Emma Gold, the visionary behind GSP Events, shares her journey from MTV to crafting bespoke destination weddings, and her predictions for 2024 nuptial trends.
In a world where weddings have transformed into three-day extravaganzas in far-flung corners of the world, Emma Gold, the founder of GSP Events, stands out as a true luminary. Her passion for event planning was ignited during her time at MTV, where she orchestrated unforgettable moments for the European Music Awards and hosted legendary after-parties, including a secret performance by Prince himself. Now, with over 26 years of experience, Emma Gold and her team are redefining destination weddings, creating bespoke celebrations that leave a lasting imprint.
In this edition of Women Who Launch, Ina Yulo Stuve sits down with Emma Gold to delve into her journey, her diverse clientele, and the exciting trends she foresees shaping the wedding industry in 2024. Join us as we embark on a journey through Emma Gold's world of luxury events and unparalleled creativity.
In the world of luxury events, Emma Gold, the founder of GSP Events, stands as an unparalleled maestro. Emma's expertise in destination weddings has never been more evident. From enchanting garden celebrations in the south of France to awe-inspiring festivities at the Tower of David in Israel, Emma Gold and her team consistently deliver unforgettable affairs that redefine opulence.
A Passion Born of Memories:
Emma's love for event planning was cultivated from a young age. Growing up in a home perpetually filled with food and festivities, she fondly recalls assisting her parents as they hosted gatherings. "People, parties, and food have always been my passions—it's in my DNA," she explains. Emma's professional journey commenced during her tenure at MTV, where she played a pivotal role in organizing the first-ever European Music Awards. In a single night, she masterfully hosted 12 after-parties, including a secret event where the legendary Prince performed before an intimate audience of 200.
The Evolution of GSP Events
MTV eventually became one of GSP's most significant clients when Emma decided to launch her own events business 26 years ago. Initially focused on corporate events, GSP's portfolio quickly expanded to encompass private birthday celebrations and weddings. "The clients became GSP ambassadors, and the guests became new GSP clients and friends," Emma recalls. The emergence of destination wedding planning was a natural evolution for the company. Today, GSP takes pride in its ability to curate an eclectic array of events, including weddings, charity galas, launch parties, film premieres, brand launches, and award ceremonies.
In Conversation with Emma Gold: Women Who Launch Exclusive
In this edition of Women Who Launch, Ina Yulo Stuve engages in a captivating conversation with Emma Gold. They delve into the growth of her dynamic team and explore the wedding trends Emma envisions for the year 2024.
The Changing Landscape of Weddings:
Q: How has the wedding industry changed since you first started your business?
Emma: Weddings were once rigidly formal affairs following a set formula. Today, we witness a surge in destination weddings—extravagant, multi-day celebrations that push creative boundaries. There's a heightened emphasis on tailoring events to the unique essence of the location, embracing local colour palettes and ambiance. The theatrical aspect of weddings has expanded, allowing creators like us to infuse more fun and creativity.
The Essence of GSP Clients:
Q: If you could describe your typical customer in three words, what would they be?
Emma: Every client is remarkably distinct, making it nearly impossible to capture them in just three words. Generally, our clients value open dialogue, seek bespoke and original experiences, and prioritise working with the best. They trust GSP to assemble the perfect team and create entirely personalised, unique events.
The MTV Influence:
Q: Tell me more about your time at MTV and the learnings you took from that experience.
Emma: MTV was a beacon of creativity, and my time there taught me to continuously push creative boundaries. As a sought-after brand, we had to constantly evolve to ensure that no two events were alike. We led the charge in terms of technology, entertainment, venue selection, and theatrical elements, all while keeping music at the forefront. My role allowed me to gain extensive international experience, forging invaluable global connections that have been instrumental throughout my career.
A Natural Team Evolution:
Q: Was it a conscious choice for you to have a female-led team?
Emma: Our team naturally evolved over time, and my original business partner, with whom I founded the company 16 years ago, was male. GSP has grown into an incredible family-like team. I trust my instincts when selecting team members. Leading by example and nurturing our people have been crucial in building a strong, cohesive, and joyful organisation.
Delegating with Trust:
Q: As you've scaled your business, you've also grown your team. Was it difficult for you to start delegating responsibilities that you used to take on yourself?
Emma: I'm fortunate to have a team I trust implicitly, allowing me to delegate most tasks. While I'm still hands-on, I oversee all GSP events. My three decades of experience have honed my eye for detail, so even the smallest adjustments can make a profound difference to an event. Perfection remains my constant pursuit.
Q: What is the one task you always do yourself and the task you recommend people outsource?
Emma: At GSP, we engage with every aspect of event production. Our diverse teams bring their expertise to the table. Recognising when to bring in specialists, such as designers and florists, is crucial. Personally, I focus on budgeting, as I'm adept with numbers, and I also tackle smaller tasks that I can swiftly handle.
Embracing Continuous Learning:
Q: Is there a particular business skill that you're currently trying to master?
Emma: Technology evolves rapidly, so I'm continually learning to stay abreast of advancements. I believe in lifelong learning and continually pushing creative boundaries. I'm always on the lookout for novel locations and opportunities, seeking to make the impossible a reality.
"Pinch Me" Moments Around the Globe:
Q: What are some of the destinations you've had events at that gave you proper "pinch me" moments?
Emma: "Pinch me" moments occur at most GSP events, as they signal the realisation of our creative vision. However, some unforgettable moments include our event at the base of the Pyramids in Egypt, private island celebrations in the middle of vast oceans, and a wedding in Cap Estelle, France, where we transformed the setting overnight. Hosting a charity event at the Cannes Film Festival with George Clooney and Brad Pitt as hosts was truly magical. Collaborating with George Lucas for the Monaco Grand Prix opening and hosting the main event was another unforgettable experience.
Anticipating 2024 Wedding Trends:
Q: Are there any specific trends you're seeing for 2024 nuptials?
Emma: We observe weddings becoming increasingly informal across generations. Theatrical elements and vibrant colours are here to stay. Attention to detail, including thoughtful gestures like goodie bags and guest gifts, is growing in importance. In terms of destinations, France and Italy remain perennial favourites. However, we're witnessing an expansion to places like Lisbon, Mallorca, Spain, and Greece, offering attractive price points and unique settings. At GSP, we're always ready to explore new frontiers.
Emma Gold's Personal Favourites:
Q: What are your personal favourite places to: 1) Dine 2) Drink 3) Shop 4) Relax?
Emma: I split my time between London and the South of France, so I have cherished favorites in both locations.
Dine: In the South of France, La Guérite and La Petite Maison are among my top choices, exuding captivating vibes. In the UK, Asian spots like Zuma stand out, along with local gems like River Café and Ivy Chelsea Garden.
Drink: I adore the elegance of Claridge's Bar and the allure of Maison Estelle, Chiltern Firehouse, and Soho House.
Shop: While I rarely find time for shopping, Marylebone High Street in London offers an array of options. In France, the St. Tropez markets are treasure troves of unique boutiques and one-of-a-kind finds.
Relax: To unwind, I need the backdrop of blue skies and the sea. Beach clubs like Club 55 and Plage Keller beckon, and a perfect spa experience is a must.
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