Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Event Life

In my event planning days, weddings were not super high on my list.  Not because I don't love them...I really do but the level of detail that goes into the execution of the special day is something I out grew at the age of 30. I vowed at that time to only plan weddings for friends and I continue to stand by that!  But, thankfully there are people out there like Aoife Hanly, Wedding Coordinator at One Great George Street (OGGS) who do what they love and love what they do!

Planning is Hanly's middle name!  Having managed 500 couples, heard me right! I'm guessing at this point she's more than earned the title of expert, right?  

When asked how it's possible that after planning so many weddings, she is still excited by each one, she replied, "I really do still enjoy organizing weddings because each one is so different. Every bride or groom wants to make his or her mark and leave a lasting impression on the guests. I enjoy the creative side of that – the food and wine pairing, table decor, the wedding cake design and all the beautiful flowers. The best part of my job is bringing it together from a simple theme and color scheme to a fabulous ‘wow factor’ wedding.”

OGGS, one of the best wedding destinations on Earth, prides itself on inclusiveness so Hanly has been able to plan ceremonies for couples of various cultures, backgrounds and orientations.  This means that each and every event presents its own unique style and personality.

Hanly offered this lesson: “When you work with different cultures and orientations regularly, you learn what they expect of you and how you should communicate with them. You also become skilled in the art of pacifying family feuds and stressed out brides and grooms before the ceremony. You become the negotiator and the calming influence.”

I am personally quite impressed with her ability to continue to come up with so many unique ideas and finishing touches! And maybe her most culturally diverse wedding comes with her 500th wedding – the happy union of Marina and Sadat – a Greek bride and an Indian groom.

“This was the first Greek/Indian partnership I dealt with, though I have had other fusion weddings, such as Persian and Indian, Australian and Irish, English and American, Hungarian and English, Nigerian and Italian. It’s actually more usual to have a mixed culture wedding.”

Need wedding ideas for yourself?  Just listen to how Hanly describes this couple's special day. 
“There was a vintage theme with lace chair saches, intricate glass vases, beautiful pastel pink roses with hydrangea and plenty of pearls. Planning the 500th meant creating a choice menu for 230 people – with each course suited to the cultural needs of Greek, English and Indian guests.”

Does that not sound like the most fabulously stylish wedding ever?!?

Hanly’s deft multicultural touch comes in especially handy as London becomes more of a draw for many international couples.

With wedding 500 under her belt, Hanly has moved on to planning at least 4 more in the coming months. However, does she ever see herself planning wedding number 1,000?

“Yes...If I can survive that long. I know OGGS will still be here.”

More power to ya sister! 


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