The reasons for choosing a wedding venue are so personal to each couple, but one thing that really matters to every bride and groom we meet is the people who will be looking after you, from the moment you arrive for a show-around to the moment you say goodnight on your big day. That’s why we are so pleased that with every wedding booked at Birdsall, Lindsay Whitwell, Founder of the award-winning LW Events is there to help you plan and co-ordinate memories that will last a lifetime. We found out a bit more about her so you know who you will be meeting at our showcase on Sunday 29 April (which you can register for here).
What made you get into the wedding industry?
How I came to be a wedding planner has lots of answers, but the reason I am motivated to be a planner remains a constant – life moves along at such a pace, you blink and a month has passed, a year, a decade even, so when a day comes along that deserves to be celebrated and cherished I take utter joy in being there to make sure the happy couple enjoys every moment, spends it with their friends and family, without worrying about hosting the day or what might go wrong. And I get to add a little extra magic; touches they haven’t even thought about to make the day truly special.
How I came to be a planner takes a little more explanation; I studied theatre and I have always loved putting on productions, conceiving an idea and then finding ways to bring it to life. My Wedding lightbulb moment was actually at my sister’s best friend’s wedding, which was being hosted at her parent’s farm. My sister was maid of honour and with her limited skills had somehow been coerced into making the dresses for herself and the other bridesmaids. After various hitches she was still adding finishing touches (like hems and straps!) through the night, on the eve of the wedding. I was duly drafted in to take over her other bridesmaid responsibilities along with a few other oversights. Armed with nothing but a 4×4 from the farm and my knack for problem-solving I was tasked with various jobs including, but not limited to the following; finding the person who could make the church bells toll after the ceremony (an oversight during the planning), styling the bride’s hair (medical emergency meant a last minute cancellation), collecting guests from the station (who didn’t realise the farm wasn’t in the heart of the city) and most importantly keeping my sister topped up with coffee whilst she sewed.
I loved every chaos-filled moment; rather than balk under the pressure, I managed each issue with a calm determination and a beaming smile that I had been trusted with such weighty responsibility. On the day the bridesmaids were fully dressed for the occasion and the wedding went without a hitch. I received a special thanks during the speeches and a toast to the ‘pop up planner’.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There are too many to mention! I get goosebumps whenever a bride walks down the aisle, and cry at least once every wedding day. I have also been lucky enough to see some famous singers and bands perform at my weddings and parties; Clean Bandit was definitely a night I won’t forget!
What can a couple expect your help with as part of the Birdsall House package?
I will be there at every step of your planning and wedding day, to offer advice and support.
I feel lucky enough to have the best of Yorkshire’s Wedding Suppliers in my Little Black Book, so if you’re nervous about finding the perfect cake maker or photographer, or 20’s Jazz band, you can relax and know that I am there to help.
I will also be on hand to oversee the set up of your wedding, so you can spend the day with your family and friends, and coordinate the day itself, ensuring everything goes to plan.
Everyone knows there’s something that doesn’t go to plan on a wedding day. What’s the most usual thing you’ve had to do as a wedding planner?
Sew a bride into her dress.
I was working with a beautiful bride whose gorgeous one shoulder gown came apart at the seam – during the post-ceremony cocktails and canapés. I always carry my kit boxes which of course contain a sewing kit and I put my remedial needle skills to good use – my Mum was very proud of me!
Every problem has a solution, you just have to find it – that’s my motto.
What would you recommend couples plan first after getting engaged?
First, I think couples should take time to enjoy being engaged, enjoy the romance of the moment and take some time to live your love story.
Then it’s Venue, Menu and Dress!
Wedding planning can seem incredibly overwhelming at first, but when you’ve made a few big decisions things really do seem to fit into place and the subsequent decisions are much easier to make. I would create a guest list first, because the number attending your wedding will be one of the biggest influences on the venue you choose.
When making any big decisions I would look at what is essential for you, what would be a dream come true and what is negotiable. If there is one thing that you enjoy most as a couple (eating out, drinking beautiful wines, listening to live music…) focus on that first, make the day yours.
What is your favourite room at Birdsall House?
This is so difficult and my favourite changes every time I am there. If I had to choose just one it would probably be the Oval Room. I love the story of how it was added to the house to show the length of an extraordinary horse jump by the owner of the time, but also the proportions of the room as well as the Asian Screen and Tea Chests. When the candles are lit and somebody is playing the piano, I swoon – it’s incredibly beautiful.
Who would you recommend couples follow on social media for inspiration?
There are so many great wedding bloggers and Instagram accounts. I love The White Sparrow – it’s a breath-taking barn venue in Texas, but they also feature some incredibly beautiful detail shots. Other favourites are The Bridal Theory, Nicola Dixon Photography Co., and a little off-the-wall, but I adore Yew Kong Photography Japan.
When you’re not planning weddings, how do you like to spend your time?
I still love the theatre and watching movies; so many of my ideas come from what I see on the stage and screen. I am happiest outdoors, so I try to take my dog for as many walks in the woods as possible – she loves coming to Birdsall House and exploring the grounds with me. Yoga is essential for me to keep my mind focused, especially at the height of wedding season. And in September I will take part in the Great North Run half marathon for the first time, wish me luck!
What do you think a lot of couples overlook when planning their big day?
Planning alone time – weddings are magical days, but they fly-by in a haze of laughter and tears and well-wishes; it’s absolutely essential that you have 10 minutes alone with the person you will spend the rest of your life with; make sure you plan that into the day; sneak off for a few stolen kisses, your guests won’t miss you for a few minutes, I promise.
What is your favourite cocktail?
I’m not much of a cocktail drinker actually, but I love a glass of champagne! As my style hero once said –
“I only drink champagne on two occasions; when I am in love and when I am not” – Coco Chanel
We are delighted to be working with the acclaimed chef Tom Coe here at Birdsall. As Head Chef at Coe Catering he is experienced in creating bespoke menus for private customers and delivering fine dining experiences in a variety of incredible locations.
We know food is really important to couples planning their day, and we don’t think they should be limited with a set menu where there are only a few options to choose from. That’s why we love working with Tom! He knows Birdsall really well and instead of just giving you a list of two or three options he’ll find out what you want and make it happen, and if you don’t know where to begin, he has the experience to help.
Growing up nearby in Malton, Tom attended Leiths School of Food and Wine. After qualifying he began working in Michelin Starred restaurants such as Chez Bruce and La Trompette as well as a number of other critically – acclaimed restaurants in London. Following this experience Tom set up Chef Tom Coe catering for private parties, the success of this lead to the development of Coe Catering.
Here, we get to know him better in our first in a series of ‘Spotlight on the Supplier’ blogposts:
What made you want to be a chef?
A love of cooking and desire to develop new dishes and menus.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Having the privilege of working under some of the best chefs in the country.
How do you work with couples who book their wedding at Birdsall House?
I like to make the weddings I do as personal as possible, taking into account what the couple would like and developing their ideal menu, as opposed to offering a generic menu. It is a very personal day in every aspect and I want to make sure that is reflected in the wedding breakfast also.
What has been the most unusual thing you’ve cooked for someone?
Veal Brains. I personally love them, but I think they will sound unusual to some people.
What do you love to cook?
I love cooking Game. Especially given the area that we live in. We are fortunate to have such amazing Game and I would love to see it eaten more.
What is your favourite room in Birdsall House?
When you’re not planning weddings how do you like to spend your time?
Eating out. I remember being told by my old head chef how important it is to eat out and see what other chefs offer. It is true and vital to developing as a chef. Plus who doesn’t like to dine out!
People often say they get hungry at a wedding, it can be a long day! How can couples ensure their guests aren’t starving by the time they sit down for the wedding breakfast?
Stagger the canapes and keep a steady flow going. Give the option of more substantial canapes rather than the traditional single bite canapés, but there’s a lot of options and I love helping couples with challenges like that.
It’s a must read for any bride planning her wedding in our beautiful county so we are really pleased that Yorkshire Bride has covered the news that Birdsall House is available for exclusive use for weddings online today.
While we officially launch as a wedding venue in 2018 we’ve had plenty of experience hosting weddings following a soft launch last year as has our award winning wedding planner, Lindsay, whose quoted in the piece along with Lady Cara Willoughby.
To see how we can create your dream wedding come along to our showcase on Sunday 29 April.
You’ve found the perfect venue, chosen the dress, sent the invitations, you’ve even chosen the food but have you thought about the music that will be playing as you walk down the aisle?
For many, despite music playing a big part in their lives, the exact music they want for this momentous occasion is often something that isn’t thought about until much nearer the big day. Yes, you may have booked the musician or band they like well in advance (which we highly recommend!), but telling them exactly what you want to hear before you say ‘I do’ is another matter. When it does come to deciding what you want, you can go from having no idea, to having too much choice.
Music is highly emotive however, and your processional song is one that will mean a lot to you for the rest of your life. It is important not to become so focused on what you will dance to for the first time that you forget about the music that will be playing as you take those all important steps towards your husband-to-be.
Think about the kind of ceremony you are having and how the music you love will fit in with it. Kate Middleton walking down the aisle of Westminster Abbey along an avenue of trees has got to be one of the most memorable moments of the last decade. As she walked down the aisle she heard ‘I Was Glad’ by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry from Psalm 122 as did the rest of the world. This dramatic piece reflected the grandeur of the occasion as well as having historic connections to the Royal Family as it is often performed during coronations.
Miranda Kerr, walked towards Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel to the sound of Arvo Part’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’ before they said their vows last year. As well as apparently being a favourite song of hers, and matching what was to become her new name, the music fitted well with the low-key intimate ceremony they had.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a classical or religious piece. Bruno Mars’ Marry You has become a very popular choice, as has a number of Ed Sheeran songs and it’s easy to see why; as well as being romantic, songs that are heard on the radio a lot often remind couples of special moments in their life. Singer Alecia Beth Moore, or Pink as most people know her, went for something more popular with Billy Joel’s ‘More Than A Woman’ as she walked along the beach to say her vows. Many musicians and bands will be happy to put their own spin on popular songs so your ceremony has that unique touch and this often gets guests talking as well.
A really romantic touch is to let the groom choose the song for his bride to walk down the aisle to. We’ve heard of some beautiful choices when the bride has given her man free reign from ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers to ‘Lucky Man’ by The Verve. It certainly sparks a few heartfelt tears especially if this is listed as ‘chosen by the groom’ in the hymn sheet or ceremony programme guests receive as they arrive.
It’s important to think about the surroundings and setting of your ceremony. For example, if you love opera but are getting married in a smaller venue, try to go for a softer piece that won’t have people at the front clutching their ears. Speak to your singer, musician or band about their recommendations and experiences, after all they will have performed at a lot of weddings. See if there’s something at your venue you can take advantage of. Here at Birdsall House, we have a grand piano in our historic Oval Room and can recommend a number of excellent and experienced pianists.
Whatever your taste in music, if you haven’t yet given your song list to your chosen performer take the time to sit down with your partner and listen to some of your favourite tunes. You’ll have a great time sharing memories and by the end of it you’ll no doubt have come to a decision that will leave you even more excited for your special day.