'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' set to return

The much-loved Channel 4 show ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ is set to return to British screens in February, Entertainmentwise.com has reported.

According to the website, the programme has been re-commissioned for a fourth series after achieving overwhelming success in the UK. The first bride featured on the series, 21-year-old Delores, who chose an interesting pattern for her wedding dress – cats.

“Everyone has flowers or stars on their dress, I wanted something different,” she explained; further demonstrated by her choice of dress for her sister, Chantelle – a blue and orange number with a giant pineapple embroidered on the front.

Other ladies featured on the series include self-confessed tanning addict, Sammy-Jo and a pink-loving bride that manages to squash her husband-to-be with her dress.

Fans of the series will likely be waiting with baited breath to see not only the over-the-top dress designs the programme is famous for, but also what those taking part will do with their wedding reception venue and after-party. According to a source from Channel 4, viewers can expect the featured brides’ ideas to be bigger and better than ever.

“The size and scale of some of these celebrations is incredible – it seems like some brides are trying even harder to out-do each other. It will be even more spectacular,” the insider told Mail Online.

Industry leaders and MPs to discuss ‘Britain for Events’

A number of senior figures from the events industry are meeting with members of Parliament in a “closed-door dinner” as part of the Britain for Events campaign, reports Exhibition News.

Co-chaired by Nick de Bois MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events, and Michael Hirst, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, the dinner aims to create a close bond between the industry and government in order to boost the competitiveness of the UK’s event venues internationally.

Live music, festivals, cultural events, meetings, conferences and trade shows all fall under the banner of Britain for Events, which is now operating in its 10th year. The campaign, designed to promote the value of these tourist spaces, has the support of the number of regional tourism bodies as well as national bodies and corporate brands.

Rob Allen, Chairman of “the voice of the events industry” Eventia, commented on the meeting to incentivetravel.co.uk: “In the lead up to the Olympics, it is even more critical that the Government understands and takes seriously the overall contribution of the UK events industry.

“In just six months, we will be on the world’s stage, with the value of the Olympics expected to add substantially to our economy. To be able to discuss key issues and challenges for the industry with an MP who shares the same passion for events as we do is an important step forward,” he added.

Government called upon to help hospitality industry

The government needs to be doing more when it comes to championing the hospitality sector.

That’s according to a report by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), who believe there is a “real opportunity” to create more than 236,000 jobs in the industry by 2015.

Currently, the sector represents one in every 13 jobs and directly contributes £49 billion to the economy. Hospitality can come in the form of the entertainment of people attending clubs, bars, clubs, resorts, event spaces and other services for tourists.

However, the industry and government need a greater relationship in order to progress. The BHA is proposing an annual meeting between the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and members of the BHA in order to talk over issues that are facing the industry.

In addition, the meeting would also suggest creating a “cross-cabinet committee” for hospitality and tourism.

“It is very encouraging to see a well established association take such a strong position on the important issues that are affecting us all,” claims Paul Hopkins, general manager of the AC division at LG Electronics who partnered with BHA for the report, cited by bha.org.uk.

“Sustainability and energy efficiency being key areas where the BHA can support their membership to save money, improve services to their customers and help deliver the government’s carbon reduction commitment.”

Cvent’s global destination guide gets an upgrade

One of the world’s largest event management providers, Cvent, has released a major update to its free online event venues destination guide.

More than 6,000 pages make up the guide, featuring just over 600 venues worldwide, reveals BusinessWire.com. Some of the top features in the new guide include the ability to search destinations by type, like a beach or sporting venue.

Users can further narrow down their search by using meeting-specific criteria; such as checking the maximum amount of exhibition space and what the average hotel room rates are in the area. The search engine will additionally connect to the Cvent Supplier Network, which connects event planners with hotels, convention centres and other planning centres directly.

An upgraded look and feel to the user interface completes the transformation, meaning that the complete package could become the go-to resource for event planners across the globe.

“Cvent has been working closely with our destination partners to make the Cvent Destination Guide the premier resource for meeting and event planners who are researching locations for their next event,” said Eric Eden, Cvent’s vice-president of marketing, in a statement, cited by Conference-News.co.uk.

A further 1,000 destinations are set to be added to the guide by the end of the year, said Mr Eden, adding: “The new features and content on our site will greatly benefit planners and our destination partners around the world.”

Check out the Porter Tun, The Brewery’s 1000 capacity reception space.

Wedding Report gives insight into British brides

The latest Wedding Report from Confetti.co.uk has revealed that increasingly, British brides and grooms-to-be are paying for their own wedding.

Bypassing the tradition that the bride’s father should pick up the tab, over two-thirds of UK couples are saving themselves; paying for the entire cost of their big day. In fact, only one-fifth are lucky enough to have their wedding paid for by their parents.

However, couples are paying a little less than they previously did, Femalefirst.co.uk revealed. Now spending half the amount they did back in 2008, right before the recession hit, brides are being smarter with their budgets. Only five per cent of the nation’s soon-to-be betrothed couples will spend over £20,000 on their wedding; with 61 per cent opting to spend a less modest £10,000 or less instead.

This hasn’t stopped them having the wedding they want though; ensuring they secure the wedding reception venue they want or the flowers they have their heart set on. George Buchan, a spokesperson for Confetti.co.uk, confirmed: “Rather than going without, today’s brides are going for the personal touch and taking on more of the work themselves to save costs, making their stationery, decorations, cakes and bouquets.

“It’s also interesting that today’s brides are doing away with age-old traditions and are picking up the cost of their big day themselves. I’m’ sure there will be lots of dads up and down the country sighing with relief!”

One happy couple set to marry soon, Josephine Loong and Greg Eakins, explained how they are prioritising in order to keep their budget on track. They told Mysurburbanlife.com how they planned to forego seat coverings in favour of securing the photographer they want.

“Having good pictures is really important,” Loong said of her photography, but added about the chair coverings: “They look nice… but at the end of the night, no-one remembers them.”

Social media strategy can help event organisers, claims expert

Despite having a bigger budget for social media this year, event organisers need to develop a strategy in order to reap the rewards of the medium, cites View Creatives.

That’s according to Kursha Woodgate, managing director of Mexia Communications, who spoke to an audience at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre’s masterclass on extending audiences through social media.

Woodgate claimed that event organisers need to plan a “content and engagement strategy” in order to “effectively harness” social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, reports Event Magazine.

As 86 per cent of those in the industry, whether it be corporate venues, hotels or concert halls, plan to increase social media marketing for 2012, it makes sense for firms to develop a strategy.

Identifying who to connect with is key, claims Woodgate, along with using the hashtag to reach a wider audience.

“Hashtags are very powerful,” she claims. “The hashtag has become a part of everyday language and how we communicate. They are key. Once you’ve got your hashtag, start using it everywhere – on emails, on your website and on other social media platforms.”

In addition, it is important to use social media measuring sites like Klout, Hashtracking and Socialmention in order to measure the reach on a strategy, she added.

Inexperienced suppliers could scupper Games events, warns Forum

The arrival of the Olympic Games this summer is likely to cause a few logistics and supplier problems.

That’s according to the Events Industry Forum, which has written to event organisers and local authorities across the nation in a bid to offer advice about event creation during the Games and the dangers of using inexperienced suppliers.

“The thinking behind the letter is also to ensure the Games is a major success and leaves behind a positive legacy for the event industry,” claims the association’s secretary Jim Winship.

In order to avoid the quandary of supplier problems likely to hit firms during the Games, Winship believes that firms should liaise with their current suppliers to talk about a strategy for the event.

As well as checking suppliers have “suitable experience and a track record of working in the events industry”, organisers using event venues should make sure their events are fully risk assessed.

Winship comments: “…2012 is exceptional with a huge number of events happening across the UK at the same time. This means that in some areas there is likely to be excessive pressure on suppliers, which they may not be able to respond to.

“We are particularly concerned that this could result in inexperienced suppliers entering the market with the result that something goes badly wrong and the reputation of the industry as a whole becomes tarnished,” he added.


Jade Jagger and daughter both set to wed

Socialite Jade Jagger and her daughter Amba have both announced their intention to get married.

Writing for Mail Online, columnist Richard Kay revealed that Jade – daughter of Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger – will marry her music festival promoter fiancé DJ Adrian Fillary, who got down on one knee in Goa last month.

While the current plan is to have a big ceremony in India where the couple have been living, she also has a house in London, so she may be on the lookout for event spaces in the British capital to celebrate their union as well.

“Adrian proposed to Jade in India last month, I am told. And in a decidedly old-fashioned romantic gesture which may bode well for this union, he even phoned Sir Mick beforehand to ask for his daughter’s hand,” said Mr Kay.

He noted that Jade’s 17-year-old daughter Amba also looks set to wed, after revealing that she wants to marry boyfriend Frankie Lagrange, with whom she has swapped rings.

Hello! reported her as saying: “I’m in love and we’ll be getting married.” She was brought up in Ibiza when her mother was still together with Piers Jackson, but now lives in London. Jackson is the father of both Amba and her 20-year-old sister Assisi.

Church of England announces wedding fee hike

The cost of a traditional Church of England marriage ceremony could soar upwards of £1,000 or more following a hike in wedding fees, reports the Mail Online.

From today, staging a wedding in a CoE venue could cost £415 for the ceremony alone. Couples planning on getting hitched in church would then have to bear in mind the cost of music, heating and decorating the venue with flowers, with could then increase the price to an eye-watering four-figure sum.

Inevitably the spike in cost could put off couples planning on getting hitched on a budget. Some might prefer to have a registry office wedding instead, so that they can spend big for the wedding reception venue later in the day. (The Brewery in London is now licenced for wedding ceremonies)

Some church ministers are appalled by the 40 per cent increase, explaining that the move couldn’t have been any worse timed for some people.

One such clergy member, Rev Canon Simon Killwick, a vicar in inner city Moss Side, Manchester, told Telegraph.co.uk: ”Such a fee increase seems to me hard to justify in times of financial austerity and even harder to justify in poor inner-city parishes.

”The Church of England ought not to be seen to be making a big increase at this time and ought not to be making it difficult for the poor to access these services at a time when a simple ceremony can be had at a register office for around £100.”

Weddings in Church of England venues contribute around £35 million a year to the denomination; £15 million of which directly funds the clergy’s services.

Alex Reid shops around for wedding venues on Twitter

Alex Reid has been tweeting pictures of possible wedding venues to his fiancé Chantelle Houghton in full view of the public, for their special occasion.

Rather than talk about it in private, the former ex to Katie Price has been keeping his 140,000 followers up-to-date with the couple’s ongoing search for their ideal wedding venue online.

Metro.co.uk reports that the 36-year-old, who also proposed to the ex-Celebrity Big Brother contestant live on TV, posted a picture of himself in a beautifully designed grand church.

The accompanying caption read: “So @chantellehought what about this place for getting hitched?”

Later the cage-fighter, whom often refers to himself as The Reidernator, added another picture of a baptismal font with the suggestion that the pair should have their first child Christened there.

“Christen mini Reid here,” he tweeted.

Miss Houghton revealed earlier this week that she is expecting to have a baby girl with Reid, who was out meeting local councillors when he spotted the potential marriage venue.

As Reid was meeting the MPs at Portcullis House in Westminster, perhaps fans can assume that when it finally comes to choosing a wedding venue, London is definitely being considered as a top location.

After the political discussion was over, Mirror.co.uk says Reid took to Twitter once more; this time with comments suggesting he has a new found appreciation for politics.

“Let’s get this country sorted!” he roared.