Member Focus – Castle Howard

Today we are very pleased to introduce you to Jane, an independent planner who works as in house planner for new Wedding Supplier Member Venue Castle Howard

002How did it all start?

At the age off 22 fresh back from travelling across Australia and South East Asia my Canadian partner and I borrowed the money from a brewery to buy a rundown 10 bedroom hotel in the borders of Scotland.

In 1994 I planned my first wedding at the hotel; a member of my staff was getting married at Gretna Green but had no reception venue, florist, car, photographer and virtually no savings. I decided my wedding present to them would be to organise and deliver their day on a budget of almost nothing. I made the bouquets using flowers from the garden, drove them to the register office, organised a ‘bring your own dish’ buffet at our hotel, took the photographs on my camera, and my husband Marty played the guitar for entertainment. It was simple, romantic and brimming full of heart; but the buzz I got from planning the whole day was exciting, I was hooked. The next week I advertised the hotel as a wedding venue, and have never looked back.

20 years and over 500 weddings later, even a marriage of my own (I eventually married the Canadian) I am a full time wedding planner and I love my job.

Do you have a favourite venue? (we know – we shouldn’t ask you this one!)

I am so lucky to have planned weddings all over the UK and in so many diverse styles of venues. A hippy at heart I love the “bang on trend” Festival style wedding and a venue I have the fortune to have an association with is a fabulous glamping site called The Hideaway at Baxby Manor . However In complete contrast my absolute favourite venue just has to be Castle Howard. Castle Howard is one Yorkshire’s finest historic houses and incredibly brides have exclusive use of the house. It is such an elegant, beautiful venue and is designed perfectly for entertaining. Their team is so slick and a delight to work with. Without a doubt the best venue in the North and I would stick my neck out and say in the possibly in the UK.

How would clients describe you?

Warm, attentive, jam packed full of wedding knowledge and expertise and I hope a friend. I am really passionate about planning weddings and I think I get almost as excited as my brides do.

Wedding suppliers you particularly admire?

Good outside catering companies. With a strong catering background I know just how hard work and difficult it is to cook for 150 guests in a tiny service tent on the side of a marquee. For those companies who do get the food, the presentation and the service all spot on…you have my full respect. It is not easy.

How do you unwind?

I love running. Whenever I need to clear my head and unwind I put my trainers on and run. I ran the Great North Run last year and this gave me the bug. My husband is a keen surfer and I decided last year that I also was going to learn or face become a surfing widow. As we only live 45 mins from the coast we often go surfing after work, stay in our teardrop caravan and then back to work the next morning. Good for the soul.

What trends are you seeing for 2014/15?

Pure and simple understated elegance.

What is your signature dish?

It has to be Sunday lunch. I have learnt to be really protective of my Sundays – it is my family time. I love to cook for a kitchen table full with my 4 teenage boys and their friends! I find cooking so relaxing. Pink roast beef with at least 4 veggies and I have mastered the best Yorkshire Puddings after the chef at Castle Howard gave me his recipe.

(ooooh – you lucky lady!)

Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love work on?

Oh it would have to be the adorable Prince Harry ..please??

What is your vice?

Mojitos – but I am fussy. They must be made from scratch. Generous glug of Bacardi, homemade gomme syrup, loads of freshly squeezed lime, crushed mint and ice.  Failing that, a good chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will do very nicely.

Thank you so much Jane!



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