May 29th 2020

Team building during social distancing

Team building during social distancing

My team is incredible. Their loyalty and commitment over the last few months have been exceptional. As many of us tentatively head back to our place of work now lockdown measures are lifting, team building within a business has never been more important. But team building during social distancing comes with unique challenges. Let me explain.

It’s clear that our offices will look and feel very different with new social distancing measures in place. Some with physical divisions to keep workers apart. And of course, many companies have taken the decision to continue to work remotely. But within this ‘new normal’, companies are faced with an impossible quandary. How do you bring your team together without, bringing your team together?

Team building during social distancing

Why team building is important in business

Even before most of us even knew what a coronavirus was, team building activities were hugely important. The many benefits of team building include a workforce getting to know one another better. Camaraderie, boosting performance and fostering innovation and creativity.

When delivered properly, team building and staff recognition events can help your workers to engage with your vision and values and become more loyal to your company. Team building will lower staff turnover and boost staff morale. And let’s face it, we all need a morale boost right now?

Team building during social distancing

What can team building achieve?

But don’t just take my word for it. There have been many studies into the benefits of team building and how encouraging a positive workplace culture and fostering an engaged, happy workforce can result in increased profit and productivity.

I read a survey by research-based consulting company, Gallup, for instance, which revealed that engaged employees are 17% more productive with absenteeism reduced by 41%. The same study found highly engaged companies to be around 21% more profitable.

And according to the University of Warwick, happy employees are up to 20% more productive than other workers.

Why do team-building activities while social distancing?

With our teams segregated, these qualities are of utmost importance if businesses are to recover from the coronavirus shutdown. As the world of business regains its focus, the companies that will thrive are those who foster team spirit and bring employees closer during the tough times. Team building during social distancing will allow employees to continue socialising and communicating. In addition to learning new things about one another in order to promote the kind of bonding that makes physical space disappear.

Team Building During Social Distancing Ideas

Here are team building during social distancing ideas that can keep your team focused and motivated during the transition back to work. These team buildings exercises can be adapted to overcome the physical challenges of social distancing, so that when employees return to the office, it’s almost as if they never left!

Scavenger Hunt

Individuals and teams can participate in a virtual scavenger hunt. A perfect team building exercise due to the friendly competition that they bring. Combine different elements of fun, problem solving and interaction in order to bring a team together to meet an end goal.

There are a number of different online platforms for this however with the Scavify app, everything is brought together efficiently in one place. The app includes a list of tasks for players to complete by uploading photos, taking videos, answering questions and scanning QR codes. The app takes the hassle out of organisation with automatic scoring, the ability for individuals to track their progress, real time leader-boards and photo-streams to see completed tasks as they happen. It also allows for social media integration which is so important during this current climate. Try it at https://www.scavify.com/

Fancy Dress Friday

Forget casual wear Friday! Dressing up is the new dressing down. With a lack of variety in our daily lives, weekdays can easily merge into one. Therefore, it is crucial that leaders in a company are able to liven up team meetings and boost morale when we head towards the weekend. Employees are given a different fancy dress theme each week to attend the online meeting in. Prizes are given out for the best dressed. It’s a great way for employees and employers to get to know each other on a different level and have fun. Breaking down barriers that may never have fallen while in the office.

Knowledge Share Training Days

Online training is a great way to further diversify your team’s skills, as well as sharing knowledge between departments. Ask for volunteers to create a webinar or online forum to share some of the transferable skills involved in their job. Or get your team involved in areas of the business they’ve not worked in before like social media. You may even discover some untapped talent.

Team building during social distancing

Alternatively, your team could sign up to a webinar run by a professional in your field. Due to the power and availability of online webinars and the fact that professionals want to share their knowledge so willingly during these tough times. Tthere have been a huge number of webinars run by our favourite professionals. You can run a zoom session alongside so that your team can interact during the breaks or downtime.

And team building during social distancing doesn’t have to stop professional development. Spreading your cultural horizons as a team can still have the same outcome. Famous faces, galleries, museums and performers are giving unrivalled free access to content like never before. So, make an event of it and attend that virtual gig, performance or exhibition together.

Team building during social distancing

Despite our best efforts as a nation, it doesn’t seem that coronavirus will be going anywhere anytime soon. Optimistically though, companies are embracing the challenge of adapting to new ways of working in order to survive. Within that, team building during social distancing should be near the top of the priority list. Afterall, a company’s true resilience and strength to recover comes from its greatest asset: its team.

Social distancing will affect bringing the team together for a company meeting too.  Here’s one way in which you can safely meet: Social Distance Meeting

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 May 22nd 2020

The Sustainable Dilemma

The Sustainable Dilemma

There has been one winner through the coronavirus pandemic; the environment. Changes we never dreamt were possible have happened in a matter of months. And on a global scale. We’ve seen the cancellation of eight out of ten international flights. Waters are clearing of plastic and pollution. Air quality is improving. Endangered species are returning to their natural habitats. In Venice, the waterways are clear. The people of China are able to breath clean air. And in New York, where my daughter lives and coronavirus has devastated so many, the levels of pollution have dropped by 50%. This city epitomises the sustainable dilemma – can we maintain the environmental benefits without the threat of pandemic pain?

The Sustainable Dilemma

 

It may be a miracle amongst the madness, but will we learn lessons for the long-term? Will doubters such as Donald Trump accept global warming as a scientific fact? It was the change our planet badly needed. Yet it may never have happened without a threat more imminent than the environmental catastrophe that has been lingering in our peripheral vision for many years.

The Sustainable Dilemma

 

The Events Industry

 

Within the events industry this raises a huge dilemma; one that I shared my thoughts on in my Conference News column at the beginning of this year. Events are by nature consumers of environmental resources. Energy use for a full lighting production for instance is substantial. Many elements of an event will be single use. Then there’s food waste, plastic consumption, car travel and air miles. Plus, a whole host of other factors to consider. It gives planners the sustainable dilemma – and a challenge!

 

In recent years, the conundrum has been that people have been eager to reduce their impact on the environment, yet they still want the impact and drama of lavish, glamourous events. As event planners, we’ve been charged with marrying desires that are polar opposites to one another. An almost impossible task. But has the coronavirus crisis given us the beginnings of a solution?

Social Distance

 

In the short term, social distancing measures will go some way towards keeping up the progress we’ve made environmentally. It’s unlikely we’ll be allowed to host large-scale events for some time. While we find our feet in a new world, small is better. We’ll have to throw all of our creativity into making events that are pared back in scale, but NOT in vision.

 

Another consequence of time spent in lockdown, is there has been a renewed understanding that we can survive on less. People are taking joy from the smaller things in life. Events will therefore need to respond and show reductions in energy, food and environmental consumption, honing-in on attention to detail. Small events CAN be beautiful. More thoughtful. More manageable. Clients will however need to invest in the finer details to make them successful. That TLC touch that makes all the difference.

 

Innovation

 

A different question is, can events really become more sustainable while maintaining their scale and impact? On this point, only time will tell. Event planners need to turn to their greatest assets to solve the dilemma: innovation. As I mentioned, I wrote a column about this very subject at the beginning of the year and I’ll leave you with some of those thoughts to summarise now.

 

“We need to tackle the challenge in the way that I deal with every event. I take every individual element and assess how we can deliver it with creativity and style, and now, with a more sustainable edge. Work with suppliers to minimise plastics and packaging. Look at low-energy options. Take care of your team’s wellbeing. Employ local venues, caterers and florists to lessen the burden of travel. For large events, I accept the task is daunting, but it shouldn’t be avoided. Perfect? Your solutions will evolve over time. You may not be able to change everything at once. But every swap, change, new idea and alternative option will make a difference.”

 

THE EXTRA FACTOR

Finally, this article in the Independent takes a closer look at the air pollution rates, and the changes we have seen in just a couple of months: TRULY startling! https://www.independent.co.uk/news/coronavirus-pollution-environment-lockdown-carbon-emissions-charts-a9510636.html

Having also been lucky enough to visit Venice for work and fun, the pictures here of the beautifully clear canals are astonishing and make the sustainable dilemma more apparent: https://youtu.be/HVwjs_D_kRI

The Sustainable Dilemma The Sustainable Dilemma The Sustainable Dilemma

 

-Liz Taylor, CEO. Taylor Lynn Corporation

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 May 18th 2020

Social Distance for Meetings

Social Distance for Meetings

Over the past two months I’ve done a lot of thinking about how we can begin to deliver events again. Most of you will know. I’m not the type of person to just accept that I’m unable to work indefinitely. When I hit a wall, I tend to look for something to knock it down with. If I can’t knock it down, I find a way to climb over it. So, my self-isolation has become a time for reflection. Brainstorming and planning for how we can start to deliver events when the Government begins to ease the lockdown rules.  Embracing the social distance for meetings philosophy.

In this article I’ll present my ideas about how the events industry can begin to recover. Ways in which we can get back to doing what we love; meeting.

As an event planner of 36 years of experience, I know that finding a social distance for meetings solution will only be possible by working collaboratively with venues and clients. I ’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts. Can we make this possible?

social distance for meetings

Beginning with baby steps

My first thought is that restrictions will determine that we will need to start off small. So, my skeleton plan is about how I think TLC will be able to deliver meetings of up to 50 people in the first instance.  Simply put, adopting the social distance for meetings approach will be much simpler with smaller groups.  We’ll need to hone our provision of these smaller micro meetings, then begin to think bigger and better until we can get back to delivering the large-scale wow factor events.

One solution could be to spread an event out over a few days, with smaller groups attending each day. You could even bring everyone who has attended together virtually on the final day with.

Alternatively, in a venue with more than one event room, organise the event content into smaller sub events. Delegates could be moved round the venue in an orderly and organised way. This could ensure that different groups don’t mingle, with each event space being cleaned in between.

All the Ps – protection, preparation, prevention

Staggered arrival times. Sending out pre-meeting safety packs detailing the steps a company is taking to protect delegates. Giving access to easily reachable sanitisation stations. Meetings will be all about thorough preparation to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

And until the world returns to normal, it will be our job as organisers of events to allay any fears and reassure delegates every precaution has been taken to ensure their safety. That means clear communication will be key.

social distance for meetings

Finding the right venue

Finding the perfect space to host your meeting will never be more important. Bigger will most certainly be better for smaller events. Businesses will need to find a venue that’s much larger than needed, so for a meeting of 50, we’d probably suggest a room that can host 250.

Layout within that space will be another consideration – with each delegate (or group of delegates depending on what’s allowed) being given ample space to social distance themselves from other people in the room.

Access to the outdoors is going to be another key factor in choosing to hire an event space. The latest information on COVID-19 shows that it’s easier to prevent the spread of coronavirus outdoors. Giving delegates frequent breaks in the open air will be hugely important also give venue teams time to clean the rooms frequently. But this will need to be staggered and well organised to prevent a mass exodus!

If the weather permits, why not hold the whole thing outside.

Non-Contact Catering

Buffets with precision organisation should be the way forward when it comes to catering at events. I’m fairly certain there will be no sit-down meals for a while, unless we adopt the approach that some restaurants in Europe are taking with clear Perspex screens segregating diners.
My preference would be small plates. There’s no need for service and attendees can help themselves without touching serving utensils – limiting the possibility of cross-contamination between groups of people.

Another idea would be to make up individual picnic baskets with single servings for each person, this could include some gorgeous cakes for afternoon tea, or a selection of cold meats, cheeses and breads for a more continental approach. Blankets could be laid out on a lawn with adequate spacing in between to adhere to social distancing while still allowing guests to mingle.

social distance for meetings

And for teas and coffees why not send out a personalised reusable cup ahead of the event within a delegate welcome pack. Another way to reassure your guests of cleanliness and minimal contact with venue staff.

Related Topic: How to Put the Wow Factor into an Event

Hybrid meetings

With a limit on numbers, businesses will really have to think about who they send to meetings. Only those who are integral should/will be able to attend. But by embracing technology and with careful organisation, it may be that a mix of virtual and actual attendees becomes the new norm.

Here is where an event planner would be able to add lots of value.  Making those virtual attendees feel as much a part of the event as those there on the day will be a challenge. Interactive elements will need to be handled in a creative, innovative way to bring the room together.

But with the recent VE Day celebrations as an example, it could mean that we reach even more people with events and messages.

By providing people with the means to have their own social distanced garden party at home, organisers believe that thousands more people became involved in the celebrations in their own way, than would have attended any official gatherings.

social distance for meetings

Attention to detail

In a world where smaller gatherings will become the norm (even for a short time), personal touches will become more important than ever.  Small is certainly more manageable when it comes to delivering the right social distance for meetings approach. And small can be beautiful. But companies will have to invest in micro events to elevate them and ensure they’re successful.

So, these are some steps I feel could be taken to mitigate risks of small-scale events and meetings as we begin to get back to business. Some companies may think ‘why would we get an event planner in for a small event?’ As always my answer would be that ‘the devil is in the detail’. But in fact, it’s even more important now to ensure that smaller events are planned to perfection, to allow us to progress further in the future.

social distance for meetings

Can we get people meeting again with the right social distance for meetings approach? Thoughts people? Over to you.

-Liz Taylor,  CEO, Taylor Lynn Corporation

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 May 7th 2020

Coronavirus Lost Generation of 2020

Coronavirus Lost Generation of 2020

Since the beginning of the pandemic employment or indeed the uncertainty has been one of my concerns. New research into youth unemployment has found that 600,000 more young people could be out of work this year due to the coronavirus. With pay and prospect ‘scarred’ for years. INDEPENDENT ARTICLE They will become the Coronavirus lost generation of 2020.

I accept that in the great scheme of things this could be perceived as way down the pecking order. People are dying whilst others are losing their livelihoods. It may be true that some, if not the majority, of young people could go back to live at home with parents and ride out any possible recession with their whole lives to rebuild their careers. But, there’s a bigger picture that many of us are overlooking as we become consumed with the herculean task of keeping our businesses afloat.

If we don’t support and nurture new talent into our sector, they will go elsewhere. For me, a person who has built a business with the help of young event industry talent, this would be a tragedy.

Commitment to New Talent

I’ve always committed to having an intern at TLC. And what brings the current situation into even sharper focus is very personal to me. In 2007 I hired my now Events Director Jess Randall fresh from university. She came to us with such energy, enthusiasm and creativity that I simply couldn’t let her go. She was a raw talent and I immediately knew that with the right guidance and in the right environment she would be a force to be reckoned with. So, I told her that once she had graduated there would be a job for her at TLC. The rest as they say is history.

She’s been with us for 3 years and is an incredibly important part of TLC. Creative. Enthusiastic. Hard working. Brilliant with clients, Jess has proved to be everything you want in a young event director. Developing the next generation of event planners is something I’ve dedicated a lot of my energy to. I love nothing better than delivering my annual lecture to the budding event planners at Manchester Metropolitan Uni. Taking time to share experiences, and my own brand of wisdom.

 

coronavirus lost generation 2020

The Lost Generation of Planners

Unfortunately, the first sector to shut down is likely to be the last to reopen for obvious reasons. The events industry has, frankly, been decimated by the pandemic. But even with all of this going on in the background, the thought of graduates, talented individuals, who will qualify and be sent out into a jobs market where there are no jobs, has been bothering me.

Not only have they had the joy of graduation taken from them. No final exams. Parties cancelled. Post-graduate travels on hold. The final chapter in their academic career simply stopped mid-sentence and carefree university life became a memory. Now they’re being released into an economic wasteland.  However, this is about more than just wanting to nurture new talent. It’s about the event industry as a whole and how we move forward to avoid allowing this crop of talented planners to be remembered as the coronavirus lost generation of 2020!

Our responsibility (with Government support) is surely to ensure that these eager, talented individuals realise their potential within our industry and don’t go elsewhere. They’re the future of the profession we’ve given our lives, hearts and souls to.

The Youthful Solution

I believe that the key to our recovery partly lies within this generation. I’m no technophobe. I may be known to Insta post at 3am, but I wasn’t brought up in a world where I learned to swipe and pinch before I could read and write. Young people coming through are digital natives. And now, more than ever, the events industry needs to harness technology and innovation.

In an industry built on bringing people together, we need to find, new, safe ways of doing so while we ride out the rest of storm.

When I first started out, people just organised their own parties and meetings, much like they are doing now on Zoom, Skype and Google hangout. Then event planners came along with inspiration and creativity and events were elevated to a level nobody could have imagined. It’s this enthusiasm that we need right now – new avenues of thought that can add value to companies finding their way to doing business in the ‘new normal’. The Coronavirus lost generation of 2020 could be a major part of our recovery.

coronavirus lost generation 2020

To Conclude

Finally, what I do know is that as an industry we won’t simply give up. We’re a hardy bunch. It’s taken all my resolve to stay focused and positive, but I have ridden out recessions, divorces and more. It may be a bumpy road, but I’m committed to ensuring that TLC survives and thrives. And when that happens, I will be certain to welcome a new intern into the fold.

For more information on how TLC are staying positive during Coronavirus, take a look here.

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 May 5th 2020

How to Choose the Right Event Company

How to Choose the Right Event Company

We are in the midst of our industry’s perfect storm. There is no doubt that whether you are a corporate event planner, SME or event agency professional, the next few months will present incredible business challenges. I am an optimist. I believe that we can build a strong future for the event sector. The companies who will get through these times will be those able to diversify, navigate the choppy financial waters and are bold enough to look long term with their marketing. I intend to be one of them. And I believe that on the ‘other side’ of this virus, companies will more than ever look to events as a vital communication tool. Whether it be reconnecting with customers, rebuilding their brand or rewarding loyal staff; an event is still a unique brand platform. That’s why, although I wrote this earlier in the year to offer advice on how to choose the right event company, I think it is just as relevant now as it was then. Those businesspeople planning ahead, and wanting the support of an event professional, read on.

How to Choose the Right Event Company

Set your objectives

Firstly, when understanding how to choose the right event company, remember this. Events come in all shapes and sizes. And so do event management companies. Whether it’s an employee recognition event to celebrate achievements, a staff Christmas party to boost morale or a customer event to generate sales or launch a new product, the first step in any event is to define why you’re holding it in the first place. Draw up with a list of measurable objectives covering exactly what do you hope to achieve and why. Only then can you begin to hone your list of potential suppliers and see how they hold up against your aims.

Go by word of mouth

I’m a firm believer in recommendations. It’s how I’ve grown my business and built my reputation. Reach out to individuals and organisations within your professional network for their advice, introductions and honest opinions. You can also do this via LinkedIn and via other social media outlets. If you’ve attended a particularly memorable event, then contact the organisers to see who was behind it.

Unpick their Portfolio

Once you have a shortlist, research a company’s testimonials and case studies. There’s no harm in contacting some of the companies they’ve worked with to gauge their experience. If they’ve done repeat business with recognisable brands, it’s a good indicator you’re on to a winner.

On the other hand, don’t just opt for the company that shouts the loudest, that’s always appearing in the media or who has scooped all of the top awards. Accolades may highlight that an event management company has achieved great things, but they can’t tell you if it can do great things for you. Which brings me to the next point.

Is the chemistry right?

Over the past thirty years I’ve worked with many different people – from huge organisations and to celebrities and private clients who prefer to stay that way. Some relationships thrived. Others fell by the wayside. The difference was chemistry.

The litmus test for anyone in knowing how to choose the right event company, should always be whether you feel you can work with the person or team that’s putting your event together. Ironically there’s no scientific formula for how to measure this. It’s all about the feeling. Your gut instinct. You don’t have to socialise with them, you don’t even have to like them personally (although it helps), but a mutually respectful professional relationship is essential.

Make sure you’re on the same page

If you’re thinking low key and affordable and they’re wanting to hire Beyonce to play at Grand Central Station (either of which would be fabulous by the way) the relationship is never going to work out. Agree the budget from the outset. And that doesn’t mean an event can’t have the wow factor, it’s about making money work hard by spending it in the right areas. If they’re worth they’re salt they’ll find creative ways to achieve your goals within budget

How to Choose the Right Event Company

Are they qualified?

Experience vs qualifications. The old conundrum. For me, the perfect recipe should include a good mix of both.

Are your philosophies aligned?

What are the core values that set your company apart? And how does the event management company fit into your overall philosophy? If environmental issues are at your core then choosing an event management with great eco credentials should be a consideration. Perhaps CSR is high up your priority list – find a like-minded company to reflect what you value most. You might also find this article interesting too: CSR

How to Choose the Right Event Company

Become a secret shopper

Attend an event the company has planned. This may feel like snooping, but it doesn’t have to be done under the radar. I’d have absolutely no problem with a potential client attending one of our events. In fact, I know that allowing them to experience one of our events as a guest is the best way that I can promote my company. Seeing a team in the full throws of an event will allow you to see first-hand how they operate. It will alleviate any worries or lay bare any issues – either way it will help with your decision.

How do they measure success?

Simply putting on a brilliant event then moving onto the next one isn’t good enough. Neither is saying an event was successful without any measurable results to back this up. Events can only prove their worth if there is a robust evaluation process in place. And this needs to be front of mind right from the outset. What monitoring and evaluation steps has the company built into the pitch? If it’s not mentioned that’s a red flag for me.

Check the T’s and C’s

Last on my list of key advice to anyone asking how to choose the right event company is – check the fine print. What is their billing structure? When does their invoice need to be paid? And does this fit with your internal processes? These are questions that need to be answered at the outset to stop a relationship turning sour at the end.

I hoped this has helped you in understanding that knowing how to choose the right event company is about more than a just a spreadsheet exercise – if not – call me!

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 May 5th 2020

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

The organisation of any wedding needs a keen eye for detail. However, when the bride’s vision involves three days of celebrations, a bespoke-built nightclub, a wedding breakfast in the backdrop of a magical garden, a Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast complete with medieval village and sunken banqueting hall, AND a guest appearance by the couple’s favourite band Texas. Well, that’s when a little bit of TLC magic goes a long way. Oh, and did we mention we had just four months to pull the whole thing together?

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

This show-stopping wedding was certainly a party to remember, and a tale of two themes. It was a huge production, that involved some extreme logistical conundrums that would have challenged even the most seasoned event planner.  But luckily – if there’s one thing that as one of the country’s top wedding planners, TLC loves, it’s a challenge. Here our Operations Director, Ellie Barnes shares the unique event from her perspective:

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

The Brief

Firstly, like most TLC productions this wedding was completely bespoke. It was to take place in Autumn in the magnificent surroundings on 18th Century Country Manor in Hampshire. The bride was very creative and had some very specific and imaginative ideas which made it both challenging and immensely exciting to work on.

It was to be a two-day event.  Both days being hosted in a marquee structure that we had purpose built on the venue lawns. The wedding ceremony would take place inside the hotel, with the wedding breakfast in a marquee. This was to be dressed as an enchanted garden. A French band providing the entertainment. Then it was on to the ‘after party’, which was a “nightclub” we created in the venue’s event space.

Day two took the form of a medieval banquet. A Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast. Here the wedding party spent the whole day in the grounds dressed in medieval clothing and had to gain entry to a purpose-built medieval village. It ended with a feast to rival that of any Winterfell celebration!

And the icing on the cake. We had just four months to organise the whole event as we were brought on board when the couple realised they needed extra resources. An event management company that could really make things happen.

The Date

September 2015

The Location

The client had committed to The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire before securing our services. Although it may not have been our recommendation for this event due to the very specific instructions from the bride, it’s an absolutely magnificent property and the staff there were brilliant to work with and couldn’t have been more helpful.

The Planning

There were 220 guests, a combination of some from overseas and those from the UK. The bride was German, and her parents didn’t speak English, so right from the off we knew we’d have to arrange practical things like translators so that all the guests would have the same wonderful experience.

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

Throughout the planning of the event we worked very closely with the groom’s PA – she was the key contact for the event, and we were in almost daily contact for around two years leading up the event.

One of the reasons for this was that the production was huge. We basically had to put together two vastly different full events, back-to-back. The construction of the sets for these events would usually take multiple days but TLC is renowned for thinking outside the box and making an event even more sensational. It was in trying to solve this problem that we actually came up with the masterstroke that made the event even more special. A sensational turnaround, exposing a medieval banqueting hall and home to our Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast, that had been built underneath the original marquee.

The Concept

The marquee-build started 10 days prior to the wedding, and it wasn’t just a simple structure.  The bride envisaged a magical garden for the wedding breakfast marquee. This included a huge central orchid tree and floral canopy, scenic stone tables and an abundance of flowing ivory drapes. It looked sensational.

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

For the day two of the celebration, the bride (an avid Games of Thrones fan) wanted us to create a huge Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast. A banquet room complete with a sunken floor and long wooden tables.

To enable us to achieve this, we came up with a two levels concept for the event.  As with all of our events, this was the intricate and unforgettable element that provided the wow factor. Firstly, the Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast marquee was built.  It was dressed and then covered with the magical garden marquee. After the wedding reception finished on the Saturday, we then ripped out the magical garden to reveal the banquet underneath.  We then worked through the night to complete the build of the medieval marquee. Top wedding planners have to be inventive all the time – finding solutions is part of what makes us a key element to wedding planning.

The Party – 1

This was one of those parties that part of me wishes I’d been a guest at, rather than being the organiser. Guests arrived on the Thursday evening/Friday morning and we arranged spa treatments, hairdressers as well as all sorts of activities within the grounds of the hotel including falconry and horse riding.

On the Friday evening there was a welcome BBQ for all the guests on the terrace of the hotel, where the London Essentials band performed.

Saturday was the day of the ceremony.  This took place in a room at the hotel, guests then enjoyed a drinks reception and canapes on the terrace while being entertained by a string quartet and magician.

Guests were then taken through to the magical garden for the wedding breakfast. They were partying and on the stage before the starters even came out thanks to the amazing Swan Band. The hotel staff looked shell-shocked – they had never seen such a high energy party. After the food, champagne and speeches we had purpose built another terrace outside where there was a huge firework display. During this time, we had transformed a conference room within the hotel into a nightclub, complete with banquet booth seating, a bespoke dancefloor and bar where a DJ, saxophonist and percussion band performed.

Nobody at the party would have guessed that during this time we were busy getting the marque ready for the big reveal the next day.

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

Related Topic: Fresh look? Want to update the traditional elements of your wedding? Here’s how!

The Party – 2

The following day, we arranged for more spa treatments and activities in the hotel grounds, where we had created a medieval village. It had a kind of festival feel to it. With a tavern bar, market stalls, pottery making, book binding, jewellery making tents, BBQs cooking food authentic to the era, as well as medieval songs/dances.  All in keeping with our game of Thrones Inspired wedding feast theme for that day.

All guests were dressed in costumes they were asked to bring with them for the weekend. We hired a roving herb seller, a keeper of the fayre and pickpocket and all fayre workers to add to the excitement.

On return to the marquee everyone was amazed by transformation. The Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast was waiting!

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

The bride and groom were sat on thrones and the banquet was laid out centrally down the long tables. The meal was purposefully interrupted by a jester who then introduced different medieval acts/entertainment.  After the meal, our piece de resistance. We dropped a surprise reveal of the bride and groom’s favourite band, Texas, who performed a 60-minute show. The party went on until the early hours and everyone, I’m sure, had the time of their lives.

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

The Challenges

All of the above! The sheer magnitude was the biggest challenge of this event.  The fact that we turned it around with such limited planning time is nothing short of a miracle. That, and the quick turn around of the different party elements, should have been impossible. Somehow, we made it work. It took the most meticulous planning to have all the different elements come together smoothly but there were relatively little hitches over the weekend. That is something we are very proud of at TLC.

Highlights

The images do not even do justice to how spectacular this event was. There were so many highlights to choose from. I have to say the big reveal of the Game of Thrones inspired wedding feast marquee was a big highlight. And not forgetting the surprise of Texas performing. The bride and groom had no idea that this was going to happen. They were awestruck. It was like something out of a movie.

Game of Thrones Inspired Wedding Feast

On Reflection

Just talking about this event now still really excites me. I am so proud that not only did I do it, but it was a huge success and the bride and groom were thrilled. It felt impossible at the beginning, but everything went so well and was so well organised – we left nothing to chance. Working on this event was a dream come true and the whole TLC team pulled together to make it extraordinary. Top wedding planners don’t work in isolation.  We rely on an army of amazing suppliers. What a team we make.

Well this party was a huge success – if you had to choose two themes for your wedding….what would they be? We would love to hear from you!

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