How many venues can you say have delicious food, great atmosphere and uninterrupted views of the river? Not many I can tell you, but one that stands out is Moda Events Portside. We are luck that we have shot a number of fabulous weddings at Moda Events Portside and I believe me when I say it is one of those venues that has it all! So when we were lucky enough to be invited to exhibit at the Moda Events Portside Wedding Showcase a few weeks back, we jumped at the chance (after picking ourselves off the floor and looking around thinking,”really, who me???”). Although this venue really does have it all, one of its major secret selling points (other than the uninterrupted views of the river, did I mention that???) is its wonderful, professional and fun event management staff – Jessica Layton (on the left) and Lucy Wade (on the right). These women are easy going, relaxed and professional – just the people you need to help you plan and execute all your dreams on your wedding day. I thought I would ask them a few questions about how they got into the business and what makes them love it so much!
How did you get into events management?
Jessica: My Mum had an exhibition company that she ran from home so I grew up surrounded by it.
Lucy: I started doing events with my Dad back in the UK when I was 14 and I absolutely loved it! He is a Chef and so we would go to private residences and cater dinners and parties etc. When I came to Brisbane 4 years ago, I was fortunate to fall into the role of working as the Operations Manager at Mirra Private Dining and Events in Fortitude Valley. This was the beginning of my events career in Brisbane.
What does your job entail?
Jessica: Meeting lots of different people from corporate clients to wedding couples to suppliers in all types of fields to achieve one thing – flawless events!
Lucy: With regards to weddings, it’s fairly hands-on, meeting brides, showing them the venue and making them fall in love with Moda!
What are the major aspects of your job – what would a typical day be like?
Jessica: Coffee in the morning followed by responding to emails about upcoming events, a meeting or two with clients or suppliers and sprinkled with phone calls
Lucy: The morning always starts with a coffee and a catch up with Jess which turns into a bit of a pow-wow of ideas that we’re having for the venue and a bit of a debrief on the previous day. Such an important ritual! The rest of the day is pretty full up with emails i.e. enquiries or queries from Brides and a lot of meetings whether it be finer details meetings or site inspections. One of the best parts of our jobs is that we get to meet so many different people every day.
How do you work with brides?
Jessica: We acknowledge first and foremost that this is one of the most special days in their lives and try to be the creative and innovative support they need to make it so. This means listening to what they describe for their perfect day initially then suggesting resources or contacts that I might be able to suggest to help their vision become a reality without breaking the budget
Lucy: I’m told that I’m quite straightforward with brides which I think works well. It allows me to find out what they really want and get all of the necessities of planning done efficiently. Brides today are dealing with so much, on top of a wedding they have full time jobs and some have children already so if I aim to make it as painless as possible to allow them to enjoy being a bride.
At what stage of the planning process should a bride come and talk to you?
Jessica: After a jeweller and a wedding planner, the venue is stage one of the couples journey in pulling their day together. A lot pivots on their venue selection. The venue choice determines what will and won’t be suitable for extras like event styling, cake, photobooth, honeymoon, hair and makeup and photographer etc. The venue bill will also determine how much money is left to play for all the extras!
Lucy: In our job we usually meet our brides right at the start of their planning process. A lot of couples just want to get the venue booked and locked away before they start on anything else. From then, our door/telephone is always open to queries or concerns of our bridal couples. We like to think that we give a very personal service.
What is the favourite part of your job?
Jessica: This is random but when the bride and groom first return from photos and arrive at Moda we take them up to the bridal suite with their bridal party to relax with canapés and Moet before they come down and hide behind the partition waiting for the MC to introduce them as “Mr and Mrs” for the second time. The atmosphere in that time huddled area behind the partition is always filled with anticipation. The bridal party are always introduced first so I take it upon myself to get the brides train on her dress all flat and symmetrical from the back before she swans out and THAT is my favourite moment. I get to peek out and see the room of happy faces receiving my beautiful couple into the room and the atmosphere is electric! (especially when the bride and groom do a little victory dance or something, always a nice touch for fun.)
Lucy: When a bride falls in love with Moda and wants to book! They get excited and we get just as excited. It’s also nice when we’re there on the day and get to see everything we’ve planned come into place!
What is the worst part of your job?
Jessica: When I connect with a couple in the preliminary stages who are really lovely and I’m excited to work with only to find that we don’t have their date available… This seems to be happening a lot this year! (I agree Jessica, that is our worst part too!)
Lucy: Very rarely we have that horrible phone call where a Bride & Groom have split up and the wedding is not going ahead. It’s every coordinators nightmare!
What do you think are the most important parts of a wedding day?
Jessica: Not filling up the lead up time with wedding planning. I am getting married in early 2013 and a friend gave me this advice which I try to pass on where appropriate: Choose a time frame for one night each week and make it “wedding planning night.” On that night between say 7:30 and 9:00 you both make a commitment to get all your wedding planning for that week out of the way by sharing ideas and giving opinions before switching off and getting back to being you…. Enjoy every moment of the engagement!
Lucy: That’s a tough one, there are so many amazing moments in a wedding day! I can tell you that my favourite part is when I receive the Bridal Party at Moda. I get to show the Bride and Groom the venue all set up for them and then get the goss on their day so far in the Bridal Suite before they are announced into the room. Best of all, I get to see what the Brides wearing!
Thanks guys! So if you are still looking for a venue then I can highly recommend Moda Events Portside – their next Bridal Showcase is on the 2 May 2012. It is a great way to see the venue at night when it really shines! Click here to register. All of the styling in these shots was done by Amini Concepts. Check out their supplier interview here.