Weddings are big business. Here, we focus on the planners behind the best names in the business, like Caroline Sinclair, Senior Wedding Coordinator at The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club.
How long have you been a wedding planner and what brought you to the role?
I have been a wedding planner for nearly 2 years, I used to run a Pub, Restaurant, Bed and breakfast at the seafront on an Island in Essex and I had someone ask me whether they could hold their wedding with us, with a bit of begging from me the owners agreed. I then went into full wedding mode, teaching myself how to hand calligraphy, arrange flowers, make balloon arches, come up with menus and planned the whole event via email with the Bride to be (I only met them face to face the night prior to the big day).
On the wedding day itself I started at 6am and decorated the whole restaurant, I then ran the event up until around 2am when I sat down with the owners, the Groom’s sister came through to see me and she began to cry with happiness and told me she never dreamed that her brother would be able to afford to have a wedding anywhere near what he did, she couldn’t thank me enough, that was the minute that I knew I wanted to be a wedding planner and I worked for the next ten years to make my dream job a reality.
What is the most challenging thing about your role? Do you have help?
I think that each wedding day brings new challenges, most of these can be fixed behind the scenes and the wedding party would never know! On a wedding day I am constantly thinking about maybe 100 things at once, you go down to check that the flowers are in place and get stopped by the best man asking whether I can take a life size cardboard cut-out of the Groom dressed as a chicken and hide it until his speech… you always need to be one step ahead.
I think time management is the most important thing on a wedding day, I am very lucky to have the help that I do at my Venue, we have an amazing Conference and Banqueting Team and the rest of the staff in the Hotel are just important, from room service, front desk, concierge, duty manager, bar staff, absolutely everyone at a Hotel Venue can make a difference on a wedding day.
What do you like most about your job?
At the end of every wedding I stand in the corner and I watch the first dance. There is nothing more rewarding than watching the whole wedding come together, after the successful running of the day you get to stand there and watch these two people, who you have grown to know over the planning stages, happily and lovingly dance together as if there was no one else in the room.
What was the most unusual wedding/request you have ever helped organise? What is the average size of the wedding?
One of my Bride’s Mothers was a dance teacher and she wanted me to help her to plan a secret dance, she brought 6 of her students (all different ages) to perform a dance which showed off the Bride’s life from childhood to adulthood. It was so emotional and everyone loved it!
The average wedding at my Venue is around 10-0 day guests and 150 Evening guests.
What could you not do without? Ie ipad? To do list?
I could definitely not survive without my to-do list, I have to-do lists for my to-do lists! I also have a Bride drawer in my office, this includes plasters, Kirby grips, hayfever tablets, glue, tissues, baby wipes (no wedding planner can survive without baby wipes), confetti, wellies… the list is quite endless!
I wouldn’t call any of my couples a groomzilla or bridezilla, I always try and put myself into their shoes, how would I feel two hours before I walked down the aisle to the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with, in front of all the people I love the most?