The Coordinators Behind Memorable Weddings

Hearing From The Coordinator Series Samantha Lodge on Loch Lomond Scotland

The Magic Behind Memorable Weddings: An Interview with Samantha Smalley, the Wedding Events Coordinator at Lodge on Loch Lomond

When it comes to weddings, there is an entire world bustling behind the scenes, working tirelessly to create perfection. While the couple takes centre stage, captivating everyone’s attention, there is a league of unsung heroes, like Samantha Smalley, who possess an unwavering passion for crafting unforgettable memories. Samantha is an integral part of the skilled team at Lodge on Loch Lomond, where dreams become reality and love stories unfold flawlessly.

With her meticulous eye for detail and relentless commitment to excellence, Samantha takes on the crucial role of coordinating every aspect of the wedding day. Her dedication ensures that every moment is brimming with joy, love, and extraordinary experiences that will be cherished for a lifetime.

In this insightful interview, Carys Duckworth, our Sales Manager and Wedding Venue Expert, dives deep into Samantha’s world, uncovering the qualities and skills that make an outstanding wedding coordinator. Get ready to be inspired as we explore the behind-the-scenes magic that brings wedding dreams to life.

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What is your role and what does your day-to-day look like?

As the Wedding Events Coordinator at Lodge on Loch Lomond, my role involves overseeing all aspects of wedding celebrations, starting from the initial inquiry and booking process. I work closely with couples to understand their vision, preferences, desired dates, and guest numbers. Once the booking is confirmed, I schedule regular catch-up appointments to address any questions or concerns they may have. About six weeks prior to the wedding, we go through all the details of their special day.

On the wedding day itself, my team and I are responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly. In the morning, I personally meet with the couple to provide support and reassurance. I introduce them to our operations team who will be taking care of them throughout the day, emphasising that they can reach out for any assistance they may need. During the day, I make periodic check-ins with the couple, ensuring that their needs are met and that the proceedings are going as planned.

After the speeches, I hand the couple over to our ops team who will be present for the remainder of the evening. 

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What do you think are the most important skills to have as a wedding coordinator?

I believe the most important skills to have are being friendly, attentive, and a good listener. Sometimes, the couple may struggle to communicate their vision, and that’s when your ability to understand their needs, even when they can’t fully explain themselves, becomes valuable.

For instance, when someone comes in to consider a wedding during a particular season, being knowledgeable about different options allows you to provide suggestions and ideas. You can offer a variety of possibilities, presenting them with a range of choices that align with their preferences.

How has your role changed over the last few years?

Over the past few years, my role as a wedding coordinator has undergone some changes. In the past, a substantial portion of our time would be spent outside the office, focusing on the wedding day and the couples and handling various aspects of the event. Nowadays, our operations team has taken on more responsibilities in that regard, allowing us to allocate more time to appointments, meetings, and other administrative duties. 

Another change that has occurred is related to wedding setups. Previously, it was quite common for couples to bring their own decorations and undertake do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. However, in our experience, DIY weddings are a lot less common as they now opt to hire professional decoration companies instead. 

What’s your biggest challenge or frustration in your job?

Honestly, I can’t say there’s a significant frustration that stands out in my job. In our hotel, all our departments collaborate seamlessly and have a great working relationship, and everything tends to flow smoothly. 

The Wedding Team At The Lodge On Loch Lomond

📸  The wedding team at The Lodge On Loch Lomond. 

What are some notable changes you’ve observed in the responsiveness of couples during your time as a wedding coordinator?

The responsiveness has definitely changed. When I first started, it would often take couples a considerable amount of time to provide the information we needed. We would hold meetings, but they wouldn’t have the details readily available. As a result, we would find ourselves sending follow-up emails and going back and forth for ages. However, this has improved significantly over time. Nowadays, couples are more prompt in getting back to us, usually within a few days or a week, which is a reasonable timeframe.

We consider ourselves fortunate in terms of our team dynamics. During the summer season, we had four wedding coordinators, three of whom have been with us for a long time. As a result, we have developed a deep understanding of how couples prefer to communicate, resulting in quicker responses from both sides. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that occasionally some couples have higher expectations of us than what we would normally be responsible for. There are instances where they mistakenly assume we can handle tasks beyond our scope.

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What trends do you see looking into the future?

One notable trend that comes to mind is the inclusion of extra bits and pieces for nighttime festivities. One example that comes to mind is the growing popularity of crisp walls. 

And certain trends have been around for years like prosecco walls, candy carts and giant letters. 

What concerns do you see looking into the future?

Looking into the future, I don’t foresee any significant concerns for us as a venue. We consider ourselves fortunate because our couples are incredibly open and honest with us, seeking our advice and opinions before making decisions. We appreciate their trust in us and provide them with answers and suggestions accordingly. 

When people come to us, they rarely express any major concerns. On the rare occasions when concerns are raised, they tend to be minor and sometimes even trivial, such as inquiries about the number of seats per row. These are small details that can be easily addressed, and they don’t usually cause significant stress or worry for our couples.

The Lodge On Loch Lomond

What’s your proudest moment?

One of my proudest moments is when I witness the brides or grooms walking up the aisle. It’s a truly special moment, especially when you can sense their nervousness just before they take that important step. I’m there with them, offering reassurance and support, telling them it’s all going to be fine. Standing beside them, I often witness something small or silly that manages to distract them from their nerves. It’s heartwarming to see them walk up the aisle, and as they come back down, I’m the first to greet them with a little glass of fizz.

At that moment, you can see the stress and tension melt away from their faces. It’s as if a weight has been lifted, and they’re ready to fully enjoy the rest of their special day. This particular moment, getting them up the aisle and welcoming them back down, holds a special place in my heart. It’s the culmination of a long journey we’ve shared, from the booking stage to the catch-up appointments and final meetings. 

What’s the craziest / most unusual thing you’ve seen at a wedding?

Some of the craziest things I’ve seen were a sheep making an appearance during the wedding photos, a hawk swooping in to deliver the wedding rings during the ceremony and when a newly married couple and all of their guests decided to canoe from the church to The Lodge. 

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What do you love about being a wedding coordinator?

One of the things I absolutely love about being a wedding coordinator is the sheer enjoyment and fun it brings. There’s something incredibly special about being present with people on their wedding day, witnessing their joy and happiness firsthand. It’s a delightful experience to get to know the couples and be there by their side on the big day. Being a wedding coordinator allows me to play a small but meaningful role in their wedding day. 

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Wedding coordinators like Samantha embody dedication, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to ensuring that every couple’s special day is nothing short of extraordinary. To all the aspiring wedding coordinators out there, take inspiration from the insights shared by Samantha and the countless professionals who pour their hearts into making each wedding a work of art. Embrace the challenges, and cultivate your creativity, for you hold the power to shape unforgettable moments and create lifelong memories.

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