I was fortunate enough to have time for a quick coffee and a blether with Spud the Piper yesterday. Pass the time of the day with the usual “you busy?” etc etc. One question he asked was “you don’t do all this on you own like?”. Of course I don’t. But it got me thinking….how much do folk really know about the faces behind Highland Occasions By Design these days.
For a couple of years we operated with a much larger team but found it almost counter productive. I am very much a hands on person – and felt myself having to be more a manager yet still wanting and trying to do the creative stuff. Our policy is to always keep a very close eye on (and a direct hand in) every step of the process. It’s tiring and I always said I’d give up the day it stopped being fun. And so this year we are back to that much smaller team we started with and the passion is still very much alive – invigorated even.
Your initial meeting/consultation (by phone, e-mail or at our wee showroom) will always be conducted by me. I’ve lived and breathed styling for eight years or so now, so hope that by always handling the bookings and design directly it, in turn, builds your confidence that your day (and the whole build up to it) will be in the hands of someone who shares your passion. Continuity is key to delivering it I think.
The whole design process and the preparation for the big day itself, you can be assured, we do ourselves. So when you book Highland Occasions By Design – it will be us and only us (that is Steve and I) in charge of those final preparations. That, in essence, is why we restrict ourselves to a relatively low number of weddings or events a week – if we did ten or twenty there simply aren’t ten or twenty “Maries” to make sure your preparation gets the undivided, unrushed attention to detail you’ve paid for. So when we’re asked if we’ll squeeze another in then the likely answer is no – not necessarily because we haven’t anyone available on the day – but mostly because we haven’t another 10 or even 20 hours left in that week to get your day ready. Your day is far too precious to do a sloppy job just to be able to shout “yay guess how many bookings we have this week”. Tiredness = silly mistakes and nobody wants that on their one important day. Besides we do have to sleep 😉
On the day itself we almost always use a minimum two “man” team. In the main that team consists of myself and Steve (affectionately referred to as “Mr Smith”). We tend to do most events ourselves now – either as a twosome or if we’ve a conflict in venue locations then we each take a team and head in opposite directions. Our assistants being just a couple of experienced ladies who have been doing this for about 3-4 years now and who, like me, have tied a few sashes “in their sleep” and are more than capable of running the show themselves.
On pick up days Mr Smith and I head off in our different directions to fetch back everything. We can easily cover a couple hundred miles between us (each even!) on a Sunday. From Elgin to Aviemore to Oldmeldrum to Inverness (okay perhaps not in that order as that would just be bad planning).
Once back the “fun” of unpacking and laundry begins. It is a military operation. First batch of covers comes in, every one inspected for damage, hand scrubbed to get that boot polish and floor scuffs off, treated for extraordinary stains (ink is possibly the most challenging!) before going into my monster machine. Then the cycle continues almost as a conveyor belt – scrub, wash, dry, first press, away. In our busiest weeks it can be mid Wednesday before the last batch is finally away. And I haven’t even started to discuss where the sashes, unpacking the vehicle, dismantling and cleaning glassware to put away, fits in. Just the two of us mostly – though in our busiest weeks we have two ladies who have worked with us now for a couple of years to help get through the pressing. Both absolute sticklers for quality (of course).
So that’s us – in a nutshell. Two (and sometimes a couple more) very busy people trying to do the best they can to make your day extra special. Super human we are not – but passionate about service we absolutely are.
Highland Occasions by Design,
Banffshire AB37 9DL
Tel: 07976 918185