Oct 26th 2013

Great British Bake Off 2013: the baking legacy

A whopping, record-making 9.1 million people tuned in to the finals of BBC Two’s culinary masterpiece, the Great British Bake Off, cementing our obsession with cakes, biscuits, buns and breads.

At a birthday party, the blowing out of the candles is a Kodak moment.  At a wedding, the cake cutting is a key tradition.  But cakes shouldn’t be restricted to just those occasions.  What ever the celebration, a creative cake can really add to the party’s décor.  Here are some examples of the fabulous cakes used at our events. 

Also visit our image gallery for lots more delicious examples.  Click: FABULICIOUS

Fabulous party cakes Fabulous party cakes Fabulous party cakes

 

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 Oct 25th 2013

Female-friendly boardrooms: The path to the top should be organic

Kate Russell says that gender-specific targets will lead to tokenism and the appointment of workers for the wrong reasons.  Click WOMEN AT THE TOP

She makes valid and sensible arguments in this.  Women simply want a level playing field when it comes to taking the top seats.  In achieving this, business have to address what is really keeping them from the Boardroom and be prepared, no, happy to change their business practices, environments and management processes to harness the full contribution that women can make at senior levels.

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 Oct 25th 2013

Creating an event for your SME doesn’t have to break the bank

Many SMEs shy away from hosting business events purely because of the perception that they are cost prohibitive. However, the benefits can far outweigh the potential spend.  For more click REAL BUSINESS

The writer in this piece is quite right – having a clear objective surely is the key to success. 

In any business event the role of the professional planner, such as myself, is to reproduce the company’s communication messages and brand values in a creative and engaging way.  If you achieve that, with one eye on the objective and the other on cost, the event will work.

award dinner in Birmingham Corporate event catering creaqting a corporate event

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 Oct 24th 2013

Kelly Clarkson shares breathtaking video of her wedding day

Kelly Clarkson has treated her privileged fans with a video of her wedding day.

The country singer posted the professionally shot video on Twitter two days after tying the knot with her talent manager fiancé Brandon Blackstock, giving the world a glimpse of her big day.  Click: KELLY

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 Oct 24th 2013

Watch the moment Kanye West proposes to Kim Kardashian

The romantic moment that Kanye West went down on one knee to propose to Kim Kardashian has been caught on camera: Click ENGAGEMENT

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 Oct 24th 2013

Tips on Planning an Asian Wedding

Organising an Asian wedding can be a daunting task, which is why more couples than ever are turning to TLC for advice.

With a string of high profile clients on her books, including Manchester United’s Gary Neville, Sky News presenter Eamonn Holmes and Coronation Street actor Simon Gregson, Liz knows how to add that special sparkle to any event.

Asian Wedding Asian Wedding

After 26-years experience of making sure the big day goes without a hitch for hundreds of Asian and non-Asian couples, Liz, knows instinctively what works and what doesn’t.

To find out how you can add that professional touch, Liz is offering some expert tips on organising the perfect Asian wedding.

CLIENTS
I enjoy working on Asian weddings because couples often come to me with requests for a changeable mix of old and new. This brings with it a challenge to constantly come up with fresh ideas, which we at TLC thrive on.

I’ve worked with many young Asian couples who want their wedding to reflect the latest fashions and trends while also keeping their parent’s happy by respecting traditional views and values.

I’ve noticed an increased willingness to take a chance on something different, but, like any step into the unknown, it’s always nice to be guided with support and advice from someone who has been there a thousand times before. That’s where I come in. I want my clients to remember their wedding day for the rest of their life, for all the right reasons. I’m there to make sure their wedding is the best it can be, so they can enjoy the day and leave any stress of organising the event to me.

VENUE
Finding the perfect venue can be a challenge when planning a traditional Asian wedding. Extended family is an essential ingredient, making numbers a priority.

For big weddings I usually opt for a corporate venue, which is purposely built to cope with large events. Also because the rooms are often used for business functions the décor is generally bland, providing a blank canvas on which my design team can get to work to create a bespoke image, making the room shine with glamorous styling.

Even when you think that you know how many guests are coming, it’s wise to cater for a few extra on the day. Experience has taught me that more people always turn up than formally rsvp. To make sure no aunts or uncles are left standing I always make sure there is room for 10 per cent more guests than expected.

STYLE

The styling and design of an Asian wedding is not only a reflection of the bride and groom’s personality in the choices for their day, but is also often a statement of the family’s success and place within the community.

Coming from a Jewish background I understand the importance of cultural roots and traditions when it comes to celebrating landmark family occasions. These traditions and values are fundamental to the success of the day and must remain integral to any planning. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t introduce modern twists to create an extra special effect.

Having different styles for the reception and dining areas provides scope for creativity. I find that styling one in a traditional manner and the other more contemporary keeps everyone happy, while a “reveal” dropped between the two areas adds a truly dramatic element.

The chosen colour scheme is another good place to stamp some originality on the day. While keeping with the custom for bold, strong colours, you might off-set the conventional red with a splash of lime green or cappucino with a splash of fuscia pink.

Fantastic entertainment is at the heart of any successful event and always ensures that people keep talking about the experience for years to come. For this reason alone, I would never advise anyone to skimp on their wedding entertainment and have travelled the world, flying bands from Europe, Morocco and even the USA, to provide couples with the perfect soundtrack to a memorable day.

Asian Wedding Asian Wedding

CATERING
In the north of England TLC has pioneered the use of fusion Asian cuisine with western contemporary presentation, to add a delicious new dimension to the traditional buffet menu.

Individuality can be introduced in all aspects of the catering process from the dishes themselves to the presentation and serving. At the moment, our non-alcoholic juice bars, serving mango and lychee cocktails are very popular, as is the use of banana leaves as dishes to hold exotic rice.

However, while it’s always fun to experiment with something new, guests will still expect naan bread to be served piping hot and at the right point in the meal. There are certain traditions that can never be messed with, and, from years of experience, I’ve got an eye for which ones they are.

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 Oct 23rd 2013

Child care at business meetings

Child care at business meetings

First Published: 23/10/2013

Have you seen this piece from M&IT, click: MEETINGS

Child care at business meetings – I do wonder whether it is rather stating the situation NOW, and not the future of our industry.

Any event needs to reflect the needs of the delegates, so the provision of accessible venues, childcare and the like is something we already have to consider.  If you want attendance – you must understand and meet the needs of the delegates….not a difficult concept, but a crucial one.

Technology and environmental considerations are already high on the agenda for most businesses, so nothing new here either.

I think two key points with any conference is to raise the bar with venue choices and create new and innovative catering.  I do also agree that the credibility of speakers is a vital ingredient and that the expectation from quality delegates is a quality speaker line-up. Get the best guys.

Although all the points in the survey are useful reminders, none of them actually tell us where the industry is heading.  Granted, I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future either…but then I am not creating surveys that claim to do so!

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UPDATED 04/01/2017

The new year brought a new level of understanding to this issue of child care at business meetings, when I received a call this morning.

‘Is that Liz Taylor the Millionaire Party Planner’?

‘Yes it is’ says I

‘I need you to plan a conference for 300 – 185 are women who may bring their children with them, so we need professional childcare in place. Without it, they simply wont attend. You have six weeks to make it happen.’

I immediately thought back to this blog. Perhaps predictions can come true and child care is on the agenda as more women attend meetings! Or maybe this was a one-off booking. Either way, this company feels strongly that it’s workforce, predominantly self-employed ladies who work from home and so juggle home and work life, wouldn’t be interested in attending unless the children can be cared for.

Child care at business meetings – maybe the sign of things to come in 2017?

childcare at business meetings

I’m off to plan a crèche and entertainment for 185 kiddies! #lovemyjob

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 Oct 22nd 2013

Kim Kardashian to marry Kanye West after he proposes to her in epic baseball stadium stunt

10 out of 10 for creating an impression Kanye!  Click: WEDDING PROPOSAL.  Now, I agree that not everyone can hire a baseball stadium in order to propose to their loved one!  But, we can all be creative when it comes to delivering those four words: Will You Marry Me?

outrageous wedding proposals

Kanye West Proposes to Kim Kardashian

It’s not necessarily about planning the most elaborate or extravagant proposal, but about the love and sincerity you show through the proposal.  People have been hiring me for wedding day inspiration and organisation for over 25 years and I have often been asked for my thoughts on creating the perfect proposal, so it was a natural progression to move this year into offering a bespoke service to help people realise their proposal vision. Many brides and grooms have ideas, but just have no idea how to turn that vision into a reality – that’s where I come in!  Here’s some key do’s and don’ts to ensure the proposer receives an ‘I will’ rather than ‘I won’t’! 

1 – Do make sure the proposal has an element of surprise as surveys show that almost 90% of women feel the surprise factor is very important for a proposal.

2- Don’t make a public proposal unless you have very good reason to believe your partner will love it. We’ve all seen that in films and on TV, proposals at sports games, the cinema or city squares seem to work magically. But keep in mind that these are scripted! In real life, not everyone likes to have publicity during such an intimate moment.

3 – Do pick a memorable location. This doesn’t have to be Fiji or at the top of Mount Everest, but any place that is significant to you both.

4 – Do speak from the heart. Be honest, be direct and be sincere.

5 – Make it fun!

I ensure that each proposal event is extremely personal and unique by making certain the person doing the proposing is heavily involved in the entire process. I have (tongue-in-cheek) been called an ‘ambassador of love’ in that I make sure each proposal includes sincerity, surprise and symbolism. But when someone works with me to plan the proposal, I need them to be highly involved in the whole process. It’s the small details that only a partner would know that make all the difference. Integrating specific moments into the proposal such as what your partner ordered on your first date really is the icing on the cake and will leave your prospective bride or groom overwhelmed by your sincerity and thoughtfulness.

Expressing your love from the heart is obviously the most important part, but attention to detail can make the emotional impact all the greater.

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 Oct 22nd 2013

Kelly Clarkson marries on a farm!

Yes, Kelly Clarkson chose the idyllic  Blackberry Farms in the Smoky Mountains on October 20 to marry her partner. But this is a farm like no other, a stunning resort with a breath taking backdrop and lots of Southern charm.

Choosing a wedding venue

Kelly Clarkson Marries on a Tennessee Farm

Click: KELLY CLARKSON

It just goes to show that the choice of wedding venue for Kelly was a very personal one, as it should be for every bride. Here’s some tips for choosing the right venue:

  • Shortlist venuesshortlist at least three venues that you like in case your first choice is not available or too expensive and you must visit them; this is not something that you can do by just surfing the internet.

 

  • Think logistics & book well in advanceConsider accessibility for guests, car parking, what season the wedding will be in (as some work better as summer venues than winter), where the cloakrooms and toilet facilities are, if their stairs or lifts to the reception room, and be sure the reception venue has somewhere suitable to take good wedding photos.  You should choose venues that can accommodate your guest numbers, entertainment set-up and any accommodation needed and look to book at least 12 months in advance to secure a first choice venue –it is never too soon to book!  Unusual venues are still popular and create a unique element to the day, but just be sure that your choice can actually stage the wedding effectively too. Creativity and no substance is a recipe for disaster!

 

  • Bring in the expertshire a wedding planner to take the pressure off and negotiate the best venue deals for you, so all you have to do is enjoy the big day!

 

  • Understand the costs and negotiation in difficult economic times venues are keener than ever to have your business so you have a chance to negotiate on the booking.  This isn’t just about reducing costs however, you need to consider including free setup time in the deal, linens for the tables, accommodation for the wedding party, corkage if you are supplying your own alcohol and so on.  Ask for all the costs in writing, cancellation terms and for a list of any extra charges that might apply.  Important to also consider when the deposit and final payments are due for your booking and also how and what you are charged for, e.g. some venues will open all the wine you order and then charge whether it is consumed on the day or not, so ask for pre-booked alcohol to be charged on consumption only.  That way you will only pay for what is enjoyed! 

 

  • Keeping costs down – If you do need to reduce the cost, rather than switch venue it might be better to look to organise your event at a different time of the year. You can negotiate better deals at all major hotels during quiet times or perhaps consider an evening wedding. If you choose a time when hotels aren’t busy, like January, you can negotiate on food and drink because the hotels will gain on revenue from the bar.

 

  • Privacy for the big day popular venues can stage 2 or 3 weddings on one day, so check if there are other weddings booked and where they will be in the venue.  You want to be sure that you won’t be drowned–out by another wedding’s disco and that the service you receive won’t be compromised. 

 

  • Imagine the potential of the spacenew venues are getting harder to find and so 2013 has been about transforming venues – turning your dream wedding reception into a reality with creativity and innovative thinking.  Venues still need to provide a great location and accessibility for guests, but the real test is how well their blank canvases can be redesigned, dressed and draped into a fabulous event.  Use linen drapes/curtains to add warmth to a room, improve acoustics (large empty spaces and marquees can have poor acoustics) or perhaps to create separate relaxation areas/chill out zones in your venue for guests to relax and chat in away from the main event.  Lighting can be used to tie in with an overall colour theme and is a cost effective way of transforming your venue if budgets are tight – for example whole walls can be flooded with a particular colour instead of being decorated.  But, wedding styles to reflect a bride’s personality work best.

 

  • Service, service and service You must be confident that the service you receive on the day will be first rate.  Some venues offer an in-house wedding co-ordinator to help you plan aspects of the venue which helps, but remember, they work for the venue and as well as helping you they are also keen to sell you additional services.  Ask how the catering service will be delivered for example – are drinks tray circulated at the reception or distributed from one station in the room?  Try the venue out if possible – go for dinner or a coffee, if they offer good service here then they are likely to deliver on your wedding day too.  Also check what venue staff will be on-hand at the wedding to help and how service charges are made.

 

  • Flexibilityyou might need to start setting up your event the day or even two days before the wedding, so you should discuss access times with your venue at the early negotiation stage.  For example, marquee venues often have nominated caterers and wine suppliers, and won’t ordinarily allow you to bring in your own food and drink.  If you want to do something different, talk to the venue and see how flexible they will be.

 

  • Jargon – yes, there is a lot of wedding venue jargon so don’t be afraid to ask what “pax” means, or how a “sound limiter” will affect you!  Knowledge is wedding power.

 

  • Personalise the cateringthe more adventurous couples are choosing ethnic cuisine for the big day with details such as personalised chop sticks adding some fun. Thai, Sushi belts and late night curries are still popular, but what you choose should always be a personal decision.  You can take wholesome fayre and give it a 2013 make over though, to keep both the traditionalists and the younger generation happy.  For example serve your favourite desserts as canapé shots, serve roast beef inside miniature Yorkshire puddings, duos of hearty soups in one bowl or present an individual homemade pie made to granny’s recipe with contemporary flair.  You should always taste the menu ahead of the big day and ask your venue to include the cost of this in your booking. Or, why not look at a vintage styled afternoon tea instead of a wedding breakfast – stylish and less expensive than a big meal – then follow at your party later in the evening with a series of small buffet stations serving cones of fish and chips, curry on miniature Naan breads, sushi, miniature hotdogs and so on.  Creative and fun.

 

  • Entertainment – in my book, this is a crucial aspect to a fabulous wedding party and where you should focus a good portion of your wedding budget.  Check with the venue how late your entertainment can run, when they can set up equipment and sound check, and whether the venue will provide a room for the band to change in.  You will likely also need to provide something for the band to eat and drink, so you need to discuss with the venue when and where this can be arranged.  If you have a soloist, it’s easy, but a 10-piece party band will take up more space!  Be aware that venues will charge for these extra rooms, so include all of this in your negotiation.

Blackberry Farm Luxury Resort Blackberry Farm Luxury Resort Blackberry Farm Luxury Resort

 

 

 

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 Oct 20th 2013

The best wedding dresses from Bridal Fashion Week

Some fabulous new styles at Bridal Fashion Week in New York. Click: BRIDE

Bridal Fashion Week Dresses

Ideas from Bridal Fashion Week

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