Spotlight on…Lindsay Whitwell, Wedding Planner
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