Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your wedding venue? We caught up with an award-winning co-ordinator to find out
Karen McKechnie works at the luxury four-star Macdonald Crutherland House hotel, East Kilbride, and was awarded the coveted accolade of Wedding Coordinator of the Year at the prestigious Scottish Wedding Awards 2018.
Set in an 18th century manor house and surrounded by 37 acres of unspoiled countryside, Macdonald Crutherland House hotel is a unique and picturesque wedding venue situated to the south of Glasgow.
What’s your job title?
Sales Events & Marketing Manager. My role includes co-ordinating all weddings at the hotel.
What led you to this role?
I have a degree in Hospitality Management & Marketing. I have always loved planning events and have always been the nominated organiser, so when this role came up, it was a dream job for me.
What do you love most about your job?
My favourite part of planning a wedding is getting to know the brides and grooms – I love listening to the different ideas and themes they have in mind and turning their vision into reality. I have the opportunity to get to know our wedding couples over a number of weeks and months throughout the planning process, so it‘s lovely to spend time with them throughout the journey. A lot of our couples then come back to celebrate their first anniversary at the hotel and they keep in touch to update me on their major milestones, like when they have a baby.
To what extent are you involved on the day itself?
I am very hands-on on the day, particularly at the start to ensure everything is set up correctly, do the finishing touches and ensure the bride is well looked after by the dedicated team at the hotel.
If you were to get married at your venue, how would you go about it?
I love the idea of vintage themes with lots of flowers and a gold and champagne colour scheme. Rather than a typical sit-down meal I would like something quite informal like a barbecue. I love all of the little touches that go into making a wedding special, so I would definitely put a special focus on favours and extra personal details.
What advice do you have for newly engaged couples starting their planning journey?
My five key pieces of advice are:
1. When selecting a venue, remember what’s most important to you. At Macdonald Crutherland House, we can host everything from intimate receptions in a choice of function spaces, to lavish celebrations of up to 300 guests in the grand Crutherland Suite and the ceremony, wedding meal and reception can all take place under one roof.
2. Be organised. Whatever the size of your big day, it’s crucial to be organised and keep an eye on the wedding finances. It’s easy to get carried away with booking ‘nice to have items’ in the early days of planning, but it’s best to prioritise the wedding wish list from the start and not try to book everything at once or you could feel things snowballing around you.
3. Don’t worry about the guest list – it may be your family tradition to invite a long list of acquaintances, but it’s important for the brides and grooms to be happy with their guest list and not feel too pressured by the family politics.
4. Attention to detail. Once all the big decisions are checked off, it’s important to think about the little details that will give your wedding a special touch. From table decorations to personalised favours, it’s these memories that you and your guests will cherish.
5. Enjoy the day! When the big day finally arrives, the happy couple needs to relax and enjoy the wedding of their dreams and trust our dedicated team at the hotel to take care of everything. And they should not worry about the weather as it is outwith their control.
Anything that you’ve been particularly proud of doing in your time at the venue?
Being awarded ‘Wedding Coordinator of the Year’ at the Scottish Wedding Awards 2018 was a dream come true for me. My job is so rewarding and it really was the icing on the cake knowing that so many of my brides and grooms took the time to submit reviews of their experiences. As if that wasn’t enough, Macdonald Crutherland House Hotel was also nominated as ‘Wedding Venue of the Year’ at the awards.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had?
I once had a bride who asked if I would walk down the aisle with her bridesmaids!