It felt really strange not going to see the bride in the morning as I normally do, but then I had no idea who or where the bride was!
Load up the van and my car at Ali’s house then we’re on our way to Stanmore. Found the venue but no way to get in. Double yellow lines along the road, so Debs and I park round the corner and I run back to the venue to see if I could find how to get in. Ring the bell of Church House and the caretaker’s wife appears saying ‘don’t ring the bell like that’ – Oops!
The bar company’s van is already parked there and there’s only room for 2 vehicles, so they’re asked to move it. I hop in the front with Myles from the bar company to get a lift back to my car as the only parking space big enough for his van is the one Debs and I are parked in. I think Debs is quite impressed that I’ve pulled so early in the day!
The place is amazing – a really lovely old barn, although the grounds out the back look a bit dodgy with the choice of either a grassy slope or crumbled brick steps to the lawn!
I leave Debs, Josh and the other girls to lay the tables while I go and sort out tables for the welcome drinks, a chair for the harpist and see if I can find out a bit more about what time things are due to happen.
I feel much better now I know more about what’s happening and I’ve done a bit of rushing around! We finish laying the tables and everything is going okay-ish in the kitchen. As is always the way with the kitchens in these type of places, there’s not enough space and the ovens are too small. Looks like Debs has everything under control.
3pm and the guests are due to arrive. Have to find something to prop the entry door open, then have to stand there to show people the way in as the sign for Church House is 100 yards further down over the gate! What a pain – lots to do but have to be an usher!
First guests get dropped off at the Church House sign so I have to wave to them to attract their attention. Strangely, the first group of guests include a bride I’ve been to see to give a quote to who hasn’t come back to me yet……maybe today will sway that!
Next guests include the bride’s mum who looks gorgeous and the bridesmaids in pale pink. Bride’s mum asks if I’m Alison and I tell her I’m Ali’s ‘front of house’. No problem there.
Bridesmaid re-appears and asks me where the biscuits are. Good question – what biscuits? Run down to the kitchen and find some containers with home-made heart-shaped shortbread biscuits in them. These are to go in baskets with the welcome drinks. Charlotte quickly gets that organised.
Bride’s father and a couple of ushers arrive. First question from the bride’s father ‘Alison’s abroad isn’t she? Is she stuck somewhere?’ Oh, I wasn’t expecting that straight away! I can’t lie, so I explain that yes, Alison is stuck in Egypt but that all her chefs and her usual staff are in the kitchen and that I’ve done front-of-house for her before and that I’m a wedding planner. He says that as a business owner, you have to have a contingency and it’s fine. Phew!
More guests arrive and hand me more containers with shortbread biscuits. Run down to the kitchen and manage to grab a sample of shortbread from a small pile of broken ones – yum!
All guests seem to be here so go back to the kitchen to see how it’s all going. They are starting to put the rolls on the starter plates with the salads. Now I love bread rolls, but these look a bit odd. I give one a squeeze – that feels as though it needs cooking to me! Josh & Debs read the label on the box and find that the rolls need to be cooked! Oops – that would have been embarrassing!
Nip out to the drinks marquee and get some drinks for the kitchen staff. They’re happy to give me those free of charge even though it’s a pay bar. I love it when all the suppliers pull together.