Each month we like to get to know a supplier even better and bring you snippets you won't know about them from their page. This month, our supplier of the month is Venues Covered Here's what Steph from Venues Covered had to say...
Who runs Venues Covered and how did you start out in business?
Venues Covered is run by me and my husband Barry. I'm the main designer who works alongside all of our Brides and Grooms to make their wedding days perfect, as well as general admin, and Barry is in charge of designing our drapery and lighting displays, as well as their installation.
Venues Covered was started in 2011 after I found out I was losing my job as a teacher, and we then found we were expecting our first child. We took the decision to start a wedding business as we had got married ourselves the summer previous and had made the vast majority of the items used for our wedding day ourselves...including a dance floor! We started being a chair cover fit and hire service, and then expanded pretty rapidly!
What is your greatest fear when you are working on a wedding?
Running out of time for setups. It is so important to me that every wedding is done correctly, and I will only leave once the look meets my high standards. I always joke that I'm only happy with the room if I would happily have it as my own wedding...so we always try to leave enough time for a last minute panic on my part if a table swag isn't even or a bow is crooked.
What is your greatest extravagance that helps you get through the day?
My wedding consultation room. Having moved house in order to keep the business growing, we were able to create a full wedding consultation room and office which has enabled us to get to know our couples much better, be able to offer a better customer experience and create a better design service...it also helps with the work/life balance, as nothing other than sashes are allowed out of the two wedding rooms!
What is the best theme you have seen at a wedding?
This is so difficult to answer! We've been lucky enough to work on so many different styles of wedding that it's really difficult to choose a favourite! Some of the ones that stand out in my mind was a bright pink Las Vegas themed wedding, a stunning all white wedding and a Tiffany inspired barn wedding...every couple is so unique that I really can't choose a favourite!
What is the hardest thing a couple has ever asked you to do for their day?
To provide literally everything we had! Drapery, chair covers, lighting, sweets, centrepieces, favours, table décor, props, children's goodie bags, etc for 200+ guests! We worked it out to be approximately 40 man hours of work to initially put up and take down over night...but it was definitely worth it! Although we have done weddings for larger guest numbers (so far the highest is 400 guests!) this one was certainly the most involved.
When was the last time you laughed out loud at a wedding? What happened?
We don't tend to see what happens during the weddings, as we set up before and then take down afterwards...we do however see the aftermath of a good wedding quite a lot when we take down overnight! We've had guests asleep under tables, chair clips in a guests hair, drinks being drunk out of our hired martini vases...lots of smaller, but funny, stories mostly to do with the amount of alcohol that has been consumed!
What moment are you most proud of in your profession?
We're really proud of the awards we have accumulated over the years. All of them have been designed to take into consideration customer service and experience, and we're so happy to be up there with some of the top companies in the country in terms of customer service. In total we have won or been finalists for 4 awards in 7 years...customer service awards (voted for by Brides) from The Wedding Industry Expert Awards, Guides for Brides, The Wedding Industry Awards, as well as Most Inspiring Business Person from The Whitewed Awards, so hopefully this means we're doing something right!
Where is your favourite setting for a wedding?
In Wiltshire, we're really lucky to have such a diverse amount of venues - everything from marquees to function rooms, balls rooms to barns and everything in between! I personally love when we get to dress a venue and make it completely unrecognisable - we love it when we hear from our Brides and Grooms that they didn't recognise the room they walked into, and how many amazing comments they've received from their guests...it makes us feel incredibly proud that we've done such a good job for them, and it makes all of the hard work worth while.
What is the one thing you can’t live without in your job?
Good, comfy shoes! I get through 2-3 pairs of comfy trainers during a wedding season...it's so important that what you wear is comfy because of all of the bending, carrying, pulling, etc that goes into decorating. Good quality safety pins are also a must!
What is the most embarrassing thing you have seen at a wedding?
A Vicar forgetting the Brides and Grooms names...oh wait, that was at our wedding!
What question do you wish every couple would ask you when you are meeting with them for the first time?
Approximately how long will it take to set up what we have asked for? Some setups take less than an hour, but some can take many hours and occasionally overnight, and a lot of Brides and Grooms are shocked when we tell them our approximate timings. It is important to us that couples understand how long a setup/takedown can take, communicate this to their planner/hotel coordinator and sometimes be willing to compromise, as some venues can have accessing issues which mean that their 'dream wedding design' may not be possible.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?
We're very fortunate that we work with a very creative bunch of people (our couples!) who give us some amazing designs to create that are really unique to themselves. I also love to keep an eye on Bridal magazines and blogs to see what upcoming trends are going to be, as well as Pinterest for some more quirky ideas.
What would people be surprised to learn about you and/or your work?
I think people would be surprised to find out how genuinely excited I am to see how our vision comes to fruition for each wedding. There's such a lot of planning that goes into a wedding, and although it can be stressful (for both yourselves and for us!) it always puts a smile on my face once setup is complete and it looks the way it has been planned...it's the ultimate 'well done' for us, and I would love to see our Brides and Grooms faces when they see the rooms for the very first time!
So, to transform your wedding reception venue for your perfect wedding day, check out Venues Covered!