Behind the Scenes: Meet Alix and Carys, the Wedding Venue Experts Behind the Unveiling the Wedding Lifecycle Webinar Series
At WedPro by WeddingDates, we are passionate about helping wedding venues to deliver a positive experience that couples will treasure forever. That’s why we are thrilled to bring you an exclusive opportunity to learn from our team of esteemed wedding experts, Alix Matania-Allerton and Carys Duckworth. Get ready to elevate your wedding game with our unmissable three-part webinar series titled “The Wedding Lifecycle”.
They will be your guides throughout every step of the wedding journey. Join Alix and Carys as they share their practical tips and insider knowledge, accumulated over years of working in the industry, to help you create memorable wedding experiences that will leave a lasting impression on couples.
Alix’s Journey: A Passion for Creating Unforgettable Wedding Experiences
Alix Matania-Allerton, our Sales Manager, joined our team in 2017, bringing with her over 8 years of experience as a wedding planner in several venues. From exclusive country houses to 4-star hotels, riverside warehouses, and large marquees accommodating hundreds of guests, Alix has worked in diverse settings, gaining invaluable insights into the challenges faced by teams in the weddings and hospitality sector.
During her time as a wedding planner, Alix developed two key skills that she continues to apply in her current role: patience and an organised approach. Juggling multiple events taught her the importance of being methodical to ensure no details were overlooked. She understands that weddings are not just about the physical aspects but also about the emotions of the couples, requiring a patient and empathetic approach.
At WeddingDates, Alix enjoys employing her methodical approach in researching and planning her sales strategy, often relying on her trusted spreadsheets. She recognises that a sales role requires patience, as understanding the client’s timeline and priorities is crucial to building strong relationships and achieving successful outcomes.
“Weddings are not just about creating beautiful moments; they’re about crafting unforgettable experiences. With years of experience in wedding planning and a deep understanding of the industry, I’m excited to share my expertise in the upcoming webinar series. Join me as we unlock the secrets to elevating your wedding venue and exceeding couples’ expectations,” says Alix Matania-Allerton, WeddingDates Sales Manager and former wedding planner.
Carys’s Expertise: Elevating Weddings to Extraordinary Heights
Carys Duckworth is our dedicated Sales Manager based in Leeds, commanding a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry. With twenty years of experience working in hotels, event management and hospitality, and a Bachelor’s degree in event management, Carys brings a profound understanding of the distinct opportunities that venues encounter. This positions her to provide profitable and strategic solutions tailored to the specific needs of each venue. Carys is committed to helping wedding businesses succeed.
Working closely with wedding teams, Carys knows first-hand the importance of trust, effective communication, and personalised service. She enjoys connecting with clients and industry professionals, and her good-humoured engaging personality has created a supportive network.
Carys is enthusiastic about meeting new people and showcasing how wedding businesses can excel. Her extensive operational and sales background, coupled with her commercial mindset, enables her to provide tailored solutions to meet the specific needs of each venue. With Carys by your side, you can trust that your wedding business will be equipped to thrive.
“Having spent over twelve years in the wedding and hospitality industry, I understand the unique challenges venues face. Through our upcoming webinar series, we will dive deep into the secrets of elevating the wedding journey, sharing practical tips and insights that can make a significant impact. Sign up for this exciting journey, and together, let’s unlock the potential of your venue and exceed couples’ expectations,” says Carys Duckworth, our Sales Manager and wedding venue expert.
EXCLUSIVE Q&A: INSIGHTS FROM THE WEDDING VENUE EXPERTS THEMSELVES
1. What inspired you to become involved in the wedding industry and specialise in working with wedding venues?
Alix: My journey into the wedding industry was unexpected, but it turned out to be a serendipitous twist of fate. Originally trained as a dancer, my dreams of a performing arts career took a detour due to a knee injury. As I explored new paths, I stumbled upon an internship with a wedding planner, and it was there that I discovered my true calling. The emotional connections forged with couples, the joy of getting to know them and their families over months of planning – it was an experience like no other. Even now, I maintain lasting relationships with couples I worked with years ago.
During my time at a hotel in Berkshire, I became a client of WeddingDates. When the opportunity for a fresh start presented itself, I knew exactly where my passion and aspirations led me. Today, I find myself in the perfect balance – working in an industry I love, with a more balanced work-life dynamic than my days as a wedding planner. Now, I have the privilege of connecting with venues, and supporting them in their pursuit of creating extraordinary and unforgettable experiences for couples.
2. In your opinion, what are the key factors that set exceptional wedding venues apart from the rest?
Carys: Exceptional wedding venues stand out from the rest through a combination of key factors that truly make a difference. Firstly, authenticity and a genuine heart for service play a vital role. Treating each wedding as if it were our own and giving it the attention and love it deserves sets us apart. Additionally, expertise is crucial. We strive to wrap our couples in our extensive knowledge and experience, guiding them through overwhelming decisions and choices. Clear communication, including providing essential information, recommending suppliers, and highlighting the best photo opportunities, ensures a seamless planning process. Lastly, listening is essential. Understanding what is unique and meaningful to each couple allows us to create a wedding experience tailored specifically to their desires. By embodying these factors, we go above and beyond to exceed expectations and create unforgettable memories for our couples.
3. What advice do you have for venues looking to adapt to changing trends and meet the evolving expectations of couples in the wedding industry?
Carys: Stay curious and continuously explore what the industry has to offer. Keep yourself updated with the latest trends and market insights – I eagerly await WeddingDates’ annual Wedding Industry Report each year. Embrace boldness and be willing to venture into new territories, as progress is achieved through embracing change.
4. How can venues effectively incorporate storytelling and emotional elements into their offerings to create a more personalised and engaging experience for couples?
Alix: I am a big fan of storytelling to build relationships with people; as humans, we need to relate on an emotional level. Weddings are a wonderful industry to connect with others; often couples are entering the world of weddings with no experience and little understanding of how things work. They rely on a trusted wedding coordinator to guide them through and need to feel that their big day is in safe hands.
One simple but effective strategy I used during many venue showrounds was to tell stories of the history of the building along with anecdotes from previous weddings. Not only does it allow you to share ideas or advice on certain aspects of the wedding planning but also helps your couples feel more connected to both you and your venue – they are likely to remember a funny or interesting story when considering which venue and coordinator is the right fit for them.
5. As industry experts, how do you see technology and digital platforms shaping the future of wedding venues and their interactions with couples?
Carys: Weddings have a rich history, and, understandably, some venues may hesitate to stray from their tried-and-true practices. But let’s not forget who we’re catering to: the millennials! They’ve grown up in a world of technology, craving instant access to information and speedy customer service. That’s where automation comes in handy. However, we must remember that weddings are all about emotions, connections, and personal touches. So, let’s embrace technology while keeping that human touch intact, celebrating the unique relationship between couples and their dream venues. It’s all about finding that perfect balance!
6. What role does continuous learning and professional development play in staying ahead in the competitive wedding venue industry?
Alix: The wedding industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. With seemingly new venues popping up all the time couples are spoilt for choice, it could be the knowledge of the wedding coordinator that seals the deal for a couple choosing you as their venue. It is so important for those who want to be successful to continually push themselves to ensure they are bringing their best and meeting the high expectations of today’s savvy couples who are seeking personalised and exceptional experiences.
Continuous learning empowers wedding venue professionals to enhance the quality of their services. This commitment to excellence positions them as reputable and reliable choices for couples seeking exceptional wedding venues. However it is not all about competition; take the opportunity to attend industry conferences, collaborate and network with other industry professionals, share ideas, gain insights and support each other. The collective knowledge and experience amongst a group of wedding professionals is incredibly powerful.
Unveiling the Wedding Lifecycle Webinar Series: Guiding Venues to Success
Whether you’re a venue owner, manager, or part of the dedicated staff, this webinar series is a must-attend event. Designed to provide valuable insights and innovative ideas, this series is your ticket to wowing couples at every stage of The Wedding Lifecycle.
Webinar 1: Magical First Encounters: Mastering the Enquiry Stage for Attracting and Engaging Potential Couples
Date: Wednesday 21 June 2023
Time: 11:30 (45 min session)
In the first webinar, we will delve into the essential strategies for capturing the attention and interest of potential couples. Discover the power of quality over quantity in handling fewer enquiries and delivering quick responses. Learn how to target your desired audience, promote diversity and inclusion, and leverage social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Enhance your online presence with captivating imagery and videos, and understand how couples find you through reputation. Gain insights into early engagement tactics, filtering choices, and creating effective calls-to-action. We’ll also address price transparency and provide practical tips for optimising your appeal to couples.
Webinar 2: Creating Lasting Impressions: Navigating the Showround Stage for Memorable Experiences
Date: Wednesday 28 June 2023
Time: 11:30 (45 min session)
During this session, we’ll guide you through the essential elements of the showround stage. Learn effective response times, follow-up strategies, and the power of personalised communication. Discover the art of storytelling and stand out among the competition by providing genuine warmth by listening to couples’ needs. Gain insights from industry reports, including the importance of online booking options and making an impact when couples view a limited number of venues. We’ll also cover showround duration, setting expectations, and leveraging open evenings and incentives.
Webinar 3: Sealing the Forever Promise: Nurturing Expectations from Contract to Wedding Day
Date: Wednesday 5 July 2023
Time: 11:30 (45 min session)
In the final instalment of our series, we’ll focus on the journey between contract signing and the wedding day itself. We’ll explore how venues can impress couples during this period, including topics like deposit and contract signing, menu tastings, final details meetings, and pre-wedding events. We’ll share strategies for providing personalised experiences, anticipating and exceeding couples’ needs, and creating an atmosphere of excitement leading up to the big day.
Join us as we unveil the secrets to making unforgettable first impressions, crafting memorable showround experiences, sealing the deal with ease, and managing expectations leading up to the big day.
Unlocking the Secrets: Join the Webinar Series and Wow Couples
Experience even more benefits by attending all three sessions of this webinar series! As a testament to your dedication to enhancing the wedding experience, you will receive a special certificate from our prestigious WedPro Academy. This recognition highlights your commitment to providing extraordinary experiences for couples. But that’s not all! You will also gain early access to our comprehensive eBook on The Wedding Lifecycle, a valuable resource packed with insights and strategies to elevate your venue and surpass couples’ expectations.
Can’t attend a particular session? No worries! As a registered participant, you can access the webinar recordings, allowing you to catch up on any missed content at your convenience.