10 months ago

Open Air Business February 2018

The UK's outdoor hospitality business magazine for function venues, glamping, festivals and outdoor events


FUNCTION VENUES › 1-2pm - depending on the actual wedding time, three of us with walks talkies direct guests into the private drive and down to the parking, and help elderly guests to the copse or garden › 3-4pm - on call for anything - issues with power, first aid, bored children etc. › 5-6pm - check sound volumes for speeches and band, professional sound check if needed. Fill fire pits and lighting depending on time of year › 7-9pm - check and fill up fire pits, put out fairy lights and lanterns to guide people to the car park › 9-11.30pm - remind the band that they’ve got to stop at 11.30pm and need to play the last dance › 12-2am - help guests leave by torch or walk them (depending what state they’re in!), help with taxis, car parking, caterers and band dismantling and leaving › 2am - final walk round, clearing marquee of anything valuable that’s been left behind, check the campsite, close and lock gates etc. › Then a very early start the next day for Kate to make breakfast for campers. What do you enjoy about the business? It’s hard work but we enjoy it, only doing six to eight weddings a year means they are all special to us - if we did them every weekend it would lose its charm! It also provides us with enough income to justify the upkeep; it has meant we could afford to landscape the front garden, work on the woodland and buy the tools and equipment to make the work easier. It’s also bought the shepherds huts and paid to restore the cottage and other outbuildings. What other outdoor hospitality sectors do you operate in? We do offer the camping side, in tents or the huts, but mainly when it’s during a wedding. We hope to do more independent of the weddings but both Kate and I have full time jobs doing other things so it’s difficult enough doing just the events we do at the moment. We plan to do more corporate type events during the day for smaller parties; something creative and gentle - more art, cookery, yoga and wellness than clay pigeon shooting and quad bikes! “IF A JOB’S WORTH DOING, IT’S WORTH DOING PROP- ERLY. THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT HAS TO BE EX- PENSIVE OR ELABORATE, JUST WITH CARE AND PROFESSION- ALISM - KEEP IT SIMPLE AND GOOD QUALITY.” ADDRESS BOOK What advice could you give to someone coming into the industry? Don’t be desperate to try and do something completely different - most things have been tried before by someone so being totally original is quite tricky. Whatever you decide to do, do it well. It’s the old adage of: “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly”. That doesn't mean it has to be expensive or elaborate, just with care and professionalism - keep it simple and good quality. Find a good reliable team of staff or suppliers - people as dedicated as you are in delivering a brilliant service or product. Don’t make your self indispensable - ensure there are other people who can do your job if you are taken ill or can’t be on site for whatever reason. Deal with any issues quickly and efficiently, don't point blame or complain (at least not until after the event), just sort it out and let your clients enjoy themselves. What are your plans for next season? We have changed the layout slightly where we mow the paths and have made them slightly wider. They might not be quite so romantic as narrow tracks through the long grass, but it is definitely more practical once the guests have a had a few drinks and are trying to find their way back to their tent, the loo or a taxi waiting for them! We’re making more garden games and also clearing an area in a strip of woodland, laying hedges and creating areas for smaller events or activities as we hope to be doing more corporate days here during the week. What are you most proud of? Creating and building on what was already a beautiful home and being able to share that with our clients, guests and visitors; helping people have a truly magical and wonderful day or event; helping create amazing happy memories. We are also providing more and more habitats for wildlife with bat boxes, owl boxes, wild flower meadows, a small stream, piles of logs, and laid hedges. Consequently we see an abundance of bats, foxes, badgers, rabbits, hedgehogs, snakes (only grass snakes but that’s a good sign of a well kept, fertile environment), newts, frogs; the list is ever expanding. MARQUEES Archers Marquees Big Top Mania County Marquees Honeycomb Marquees Papakata The Stunning Tent Co POWER We have our own three phase power and a generator in case of power failure SOUND Serenity Audio TOILETS The Royal Flush DIRECTORY SITES For Better For Worse Natural Wedding Company www.thenaturalwedding INSURANCE NFU Mutual DETAILS Church Farm Kington Langley Chippenham Wiltshire, SN15 5NN 01249 758444 16 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM

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