No matter what, your wedding day will be fabulous.
It’s a day when you are love struck; you have found your happy ever after and you are about to be part of the ‘I Do’ crew. All of the planning has paid off and you are all set for the most magical day of your life.
Many couples spend months, perhaps years even planning their day, and the first thing, once you have found you soul mate, is to find the right venue for you.
There are a number of requirements that many couples note as important to their decision making; one is definitely the location. Couples want to make it as easy as possible for their friends and loved ones to join them. Then of course the GREAT British weather has to be considered! That is why we at the New Continental Hotel are a popular choice.
But choosing a city centre location can mean that you don’t always have the grounds to incorporate nature. So how can you have it all…?
You bring the outside in!
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we have many couples who love us for our location, our hospitality and our attention to detail; but they also know that it’s really important to them to have nature too.
If you’re thinking of a wedding at an indoor venue, this can be a smart option. No weather concerns, no cold evening receptions, and they are of course perfect for winter weddings. If you are worried that you might be missing out on the beauty of the outdoors at your indoor wedding, then please don’t! There are so many ways that you can bring the beauty of nature indoors in really safe and clever ways.
Here are some fun options that we have loved seeing over the years that have cleverly brought an outdoor feel, to an indoor wedding…
Flowers are an obvious go to…
Flowers are such a beautiful way to add colour and a spot of nature to your indoor wedding.
There are endless ways to incorporate your flowers to make the inside feel more “outdoorsy.” We have seen beautiful potted plants, especially herbs as centrepieces. We have seen beautifully crafted arches and flower walls. Ceiling instalments have also been a beautiful addition to the dressing of the room, as well as floral favours with seeds. Baskets of flowers just scattered around the edge of the room and so much more.
You’re colour scheme can dictate your flowers, or your favourite flowers your colour scheme. We had a couple that loved Daisies’ as they had a real significance to their meeting; so they had splashes of yellow with hessian – simple, elegant and chic. Adding natural fabrics is a great way to add nature too. Fabrics such as hessian and linens can make great table runners and can complement an outdoor-themed indoor wedding in an instant.
The colours you choose…
When we think flowers, we naturally think colour!
The colours you choose can make a real difference to the overall feel of your wedding. If you create a palate, thinking about everything you love about the outside, it’s a great place to start. Here at the hotel, natural greens, tans, and greys, instantly transform the room into a lush, nature-filled environment. Then the rich autumnal colours, the oranges and burnt yellows adds depth and beauty. Having plenty of leaves and greens incorporated in any arrangements always makes things feel lush, natural and elegant.
Whilst both the flowers and colours you choose will all help bring the outdoors in, you don’t have to stop there!
Utilising water can also create an amazing natural feel and it’s great when lights hit and the colours are reflected on the walls in the evening…we are in Britain’s Ocean City after all!
Water centerpieces are a great option; from shallow bowls to large, wide glass vases once filled with water, you can create floating lily heavens, or rose petal ponds, or simply add small flowers to recreate a floating garden look – water is a great addition.
Natural items are also a really great way to add nature! Silk, wood, sand, pebbles, slate…the possibilities are endless and beautiful!
Let Us Help…
Having a wedding in an indoor space is a practical option, and here at the New Continental Hotel we do all we can to help your day go your way. When it comes to how you want the room to look, we will work with you every step of the way. Having your dream wedding is our intention and no two weddings are ever the same. If you are looking for a venue and have ruled our a city centre location, perhaps come and just have a look, see if we can help you bring the outside in!
Although I have never been married myself; I have had the privilege of attending a lot of weddings in my life! So, upon reading the research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts.
Let’s unfold together the latest changes in the way those that choose marry, choose to do so…
I love a wedding!
Not only are they full of beautiful outfits and great food; weddings are also full of so much love and laughter. And of course the odd happy tear or two! They are also full of amazing imagination and creations, helping couples express their love for each other; but also their unique personalities.
No two weddings I have ever attended have ever been the same. Odd when you think about it! Weddings in its simplest terms are two people in love joining together for a future of happiness.
Yet they are all so very different!
Like every person is different! Yet all made up of two eyes, a nose and a mouth, we are still unique beings. And isn’t that wonderful? How dull life would be if we all looked the same – and how sad it would be if every wedding was a replica.
When you see peoples personalities expressed on their wedding day, their love for each other makes even more sense. It’s like looking into their love scrapbook, seeing the pieces that unite and bond them. It’s truly breathtaking.
The venue a couple chooses also says so much about who they are as a couple and what matters to them. When I was younger and dreaming of my wedding day, I would often think of myself walking barefoot down an aisle, scattered with grape veins in a vineyard in France, strolling to the gentle tunes of Sade at dusk. Sometimes my fairy tale would take me to a morning on a sunny beach, wearing diamante flip flops and linen, saying ‘I do’ to the sound of the waves gently stroking the sand.
And interesting, I wasn’t alone!
Many others were also conjuring up the idea that they too were going to step away from a more traditional wedding.
Researchers from the ONS have provided an interesting insight into what those inaugural dreams of a less traditional take have done to the current landscape for the wedding sector.
They have reported that the UK has seen a record low in religious ceremonies. They say that only 25% are choosing this more traditional day and the rest of the couples are having a more social event.
The New Continental Hotel…
This echoes our annual report for the New Continental Hotel during the years 2018/2019. We have seen an increase in civil weddings and a rapid decrease in couples joining us for a celebration after their religious ceremony. Just 2% of our couples in 2018/2019 chose a church wedding.
This doesn’t mean that weddings and marriages are less meaningful or spiritual now; it simply means that couples are choosing to express themselves and their love for one another in other ways. More and more venues have a premise licenses, there are 20 approved wedding venues in Plymouth alone. Also, not only is the choice plentiful more couples with differing cultures and religions are coming together, and so looking for something that will fit both their beliefs, dreams and desires.
For some couples, the religious ceremonies that are conducted at churches, in front of those closest and dearest and in the eyes of God will be the perfect setting for their futures to start. In the same way that those who chose a less religious day, equally as magical and sacred, choose a civil ceremony so that they have more freedom to personalise readings
What we have now more than perhaps ever before is more freedom and choice. Personalising these special days to reflect personalities and love for each other.
Here at the New Continental Hotel we have seen a huge increase in our mid-week wedding packages. Telling us that not only are couples choosing their way and their venue – but their day too. No longer thinking it must be a Saturday but working on a day that ticks all of your boxes as you tie the knot and start your lives together as a married couple.
Love, although different for everyone, needs its own ways and roots, and with the choices we now have, love can really bloom.
Congratulations if you have found your one and you are planning your forever together. If you’re thinking of a wedding day all under one elegant roof, then talk to our amazing Wedding Coordinators today and let them show you how our hotel can be yours for the day.
The New Continental Hotel offers three amazing private dining and event rooms; for business meetings and family events; whether a wedding or a birthday party, a conference or training and everything in between.
The versatile Ballroom – rich in history. The wonderfully light and airy Athena Room and then the more intimate Green Room. All serviced by their own kitchens and each with their own options and ambience.
The Ballroom can accommodate meetings, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as theatre-style seating and cocktail receptions, basically any of your event needs! The Athena Room is popular for luncheons and more intimate weddings, as well as family functions and smaller conferences and dinner & dances. The Green Room is perfect for board meetings, training sessions, smaller ceremonies and events.
Whichever room you book, a dedicated events coordinator will be available to assist with every aspect of your event. Our chefs are also on hand with amazing menu ideas that they can create with you or for you. They always use on the very best locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. They can work with budgets and nothing is too much trouble for our talented chefs.
For our dinner and dances of a certain number there is no room hire charge and we offer complimentary place card printing and of course free enterprise grade Wi-Fi.
Whether you are looking for a city centre space to do great business or a family owned hotel that know the importance of every family celebration; no matter what your event or occasion we have a room for you!
We love weddings here at the New Continental Hotel, but we know that planning your big day is fun, but it can also be really time consuming! Running around to various wedding dress boutiques, making appointments with make-up artists, thinking about beauty treatments…the list can feel endless!
That’s why we love that Amica Bridal Boutique have teamed up with some of the absolute BEST in the region, in a one stop shop evening of fun and cocktails!
There will be; wedding dresses, beauty treatments and so much more, helping you to look and feel fabulous on your special day.
You’ll enjoy: outstanding dresses, free consultations, demos and advice from experts. There will be competitions, special offers, gin cocktails, sweet treats and goody bags across this amazing evening.
You can also find out more about: Botox, fillers, makeup, invisible braces, makeup, hair, tattoo removal, detoxing, photograph, cocktail making and WEDDING DRESSES!
So much amazingness in one evening! Visit their eventbrite page to register – it’s FREE and it’s set to be FABULOUS!
There has probably never been before a time when there has been so much exceptional pressure placed on couples when they are planning their “perfect day”. Trying hard to be all things to all people, always hearing voices that are louder than your own.
Knowing in your heart, that when you decided on forever, when you found your very own love story, the hashtag you would use on the day was the furthest thing from your mind … or heart!
When something is your choice; when you are doing it for you, understanding why you feel so giddy, lost and low is tangling! You can’t find the end of the rope to sort yourself out; because the colour of the bows, the dietary requirements and where Gran will sit all seem to take over!
That is unless we stop – for just one minute – and own the moment!
We thought today would be the perfect day to talk weddings and mental well-being. It is after all #weddingwednesday during #mentalhealthawarnessweek!
Just like our physical health, we can have ‘good mental health’ days and we can have ‘poor mental health’ days – and neither last forever.
We have to take care of ourselves and be mindful of every moment, especially during times of pressure. Many couples I know say that it took someone to actually remind them of why they were getting married, to allow them to take a breath.
The flippant language used like: ‘bridezilla’ and ‘wedding mad’ really aren’t helpful…
People are not their behaviours; but their behaviours are often the outcome of how they feel in all the places we can’t see. Like their soul, their minds and their hearts.
Our ability to cope with pressure, when we want something to be the very best it can be because we won’t be doing it again, gives a certain kind of weight like not much else.
First there’s the planning pressure; the where and when – who’s family wins! The financial pressure; how do we set a budget – where do we get the budget! The family politics; who’s in the wedding party and who isn’t – the fallout of any decision! The food, the wine, the hashtag, the photographer, the flowers, the first dance…evenings don’t feel long enough for all the thinking and planning there is to be done.
People have a certain kind of expectation that because you have chosen to say ‘I do’; because you have found ’the one’ – everything else is smooth sailing. That it’s’just a day’ and that all that matters is love. So then that makes you feel even more guilty! You ask yourself why are you finding it so hard. Why is all the confrontation and difficult conversations making you feel so emotional? And how come it is so impossible to please everyone?
It’s OK to wobble…
There really isn’t another life event or occasion that has so much judgement and expectation. The unexpected and unprecedented pressure on our minds, on our body and our soul is overwhelming at times.
Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause. To be more than the planner of your wedding day. It’s about understanding that time you enjoy wasting – ISN’T wasted time. It’s odd, during times of stress or when we have pressure on our shoulders, those are the times we seem to drop the things we actually enjoy – to make more time for the things we don’t!
So amidst the planning and the preparing we need to remind ourselves every day; that we in this moment matter.
By giving ourselves this time, this care will give our wellbeing a boost. After all, you are about to start the biggest adventure and chapter of your life; you have to make sure your tank is full to be ready for the ride of your life.
Do you ever go to a wedding and think, This is magical?
The colour scheme, the little touches, the detail, the planning; sometimes just the eye of the couple getting married who pulled it all together. Magical doesn’t have to mean expensive.
For some of us, an all-white bouquet would look like a giant golf ball; but to others the most beautiful creation.
Alas, sadly just following a ‘trend’ will not always give you the cosmopolitan wedding your heart desires; what trends do do is connect you with ideas and help you find your own solution.
Admittedly, planning a wedding that feels timeless, contemporary, and fun all at once is no small feat. One that is chic, stylish, elegant, sophisticated, glamorous , opulent, decadent and all those other words we want our wedding to be like is really pretty tough!
The trick to this emotionally fraught process is to sidestep obvious wedding trend mistakes. These blunders that we have seen in the past! The table decorations that block anyone from making conversation. The real flower wall that lasts for 5 minutes before flowers fall out, the chocolate fountain that was a mistake from start to finish in a room of white and dry-clean only outfits!
If you are starting out with you’re wedding planning for this upcoming year, we may have some little hints that could offer some side-steps, some ideas or just some possibilities for your special day…
We love clever, personal and useful ‘welcome to our wedding’ gifts that greet guests in our hotel rooms when they arrive. It doesn’t have to be much, snacks, water, local tea and coffee, these are all practical and charming. But you can also go a little step further, perhaps some personalised by date or name flip-flops or survival bag with little goodies, a thank you from you for their time and effort to share in your day.
Bouquets That Stand The Test Of Time
We have seen many celebs opt for a smaller, more classic bouquet, and many of our brides have also done the same. Refined, elegant, and simple arrangements that don’t overshadow the bride and her dress are what we see as being hot this year.
The Perfect Palettes
From peach to coral and every shade in-between! NOT THIS YEAR! This year we are seeing a massive trend in rose gold, ivory, creams and rich fabrics rather than colours.
Dress To Impress…Yourself!
Meghan Markle may have opted for the minimalist Givenchy dress, and so on the back of this there are dressmakers all over going for the simpler designs. Which is great, but doesn’t always mean it’s right for you. Don’t make your wedding dress a uniform. Pick the dress that is right for you, that makes you ‘wow’ yourself! Wear what fits your style and personality.
Staying true to who you are is always in fashion; and that’s what your other half fell in love with.
Food Glorious Food
It’s tempting to try and over do it on the food front! 2019 sees more and more set menus with a silent vegetarian/vegan option. Massive choices for guests can slow down the flow of any event, and adds to the budget. We are seeing more and more two, two and two options; the couples own favourite choices…’which team are you on!’
Who Gives A Toss
We would! It’s 2019. So your single friends in search of a significant other will all no doubt be swiping left and right rather than crossing their fingers to catch a Bouquets; but we truly believe this tend will be back in 2019. A tradition that will stand tall again.
Do Me A Favour
Wedding Favours are becoming less popular. Instead we are seeing more and more novelty table items; candles with the date on that people can take at the end of the night; individual flowers in the table decoration with the guests name on a mini peg and small luggage tag with a personal note. More creative, less expensive!
If you would like to find out more; do call us.
We would welcome the opportunity to show you around our hotel and share some of our Real Wedding pictures to give you a feel of the spaces.
If you book a mid-week wedding (for just £1,500!) in 2019 you receive a complimentary 12 month JOINT Gym Membership worth over £400! QUOTE MWGYM19
Weddings In The New Continental Hotels Beautiful Ballroom
How Do You Know If Love Is Real?
There is something so incredibly magical about weddings. They demonstrate love, and let’s face it, there is nothing nicer to see than a couple in love!
Weddings at the New Continental Hotelhave always been such memorable occasions. When you talk to staff about what they enjoy most about witnessing the celebrations, it’s not just about how the hotel is transformed, but more about the feeling in the air.
We asked our Wedding Coordinators what it is that couples tell them about how they knew they had found the one.
The ‘love indicators’ shared with them over the years melted our hearts; so of course we had to share them!
Weddings Using The New Continental Hotel Bridal Suites
“I knew that he was the one for me because although we don’t always share the same opinion about things or have the same viewpoints; we accept each other’s thoughts even when we don’t feel the same way”
“We don’t have conflict. Yes sometimes we bicker but we are always on the same side. We are a team; I never feel alone knowing I have her on my side.”
“It’s so easy being with him. From the very beginning I just felt at home in his arms. I love that I can be myself without judgement.”
“He pays attention to me, but not in a false way, in a real way.”
“She is my antidote. If I have had a bad day and I’m stressed when I get home she knows just how to calm me down. She always makes me feel at ease, she makes me genuinely happy.”
“This will sound sad, but even if we are apart for a day, we actually miss each other.”
Red Carpet Arrival
Have you found ‘the one’..?
Do these ring true with you? Are you lucky enough to have found ‘your one’?
If so and you are planning a wedding, we would love to meet you and show you how we might be able to be part of your special day.
The dawn of a New Year comes striking new suggestions for the hospitality sector from New Continental Hotel staff and customers…
Trends have to start somewhere. Change is made by people with passion. The future is bright when you have the right vision.
We talk to our teams and our customers about what they want to see from our hotel and in the hospitality sector as a whole in the coming year; for 2020 and beyond.
There are two very different sides to hospitality; the side the customers enjoy and experience; and then the side the dedicated staff see!
We fuse the two together and look what beautiful patchwork we would both like to see for the future in hospitality in our New Year BIG SIX!
High AT ONE!
Both our staff and customers agree, seeing the straw being pulled from the nostril of the sea turtle on the BBC’s Blue Planet II made us all stop and think about the damage we are causing, without realising in most cases, to the planet.
Now, more united as a race than ever it feels, we all want to take stock and take action to try and undo and get smarter about the way in which we go about our day to day life. But not just that, 78% of the customers we asked said that they still want to be environmentally thoughtful when on holiday.
Single-use plastic was the main concern for travellers and our staff. Although massive steps were made in 2018; not just by us but many restaurants, hotels and bars, there is so much we can all still do.
The eradication of plastic straws was an amazing start. Led by Our Food & Beverage Manager Simon and his team, we were one of the first to make that stand. As a business we continue to assess what we are doing, what we could do and always ask if it’s really essential for business.
We have made bold pledges to phase out as much single-use plastic items as possible, both front and back of house. Eradicating plastic completely we know might be a pipe-dream, but we are committed to continually asking the right questions.
Like many businesses and organisations across Plymouth, we at the New Continental Hotel were all super proud to be a Plastic Free Pioneer and a small part in Plymouth becoming the first UK city to be accredited by the global charity Surfers Against Sewage with Plastic Free Communities status for its waterfront district.
56% of customers asked said that one of the reasons they chose the New Continental Hotel was because it had a gym, pool, sauna and steam room. Now, we have never claimed to be a ‘spa’ hotel, with fancy pebbles and wicker furniture – and nor should we as that isn’t what we are.
What we are and what we have is a hotel with a leisure club that cares; inspires and installs confidence in everyone’s individual’s ability.
Our team of talented staff, led by Adam our Club Continental Manager don’t only have knowledge and experience, they have the passion. There doesn’t have to be fancy in life, there has to be generosity. Our Club Continental team are not only able, but also always willing to give unconditionally and always go above and beyond.
The time they give to both members and guests is truly incredible, and we know that this will continue to grow throughout 2019.
Wellness as an overarching concept is nothing new in travel and hospitality, but from our conversations with customers, we believe that 2019 will see a big rise in the number of people travelling and choosing very specifically to stay, or to get fit.
When you are on holiday in a new city you want to explore; especially if you are only in Plymouth for one or two nights.
As our Executive Chef, Paul Doidge says that he believes part of the exploration of Plymouth is the exploration of our cities amazing restaurants threaded throughout it’s DNA. He admires the plethora of amazing and diverse restaurants in Britain’s Ocean City, and always encourages guests to try as many as possible.
We all understand too well that for our hotel guests there is a time and a place for hotel restaurants. Yet, knowing how talented our teams are; 2019 will be a year that we give Steve’s Brasserie the platform it deserves, as we would if it was a standalone restaurant.
Our Head Chef, Rob Dunne is working hard this year to really amplify the narrative about the greatness of his and his brigade’s food; and although a restaurant within a hotel he knows it too is worth trying!
Fighting At Four!
In The Air With Airbnb!
At the end of 2018, Airbnb was riding high for travellers as one of their main tools to book their holiday accommodation, and that doesn’t look like it will change in 2019.
Some hoteliers view Airbnb as a big threat; and yes, for some time many have either viewed it with downright hostility, or just ignored it with an ostrich mentality!
Here at the New Continental Hotel things are a little different, as we are not only hoteliers, we also have our sister company; Strathmore House Apartments too. We use Airbnb as a really successful tool for booking our 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom apartments on Elliot Street. Knowing how the platform works, having used it for some time successfully with our apartments, we decided to give it a go in 2018 for our hotel.
Prompted partly by an open letter wrote by Airbnb in March 2018. Here they tried luring hoteliers to step away from the major OTAs, enticing them with their lower fees and global community.
For six months we used Airbnb for our hotel; looking at it not as a rival, but as just another distribution platform. It just didn’t work for us as a hotel.
What it has done, is it has made us view things a little differently though.
There will always be a market for a wide selection of accommodation providers, and there will always be competition. What we believe, is that being part of success is success. We appreciate the guests that choose us, but we also appreciate there has to be choice.
Showing Willing At FIVE!
For over 30 years we have loved being part of couple’s special days. That will never change, but what we have noticed in 2018 and 2019 is that couples are stepping away from the traditionally popular ‘Summer Wedding’.
Now we see more and more couples opting for Spring and Winter Weddings instead.
What’s more there has also been a really large addition to the wedding calendar; mid-week weddings! . These have been great fun for us, as we get to see even more amazing couples, brides, grooms and wedding guests in the finest of fashion, filling the hotel with an atmosphere only a wedding day can bring.
TAXING At SIX!
TAX Is Going Digital!
When hospitality talks tech, it’s usually in relation to technology for the guests; features like keyless entry, room control systems and check-in and out technology. But back of house function are also really important and will no doubt speed in developments throughout 2019.
Keeping up with new and dynamic pricing software and AI booking engines can be a minefield at times, but let’s not forget about our poor accounts departments too – and we don’t just mean due to the techy invoices!
There is going to be a surge of energy in all accounts departments across all sectors gearing up for the ‘ TAX GOES DIGITAL’ manoeuvre in April.
Designed to be more efficient and to transform the tax system by 2020, this was the UK government’s original goal.
The plan is to introduce digital record keeping while also bringing in quarterly updating for landlords, the self-employed and businesses, covering self-assessment, corporation tax and VAT.
We have a headache just thinking about it! Whilst Development Managers and Marketers battled GDPR in 2018; 2019 TAX GOES DIGITAL looks like it may be a very similar fight for many Account Managers!
The year will no doubt be a full and fun one; with advances, changes and BREXIT! (You thought we had forgotten didn’t you!)
Whatever happens, there is one thing for sure; you can be certain that we will be here, doing our best to give our guests the best for yet another year.
Why have one events planner when you can have two?!
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we love it when there is a new addition to the ‘Conti’ family. Not only new members of staff; but when staff have new members of their own families!
Katie returned recently after her 10 months maternity leave. Not only has her family grown but the events team too!
We ask Katie all about her new role as Mum and Events Planning at the New Continental Hotel.
” I have enjoyed every moment of motherhood so far and spending time with my beautiful little boy, but my goodness it feels good to be back at The New Continental Hotel doing the job I feel so passionate and proud of! What’s also amazing is I’m no longer alone! My colleague Claire and I are now a wedding andevents team!”
Katie & Claire…
“Many of you will have already met Claire as she has been running events solo in my absence on top of already being a well established member of the New ContinentalHotel team for many years. Now we are a combined force! Our primary goal is to enable each guest to relax and enjoy their special event; ensuring all aspects of their occasion is executed with smooth timing and flawless detail.
We understand that each guest wants their event to showcase their individuality, making attention to detail so important. Being devoted to working together as a team is really important whilst helping customise each event down to the last detail. For both of us, the most important thing is making sure it’s the perfect day, no matter what the event.”
Wedding & Events Coordinators…
“We feel very privileged to be Wedding & Events coordinators at the New Continental Hotel. The best part of our job is the relationships we build with our clients, as some events, like weddings are planned years in advance, so you get to build great relationships.
“It is an absolute honour to be part of one of the most special days in a couple’s life. We look forward to every wedding we do at the New Continental Hotel and are proud to be part of the outstanding service all our team provides for our guests. We know that the “perfect wedding” is different for everyone. This is especially true as both Claire and I have each had a very different wedding experience of our own. Very different – but equally magical. Therefore we completely understand how important the planning process is on the build up to your special day. We want to develop a relationship with each couple and their families, discussing their vision whilst keeping a budget in mind.
No matter what the wedding size, we will work together to make each couple’s dreams come true.
In addition to weddings, we also help plan the social gatherings and events at the New Continental Hotel. No matter what type of event we are coordinating, we thoroughly enjoy being part of each stage of the process and we are especially pleased to see clients and guests enjoying a successful event. By having two of us working closely together – our guests receive twice the understanding, knowledge and guidance to support them in creating their unique event and making your vision a reality.”
Get in touch…
“We are both very excited to be working together and look forward to hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to contact us on 01752 276783 to let us help you plan your next event.”
We meet with our resident DJ to see what he thinks..!
Having a DJ at your wedding is more than someone helping you choose great songs. A great DJ requires technical know-how, high-quality equipment and be someone who can read a crowd so as to sustain the party atmosphere.
Depending on the type of wedding you are having, a DJ can be a great option for your entertainment requirements. It can provide a cost effective solution compared to live entertainment. Not only is hiring a DJ considerably cheaper, they can normally cater to a wider variety of music styles, tastes and genres than a band or other musicians.
If you do choose to go with a DJ you will find that hiring a professional and reliable DJ for your wedding can prove to be a very difficult task. With quite a large number of companies to choose from and a majority of those agencies being online, it can be very tricky to discover which DJ entertainment companies are legitimate, professional and trustworthy.
Here at the New Continental Hotel we have our very own Resident DJ, Steve Calvert from A Plus Entertainments. Steve kindly met up with Katie, one of our wedding coordinators to discuss what it means to him to be the New Continental Hotels Resident DJ.
Here’s what he had to say:
How long have you been a DJ and how long have you been running A Plus Entertainments?
I’ve been a DJ for 32 years and running A Plus Entertainments since 2008 (I ran SC Leisure before that but re-branded myself)
What made you decide to become a DJ?
I’ve always had a fascination with music. I would go through my mother’s record collection as a young boy and was always making mix tapes. When I was 14, I started working with a friend that was a DJ at a campsite and began learning the ropes from there.
How Much Wedding experience do you have?
Well over 20 years working specifically at weddings in various locations- pubs, hotels and other venues up and down the country.
How long have you been Resident DJ at the New Continental Hotel?
I’ve been Resident DJ at the New Continental Hotel for about 5 years now. I had worked at the hotel doing odd functions here and there but was approached by Simon Hawke (Hotel Deputy Manager) as he was familiar with my work and felt I stood out from other DJ sets as being of a high standard and was clearly passionate as well as reliable. He’d received much praise from those that had hired me for their events and offered me the residency post.
What does it mean to be a resident DJ and how does it benefit the couple getting married?
Exclusively working with one person who knows the New Continental Hotel extremely well, including the staff and function rooms, so it’s an easy and quick set up and I offer exclusively cheaper rates to the New Continental Hotel’s clients.
Are you PAT certified and why is this important?
Yes, plus I have public liability insurance, which covers myself and guests for everyone’s piece of mind. All venues should have their own; but a DJ should also have it in their own right. PAT testing stands for Portable Appliance Testing and it means all electrical equipment has been checked in the last year and a DJ should have a certificate to prove that too. A DJ should be able to email you and your venue a copy on request, and I highly recommend that no matter who you use, you do ask.
Do you offer a written contract?
Yes, this is for peace of mind for all parties concerned so that if anything unexpected should happen, everyone knows where they stand and what they are agreeing to. If nothing else – it offers clients reassurance which is really important in my mind.
Can couples meet you to discuss their wedding?
Of course they can. Normally everything can be sorted via emails. This can be less hassle for some couples who have different shift patterns and schedules. I’m also always more than happy to meet up with couples to ease any anxiety they may have or talk though any wishes or concerns. It’s really important you like the DJ you are booking. They will be a big part of your day and everyone’s memories, and people can sometimes be very different when you meet them face to face.
What equipment do you carry and do you have back up?
I always have back up equipment, so if there was to be any technical hitches it doesn’t let you down. A good quality sound system is essential! To name but a few main pieces of equipment I tend to use-
LED lighting and effects, Modern/clean sounding speakers, Digital controllers, laptop And I have other lighting effects etc available to suite the function
You are really reasonably priced in comparison to many other DJ’s, should people be price-led when choosing a DJ?
There are many factors that can dramatically vary the cost of a DJs can vary hugely. But it’s worth remember that its not always based on the quality of equipment or the level of experience a DJ has; take me as an example, I have good quality equipment and years and years of experience,l however I choose to keep my prices as low as possible. It’s a passion as much as a job for me – so I want to be accessible to everyone. Plus, as a DJ you are in a really privileged position, you are part of a wedding or celebration and have a unique view of the event, and you form parts of many peoples happy memories – sounds corny but to a good DJ, that really means something.
When do you arrive to set up?
In the morning (if that’s possible) which takes just over an hour or so to set up smoothly – this is another benefit to knowing the layout of all the function rooms at the New Continental Hotel, as I know where everything is and the layouts, cable length requirements and the acoustics in all the rooms, so, if for any reason I can’t get into the room in the morning, the process of setting up is very quick with minimal disruption.
Can you explain the process once a couple has booked with you for their wedding?
I send out a contract for the couple to check, sign and return. I then contact them closer to the event for final details, specific song choices or if any other entertainment such as bands have been booked. If other entertainment has been booked, I then make contact with them so that we can collaborate over timings, equipment and performance space required.
Where payment is concerned, I can take it on the day, just to make things easier – especially when so much else requires payment on booking with weddings!
You’re playing to a mixed crowd. What music do you have?
Everything! That way there is always something for everyone to keep all guests happy. I hold one of the largest mobile music collections in the South West!
To round things up, if you were to simply summarise what couples should look for when hiring a DJ for their wedding, what would it be?
Certification and experience! Very often, once they have checked availability with a DJ, the very next question is “how much are you?” I understand this is really important, but so too is the experience that the couple and their guests will have, think about asking for their certification and also look for recommendations. Most venues will have either a resident DJ or recommended providers, that’s always a good starting point.
Out of interest, what are the most frequently asked questions from wedding couples?
What kind of music do you play? This one gets asked a lot and I can play any music to suit the event and the atmosphere on the night. I never carry around only one genre of music for any one type of event.
Do you have speakers? This one always makes me chuckle, although there are also a lot of people claiming to be DJ’s who don’t have any of the correct equipment – just their laptop. I always think that if it really was that simple, to be a professional DJ, then everyone would want to and would be doing it! With great DJs its not just the equipment though, t’s about gauging your guests, the type of function and atmosphere on the day as well as having the necessary equipment of course! I always want to create the cleanest sounds and lighting to help create the perfect environment for that event.
If you could offer one piece of advice to a couple regarding music for their wedding day, what would it be?
It’s the couple’s big day so as long as they are happy and getting what they want I’ve then done my job correctly. I’m there to guide them, but it has to be what they want, it’s their day ultimately. A good DJ will be able to read the guests and blend different musical styles and genres together, so it is always a good idea to discuss what music you want to hear.
Many couples now send out song requests with their invites for each of their guests- how does this affect your job?
It gives me a great guideline of a playlist for the night, and gives me an idea of the type of music in general that people want to hear to tailor my set accordingly. I will always do my best to play requests as long as they are within the realms of what the couple is happy with. If they have specifically requested certain songs not to be played I am mindful of this– it is their day and they are the most important decision makers.
What do you enjoy most about your job and being part of the New Continental Hotel’s Weddings?
I love music, so selfishly, being able to turn my passion into a profession is unbelievable, but combine this with getting the opportunity to meet lots of different people on a regular basis and being part of such personal events is just amazing. After a good event I leave buzzing with a great feeling and sense of pride that “I did that” when I know people have had a great time and enjoyed what I do. I guess that why I’ve been doing it for such a long time!
Even working in the world of weddings as I do, I found that really interesting and I really hope you did too. I guess its not until you have been a guest at a wedding reception and heard the chorus of Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry Me’ on repeat for 20 minutes that you can really begin to appreciate the unique skill that a bona fide wedding DJs brings to a party!
If you want to talk further about anything ‘wedding’ – please do get in touch – we would love to hear from you.