So, what exactly is a toastmaster?

Planning a wedding is pretty time-consuming. Mine isn't for at least 18 months and it already occupies 60% of my brain space. So when people can be hired to make things easier, if you have the cash, why not take that professional help?

I have to say that there's a lot about weddings I still don't know, and the role of a Toastmaster was one of them until last week when I received a message from one of the only female Toastmasters in the UK about her recent award win. I like to know everything about everything, so I had to find out more. Is it a secret wedding society? Do they wear a cool uniform like the guards at Buckingham Palace? Is there a special Toastmaster school where training in guest-appeasing and table-settings takes place? I had to know. Luckily, Toastmaster Sian Belton, also a wedding planner from Busybrides in Essex, was happy to answer my occasionally ridiculous questions. Read on to find out what exactly a toastmaster is, why they're often the difference between a great wedding and a perfect one, what made Sian want to become one of the only women in the country to take on the prestigious role and why you definitely probably want somebody like her leading your guests into your beautiful venue.

What made you want to train as a toastmaster?

"I have been to many weddings as a guest and in addition as a wedding planner for almost five years and so I have seen a lot of Toastmasters in my time. For a large majority of them, I felt that the service they gave was too focused on themselves! They walk through with the gavel in the air right in front of the happy couple and stand right behind them throughout the speeches getting in every photo and video. I found them very obtrusive and quite old fashioned. They were also every single time retired men that shouted a lot, more often than of ex-military, so had a very regimented approach and quite bossy as they herded people from one place to another!"

"I felt that the job could be done with a lot more flair and finesse so I took the decision to train as a Toastmaster in order to bring a modern twist to a fabulous tradition. Also, being a woman in my 40’s, I wanted to break the mould and give a great service and bring something a little different. There are very few female fully qualified Toastmasters within the UK and I’m proud to say that I am the only multi award winning female Wedding Planner and Toastmaster working in the UK."

What exactly is a toastmaster's role in a wedding?

"In my opinion, Toastmasters are an essential part of the day. We ensure that the timings of all the various elements are perfect. We liaise with and organise suppliers, leaving couples to enjoy a stress free wedding day.  If there are any hiccups we sort everything out efficiently and discretely. We take out the ambiguity of the day for the guests, make sure the happy couple are hydrated and happy, organise their receiving line, help the photographer with their photos, ensure the bride and groom's entrance and announcement are all done with perfection and announce their speakers, adding grandeur and tradition to their special day."

"One groom had a whole bundle of gifts at various times of the day for his bride that I needed to present throughout the day. I’ve had a secret smoker bride who I needed to steel away now and then for fake reasons so she could have a sneaky smoke. I’ve had to ask someone to leave when they started to ruin a couple’s day from drinking a bit too much. It’s all in a day’s work to ensure the couple are happy."

How did you become interested in working in the wedding industry?

"When it came to my own wedding 10 years ago the lady at the venue said in her 22 years in the industry I was the most organised she had ever seen! When I decided to set up my own event management company, I knew that my skills set and personality would be suited to weddings. I realised after my first one not only am I very good at it, I have an incredible passion to make sure my clients have the perfect day."

What other wedding industry jobs have you had?

"when I was in my 20’s I used to model wedding dresses in fashion shows so I have always loved this industry. I have been a wedding planner for five years and throughout that time I've won Wedding Planner of the Year and also won "Brides' Choice for Best Service", which is the ultimate award in the wedding industry to be nominated from thousands of suppliers."

 "I have also worked in three different bridal shops dealing with brides and their bridesmaids finding their perfect dress which was great experience."

What has been the most opulent wedding you've ever worked at?

"The most opulent wedding I've ever worked on was a full wedding plan for an amazing couple who, whilst having a £150k budget it was perfectly affordable to have a seperate Toastmaster, insisted that they wanted me to do this also."

"We had a three day extravaganza at Leeds Castle in Kent. We had everything you can imagine, amazing design, a cake the size of a small person, you name it, they had it. What made this one even more special was they took me away to their hen & stag holiday for five days in Crete so I ended up knowing 50% of the guests at the wedding before we even arrived. Being their Toastmaster was fabulous for me! The banter we had with the guests and being part of their speeches just made it that even more special for everyone."

And what has been the most unusual?

The most unusual type of wedding was in a forest in Norfolk where the happy couple got married under a little hut. Beautiful scenery, unpredictable weather, but a fabulous day. 

As a toastmaster, have you got any tips for best men and family members who want to make a great speech (and not make a fool of themselves?)

If you want to make a great speech and not make a fool of yourself, don’t try and make it funny, especially if you don’t have funny bones. Humour is different for everybody and you’ll only make yourself more nervous because all you will be focused on is being funny over anything else. Just allow the speech to come from the heart, make it relevant and don’t stress about how long or short it is. They have chosen you because you are important in their life, not because you are a great public speaker!"

What's your favourite aspect of your job?

"Absolutely everything! From engaging with the client and feeling their stress going away as we chat and recommend things they would never have thought about, to seeing them all dressed up on the day and just being a part of their wedding."

In your insider expert opinion, what are the top wedding trends for 2018 we should be looking out for?

1. Sweet and soft colour palettes
"My predictions for next year will see pop sugar colours like yellow and soft hues like lavender to trend in 2018."

2. DIY and smart spending
"Weddings are becoming more and more expensive and prices are rising. I predict there will be a much higher demand in DIY personalised favours which will be more cost effective. I also think there will start to be a high demand in twilight weddings to save on exuberant catering costs of feeding guests twice."

So there it is, the toastmaster is the secret genius behind some of the world's most luxe and stress-free weddings. A lowkey professional mingler and problem-wrangler hell bent on making your day a success. Who wouldn't want one of their own?


Popular Posts