Keep Calm and Carry On
So, it has been another busy week for me, with star studded openings, film premieres and awards ceremonies to attend, on top of the TV appearances and shooting that new documentary… okay, not really, it has actually been a bit quiet recently and this has given me some time to kick back and relax, and take a few days off before the wedding season really kicks in. Here at Cheadle House we are booked up on almost every weekend for a wedding, and in many cases have weddings on the Friday and Saturday which is a bit of logistical nightmare, and this is where I am going to hand over some of my wedding experience to brides and grooms-to-be and their families.
Firstly, you need to ensure that you plan everything well. Stuff may go wrong pre-big-day, and there will be last minute dramas such as a broken vase, or damaged table centrepiece; but you need to ensure that you are fully aware of what is your responsibility and what isn’t on the actual day. Most wedding venues have had many years of experience and utilise well-versed staff for management of weddings (for example at Cheadle House we have myself and Steve who run the wedding daytime functions, and the 2 Richards who run the wedding evenings, along with a dedicated wedding co-ordinator; this is the case with many of the De Vere properties). This is vital to any wedding in general, because by having a dedicated team managing the day, there are a core of people who will know exactly what is going on. This also avoids any issues with messages not being passed on etc. The sign of a good venue is one where the only responsibility you have is to turn up!
Secondly, as a Bride or Groom, you MUST MUST MUST ensure that you meet with the person who will be running your day. At minimum you should meet the person running your day at the hotel the day before your big day. You should arrange a walk-through of how the day will run including the following items:
- · What time the guests will arrive
- · Where the guests will be taken to wait for the ceremony (if there is a ceremony at the hotel)
- · How the guests reach the wedding suite (particularly if there are guests staying the night before who are with you)
- · Where the wedding suite is and how it will be set up
- · What time the bridal party will be arriving at the ceremony suite – which entrances do you use?
- · What time the wedding breakfast will be served
- · Where the wedding breakfast will be served
- · Who will be the master of ceremonies and introduce the bride and groom, speeches etc
- · Where the evening reception is held
- · What time the evening reception ends
- · What time the bar closes; is it a cash only bar?
Plus any other questions you may have. It is important that, even though you may not fully remember everything, you must know roughly how the day will run; otherwise it will only result in confusion of the entire day and more stress than is necessary.
Thirdly, you need to let the venue know what you will and won’t be doing. For example, some bridal parties will decorate the tables for the wedding breakfast themselves, others will do one table and the venue staff will then replicate it, some will leave the venue to decide themselves how to do the tables. You need to make the venue aware of what you will be intending to do yourself (they should already know if there is a venue dresser coming and what they will be providing), and what you are expecting other people to do. If you want to set things up yourself, ensure the venue will have the necessary tables or rooms ready for you to decorate when you want – this may need negotiating if other events are on. In other words you could end up hanging bunting at 2am if you are not careful – so try to allow the venue to do as much as possible. If you have a specific set-up in mind, sketches can be helpful.
Finally; let the venue manage your day. As long as you have communicated your requirements, plans and
expectations your day will be coordinated exactly as you need. Many brides and grooms will be worried that something will go wrong, but always try to sit back and relax in to your day – the venue and management will run your day and make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Being a demanding bridezilla who gets stressed out over everything and panics that everything is not being done exactly to your specification is not healthy! If you REALLY REALLY MUST ensure that everything is perfect, speak the venue in advance and see if the venue can be set up the day before the wedding so you can check everything, or where that is not possible, arrange a time to meet with the wedding manager and cover every detail.
If you are having a wedding this year, congratulations! Just remember that there are hundreds of things you will need to sort out and arrange for your big day, the venue for the ceremony/reception is a major decision but should be the most stress-free when it comes to the actual day – as long as we know what your expectations and requirements are, we will go above and beyond to achieve them!
There may be more you can add to this list; but the most important thing is the planning – a dedicated wedding co-ordinator is available at most De Vere properties that hold weddings and they will ensure that we have all the information we need to run your day perfectly for you.
Until next time, toodle pip!
What is Great British Hospitality?
Great British Hospitality is a campaign created by the De Vere Group to raise awareness of our brands and the De Vere name, through the celebration and discussion of all the things that make British hospitality great.