Natalia Langsdale’s connection to Monaco goes way back – be it with yacht brokerages Fraser Yachts and Camper & Nicholsons or private jet resellers Hawker Beechcraft and Boutsen Aviation.
“My professional career spanning the likes of London, Dublin, Auckland and Monaco has always been affiliated with event planning in one capacity or another, working in and for companies targeting a UHNWI clientele,” says Natalia. “It must be in my nature – being a Capricorn – and upbringing to be organised, disciplined and a people’s person.”
Born in England, to a British father and Polish mother who met in Sweden, Natalia grew up in Sweden until the age of ten and then for health reasons related to her mother, moved to the South of France, which she called home for 28 good years, in and out of studying and working abroad too.
In 2015 she launched Bright Creativity, a marketing, PR and events agency in France. “I have been fortunate with my upbringing and family to be fluent in six languages. Having learned French at a young age even before coming to France any bumps in the road that people encounter with not speaking the language were eradicated.”
The Villefranche-sur-Mer resident advises, “Regardless of language though, the bureaucracy of setting up a business is the most difficult if you do not have the right advisor. Your number one priority is having an excellent accountant and in the South, it is extremely hard to find a good one who speaks English and can help you. For most it is understanding under which form to open your company under, for example, if it should be auto entrepreneur, EURL, SARL, or another entity.”
Through a friend, Natalia was encouraged to try her hand at high-end wedding planning. She had organised her own nuptials – a civil ceremony and a church wedding in two different countries – and “was looking for more of a human contact, and loving all that surrounds weddings, bringing the best vendors, allowing my creativity and fine eye for detail together.”
Under the umbrella of Bright Creativity, she added My Riviera Weddings catering to an international clientele to deliver a stress-free and impeccable service. “The website is a testament to who I am reaching out to and what makes me different, existing in the languages I speak and additionally to include Japanese and Chinese.” The business took off through word of mouth.
“Most couples forget that their wedding is THEIR day to be enjoyed and so My Riviera Weddings puts couples at the forefront,” explains Natalia. “The concept itself was born out of years of event organising in the luxury industry, where bespoke events such as ‘Dinners in the Sky’ 50 metres above ground level overlooking the port of Monaco or golf with biodegradable golf balls and floating targets at sea with the backdrop of the Principality while on a 70-metre superyacht are just some of the specialities that I have proven to my discerning clientele.”
Then along came Covid. Immediately Natalia’s phone started ringing with cancelations and postponements, with the next wedding not even taking place until … 2022. “The pandemic has an immediate impact on My Riviera Weddings and other conferences and events that I had in my books for 2020 and 2021 as my clientele is all international, either coming from abroad, or residing in Monaco and the French Riviera, with the intentions of having friends and family from abroad come to the wedding here.
“Many of my favourite vendors I had lined up, began showing signs of closing their businesses or moving away from the coast to start a new life and forced to pivot. Some of the top-end hotel choices closed for the year and unable to plan so far ahead could not commit to the new dates. It has caused a lot of extra work on top of what currently was a lot of work shall we say, with the reduction of the size of weddings allowed down to only 6 from big events of 100-plus sized groups.”
Natalia, who has a M.A. Hons with distinction in European Union Studies with German and Scandinavian Studies from Edinburgh University, shares that intimate elopements are now more on the cards in the safe havens of renting a private villa and enquiries from small, private affairs “trickling in if at all that.”
She has been approached to speak this week on TF1 on behalf of UPSE – L’Union des Professionnels Solidaires de l’Evénementiel – which represents the events and wedding industry to share her personal account on how the pandemic has affected the industry.
Like so many others in lockdown last year, Natalia found herself from one day to the next wondering how to keep herself going. “The first confinement made me understand what I truly believed in, who my trusted entourage were and that I was ready to turn a page to follow values I believed in. Coupling my love for the finer things in life with my ingenuity, I was able to see promise during the pandemic and not give in or up to the hardship that was threatening.”
Scraps of cord lying around the house with washed up driftwood from the beach made her realise she could create sustainable beauty for the home and soul while the world was trying to come to grips with a new reality.
“I need nature around me to thrive and remain charged creatively and I found raw beauty in simplicity and wanted to share my values and express my personality by creating something handmade, durable and above all sustainable. A circular brand was thus born – Made with Love by Natalia – a nod to circularity and putting the planet first, one knot at a time.”
Natalia says a positive thing to come out of the Covid crisis is her Collection and the community of like-minded people and supporters that she has built up. In addition to selling her crafts online, she also passes on her knowledge by connecting and sharing with people around the world though online Zoom masterclasses. ”It’s my way of saying my thanks to those who have followed me since the outset, who wish to learn a new craft and gain the same confidence to trust what they’re good at and just go for it! A kind of booster to the morale while actually learning.”
In just one year, the Made with Love by Natalia Collection with its photo shoots and media coverage has allowed Natalia “to be the person I truly am. I have empowered women with my eclectic designs, captivating people, who appreciate quality yet want to look their best or feature handmade in their homes, to stand out, be bold in a new sustainably-minded society.
“It allowed me to combine all my skillsets and produce something that today proudly sits in homes, on yachts and are worn matching the positive ethos that makes me, me,” Natalia Langsdale beams.