing, have made us appreciate the little things in life, like our vision impaired son's ability to recognise his name for the first time. The endless support we have had from RIDBC has made me want to give back.
What motivates you in business?
My goal is to be the leading event planner in the Hunter Region. Recently, Hunter Events was awarded the Hunter Valley and Newcastle region's number 1 wedding planner, voted by my clients through Brides choice Awards, and late last year we were named a Top 5 wedding planner in NSW via Australian Bridal Industry Awards. We have a nice balance of weddings, and our own annual public events and airshows for our clients Paul Bennet Airshows. What motives me is sharing my knowledge and guiding all our clients to wedding and event success. When a major event is finally coming to life or I visit a site after an event, I still get the same deep feelings of pure excitement, satisfaction and determination to begin working on the next.