One of my blog readers and avid OGGS fans is the American writer that was based here last summer. Business brought him to London town all the way from Los Angeles via Milwaukee and he popped in to see us while he was here. His visit happened to be the day prior to our first wedding of the year and it was a high profile one indeed. Here is a guest blog post on what happened next, written by John Lewinski.
Taken from Hello!: Our very own Perry’s moment of fame
The writing business brought me back into London for meetings during the final week of March. I was shocked by the nasty weather with single digits temperatures, bitter winds and a blizzard combining to deny stubbornly any possible existence of seasons beyond winter.
That glimpse revealed white-clothed tables decorated with fresh flowers as well as a stage set up with the band equipment and bar area. An electronics-packed DJ station needed only a cue to fill the big room with music. The hall was set up for nuptials – confirming that wedding season was once again descending on OGGS.
|The Great Hall: Steve Shipman Photography|
From 9:30 the next morning, Simmonds and Odd worked together to set up lamps and candles throughout the venue, before placing name plates on seats in the Smeaton Room (where the actual ceremony would take place). Then, it was on to the reception space in the Great Hall with place cards matched to the bridal party’s table plan.
By that time, other team members from the OGGS Catering and House teams arrived on schedule to double check and reconfirm information from the function. That means Simmonds and Odd must check in and consult with those departments while also taking care of their own responsibilities. You can imagine how the hustle and bustle ratchets up a few notches.
After that, the arrivals were more traditional. There was the wedding cake. Once the band was on site, they needed to set up in the Great Hall for a sound check. The wedding’s Toastmaster arrived plenty early to review all of the formal proceedings.
|OGGS on the Cake! Steve Shipman Photogtaphy|
Dining preparation was in full swing. Guests would enjoy a Champagne and Canapé Reception before settling into a celebratory meal of asparagus wrapped in Parma ham with a warm poached egg, basil oil and balsamic glaze served with Hollandaise sauce; roast rump of lamb served with pommes boulangere; spinach, roast vine tomatoes and rosemary jus; and baked chocolate fondant with a chocolate cigar and vanilla ice cream.
The couple provided a playlist via iPad for a little background music during the drinks reception and dinner. The device and instructions needed to go to our onsite Audio Visual technician for their own soundcheck, scheduling, etc. The couple chose a “walk in” track (Greatest Day by Take That) to be played as they were announced into the festivities. So, the Toastmaster and A/V technician had to check the length of the instrumental on the walk in song as that was the cue for the announcement. Many weddings are considerable productions, and this kind of timing, choreography and coordination takes a little time.
To put it in Simmonds’ own words: “With weddings, you are really on your feet from start to finish – and you don’t realize how tired you are until the wedding is underway.”
The Welsh bride and Yorkshire groom chose a London theme for their big day. The aura of the British capital ran throughout the stationery, table names (including Covent Garden, where they met).
The color scheme was predominantly white and green, so the OGGS pillars in the entrance foyer were lit in white during the drinks reception. All areas were complimented with white linen and a mix of white flowers with green foliage.
The main staircase was adorned with glass hurricane lamps and ivory candles, providing a magnificent background for the wedding photographs and an inviting path for guests to head upstairs into the Great Hall for the wedding breakfast.
The Smeaton Room would host the actual ceremony, and the fireplace mantel pieces both there and in the Brunel Room (drinks reception) had groups of ivory church candles and all of the tables were laden with smart little votives. The pillars in the Great Hall started off being up-lit in soft white light, highlighting the gold leaf in the room and were changed to warm amber after the first dance. The chandeliers were dimmed for mood, but there remained just enough light to allow a twinkle with the additional reflections from the candles below.
Hello! Magazine kept tabs on the proceedings from the tabloid shadows to write up a special feature on the wedding. I’ve heard some mumblings that the celebrity magazine was in the neighborhood because of the bride’s celebrated sibling, but I think it’s clear to me they really wanted a glimpse of Simmonds.
The Bride and her Bridesmaids: Steve Shipman Photography
By all accounts (including the raves of Hello!) , the Jenkins/Johnson nuptials were a complete success – with the venue staff as happy as the wedding party to see it all come together so well. When all of the guests, crews and delivery folks were gone, with the Great Hall settled back into brief peace and quiet, Simmonds, Odd and the entire OGGS team could enjoy their success for a moment – before ramping up for the next wedding in what will be another busy season.