Chuch offers guidelines for child friendly weddings

The Church of England have issued couples with tips on how to conduct a child friendly wedding.

Not too long ago, weddings were an adult affair with children only attending the reception at the children’s table. But too often today, couple’s vows were drowned out by screeching toddlers and crying babies. Despite this, the Church are insisting that children should play a part.

A church survey of more than 2,000 people revealed that 85 per cent agreed with children being allowed to attend weddings, with 9 per cent disagreeing.

The advice sheet produced by the church provides a number of ideas designed to keep children occupied. One suggestion is that each child is given a “wedding bag” either at the beginning of the ceremony or at the wedding reception, which will contain cards and crayons which can be used to make cards for the happy couple.

Another suggestion is a “wedding themed fun sheet” which has word searches, puzzles and pictures to colour in as well as a list of “things to spot within the church or service.”

Couples that already have children could stand with their parents whilst prayers and the blessings are said as it emphasises that the “wedding is a new beginning for the whole family,” the guide added. Those parents with older children could write prayers for the service, do readings or could even walk their mother down the aisle.

The Rt Revd Paul Bayes the Bishop of Hertford told The Telegraph: “This solves a key wedding planning puzzle and shows couples needn’t worry about inviting children.”

Brides are getting older, according to new figures

Women are waiting later to get married, according to recently published statistics.

As reported by The Daily Mail, the average age of a first-time bride is now 30, and rising. That’s according to the figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The reason behind the delay is that woman increasingly choose to spend longer pursuing their careers, searching for their perfect partner or saving to afford everything from the london wedding location to the catering.

“You no longer need marriage to prove that you are an adult, so there’s not the rush that there used to be for young people,” explained Simon Duncan, professor of comparative social policy at Bradford University.

He added: “A couple can privately prove their commitment to one another by cohabiting. There are even perfectly happy long-term relationships where a couple stays together but lives apart.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average age of brides in 1966 was 22.5. Later, in 1991, the average age was 25.5, which shows the trend that brides are continuing to get older.

“With young people thinking they’re going to live to 100, finding a husband is no longer a priority,” explained Christine Webber, a psychoanalyst. “Women in their mid-twenties are more likely to be considering whether to settle with the man they’re with or to look for something better.”

The number of weddings is continuing to slowly decrease, whilst the number of cohabiting couples grows. Similarly, the amount of time couples spend together before splitting up or marrying has grown to just under 7 years.

Optimism returning to events industry

Optimism is returning to conference centres and corporate venues after news that an events industry tradeshow saw a 27% increase in the in the number of visitors.

According to Meetpie, another event called Square Meal had over 7,200 attendees, which was 7% more than the previous year.

“This year’s turnout has provided the events industry with a massive boost and is evidence that the sector is returning to health,” said Rachel Harty, marketing and events manager. “Last year a lot of visitors were ‘window shopping’. This year they were shopping!”

One visitor said that he was persuaded to return to the event for the second year because of the quality of the people attending. Speaking of tradeshows, he said: “I haven’t found a better way to get in front of so many corporate buyers and event organisers in such a short space of time. It’s intense, but fun!”

Event UK was the tradeshow which saw visitor numbers grow by over a quarter. “It’s exactly the same number of exhibitors as last year,” explained director Alison Willis. “Business was being done on the show floor shortly after the doors opened, thanks to the high calibre of visitors and senior decision makers in attendance. One of our exhibitors even told us that they had taken their first qualified enquiry before 10.30am on day one of the show.”

Couples strive to marry on the perfect 10

It’s every couple’s wish to have the wedding day of their dreams and if their day were to be scored all couples would strive for the perfect 10.

There is a lot that needs to be considered for those wanting top marks from guests for having the perfect wedding, the dress, the actual ceremony and of course the wedding reception location  are just a few of the would be contributers. But wouldn’t it be ideal if you could have the perfect date, which is what some couples are striving to do.

Couples all over Britain are rushing to tie the knot this Sunday on the 10th of the 10th of the 10th. The infamous Gretna Green is holding 38 wedding ceremonies compared to the average for a typical Sunday in October.

A Gretna Green Registration office spokesman told The Sun: “It’s highly unusual. On a normal Sunday at this time of year we would be lucky to have 10 weddings.”

Les Payne 56 and his fiancée Amanda Butterly 50, are one couple that plan to say “I do” on this date.

“Someone suggested 10-10-10. We didn’t think we’d get that date but we found out the register office would open that Sunday for the first time as it is a memorable date,” he told The Mirror.

Head of security contractor firm speaks out against plans to scrap SIA

The head of one of the UK’s biggest private security firms has condemned recently leaked government proposals to scrap the industry’s regulatory body, the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

A Home Office document seen by the BBC Politics team last week revealed that the government plans to scrap the SIA as part of its wider cuts to public bodies. The SIA, which regulates the security staff which act as bouncers, doormen, CCTV controllers and response teams for event venues in the capital and across the country, is largely self-financing but according to the Home Office document, removing it will supposedly reduce “burdensome regulation.”

Whilst the Home Office has suggested that the industry has matured enough for self-regulation to be viable, some in the industry disagree. One vocal opponent is Andrew McQuillan, the manging director of Select Management & Security.

Mr McQuillan, whose firm provides security services for venues for hire, festivals, music events and other public and private functions across the UK, recently gave Event Industry News his response to the abolishment of the SIA – which he said “has the potential to be a complete mess.”

“At the moment, company’s buying security services know that the staff employed are licensed and they have some degree of assurance on their skills and character,” he told the website. He warned that if there was “total deregulation” then it would be a “complete free for all” for the criminal and violent elements which had given the industry a bad name in the past, “after all the efforts to clean it up.”

McQuillan warned that self-regulation for the sector could see security costs forced up at a time when many event organisers are facing limited budgets, with “dominant bigger firms” forcing out competition from “smaller, more efficient companies.”

“There are problems with the SIA,” he acknowledges, “It’s far too bureaucratic so by all means lets fix the system with less nit picking detail and more enforcement of the issues that matter…but what this paper suggests is the worst of all worlds.”

Unusual christmas party venues to lead the way

Christmas party nights are the highlight of the working year for many employees, representing an opportunity to let their hair down and socialise. With many employers starting to book Christmas party venues, now is the time for event spaces to promote themselves, according to Meetpie.

From large corporate organisations to small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s), all organisations are encouraged to motivate staff by hosting Christmas parties. With the economic downturn seemingly fading, companies this year are considering their party options and according to industry experts, are looking for something a little different.

From hidden inner city heritage venues, to country manors the Christmas party is the corporate occasion where employers can really push the boat out and reward their staff for a year of hard work. This year, venues are hoping to capitalise on the bolstered economy by offering luxury, quirky Christmas events – a fresh move away from a hotel-style meat and two veg arrangement, complete with DJ and poky dance-floor.

Head of a national event venue organisation, Richard Langford, commented about the push for more unusual corporate Christmas parties to Meetpie, saying: ”The knock-on effect from throwing such a unique event can generate a healthier working environment in the long term.”


Eurostar plans investment and expansion of services

Eurostar has unveiled plans for a £700m package of improvements to its service, hoping to increase passenger numbers and decrease journey times.

In good news for those who regularly attend events at function venues across Europe, the high speed rail operator is to completely refurbish existing stock, as well as purchasing 10 new trains, capable of travelling up to 200 mph.

Current stock will be altered to include wi-fi, on-board entertainment and real time travel and destination information. To include such technology and modernise the trains, Eurostar are planning to reduce seat numbers. Nevertheless, the new Siemens-built e320 trains are set to carry 900 passengers each – 150 more than the old trains are capable of.

The new trains will reduce travel time on all routes, with travel from London to Paris taking just over two hours. Increasing its remit from just Paris, London and Brussels, The Independent speculate that the company could run services to Amsterdam in four hours and Geneva in five.

Speaking in Meetpie, chief executive of Eurostar, Nicholas Petrovic, said of the new investment: ”Over the last 16 years Eurostar has revolutionised travel between London, Paris and Brussels but our sights are now set on expanding our business across Europe.”

”The combination of our new state-of-the-art trains and our refurbished fleet will assure our position as the leading rail operator between the UK and the continent and make us the obvious choice for short haul European travel.”


Don’t leave keepsakes at the wedding reception, warns bride

A recently-wed couple have published some advice on planning a wedding, thanks to the power of hindsight.

Published on the Offbeat Bride blog, the bride explains that whilst everyone makes a list of things to take to the local wedding venue, many forget to keep track of what they need to take home. “You’d be amazed at what people leave on site and forget to collect, simply because they think someone else has arranged to bring these keepsakes back,” writes the offbeat bride known online as Edolcourt. “Very often these things aren’t noticed until you come back from honeymoon.”

One way to keep the day running smoothly is to brief the key speakers on anything they need to know about the guests. Edolcourt explains that she knew her mother would want to include the Jewish tradition of the breaking of the glass, and expected her to produce the glass, get the husband to stamp on it and encourage the audience to cheer ‘Mazel Tov’. “In actuality, 99% of our guests were Church of England and I have to advise her that if she wanted everyone to applaud and yell out ‘Mazel Tov’ she needed to tell them in advance.”

Finally, when it’s all over, Edolcourt advises that you thank everyone publicly. She suggests that if you’re fond of the companies who have helped make your day a success, you should write to them and tell them so, giving permission to use your words as a testimonial. “I know it’s not really in our job descriptions to act as their marketing departments. But as so many of them went out of their way for me, I am genuinely moved to want to make a difference to their business.”

Mobile apps can benefit both event organisers and attendees, expert claims

Web apps for smartphones and other mobile devices can improve the experience of event attendees and generate new forms of revenue for event organisers, according to an industry expert.

Andrew Cowlishaw, managing director of Live Apps, told Event Industry News that with over a quarter of the UK population now using mobile devices to access online data, there has never been a better time for event organisers to embrace new mobile technology.

While Cowlishaw admits to having a ‘vested interest’ in promoting the use of web apps, he firmly believes that apps can improve users’ enjoyment of events and promote interaction with event organisers.

Apps specifically designed for the events industry can help engage users weeks before an event, and provide them with useful information about event venues, talks and seminars and other related activities.

Cowlishaw adds that events industry apps can also provide organisers and promoters with an additional form of revenue through sponsorships, advertising and special offers contained within.

“Mobiles can perform and help promoters in many ways; it increases the interaction between an event and its audience, before, during and after the event,” Cowlishaw told Event Industry News.

“It can also deliver new revenues, decrease overall marketing costs and not forgetting, enhance the visitors’ experience at the event. A mobile is an extremely personal device that people have with them at all times. If you want customers to have access to your information, even when they’re out and about – use mobile,” Cowlishaw added.

Number of business passengers grows to give Heathrow busiest September ever

Heathrow airport has recorded its busiest September ever, with an increase in long-haul journeys which saw a 7.6% boost in the number of people flying.

According to an official statement from BAA, the growth was supported by the reinstatement of flights that had previously been stalled, because of the effects of the recession. This provides an encouraging sign that business people are travelling again, claims the statement, after the disruption cause by the poor weather and volcanic ash at the start of the year.

“The growth reflects an improved outlook for our airline customers and an increase in business confidence, as shown by cargo figures which continue to outperform the pre-recession peak,” said Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA.

According to The Guardian, BAA welcomed comments from foreign secretary William Hague, who pledged support for “giving our country the myriad of connections which will allow 21st Britons to prosper and succeed.”

This, combined with the recent news that Eurostar will be improving its service to boost passenger numbers and decrease journey times, could attract international business to consider utilising a high quality conference venue in London to emphasise their British connections.