Member Focus: Toast!
Introducing Lesley Coyle who runs Toast!
How did it all start?
My career began as PA at Compass Group (a leading catering and hospitality company). Very quickly I was promoted to Marketing Manager on one of our more prestigious sites in London. My main role was to successfully market large on site events, but I became very involved with every aspect of managing the events, and from there I knew I had found my life’s calling. I loved every second of every event I designed and coordinated.
Do you have a favourite venue?
Yes, Wycombe Abbey is the most stunning venue I have ever been lucky enough to work at, and I love the exclusivity that comes with it – you are only able to marry there if you have a family member that works at the school or a similar direct link. This makes it all the more special for brides and grooms.
How would clients describe you?
I believe my clients would describe me as bubbly and fun to work with, creative and always prepared to go that extra mile.
Wedding planner you admire?
This is a two part answer for me really. Banana Split Plc has organised some of the most breathtaking weddings and events that I have ever seen. Their creativity astounds me, and I always look to them for inspiration, when I am feeling uninspired.
On another note the UKAWP founders inspire me in terms of her commitment to promoting professionalism within an unregulated industry. I very much believe that business should be a force for good and have high hopes that Toast! can achieve some amazing goals in terms of charity work and setting standards on how business should be done.
How do you unwind?
My favourite way to unwind is a walk around the country park with my husband and my dog followed a spot of lunch in a quaint country pub.
What themes are you working on for 2010/11?
I am working on some beautiful classic white weddings with interesting twists such as New York, but probably the most fun theme I am working on is ‘festivals with a classy twist’ which I am really enjoying.
What trends are you seeing?
I have noticed a lot of couples wanting to keep ceremonies more intimate, followed by huge parties in the evening. I have also found a lot more couples wanting unusual ceremony venues such as tree houses!
What is your signature dish?
I am at my best when working on anything to do with cultures from around the world, I find so much pleasure in bringing parts of the world to the UK and I have to say that my favourite ever wedding I created was bringing the Caribbean to the UK – I had so much fun and the outcome was absolutely stunning.
Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love to design?
I would have loved to have designed the late Dame Anita Roddick’s wedding. It would have been full of quirky ‘eco chic’ ideas to create a feeling of fun and enchantment, and no doubt we still would have been helping the world!
Is the job as glamorous as you thought?
When I am at a stunning wedding venue watching what I have created come to life, I would always answer yes. At the same time I have lost count of the times when I have been working on completely unglamorous tasks, like any job wedding planning certainly has its moments of pure magic, but I find these moments are usually accompanied by a few that bring you back down to reality!
What is your vice?
I love a well-deserved piece of chocolate and glass of wine in the evening, it is my saviour!