Wedding planners play pivotal role in preparations

Wedding planners can save couples time, money and stress, according to richmondreview.com. The role they play in the big day is pivotal to ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Although private planners can be expensive, some of the money invested can often be saved in deals the planners strike with florists, caterers and photographers. However, if the budget is tight, there is the possibility that the wedding reception venue offers a planner as part of the package.

These planners already know the venue and what can be achieved, making it much easier and quicker to establish how the big day will run. The decoration, menu and music can all be pre-arranged in one meeting, saving the bride time to arrange other essentials.

Trying to arrange the wedding in less than a year can be much more stressful, according to wpcva.com and arranging the venue and photographer should be the first priorities. Having a planner at the venue means sorting out flowers, dresses and hairstyles can be left to the bride, with the bigger things taken care of by someone else.

In-house wedding planners allow the bride to have a lot of influence and involvement in the planning of the wedding, but take away the stress of having to do everything without any help.

Couples-to-be expected to go vintage with wedding attire

This year will see brides and grooms rolling back the years as they take to the aisle sporting a range of vintage attire, says huffingtonpost.com writer Ruth Harrison Roberts.

The fashion and lifestyle expert believes women will draw influence from popular film and TV shows like ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Downton Abbey’, while the men will look to accessorise their simplified suits. 

Outlining her list of wedding trends for the year ahead, Ms Harrison Roberts claimed that “old school glamour” featuring lots of art deco designs and feathering would prove extremely popular among the women as they look to stray away from the norm. Other features to look out for included delicate lace overlays, illusion neck lines and slight hints of lace covering the décolletage.

Meanwhile soon-to-be married men would ditch the top hat and tails in favour of a simple pared down suit. Cited by beachweddingdresses.diisco.com, Ms Harrison Roberts said this would be more functional than usual attire – perhaps also giving them a little more comfort on the dancefloor of their wedding reception venue.     

“No more are the waistcoats and cravats that coordinate with the bridesmaids, dark shirts in charcoal tones compliment the simplified suit look,” she stated.

Grooms themselves were told to look for a more modern buttonhole with ideas ranging from pinwheels, feathers, herbs, vintage buttons, paper flowers, silver butterflies and badges helping them to personalise their look.     

Crossrail 2 route to help travellers move across London

A number of prominent business leaders have unveiled plans for a new ‘Crossrail 2’ train line running through London, from Surrey to Hertfordshire.

Reported by londonlovesbusiness.com, leading business figures have proposed the London-wide route, which would run from the south-west to the north-east of London, in order to deliver better access to some of London’s busiest areas.

The route, which plans to pass through Euston, King’s Cross St Pancras, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria, could also be helpful for businesses in London, such as event venues, helping to make them more accessible.

Former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who chaired the group to examine funding for a new rail link under London, said the report lays out a “compelling plan” with “strong business support”.

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, also welcomed the report’s proposals.

She said: “It offers the prospect of relieving the already congested routes into central London from the outer suburbs to the south-west. It will provide much needed additional capacity across the central area – particularly at Euston, which will come under additional pressure when High Speed 2 is built, and Victoria. And it will support regeneration along the Lee Valley.”

If any proposals are approved, it is unlikely Crossrail 2 would open until at least the early 2030’s, reports bbc.co.uk.

Tourism partners call for business inclusion in VistBritain strategy

A crowd of industry associations, businesses and government agencies have called on VisitBritain to include business events and visits in their latest strategy for inbound tourism.

Using dialogue from tourism organisations and businesses across the UK and overseas, VisitBritain’s ‘Delivering a Golden Legacy’ report outlines a range of plans that could enable Britain’s tourism industry to grow by an extra nine million visitors a year by 2020.

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) initially welcomed the findings, but claimed many of its connected parties had made clear the need for a national strategy that caters for business visits and events.

Meetpie.com says the respondents stressed the importance of business events to the UK economy before calling for further involvement from VisitBritain.

Michael Hirst, chair of the association, said of the response: “It is all the more encouraging given that this scenario was not even envisaged in the original strategy, but it’s clear that the industry at large sees important growth opportunities from the events sector that is already worth £36 billion to the economy and has huge potential.”

Cited by incentivetravel.co.uk, Mr Hirst claimed the sheer level of response highlighted a gap in the market and a big opportunity for the UK’s tourism plans, which could be delivered by event venues and planners with the right support.  

VisitBritain had a dedicated tourism department, but a cut in government funding led to its closure in early 2010.

However, it’s thought the BVEP still holds a close relationship with the tourist board and hopes to see business tourism included in future plans.  

Effective meetings lead to business vision and strategy, claims expert

Businesses need to make sure they are making effective use of their meeting time.

That’s according to business risk expert Patrick Lencioni, writing on startupsmart.com.au, who suggests that businesses which do not make effective use of their time have ‘no clear vision of where they want to be’.

In addition, these businesses have no clear strategy to achieve their vision and it is likely they never had a vision or strategy to start with.

“Meetings should happen regularly: daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly,” he said. “The content and length of these meetings depends on how fast your business and/or your business environment is growing or changing.”

Lencioni also believe that effective meetings are structured to occur at the right times. For example, the CEO could book a conference space for a day-long annual meeting or a quick chat could take place in the boardroom in the morning.

Furthermore, Lencioni likens business meetings to the pumping heart of a company.

“If systems are the backbone of your business, meetings are its pumping heart. Only if the heart can miss a beat without any consequence, then you can miss a meeting,” he advised.

Lencioni’s advice follows guidance from hbr.org which suggests that hour-long meetings should be shortened to 50 minutes, which would give employees an extra ten minutes to return to their normal working day.

Brides plan weddings before they've even met the groom

Brides-to-be are planning their weddings before they have even met the groom, according to thescottishsun.co.uk. Women are choosing everything from the dress to the invitations as a means of planning ahead.

Booking a wedding reception venue usually needs to be done in advance, but some women have already decided where they want to get married and are just waiting for the groom to walk into their lives.

Two friends from Glasgow have picked everything from the dresses to the invitations for their dream weddings but they don’t even have boyfriends.

Nytimes.com reported that several women had pre-planned their weddings before meeting the groom. They appear to see it as just a time-saving measure for the future because they already know exactly what they want.

Caroline Royce had spent six years planning for her wedding and said: “I think that planning before I get engaged is just practical. You can explore all these options before you ever have to, and by the time you get engaged, you already have a good idea about what you want.”

She began her wedding research before she even had a boyfriend and wanted to ensure all the details were perfect for the big day by planning in advance.

Engaged couples sending 'You're Not Invited' cards

Engaged couples are becoming keener to confirm which friends aren’t invited to their wedding.

According to mashable.com, ‘You’re Not Invited’ cards are becoming an increasingly essential purchase amongst couples who want to avoid any confusion with regards to their wedding guest list.

The cards are supposed to be a gentle way of apologising to friends who couples can’t afford to accommodate on their big day. After all, many are limited by their budget or the size of their wedding reception venue.

Some couples are sending the cards via email, whilst others arrange for their wedding planner to make a phonecall on their behalf. However, many recipients of these notices have said that they felt even more offended as a result of the message.

Discussing this bizarre new trend, professional wedding planner Tatiana Byron told dailymail.co.uk that there was a risk of people taking it the wrong way.

She said: “Nine out of ten times, it’s because of lack of space – and the couple feels super guilty. These are usually people they’re friendly with, but not close to. Some of their friends complain and criticise the couple, thinking the planner won’t tell the client. The groom blames and bride and the bride blames the groom.”

Businesses can build off success of 2012, claims British hospitality chief

British hospitality businesses should be encouraged by the successes of last year and focus on building off the momentum.

This is according to British Hospitality chief executive Ufi Ibrahim, who fully expects companies to see events like London’s hosting of the Olympic Games paying off for them in 2013.

Mr Ibrahim acknowledged that not all had welcomed gains straight after the Olympics, though stressed it wasn’t too late for businesses to capitalise on its boost to British hospitality.

“While not all in the hospitality and tourism-related sectors saw a short-term gain, there’s an opportunity to reap rewards in the medium-term and there are plenty of reasons to feel that confidence for the year ahead and prospects are encouragingly positive,” he told bighospitality.co.uk.

One of the reasons event venues, restaurants and pubs might look to the future with optimism could be for their commitment to the economy. Research from the Office of National Statistics shows the British hospitality industry creating a third of all new jobs in the UK over 2012.

“At a time when the economy continues to be constrained, hospitality and tourism is planning for growth – pledging to create thousands of jobs over the next three years as part of the Big Hospitality Conversation for jobs campaign,” said Mr Ibrahim.

This scheme aims to tackle youth unemployment through the creation of work placements, new job opportunities and by holding meetings with businesses so they can realise what difference their involvement can do for the economy, reportsbha.org.uk.  

Wedding dates can influence the entire event, expert says

The date a wedding is held on can influence the entire experience of the day, a wedding planner has claimed. Lifestyle.yahoo.com reported that the time of year and the day of the week can both have a big influence.

Having a particular date in mind that couples won’t budge on could mean choosing a wedding reception venue needs to be done very far in advance. However, if the day and time of year are flexible, it significantly opens the options for the couple.

Wedding planner Isabel Smith points out the benefit of marrying on a Sunday: “As long as it’s not a bank holiday, a sunday can often mean lower prices as well as greater availability during the summer.”

Wedding.theknot.com reports that the type of wedding being planned can influence the time it is held. If the theme is rich colours and a hearty meal with a big open fireplace, a winter wedding is more logical. However, if a light buffet, pretty little dresses and the option of having photographs on the lawn is the plan, a summer date would be better suited.

It’s also important to take into account dates that the majority of the guests can attend. Choosing a national holiday can mean availability of staff is an issue, as well as friends and family having prior arrangements.

Expert highlights tips on how to tackle meeting dominators

One expert has outlined a number of tips and tricks that can help stop people dominating the proceedings of a business meeting.

Cited by businessinsider.com, Kellogg School of Management professor Leigh Thompson believes that during an eight person meeting in a conference space, three people do around 70 per cent of the talking.

While this leads to alienation in the other five participants, it also creates to problem of “production blocking” when people attempt to speak over one another, adds noticebrd.com.

In order to tackle these problems, Thompson suggests a technique called ‘brainwriting’. This involves participants writing down their ideas on cards anonymously as it “significantly increases idea output”. Following on, one person reads out the ideas and the room decides whether each issue needs to be flagged.

Thompson also suggests a method called Nominal Group Technique.

“Instead of having people in defined groups, have people work independently on a task or idea generation, then pool the results later on. These sorts of groups have been found to significantly outperform interactive groups for brainstorming tasks,” she said.

Finally rather than talking, meeting attendees should type ideas anonymously into a central discussion board, which helps to prevent dominant personalities from taking over a discussion. Trying out an alternative meeting structure also helps to break a team out of a ‘frustrating rut’, according to Thompson.