First, can you tell me a little about yourself?
I have been with The George Washington Hotel for 5 years and have been in the hospitality industry starting with my first job at Walt Disney World while I was in high school. Disney gave me a foundation and work ethic that has absolutely stayed with me throughout my career. I became involved in the wedding industry as a natural progression from various hotel sales positions and have been fortunate enough to work for hotels, such as the Contemporary Resort and The Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney Word, The O’Hare Hilton, Chicago, Holiday Inn, Winchester and Front Royal, VA and now here at an award winning Wyndham Grand Hotel.
Are you married? Does your personal wedding experience influence how you oversee them now?
Yes, I am married. I had no idea at the time I was planning our reception that I would eventually be working in the field. I enjoyed planning and arranging the details as I customized arrangements to fit our ideas.
As the Social Catering Sales Manager for The George Washington Hotel, I am the initial point of contact for all prospective brides. I assist as couples are looking for “that perfect venue.” Once contracted, I work with them in planning all of the details as related to the wedding and reception here at the hotel. I am here the day of the event to oversee the details as planned.
When would you say most people start planning their weddings? How far out from the wedding date?
I would say that on average many brides will secure the venue about a year to 9 months in advance. Although, we have planned wedding receptions with less than 6 weeks advance notice! Once the couple has chosen their vendors we schedule a food tasting and planning meeting at least 4 months in advance of the wedding date.
What is the most memorable wedding you have worked on? What made it special?
I remember a bride that loved the hotel so much she had to have her reception with us. Her wedding ceremony was in Frederick, Maryland and her guests all drove from Frederick to Winchester for the reception. They loved that fact that they could check in and then take the elevator home at the conclusion. Everyone raved about The Grand Ballroom, the food, and the service they received during the event.
Weddings, like fashion, are extremely “trend” driven. What do you see as 2017 wedding trends in the way of décor, wedding size, reception parties, the dress, the “hot” color etc.?
Today’s Bride enjoys customizing details to create her individual style. Outdoor events that were once popular are now moving inside as the couples consider the comfort and needs of their guests. Because of the character of our Grand Ballroom, brides love the fact that they have minimal decorating to do. They do focus on accents more than a complete décor and theme.
How much of the wedding do you work on first-hand? Is it normally the ceremony or the reception?
I assist with the ceremony on the wedding day, but I am not the personal wedding planner and do not actually plan the ceremony with the bride. I am more than happy to answer questions and give advice but the ceremony is special between the couple and they, with their pastor or officiate, will plan the details. The reception food, beverage and timeline is my focus.
What is your favorite part of a wedding?
That is a tough question! There is nothing better than to be able to plan this special day for our Brides and Grooms. I will say that it is nice to see them relax and totally enjoy the evening once the formalities have been completed.
Would you say you get emotional with the weddings?
Believe it or not, yes, I stand inside at the door of the ceremony room during the ceremony and assist with any late arriving guests or children that need to make a quick exit. So I get to witness every exchange of vows. You can tell that each ceremony, as different as many are, is very special between the couple.
Do you have any personal advice or words of wisdom to the brides and grooms that are planning their weddings?
The best piece of advice, as hard as it may be to do is to work with professionals that have experience in the wedding industry. Lean on the professionals to answer all questions and rely on their experience and professionalism to carry out your wedding reception. After all of the planning, the Bride and Groom need the confidence to be able to release the “planning mode” and enjoy their special day and all of their friends and family that have joined in the celebration.
What kind of bride picks your venue?
We actually have brides of all ages, first and second and second time brides, brides with varying budgets, brides who know just what they want and brides that truly have no idea that may need a little more direction.
How would you describe your venue to a bride?
We are actually a very versatile wedding venue. In addition to our Grand Ballroom with its 17’ ceilings, crystal chandeliers and original windows around the perimeter, we can also accommodate small intimate groups in our Garden Room with the outdoor Pocket Garden. As far as décor goes, weddings can be very simple in nature allowing the bride to enjoy the warmth of the Garden Room or the elegance of the Ballroom. In appearance, the hotel has kept all of the architectural details from when it was built in 1924.
Thank you so much to Jane for speaking with us! Do you want to book the beautiful GW for your wedding day? Click here for more info!