By Gary Singh
Some of you will end up popping the question this month we have no doubt. Before you know it, you'll lose your weekends, your savings and your sanity - why? Because wedding planning will take over your life and tradition aside, it's always going to be more exciting for the bride. Nonetheless you'll be involved, so we decided to bring in the 'big guns' to ensure you know what you're doing and what's 'new' in the wedding scene to keep your fiancé happy and interested.
On this occasion we spoke with Jonathan Waterman, a Toastmaster from Hainault, Essex.
Jonathan, hi. So what makes you qualified to help our clueless grooms?
As an award winning toastmaster, master of ceremonies, planner and coordinator, I cater for every type of wedding and event, some of which include Asian, English, Jewish, Afro-Caribbean and many more.
Impressive. So what exactly does your role entail then?
Every client, has very different aspirations and ideas, so I work with them closely to advise them on how to enhance these further. I will take the stress out of organising, coordinating and officiating the event. My aim is to ensure, along with the rest of the team, that your day will be executed exactly according to your wishes.
Excellent. But can you help clarify the difference between a Wedding Planner and a Toastmaster?
The difference between a Toastmaster and a Planner is substantial, however a Toastmaster's role can include a wedding planning advisory service. Toastmasters are there to ensure everything runs smoothly, are there for the bride, groom and respective families and to make all necessary announcements. Planners require a lot more involvement and manage the project from day one. This often includes venue searching, supplier recommendations, itinerary preparation, and overseeing the entire wedding process. As far as my services are concerned, I offer several packages that combine as much or as little as you wish.
Are all weddings in the UK now becoming more similar despite various religious and cultural practises?
Having planned and attended numerous weddings of many different religions and nationalities, I can honestly say that every wedding is very unique in its own right. Some clients like their wedding to be more traditional whilst others are more conservative. From my experience, Asian, Jewish, Arab and Afro-Caribbean weddings tend to be more traditional and more often than not, take a dry catering option, which means the venue will allow them to hire the suite only so that they can then bring in their own caterers.
I have however, noticed that some of the aforementioned are conforming to the more quintessential traditional English ceremony and will dress accordingly.
But are weddings succumbing to a more standard format especially as many of those getting married from ethnic backgrounds are now 2nd & 3rd generation?
More and more weddings in the UK, as generations pass, are becoming westernised, however brides and grooms of today’s generation, still prefer to behold the traditions of their ancestors. The traditions are very different from culture to culture. Some examples include Sikh weddings which are still in the main held in the Gurudwara and officiated by a granthi; Hindu weddings are still held under a mandap and officiated by a pandit; Jewish weddings by a rabbi under the Chuppah and Muslim Nikahs by an imam at a mosque.
What are your favourite aspects from all the different types of wedding you have attended?
Having planned and officiated a vast array of many different weddings, I always notice certain trends. In relation to English weddings, I like the importance on having a very simple but elegant ceremony; grooms dressed in their tails and brides in there beautiful white wedding dress. I'm also a fan of Jewish weddings which are often very lavish; the food consists of a variety of dishes which is always very tasty. Not forgetting the party - Jewish clients often hire top wedding bands and performers, which is fantastic. However Indian weddings are special. Based on tradition but with lots of fun and action; the food is wonderful, the partying is often wild and the DJs get everyone onto the dancefloor to the very best of Bollywood and bhangra music.
These are just a few examples for you as I have had so many wonderful experiences. My biggest caveat is that Indian weddings never run on time - with or without a Toastmaster!