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  • Phoebe@ElisabethShell

Interview with Upton Barn & Walled Garden

Upton Barn & Walled Garden has been my resident Wedding Coordinator address for the last couple of years. They recently asked me to answer a couple of questions regarding what a Wedding Coordinator does and why I became one.

1. What was it that brought you to your career as Wedding Co-ordinator at Upton?

I have always been in hospitality of some sort, from pubs in Bristol, to the bustling Mexican restaurant Wahaca in London to running a soulful cocktail bar in Exeter city centre and events seemed like the next logical move in my career. Wedding Coordination and Event Management had always interested me and having dabbled in festivals and music events the next stone to turn appeared to be the getting hitched one, so jumped at the chance when the opportunity to work with Upton came up!

2. What would you be if you weren’t a wedding co-ordinator?

Ideally, I quite fancy myself as a Tomb-Raider-esque adventurer travelling the world solving puzzles and riddles to find the treasure!!!

3. What do you love most about your job?

The people aspect. Getting to sit down and plan the best day of people’s lives is a very exciting and emotive experience, and seeing them through their journey from the moment they walk through the door to the day they say ‘I do’ is a lovely position to be in.

I also love the ins and out of a wedding day; meeting the fabulous suppliers I work with, organising the finer details and getting to use my creativity behind the styling for many of the couples I work with. I’m also a problem solver and love a tiny bit of drama cropping up occasionally or something that needs to be fixed!!

4. What was the most memorable wedding you have been involved in?

My own…! You can read all about it over on the Coco Wedding Venues blog:

5. Is there a particular theme/style that you adore at the moment?

I love personalised weddings – from the décor to the moments that happen throughout the day, there’s nothing particular I think works best other than the couple doing it for themselves. I’ve had some really beautiful weddings, with couples playing beer pong in the garden to re-enact their meeting at University, table plans made from cricket bats for the keen sportsman and herb pot centre pieces surrounded by votives for the budding gardeners. As long as it has you & your beau stamped all over it, I’d love it!

6. How do you help couples to realise their dream wedding?

First thing first, I listen to them! When people come to me they are usually looking for a relaxed, hassle-free affair, perhaps slightly less formal than other weddings they have been to. Once I have a sense of the couple throughout my meeting with them I can then gather the information and suppliers they have so far and put together an ‘Order of the Day’ for them.

I offer advice and experience to them too, and that wealth of knowledge on what works and doesn’t proves indispensable in the running of the best day of their life!

On the day, I'm there from the off to make sure everything is perfect. Welcoming and supporting their suppliers, setting up the venue just as they have always imagined. I then see them through all the formalities and keep time for them, this means nothing gets forgotten, or over runs but no one has to worry about anything as I do it all for them.

7. What is it about Upton that makes it a fantastic choice for a wedding?

Not only is Upton very beautiful, with a gorgeous mix and match of modern and old, original features, it also has a ‘feeling’ about it (cosy in the winter, cool and relaxed in the summer). There’s a great flow of spaces for different aspects throughout the day, and the winning combo of our inside/outside ceremony areas of which you wouldn’t be unhappy if it did rain on your day (The Cider Barn is so lovely with draped fairy lights and lime rendered walls) – quite a few couples pick it over the lavender aisle anyway!

8. What is the most important part of your job on the big day?

It’s the small things that people forget about when they don’t have a Wedding Coordinator. I'm the one who mean your friends and family don’t need to lug chairs around and can spend the morning getting ready rather than laying up the Wedding Breakfast. I’ll be the one to find your wellies and umbrella and get you outside for that incredible picture of you dancing in the rain. I will calm the bride and find tissues for the groom. Sew up split trousers, make the grand entrance perfect, keep the Ushers in line and find a DJ if the band get stuck on the M5. I’ll give my mini cheddars to the screaming toddler whose parents forgot some snacks. You won’t forget to cut the cake and I’ll put Aunty Doris in a taxi if she’s had one too many later on in the evening.

The most important job? I’ll be there doing everything, so that you and your loved ones can R E L A X and E N J O Y the day!!!

9. What skills do you need to be a great wedding coordinator?

Passionate about people and about weddings, and to forget about J-Lo in The Wedding Planner! Physically pretty fit because we move a lot of furniture, and stamina because we’re on our feet for long hours. Being super organised and to have a good memory. The ability to react calmly to literally anything that could happen (lots of things happen at weddings…!) and the ability to diplomatically overrule any Mum-zillas out there!!!!

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