The intense and rewarding world of wedding planning | Vicky Meets
Vicky meets... Nickie Dixon, events director at Farbridge, West Dean.
• What is Farbridge and what do you do there?
An old converted dairy farm on the West Dean estate, Farbridge is primarily a wedding venue. We have accommodation on site and our multi-skilled team look after the full running of weddings and events. My husband, Simon, is the head chef. We both have events backgrounds and we took over the running of Farbridge six years ago.
• Is there a typical Farbridge wedding?
No. All couples have different dreams and our team has to make sure that these are fully explored and delivered. It is all incredibly detailed. We want our couples to feel like they are the only people on Earth getting married. From the moment they view the venue we go on a journey with them.
• The impact of Covid-19 on the wedding industry has been huge, hasn’t it?
Our poor couples! 2020 was set to be a bumper year for weddings everywhere, but then everything was stopped. It was devastating. We immediately contacted our couples and rearranged dates, with a contingency for them to stick to their original date if guidance changed. In the early stages there was a lot of hope, but as time went on our event managers had to have some awful conversations and there were lots of tears. But we were able to give couples a plan B, which gave them a sense of control. But over time plan B became plan C, and then plan D. Some of them are now getting married in 2023. The wedding industry as a whole has been dreadfully impacted. For some of our suppliers this was their life and it just stopped. But it is coming back and we have lots of weddings to look forward to now.
• What makes a good wedding event planner?
The best place to start out is, as I did, as waiting or bar staff. You’ll need to rule out your weekends and be prepared to work a 16-hour day. You need a lot of energy and to be able to think on your feet. We once had to figure out how to get a bride from the suite to the aisle without a storm destroying her hair and dress, and without anyone seeing her. You’re immersed in very personal and sometimes emotional circumstances. Weddings are intense on all levels!
• How do you feel at the end of a wedding?
It’s the most rewarding job. The adrenalin is extraordinary. You start at 9am and you literally don’t sit down until 1am. But when your couple hugs and thanks you at the end it is so worth it. Then you go home, have a glass of wine and take your shoes off. The feeling when you take those shoes off is the best in the world!
• What’s your top tip for a couple on their wedding day?
Take ten minutes together after the ceremony to be alone together and to reflect on the wonderful thing you’ve just done.
For further information visit www.farbridge.org.uk
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