Feb 28th 2014

BIG OR SMALL WEDDING? WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU…..?

So you’ve got engaged, enjoyed a month or so of celebrating and now it’s down to planning the big day itself and the invite list.  You and your partner can’t decide whether to go all out and have a huge party with lots of family and friends and or keep it intimate and truly bespoke to the both of you.  We’ve helped some of the UK’s most well known celebrities organise their big day ranging from the most extravagant star studded affairs to smaller, cosy ceremonies and receptions.  The day has to be a statement about you and your partner, your love for another and the most appropriate way that you should celebrate it.  Here’s some of the key things to think about before you decide…

Small weddings..

Some choose a small wedding for cost reasons, others because it’s a second time wedding, vow renewal or they simply prefer a quiet, elegant affair.  In any case, budget is a hugely important but planning a smaller wedding doesn’t mean that you can’t have everything that makes a ceremony and reception so special – it just means spending your money in the right way to make the most impact.  Make a list of the key elements to the day – and focus your budget here.  You can save money where it isn’t going to be noticed – serve a Kir Royal with sparkling wine instead of Champagne, use two iced ‘dummy’ layers on your cake topped with a delicious layer of real cake, and use beautiful candles in place of an abundance of flowers for dressing your table.  Then invest in creating a real focal point – whether it be stunning table décor or hip DJ – rather than spreading the budget across too many areas.

Organising the wedding yourself can really cut down on costs and can be great fun to do, but don’t rule out the services of a professional planner to source a key element such as fabulous entertainment.  They can often find you gems of talent that will become a real talking point for the day.

A small wedding doesn’t just offer cost saving options though.  A boutique and stylish wedding day also opens up lots of opportunities.  The logistics of a wedding abroad are much simpler for example, and much more affordable.  They also lend themselves to smaller, private dining rooms, stunning boutique hotels or a marquee in a smaller private garden. For others it’s the chance to book the reception venue of their dreams – whether it’s an uber cool city centre hotel, a country castle or the latest top restaurant.  You may now be able to afford it because you only have 50 guests as opposed to 120!  

Think about inviting your guests to the whole event, so everyone experiences the full wedding day.  This controls catering costs but also opens up possibilities such as an ‘afternoon tea’ wedding breakfast, BBQ party in the warmer months or one fabulous evening party.  

Smaller weddings also tend to be more intimate in atmosphere. and style.  Couples often hand make invitations and choose personalised wedding favours.  Lots of couples dispense with the idea of a top table and just have one large dining table, speeches are less formal and often, menus more sophisticated.  Many couples , especially second time weddings, seem to spend a little more on a better menu and superior wines as they are catering for less people. 

Big is beautiful…

So you can’t whittle down the guest list to under 100 people or you’ve always dreamed of a big wedding, so that’s exactly what you’re having!  Big weddings are great fun and partying the night away with all your friends and family is a fabulous feeling, and makes for a memorable day. 

If you have your venue short list ask each one for references from couples who’ve had their weddings there.  Make sure it has catered for the same amount of people and ask to see any pictures they may have.  Also check if there are any other weddings taking place at your venue on the same day – you don’t want bridal parties getting mixed up or service staff to be spread too thinly at your event.  Be sure that the venue has sufficient space for the reception drinks and wedding breakfast/party, and that logistics such as cloakroom, car parking and toilets work.

Having a large number of guests may mean that you can work alongside a wedding planner who will liaise with all the various parties, offer creative ideas and offer lots of help and support in the run up to the day. Our job it to take the strain whilst you focus on enjoying the big day!

If not make sure you have one point of contact at the venue for the duration of your planning so that they understand your needs and style requirements, and remember it’s your day and not theirs, so don’t let them take over.

Catering for larger events needs careful consideration.  You don’t want huge queues at the bar, so look to having multiple smaller drinks stations available or tray circulated cocktails.  Ask how your venue will serve the food – you need it all to come out hot and at the same time.  One long buffet table creates chaos, so look to multiple food stations which offer different cuisine – Asian, fish’n’chips, crepes, sushi.

The most important thing to remember for both types of wedding is to relish in the magic that is your wedding day, enjoy it and try and at one point to take a step back and take in the wonderful day that is your wedding.

Continue reading  
 Feb 28th 2014

London Essentials on You Tube

See the fabulous London Essential on You Tube: Click Here

PBP_0520

 

Continue reading  
 Feb 18th 2014

Images from the fantastic BGL Group NHM Dinner

Thanks to everyone at BGL Group – wonderful night I hope you agree? Here’s a few sneaky peak images before they go on line tomorrow. Natural History Museum is an inspiring venue:

Natural History Museum Corporate Party Corporate party entertainment

Lighting Natural History Museum Natural History Museum Corporate Party

 

Continue reading  
 Feb 14th 2014

TRADITIONAL WEDDINGS ARE THE ORDER OF THE DAY – ASK KATE MOSS!

 

It all started with Catherine and Will’s big day back in April 2011 and it’s seen a resurgence ever since.  Traditional weddings are hot right now and are gaining even more momentum in 2014.  The widespread anticipation of Catherine’s dress and guest list, her now famous arrival at Westminster Abbey complete with beautiful bridesmaid Pippa and the television coverage of the whole of the service inside the Abbey inspired hundreds of ‘brides to be’ to return to planning a traditional wedding. 

 

 Blenheim Palace is an Exceptional Winter Wedding Venuetraditional wedding venues

 

traditional wedding venues

 

A traditional wedding offers couples romance, sparkle and elegance amongst other things and gives a memorable day to remember for the rest of their lives.  The idea of a traditional English wedding is very appealing and even stars such as fashion icon Kate Moss and heiress Millie Mackintosh opted for a traditional dress, and Kate even went for a village church venue and wedding reception.  They were both a picture of happiness and radiance on their big day that can be easily replicated by all brides. 

 

Having a traditional wedding in the UK can mean that everyone you want to be there can attend as they don’t have to fly overseas and you have more control over the day as you are only a car drive away. Plus you don’t have to squash it into spring/summer when the best venues are fully booked.  Having a wedding in autumn or winter can be truly magical and the colour schemes give a beautiful richness to the day.

 

Some couples are often put off by what they think can be a horribly long to do list associated with traditional weddings but it’s really not that scary.   If t you can’t afford the services of a professional wedding planner to take the planning strain, here’s some advice to help.

 

The most important thing to do first is to book the church or house of worship and wedding reception venue – the UK is jam packed with beautiful village churches or most town centres have a striking church/house of worship and chances are there is one in your locality.  Research venues on the internet that aren’t too far away from where you live and make an appointment to visit.  Ensure the wedding reception venue isn’t too far away and that the dates of availability match, then all you have to do is book both of them. 

 

You can decorate both with garden flowers to give that truly authentic feel, and remember to keep it simple a la Catherine and Kate who both had classic wedding flowers in the church and in their posies. 

Traditional doesn’t have to mean expensive bride and bridesmaid dresses.  There are so many options available and research is the key.  There are lots of fantastic small, local bridal shops around the UK – again research one near you and take your style board with you so they can match your dream dress, and they should also help choose the correct style/colour for the groom’s outfit to ensure it matches.

 

Give a traditional feel to the invitations and keep it classic white and silver.  The Internet and the printers will be able to help with the wording to ensure its just right for both families. 

 

 

Continue reading  
 Feb 14th 2014

More new images now online!

Check out our brand new party images, now online!

Party lighting  Party catering  Party decor

Party decor  Party catering  Party lighting

 

 

 

Continue reading  
 Feb 12th 2014

New Images on TLC Mobile Site

New images added to TLC’s mobile user website.  So happy walking, talking, travelling & surfing, whilst enjoying our fab new photos.

Continue reading  
 Feb 7th 2014

Need Help to Write That Best Man’s Speech?

It’s a question that many men dread when their best friend/brother etc. decides to get married… ‘will you be my best man?’ and the main reason why is the best man’s speech.  There are so many things to take into account and it’s a minefield even thinking about what to talk about, let alone actually giving the speech on the big day.

Here’s some tips on how to take it all in your stride:

1 – First thing to do is prepare, prepare and then prepare some more.  Start thinking about the speech at least a month before the wedding day and start to write notes about the groom, and what you want to talk about.  Then write it up as the speech with a start, middle and ending.  It’s always best to then go through it with someone who doesn’t know the happy couple so they can give feedback on what works and what doesn’t.  Then I always advise grooms to cut at least a quarter of the content so it’s not too long.  If you are confident enough to learn the speech off by heart then that’s great but I always advise the best man to take some form of notes with them, if you lose your way you’ve always got a prompt.  Make sure they are written clearly on small cards so that you can see the words and understand the writing, No-one likes to see a scruffy crumpled piece of paper wafting about in front of them.

2 – When you start the speech don’t forget to introduce yourself and your relationship to the groom. Many people in the room won’t know you so it’s best to kick off with your name and your relationship to the bridegroom and the bride.  It’s important to develop a rapport with your audience and to do this they need to know who you are.  It’s always worth remembering that the speech isn’t about you, so keep it short, sweet and to the point.  If you met in an embarrassing situation tone it down and keep it relevant to the day.

3 – It’s important to keep the speech funny, but not humiliating.  You may have had some great times and lad’s weekends away with the groom but does his granny really need to know every single detail?  Keep it light hearted and entertaining and don’t throw in any humiliating stories or jokes.  It leaves a sour after note and you want to be congratulated afterwards by everyone including the bride and her family!  Dig deep into your memory and there’s bound to be some funny and endearing stories about the two of you that everyone would love to hear.

4 – Don’t forget your audience.  Weddings are often jam packed with lots of small children, older relatives and family members that both the bride and groom haven’t seen for years or even met before!  Keep the stories and jokes clean and relevant to everyone.  So some of the children might not understand everything you talk about but the adults will and they want to remember the day in a positive way!  It’s also best to avoid any delicate family issues that are floating around.  We don’t want crying at the tables for all the wrong reasons.

5 – Finish on a high note.  Apart from the obligatory toasts that you may have to make at the end make sure your speech finishes on a high.  It could be a touching anecdote all about the bride and groom and how much they love one another, how happy you are for the happy couple or how you and the best man have been friends for years and are now looking forward to the next stage in lives.  Whatever it is keep it meaningful and you’re speech will be one of the highlights of the day. 

And, if you’re a nervous speaker, why not think about filming the speech beforehand and just playing it on the day? Use a videographer to combine photos and old video footage of the couple, childhood memories and the like, adding your speech as a soundtrack to create a unique best man’s speech and a DVD keepsake for the happy couple.

Good luck!

Continue reading  
 Feb 5th 2014

Right Royal Affair – M&IT Magazine

MIT_761237_CASE-HISTORY-ROYAL-AFFAIR.pdf

Thanks to Belinda Booker at M&IT Magazine for the fabulous feature on the Winter Whites Gala 2013 at Kensington Palace.  We loved working on this event and such as great charity too. Click: Winter Whites

Winter Whites Gala 2013

 

 

Continue reading  
 Feb 4th 2014

Advice on choosing the right venue for a corporate event

They say location, location, location – and that is definitely true when choosing any event for any occasion.  But for a corporate event, it is even more crucial.

In difficult economic times we have to consider how delegates will access a venue more than ever.  Can they get there by low-cost airline rather than the dearer scheduled flights?  Can they car share, hire a mini bus or catch a train from their offices?  Is the venue centrally located to save time (time is money folks!)?  Is there free parking on offer or transfers from the airport/train station?  And all that before you even look at whether it has the right access, capacity, service, quality, atmosphere, catering and so on!

Once location is sorted,  My next biggest criteria is quality.  Do they offer a quality product and service.  This is down to the choice of menu, quality of the fixtures & fittings, service ethos, response times to my enquiries and those ‘added extras’ such as the inclusion of A-V equipment in room hire (and I don’t mean a flip chart).  A venue can add value into its offering with booking bonuses such as free delegate parking, enhanced stage lighting, staging, free guestrooms for key speakers and so on.  But at least make what you offer of good quality – don’t just offer the same as every other venue.  Or better still, bespoke the offering to the planner’s needs.  That way you get their attention, and often, the business.

corporate event venues

Finding a uniqueness is also a big factor in choosing a venue.  Yes, it has to meet the needs of the event – capacity, resources, availability, budget etc., but more than that…does it add some kudos or special factor to the occasion? I see the Canadian convention centre has won the TED2014 conference for being ‘venue to inspire creative thinking’…now that’s the way to promote a venue! Click: TED  Being able to offer heritage, innovation, superior architecture, award-winning delegate food…these all add to the overall feel of the event. So venues out there, focus on delivering something special to your offering to set you apart.  For the planner, I seek venues that become a part of the overall event message.  If they can offer me a special quality that works with the client’s brand, it moves them to the top of the list.

To finish, we cannot forget the importance of delivery.  As a professional event planner the buck stops with me – so working with venues that can demonstrate service and event delivery is vital.  I need to work with venues that are one step ahead – thinking about any issues before they happen, on the ball with their staffing, happy to work hand in hand on ensuring the event runs seamlessly.  I choose venues that I am confident can deliver through personal experience, recommendation, site inspections, awards and open, frank communication about the levels of delivery I expect.

OK, so I have skipped over the individual ‘nitty-gritty’ elements of choosing the right venue – room logistics, negotiation on costs & terms, in-house A-V, accommodation and the like, but I tend to find if you work with the top line factors first – it eliminates those venues that will never work for you.  After that, its a matter of whittling down to a shortlist of venues that have potential and starting that process of site inspections.

 

 

Continue reading  
 Feb 3rd 2014

David Beckham May Play with Lego – but he is not alone!

I see in the news that David Beckham has admitted to playing with Lego as a way of relieving stress (CLICK: BECKHAM), but he is not alone in understanding the power of revisiting ones youth to find inner peace.

Well that may be a bit over the top, but one thing I can say for sure is that retro kids toys are growing in popularity for corporate business breakfasts and conference break out sessions.

We are using everything from giant Connect 4, Scalextric/race tracks and Wii Games, to human sized snakes & ladders, giant Lego sets and oversized Rubix cubes as a way of getting delegates to work in teams, delegate, compete, communicate, bond and generally have fun!.

Corproate event ideas

A real talking point.

Continue reading