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A day in the life: planner at top Berkshire wedding venue reveals all

Tasha Eden, wedding co-ordinator at De Vere Wokefield Estate, shares priceless advice on how to get the most out of your big day as she tells us about her daily routine

A day in the life: planner at top Berkshire wedding venue reveals all: Image 1

The Independent recently published research indicating that 39% of newlyweds said that organising their wedding felt like taking on a second job, and two in five thought the process of planning a wedding is now more time-consuming than it would have been 20 years ago.

Working hard behind the scenes is Tasha Eden, Wedding Executive at De Vere Wokefield Estate, who gives couples advice on how to make the most of their wedding coordinator to alleviate some of the pressure.

Buy into the team as well as the venue

Many venues will provide idyllic, picture-perfect backdrops and whimsical settings for Instagram-able wedding photos, but couples need to look beyond this to discover which venue will deliver ‘the best day of their lives’. To do this, focus needs to turn towards the hotel staff and service.

Wedding tours will typically be hosted by a member of the wedding team when a couple is first scoping out their venue of choice, and often this person will end up being the main point of contact in the lead-up to the big day. As a result, couples need to be confident that that this person is knowledgeable and enthusiastic, has a clear understanding of possible logistics, such as alternative options if the weather turns, and that they are efficient and helpful.

While on the tour, take the time to observe the wider team of hotel staff and the way they interact with customers – it’s a good indicator as to what sort of service you’re likely receive on your big day. With the average wedding costing more than £27,000, according to Money Advice Service, couples need to be reassured that their guests will have a fantastic experience on the day and that their wedding is in safe, friendly hands.

Listen to advice

Once the venue is booked, listen to the advice of the wedding coordinator during the various meetings that will be arranged. With so much excitement and ideas flying around it can be easy to lose sight of the basics and overlook what will work logistically. It’s the wedding coordinator’s job to flag up any oversights, offer advice on what’s achievable, discuss alternative options where necessary and work with the couple to achieve a plan that meets expectations.

Use their contacts

Most hotels and wedding venues have worked hard to form long-lasting and trusted partnerships with local suppliers. In most cases there should be no obligation to use these suppliers, but this could prove extremely valuable in terms of cost and time saving and the benefit of working with a supplier who we know delivers an efficient and high-quality service. For example, we work closely with Forever Green Flowers and Cherubs Floral Design for all flower and décor requirements, Sweet Indulgent Cakes which provide a delicious selection of wedding cake flavours and design options, and Red Fox Henleywho are one of our top choices for professional photographers.

Don’t overlook the value of a wedding coordinator’s experience. If they’ve worked with companies that are notoriously late, place unnecessary demands on the couple or charge more than other suppliers for the same service, it really is worth considering an alternative.

For more unique requests – we’ve had everything from helicopter arrivals to a reptile reception drinks experience – check in with your wedding coordinator if they have any ideas of who you could contact locally. It may be surprising to see who they have up their sleeve.

Check out the albums

Some venues will have wedding photo albums either online or dotted around the hotel. According to The Knot, every year 40million people use Pinterest as a source of inspiration when planning their wedding, and while this can provide some great prop ideas and colour themes, nothing quite beats seeing the venue itself transformed. Past weddings at the venue can provide perfect photo backdrop ideas, give an indication of how the room layout will look once set-up, and what colours complement the hotel’s décor.

It’s not just photo albums couples want to see, with technical advances venues now offer an online virtual tour. At De Vere, once the viewing has been done in person, couples can walk through the venue from the comfort of their own home.

Explore the possibilities

Find out what hidden extras the hotel has that might not be obvious from an initial tour. For example, there might be a master of ceremonies that can be included in the package who will guide guests seamlessly through the day, taking the pressure off the ushers or best man who are traditionally the first port-of-call for guests.

If the venue is part of a collection, there may be facilities located in other properties that could be used on the day. For example, De Vere Latimer Estate has a vintage popcorn machine that can be hired out across the portfolio and De Vere Beaumont Estate has a converted horse-box which can be used as a prosecco bar on the lawns during the summer at any of the De Vere properties.

Although all weddings are unique, they have one thing in common – guest experience is central to a wedding’s success. To achieve the perfect day, draw on the skills, talent and experience of the wedding coordinator. They will help to alleviate the stress of organising the big day, provide valuable insight and ensure that everything is taken care of so that all the couple needs to do is to enjoy the celebrations and look forward to the start of a new chapter together.

Sitting in 250-acres of Berkshire parkland, De Vere Wokefield Estate, is a large country estate hotel wedding and events venue. Following a top-to-toe, multi-million-pound makeover, the Mansion House is now home to 87 guestrooms, including 12 luxury suites, and is fully licensed, both indoors and on the lawns to provide legal marriage ceremonies. Click here for more information on Wokefield Estate, and for more great venues, check out the latest issue of Your Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wedding - on sale now.

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