A Day In The Life Of ......Vanessa Myers

Think you can cut it as an expert wedding planner?  Want to know what happens behind the scenes at a huge Asian wedding? Or have you ever wanted to go into events management?

By Fusion Lifestyle Reporter
November 3, 2011, 11:57 am
A Day In The Life Of ......Vanessa Myers

Think you can cut it as an expert wedding planner?  Want to know what happens behind the scenes at a huge Asian wedding? Or have you ever wanted to go into events management?

Meet Vanessa Myers, Managing Director of The Sheridan Suite, Manchester who is one of the region’s foremost event directors.

From planning glamorous weddings to hosting high-profile celebrity dinners at a range of venues all over the North West...we spend a day in the company of Vanessa Myers.

Saturday

9.00am The first thing I do when I arrive on site at Sheridan, is to ensure that the set-up that was completed at 1am the night before, still looks beautiful and that everything is in place ready to go for the day ahead.

Each event is different, but for today’s wedding for example, the night before was spent building the swarovski crystal stage set**, installing the white LED dancefloor, setting up the coloured lighting, putting the tables in and laying them up.

I then go to the kitchen to greet the in-house chefs and check that the food is going to be on time for service that day. It’s very important for me to say hello to everyone. It builds a good team spirit. They have been on site since the early hours of the morning.

Then chef makes me my morning cup of hot water with lemon (I do try to be healthy!) whilst making me taste one of his freshly made kebabs with a naan straight from the tandoor … this job is not good for your waistline!

For all events, I take the booking on from the contract stage and plan all the details – menu and tastings, function sheets, design conception, stage decor, table settings, flowers, lighting and entertainment up until completion of the event.

If I was to have corporate event on, the client would arrive and I would stay with them for most of the day. I’m there to make sure everyone’s happy. For today’s event, I know the client wont arrive until much later on that morning as he has basically left me to do everything from start to finish.

He’s a good friend of ours and has entrusted me to sort everything out. It’s a double walima (two of his two sons are getting married on the same day) which seems to be very popular this year at Sheridan and about 550 guests have been invited to the event.

10.00am This morning, its all about last minute touches that can only go in on the day of the event, such as the fresh flowers, setting out the fresh fruit display and filling the martini glasses with strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousses and mango kulfi for the dessert buffet, filling the pick and mix stall with sweets (one of the jobs that I insist on doing myself!), putting the chocolate boxes on each place setting, making sure the napkins are straight on each plate and switching on the lights in the illuminated LED crystal chandelier centerpieces**.

Its all got to be planned with military precision and I have got to make sure everyone is on the move doing their jobs so that I am ready to deliver the event bang on time for 11.45am.

11.00am Another check in with the kitchen and I have to have a quick chat with chef about how we are going to do food service that afternoon. More food tastings are done (!!) and we might also go through events for that evening and the next day, and communicate changes or late requests.

11.45am Everything is now set in place and even after all this time, its thrilling when you see a room just before guests arrive. The lights are on, the flowers are done, the stage is set, the cutlery, crockery and glassware is out on the tables – it looks stunning. 

12.00 pm The team of waiters arrive and I uniform check each one and carry out a staff briefing – the gist of which is to ensure they keep smiling all the time and that they are helpful to each and every guest.

12.15pm The client and his family arrive to see how the room has been transformed. As they walk around, they are amazed. I am really pleased and that’s one of my favourite moments.

12.30pm Guests start arriving for the reception and we welcome them by offering them non-alcoholic pink cocktails** and freshly made piping hot canapés of mini seekh kebabs and cocktail sized samosas. The event gets underway! 

1.00pm Guests are called into to the main hall and seated.

1.30pm Food was supposed to be served but as usual the brides and grooms are running late!  They havent arrived yet …  I don’t worry, as I am used to people arriving late and everything just gets pushed back half an hour.

1.35pm The first bride and groom walks down the aisle. I have a small panic attack as the flower shower machine appears not to be working but after pressing lots of buttons very hard, red petals start to rain from the ceiling** and you can hear everyone gasp with surprise.  Then the second bride and groom walk in with no further problems.  Fortunately, no one but me and my technical manager realised there was a problem.

2.00pm It’s a great menu today, everythings been freshly made indoors by the chefs -  fish masala, chicken tikka boti and lamb kebabs for starters, a three salad platter of assorted salads**, marinated lamb steaks with roast potatoes and gravy** for main course followed by three curries, rice and naan then its time to open up the fruit display** and the english style desserts**. There is also an ice cream and candy floss stall and the pick and mix. So much food! 

During the event, I continuously wander around making sure everyone has got everything that they need and that everyone is doing their job. I actually know quite a lot of the guests attending, having worked on a lot of their events. It makes me feel very proud when I see the brides or grooms who I have seen get married, with their new babies and watching them start their new lives together.

4.00pm During and at the end of the event, I always ask my client, their family and the guests how everything was so they can give their feedback, good or bad. You’re only as good as the last event you did.

For me, making sure an event is successful is about quality of delivery. It also depends on what the client’s objective is. Some events are highly budget conscious, some need to communicate a message, while others are about delivering some amazing food that everyone will talk about afterwards such as the lamb steaks with roasted potatoes and gravy which we served today and are the latest thing that Asian people are ordering for their wedding menus.

4.30pm  Guests are starting to leave now and we will need to change the room and reset for the next event.  We’ll all dive in, clearing tables, stacking chairs and hoovering the floor.

I might also spend an hour or so reading through my next event sheet whilst grabbing a snack. The next theme is completely different, it’s a birthday party and it’s a black and red colour scheme with large ostrich feather centerpieces **, red and black flocked tablecloths ** and lots of red roses.

The artists performing at the next event start arriving and I brief them on their roles and allocate their time slots.  I have a mariachi band welcoming the guests on arrival, two tango dancers from London performing during dinner on the black dance floor and a 10 piece Brazilian band performing all night, plus a DJ and some performers from ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ who I have to hide in the changing rooms as it’s a surprise for the guests.

7.00pm The next event kicks off … I wont be in bed now until at least 3am. Tomorrow I will be on site at 7am at a well known south Manchester stately home organizing a nikkah. We have been asked to do all the catering and décor.  It’s an Alice In Wonderland theme. I can’t wait.

Events is a lifestyle. It’s really about finding out what the client is looking for and creating that ‘wow’ factor. Everything is personal to the client and no two events are ever the same'. How lucky am I to share the most important day in a families life and get to have lots of fun doing it too.

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