The month of April is vastly shaping up to one of the busiest for me so far this year. What with Easter Bank Holiday and the end of financial year for most places, it’s always a wonder why everything seems to happen at once. Here at Osterley with Easter Trails, Easter egg giveaways, longer opening hours and unpredictable weather, we truly feel like were getting into the swing of the open season here! However, none of the latter is what is taking up my time. Instead I am faced with an abundant amount of household tasks, pre-planning, and checklists!
With April being the start of our seasonal wedding period (April-Sept) it is no wonder things have started to pick up in the wedding & Functions department. In this months blog post I will talk about 5 individual happenings, developments or just something of interest for the month of April.
Spring Clean! So keeping in tradition with the seasonal spring clean which happens in most homes this time of year, we went with that initiative at Osterley too! However, instead of throwing out unwanted clothes or dusting of our summer attire, we got on our yellow rubber gloves and armed with a bucket and some ‘extra sensitive’ boots washing up liquid; we headed for the Temple of Pan for our spring clean. The Temple of Pan set in our formal gardens was treated to some TLC. Our ‘Premises & Collections’ Manager, Claire Reed, ‘House Steward’, Judith Evans and ‘Commercial Manager’, Megan Tanner all assisted me with the prep clean for our first wedding due to take place next week. At the start of season the walls get a wipe down, the cob webs pulled away which build up during the winter period and a few sparkles can be seen in the glittering sunlight (when we have sun). We must say we were very pleased with our work, with compliments from our Head Gardener the next day!
Myself, cleaning the Temple of Pan, armed with protective yellow rubber gloves!
Myself and our ‘House Steward’ Judith, really trying to scrub all the dirt out of the small corners, being careful to protect all the fine paint and plaster work.
A close up of the artwork and detail found in the Temple of Pan.
The whole spring clean was preparation for our first 2013 wedding. The first to take place will be happening in the Temple of Pan and is the first of many, 8 to be exact and were still counting! It has been a daunting feeling for me in the office, not carrying out a wedding for 6 months; I’m questioning whether I will remember everything. I’m sure it will all come back to me on the day – that’s the mindset I am relying on anyhow!
This will hopefully be a nice smooth transition back into the busy period, with things picking up even more in May.The Temple of Pan has proved to be our most popular venue room this year with an increase from 3 weddings in 2012 to 8 this year, as you can see more than double. With 6 remaining ceremonies taking place in the house, compared to the 13 last year, you can see the dramatic decrease in effect that weddings will have on the house. The remaining 4 events taking place will be receptions only.
Inside the Temple of Pan.
Thinking about the 2013 season and how busy we are going to be led to the advertisement of a seasonal position . We are looking for some extra hands on help, offering a part-time position for those interested in learning something about the industry. It will be a 1-2 day role that will play a vital part in helping us carry out and execute all our weddings, functions and receptions we have for 2013. The National Trust is in a great position to offer these seasonal roles which are often perfect for those still studying, who have family commitments or generally want to broaden their range on skills.
This is exactly how I started with the Trust, and it just goes to show where things can lead for individuals afterwards. So to add to my work load I am collating CV’s, planning interview questions and intending to carry out formal training sessions all within the month of April! (Recruitment period ends 19th April 2013)
The above point coincides with preparing for 2013 season! With trips to Ikea planned (not just for the meatballs – I promise!), more cleaning of ceremony rooms, testing of equipment, ironing of tablecloths and moving of furniture, not to mention actually attending all ceremonies and receptions we have planned this year, I have got a very busy time ahead! With menu choices to be made, layout ideas discussed and finer details to consider, it is always an ongoing process.
This year we have a bigger team to support the wedding business here at Osterley, an exciting time for them all to be part of someone’s special day. With a ‘Front of House Supervisor’ to oversee catering, a new chef to assist the Catering Manager in preparing canapés and the seasonal role which will support the execution of ceremonies at Osterley as well as set-up, it will be a big team effort.
Oh and by the way were already taking bookings for 2014! So forget 2013, it’s not as if it’s just getting started or anything, there are a whole other bunch of couples getting engaged and planning their 2014 weddings! In the month of April I also took my first deposit payment for a summer wedding next year, it made me realise about all the pre-planning in this industry and why we have to continually think about the next step, the next stage and the next year!
With 2014 prices sorted, brochures being updated, catering menus being extended and new suppliers coming on board we are very much in full swing for 2014 as well! It’s sometimes hard to remember what year you are working in, when thinking about past weddings, preparing for current weddings and carrying out viewings for future weddings; I think I can be forgiven for forgetting what year I am currently in!
And let’s just look at the date…its only the 9th April…!