Privileged to be toastmaster for the wedding of Sheila & Pete @ Dunston Hall
I will be on hand to great the guests as toastmaster for the wedding breakfast of Christie & Nathan at Glebe Farm Barns
Erin & Gordon
The month of May saw me as toastmaster at four more weddings. The weather wasn’t to clever for my first wedding of the month with Erin & Gordon on the 11th. They arrived at Hoxne Village Hall in a horse and carriage and umbrellas were at the ready. The poor horses and grooms were soaked to the skin. By the way, I say grooms as that is what those who look after the horses are called. Strictly speaking the man who stands by the side of his bride is the ‘bridegroom’ not the ‘groom’. A groom cares for the horses, a bridegroom cares for his bride! Andrew Watts of Woodland Studios was on hand to capture the day and guests danced the night away with their own choice of songs from the Funky Diva juke box. If you are planning a celebration at a venue where there is no venue manager on hand the presence of a toastmaster is even more essential for the smooth running of the day.
Rebecca & Oliver
Next was a return trip to Hoveton Hall Gardens, this time with Rebecca & Oliver. This is a beautiful setting for a wedding with many different locations for photographs. Some beautiful shots were taken, by top photographer Tatum Reid, of the new Mr & Mrs Carter along with quite a large wedding group that included four bridesmaids, four flower girls and two best men! I greeted the guests, some of whom arrived from the church in a double decker bus, and guided them down to the Spider Garden where drinks and canapés were served. Then it was up to the marquee for dinner and entertainment by singer/guitarist Tom Pearce. The meal was provided by top chef Kevin Gardner and his team from the King’s Head Coltishall. In the evening there was a photo booth and band ‘Empire‘ to entertain the guests, and the whole day was captured on video by Peter Breame of Dream Capture Video.
Later in the evening DJ/singer Jamie McGuire took over. As usual we enjoyed a lovely meal at the Oaklands and photographs were taken by Sally Lowe. Damian & Nadine are a lovely couple who sent me a lovely letter of thanks and recommendation.
“Hi Bob From the moment we arrived at the Oakland’s you were the first person we saw waiting for us. You took control from the beginning and if you hadn’t been part of our day it would not have been as fantastic as it was. All the guests were impressed and commented on toastmaster Bob. You really are fantastic at what you do and we would highly recommend that everyone has you at their wedding. Not only were you professional and organised, but also funny and a real pleasure to have share our day. From the first moment you took away any concerns, nerves and worries we may have had. We were able to relax completely knowing that all the timings and organising was well under control. Whenever I did think of something, I didn’t even need to ask as you had already dealt with it. Truly brilliant, thank you so much for making our wedding a dream come true”.
David & Tracie
The next day I travelled over to Zest Rooms at Potters Leisure. It was an early start for lovely couple David & Tracie as they were holding their whole wedding there. I love announcing the bride into the ceremony – “Ladies & Gentlemen would you please stand. Accompanied by her Father and attended by her bridesmaids, your bride”. Cue music and away she goes down the aisle. Andrew Watts of Woodland Studios was on hand again to capture the day. I am always fed well at Zest and enjoyed an excellent meal. Jill and her team give first class service. In the evening, after cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet and their first dance together as husband and wife, resident DJ Clare got the party started. By the way the cake was fairly unusual in design. It was made by award winning Anne-Mie of Time4cakes.
So ends May. Their are six bookings to report on for the month of June.
The Spring and Summer of 2013 have been fairly busy for me (although probably not compared to other toastmasters) with thirty bookings completed plus quite a few wedding shows. During these less busy Autumn / Winter months I’m going to do a separate blog about each month, so lets start with April 2013. The month started with a big wedding at Dunston Hall for 250 guests. Natasha was a stunning bride for Laurie. Her family are from Sri Lanka and this was reflected in her beautiful dress. They provided two buses to ferry their guests from the church to Dunston where I welcomed them and guided them to the marquee for the drinks reception. Photographs were taken by friends of the couple Claire Morris and Anya who had travelled down from the North. My first rhyme of the season called all the guests to dinner in the Sunningdale Suite where everyone enjoyed the usual high standard of service from the Dunston staff. After the usual speeches I stayed on to introduce the cutting of the cake, throwing of the bouquet and the first dance. This was Bob Marley ‘Is this love’ (I wanna love you) and following this I took my leave and everyone else partied the night away.
Next was a trip over to Zest Rooms at Potters Leisure at Hopton on Sea for Rachel & Ben’s wedding day. This is a very modern venue with beautiful views over the golf course towards the sea. I had to slightly adapt my call to dinner at Zest as the table plan is displayed on a screen….”If the table plan you have not seen, it is displayed up on the screen”. A video of the day was taken by Clearview Video and entertainment for the evening celebration was provided by ‘Dynamite‘ who really helped the day end with a bang (sorry)! They played the first dance which was Savage Garden’s “Truly, madly, deeply”
It was back to Dunston Hall again to spend the day with Sacha & Joshua. They were married at the grand St John’s Catholic Cathedral in Norwich and then travelled over to have drinks in La Fontaine while being entertained by the SImon Brown Jazz duo. Elizabeth White took the photo’s and then we went upstairs to the Sunningdale Suite for the wedding breakfast. There was a Spanish flavour to the day as the Mother of the Bride’s family came from Spain. I managed a few of my introductions in Spanish which everyone was greatly impressed by. One of the Spanish traditions is to give five almonds to each guest as a favour. These represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity. This was the first wedding where I came across a fingerprint tree instead of a guest book. A bit messy but wet wipes were provided. Sacha also had the brilliant idea of providing flip-flops for the girls whose feet were hurting by the time it came to the evening celebration. The first dance was to Alicia Keys ‘No one’ and then the brilliant Dominic got the party really going. He really is one of the best singers at getting everyone up on the dance floor.
Then I was off to the beautiful house and grounds of Lynford Hall to help Vicki & Stuart celebrate their wedding day. This splendid venue, where some of the series Dad’s Army was filmed, provides first class service and a wonderful setting for photographs. These were taken, along with a video, by Dave & Alan of ‘Affordable photography’. The 80 day guests were joined by 100 more in the evening to see Vicki and Stuart take to the floor for their first dance ‘Amazed’ by Lonestar.
For my final wedding of the month I travelled to Drayton Old Lodge to share the day with Joanne & Matthew. This is another favourite venue in the Norwich area that provides a lovely ceremony room and an unusual setting for photographs in the ruins situated in the grounds. Photographer Michael Smithson, who actually specialises in race horse photography, did a rare wedding and the first dance on this occasion was ‘Angels’ by Robin Theake. “Dear Bob, we would like to say a big thank you for all of your help on our very special day. You were fantastic throughout the whole wedding experience and made my life stress free!! The day was perfect and that was down to a lot of your help. Thank you.” Jo & Matt
In between all these weddings I had the honour of being toastmaster at the Great Yarmouth Mayor’s Civic Ball. As well as Borough dignitaries the event was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk Mr Henry Cator. I welcomed guests, made announcements and conducted the auction which raised a goodly sum for the Lord Mayor’s charity. This was the first time I worked with excellent photographer James Neale. So that was April. Another four weddings in May to report on next.