February 2011 archive

- 10 Feb 2011

Kate & Wills Westminster Wedding

Hello everyone,

You are no doubt pleased like me that Spring has finally arrived and the evenings are much lighter.

To add to my general mood lift, the countdown to the much anticipated Royal Wedding is well underway! I read in the press recently that it is to be viewed by in excess of 1 billion people around the world. I remember too clearly the wedding day of The Prince of Wales in 1981. At the time, I was working for Government Hospitality, part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and we were organising a lunch at the Bank of England, hosted by the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher for overflow wedding guests from the wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral. On the very same day we also organised a reception for 800 wedding guests in the evening at Banqueting House. I had never seen so many crowned heads in one place at the same time and remember the late Princess Grace of Monaco and Nancy Reagan arriving only minutes before the end of the function as if they were in competition to be the last to arrive. What was really perfect too was seeing the Prince and Princess of Wales drive through Horseguards Arch which is immediately in front of Banqueting House as they journeyed in an open top carriage on the way to the station to set off on their honeymoon.

Although it was unfortunate to have to work on such a momentous day, lets face it, I too would have liked to join in the evening street parties myself. However with our offices based in a Grade I listed house in Carlton Gardens overlooking The Mall we were right in the ‘thick of the action’ and given the work we were doing we managed to probably to see more than many others that were not at work.

Anyway, 30 years on and with a bit of luck, I may just be able to enjoy this momentous occasion from the comfort of an arm chair at home as I am fortunate to have a very able and experienced team who will be running the events and weddings over that weekend as we allocate a dedicated Event Co-ordinator to every event.

I recently supported our Sales and Marketing team with a photoshoot and updating the content of our website’s Private and Fine Dining pages where I tried to influence and capture the spirit of our great venue and ability to host superb corporate hospitality functions. The Sales team tell me that they have had a number of enquiries already for celebration canape and drinks receptions on the actual day of the wedding, private screenings and to act as a back of house base for news stations and media companies. Our Storey’s Gate entrance, with a clear view to Westminster Abbey is literally under a minute’s walk away. If you would like to see my stab at marketing speak, you may wish to take a look at our updated Private and Fine Dining pages by clicking on either or both of these links.

Very exciting times ahead, really looking forward to the 29 April 2011. It is going to be a day to be remembered for some time.


- 10 Feb 2011

Eclipse Presentations appointed at OGGS

Being well into the New Year already, I can hardly believe that it is mid February already.

The 3 month competitive tendering process for the letting of the new 5 year Audio Visual contract finally came to a close on the 31st of January 2010. There were 3 good, albeit different bids each with pros and cons and evaluating each bid in great detail led to Eclipse Presentations taking the lead. Eclipse Presentations have been around for 21 years providing audio visual solutions both in the UK and overseas.

Seven years ago they started to set up their venue partnership service both as sole and preferred suppliers and are now on-site at over 18 leading London area venues.

In case you think my hair has grown really long since Christmas, the photo above is clearly not of myself. Let me introduce you to Martin Devenport, Eclipse Technical Services Manager who has been based here at OGGS for 5 years and supported by two other long serving team members, Terry Corrie and Ferenc Nagy.

For the larger productions, Martin and his team are able to call on the services of Eclipse’s outside production team that are able to advise and create tailored solutions and production services based on their already expert knowledge of the building.

There is never a dull moment in my role as Events Manager, with so many events booking at the last minute these days, it helps to know that we can rely on the back up of a large and well established provider such as Eclipse. During the heavy snow period at the back of last year for example, we took an all day meeting booking after midday. It was due to start at 9am the very next day and some delegates were not able to get here due to the flight chaos. Martin immediately contacted Geneva to advise and coordinate the video conferencing requirements at both ends.

Anyway, much as I have enjoyed updating this blog, better get on with the day job and deal with some bookings.

Keep your eyes peeled as I plan to post another blog on Kate and Wills’s decision to ‘tie the knot’ quite literally on our doorstep in the near future. Exciting times for Westminster.