What is your most memorable wedding?
I was honoured to be selected as toastmaster for a lovely, well-known couple at Donington Hall, Derbyshire. Some guests arrived by helicopter, some by motorbike. The dashing Bridegroom arrived on a Norton Dominator SS, James Bond Style, dismounting to walk through the hall to the chapel where his stunning bride was waiting. After the wedding breakfast, guests including bride and bridegroom enjoyed motorcycle racing around the Hall on a race approved track.. The wedding breakfast, heartfelt speeches and entertainment made for an unforgettable day!
Describe your style in 5 adjectives.
Presence, charisma, stylish, caring, and professional.
What about your business are you most proud of?
The caring, personalised service i give to my clients and their guests. Getting to know them in our meeting beforehand, i am able to deliver the style, feel and atmosphere they envisage, and bring it to life. I love the job and the feeling of satisfaction afterwards from having hugely raised the feel-good factor of the day.
What is your No. 1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Planning and preparation. Engage a professional Toastmaster to deliver your plan, thereby taking all the worries away. So much time and money is spent on weddings - why would you leave it to chance? Trust the professional to deliver, don't leave it to an untrained but willing best man. Check his/her training and experience. Eg The Guild of Professional Toastmasters sets the most demanding training and standards. Speak to your toastmaster first to ensure you are happy to engage him or her. Then relax...
What is your favourite personal touch you have seen at a wedding?
On introducing a couple onto the dance-floor for their first dance, this beautiful moment was choreographed with the father of the bride leading his daughter onto the floor. At a precise, rehearsed moment in the song, he symbolically handed over to the bridegroom seamlessly. It captured the emotion and coming together of two families.
Describe your typical process with a couple.
Initial enquiry by email or text message. Then clients talk to me by phone without any obligation. When they decide to engage me, simple admin carried out with contract and questionnaire, and a 50% deposit is requested. From that point i am available for advice, which is reassuring. Two to three months before the big day we will have a meeting at the venue or other convenient location, and spend an hour or more talking and walking through the plan. On the day i will arrive 90 minutes before guests arrival and be ready to welcome and direct them. And then it is time to relax and enjoy the day safe in the knowledge that there is nothing to worry about; Leave it all to me and enjoy your time with friends and family.
What is the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to plan?
Introducing a Drag Queen at a same sex wedding, which had to be kept secret, as it was a surprise. NB. Surprises are fine for the guests, but i need to know about them!
How do you ensure a stress-free wedding?
The reassurance that my clients get from me. They know me, we have built a professional relationship before the wedding day, in meeting and on the phone. I understand exactly how they want the day to unfold, and how formal / informal they want the day to be. So they can relax, knowing their guests will be well looked after, informed, and in the right place at the right time. Most clients these days want the wedding to progress to time, with guests feeling at ease, relaxed and knowing they are encouraged to enjoy themselves. For the speechmakers i provide a framework on which to hang their speeches - it becomes much less daunting when following my advice. In addition, having served for 30 years as senior officer in the Metropolitan Police, and been at the heart of high risk, critical incidents, i am unflappable. Any unforeseen issue that may arise is dealt with, often without the bride and bridegroom even needing to know.
What do you love most about your job?
Speak with your venue wedding co-ordinator. Ask questions in your planning, there is no such thing as a silly question. If in doubt, or you would like a second opinion, ask the advice of your professional toastmaster.
What is your favourite moment at a wedding?
The formal entry. A really lovely part of the day for bride and bridegroom, as they enter the room for the first time as husband and wife. (or husband and husband, or wife and wife) An air of expectation in the room...the route has already been cleared by me (longest route to top table for weddings), gavelling to get guests to stand... final short briefing to bride and bridegroom before gavelling, getting silence, then making my formal announcement. Then, the double doors open simultaneously, whereupon i lead the bride and bridegroom to the top table. Rapturous applause all the way to top table i will guarantee. To see the smiles on bride and bridegroom and their guests is a privilege and delight!