Behind The Scenes Wedding at The Corinthia Hotel London

I had the pleasure of being invited by wedding manager Hannah to Nu Bride Ambassadors; Corinthia Hotel London, to witness the team in action at one of their 2016 weddings. So with my camera in tow, it was a delight to see how the Corinthia Hotel hosts their wedding couples.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS Shot –  Red carpet and private entrance for the wedding couple.

The service industry is a tough old industry, especially one that operates within in a five star luxury London hotel.  Many people think it is a glamorous and it can be, especially on the surface. Hours are long and demands expectations are high, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to execute weddings to this standard.

When I arrived for the gorgeous Alice and Alex’s wedding, there was an unexpected calmness amongst the wedding team at the Corinthia Hotel London.

With multiple team briefings, it was immediately evident that they have a tight operations team. Wedding manager, Hannah explained that everyone knows their role and high standards that consistently need to be executed.

The attention to detail was a delight to see. From the placement of the chairs to the place-settings, to  favours and finishing touches.

The team each had their own roles and responsibility and you can see the staff take pride in what they’re doing, because they each play an important part.

I watched as super early arrivers were greeted and welcomed, not treated as a nuisance, even though staff were incredibly busy with their roles, when wedding spaces were still being prepped.

I always like to discreetly stand back and watch the camaraderie amongst staff at hotels.  To watch how they speak and interact with each-other, to observe if there is respect, to witness the jesting, the concentration, the support. I especially like to watch how management speak to their staff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS Shot: One of the team briefings I spotted.

A happy and supportive team on your wedding day is exactly what you need and makes such a difference, after all, it is the front line staff that play such a huge role on the execution of your wedding day, they are the bread and butter and staff morale needs to be high.

The camaraderie amongst the Corinthia team was present. A sign of an establishment that looks after their staff. As soon as I noticed this, I asked Hannah to honestly tell me if staff are looked after and she did.  She made a point of emphasising the fact, that yes, they work enormously hard and are pushed, but that the staff in the team are praised and more importantly valued for their work.

Hannah evidently plays a big part in building the staff morale within the operations team and her passion for her work and executing weddings to a high standard is palpable.  No doubt that raises everybody’s game. As she is highly praised by her team.  I watched how she interacted with her colleagues. Hannah has a powerful presence, a strong,  yet gentle and elegant manner that effortlessly leads her team, that is an incredibly admirable trait for a woman her age (It’s OK Hannah I won’t reveal on here!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS shot – see, nothing glamorous about working in weddings ladies and gents!

That same elegance and delightfully friendly, but professional nature feeds through to how she interacts with her couples and their guests. Alex and Alice were incredibly comfortable in her presence. In fact at one point I watched Alice’s  entire body language change and shoulders drop as soon as Hannah was present.

When I first arrived, I was given a bit of a tour at the back of the hotel, the smells and sounds of a bustling hotel. I was even given my own access pass. I truly felt like part of the team!

CameoCameo Photography: Hannah and I with my trusty Corinthia pass.

The ceremony room; The Courtroom, was being prepared by the talented By Appointment Only Design, The Corinthia’s choice of in house florists.

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As usual they were working their magic with some spectacular pedestals, with the most alluring roses I had ever seen, before moving into the ballroom to start decorating the tables.

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A string quartet arrived and started to rehearse giving us a pleasant backdrop of classical favourites while we worked (well they worked, I mostly watched and gossiped). Baker Krishanthi, of Cakes by Krishanthi was also hard at work adding the intricate finishing touches to her four-tiered masterpiece.

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There was a pulse racing moment when Krishanthi had just finished delicately placing the final sugar flowers onto the cake, to be told the table it was placed on needed to be moved into the middle of the dance-floor. Needless to say, I did NOT volunteer to help! The craftsmanship in these cakes are impeccable and I did not want to be responsible for dropping the cake!

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I’m happy to say there were no cake casualties and the Corinthia team elegantly moved it like Ninja’s.

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My favourite part is ALWAYS spending time in the bridal suite. The buzz in there is just absolutely delicious.

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BTS Shot: A pre-wedding buzz in the bridal suite! 

I got to meet the very beautiful Alice for the first time at this moment, of course it was all hands on deck and I did my bit to offer some last-minute advice and bring the nerves down. I even spotted colleague and fantastic make up artist Ana Ospina working her magic on Alice and the bridal party.

The joy, the nerves, the low-level anxiety, the anticipation. Everyone buzzing round each other trying to get ready. Lending a helping hand, admiring each other and sharing in the absolute excitement of the present moment. Let me tell you no-one was on Snapchat or Facebook. Everyone you ever need is always right there on your wedding day and it’s delightful to see everyone so blissfully in the moment and Alice and Alex’s wedding was a joyful reminder of this.

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BTS Shot: A thoughtful gift for Alice and Alex from the Corinthia Hotel wedding team.

I recall at one point we were less than 30 minutes before the bridal entrance and Alice’s mother hadn’t yet changed. Knowing how long my mum took to get ready on my wedding day I was starting to worry! We popped back to the suite in a few moments before the ceremony, to collect the bridal party and Alice’s mother and then she was nowhere to be seen. My heart started racing and with the most impeccable timing, just as I was about to turn to Hannah and ask if I should try to locate her,  she elegantly knocked the door, rocking the most incredible Ian Stuart outfit. She looked stunning  and deserved an Oscar for getting ready so quickly. I of course had to compliment her, I know an Ian Stuart outfit when I see one!

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BTS Shot – Hannah making the final adjustments to Alice a few moments before walking down the aisle.

It was a joy to observe those wonderful tender and precious moments just before the bridal march, with a bride and her father other significant person they have chosen to accompany them down the aisle.

Heart warming, emotional and so private.

I stood back in admiration and so did the rest of the Corinthia team who were also lucky to witness those few moments with me.

And then our leading lady took centre stage and all our hearts melted as we opened The grand Courtroom doors for Alice and her father to start their journey towards Alex, who was deliciously nervous and remarkably handsome.

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Once the ceremony doors were closed behind them, it was a chance for us to rest our feet for a millisecond and then make sure everything was ready for the drinks reception and coordinate the finer details of a wonderful surprise Hannah had arranged for the newlyweds…. to have their wedding portraits taken in the Corinthia Hotel’s Royal Penthouse Suite.

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BTS shot, incredible chandelier above the spiral staircase in the Royal Penthouse Suite

Now let me tell you these suites are epic and like nothing I have seen in a luxury hotel in Central London before. The Royal Penthouse suite is an amazing 5000 square foot. Adorned with luxurious grand finishes, exquisite marble flooring, it has it’s very own spa, a spiral staircase, leading to an incredible terrace with jacuzzi and panoramic views overlooking the London skyline. Every couples dream for a city wedding.

516View from The Royal Penthouse Suite Terrace| Cameo Photography

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The surprise on their faces was a picture and even I got lost in there for a moment, the team had to come and find me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS Shot – This is the bathroom ladies and gentleman, the bathroom! 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS Shot: This is the spa room in the Royal Penthouse Suite

While we were in the Penthouse, the rest of the wedding team were turning around the ceremony room and re-purposing the chairs and some of the flowers used in the ceremony room, to add the finishing touches to the ballroom.

BTS shot, not a moment to stop. Getting the room ready for the wedding breakfast following the ceremony

Hannah worked closely with the photographers from start to finish. The Corinthia Hotel were completely on the ball with their timing, exactly what you would expect from a luxury hotel.

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BTS Shot Hannah taking a moment to step back and watch all of her hard work and dedication unfold

Everyone knew exactly how long they had with their station. Photographers knew how long they had with portraits and guests shots and all suppliers and the Corinthia Hotel were respectful of each others roles and the importance they played, but also mindful, to ensure the running of the day ran smoothly.  The Cameo team were a joy to watch in action and again you could see the camaraderie between them and the Corinthia Hotel and the guests seemed to love them too. They were hilarious.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS shot: Cameo Photography in action.

The final perfect moment for me, was watching Hannah’s utter delight and satisfaction when Alice and Alex walked into the ballroom for the first time.

We made sure we did the reveal for them before their entrance into the ballroom for the wedding breakfast. So they could see their vision, their months and months of planning, the finer details, the flowers, their cake, their theme all come together. Alice’s reaction in particular was absolutely priceless.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABTS Shot –  excuse the fuzziness, I got over excited. 

There were some pretty wonderful happy tears.

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One thing we don’t often process when we are booking our wedding suppliers and our venues, is that we are basing our decision on complete and utter trust. We are not buying a finished product. Regardless of referrals, testimonials and images, none of us know what the finished article will look like. None of us 100% know that everyone we entrust to deliver a service will deliver it, until the actual day itself. Couples are investing a lot in trust in their venue and suppliers. That’s why it was such a wonderful moment to witness and Hannah’s pride was radiating. You know you’ve done an incredible job and all the hard work and late nights pay off when you get a reaction as golden as that.

Even I started welling up!

To Alice and Alex, thank you for  being so gracious and letting me join you for your special day and Hannah and the team at The Corinthia – what a pleasure to be part of your team for the day. Thank you for having me, a virtual standing ovation to you!

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For more information on Nu Bride Ambassador Corinthia Hotel please visit:

http://www.corinthia.com/hotels/london/

The Talent

Wedding photography courtesy of: Cameo Photography

Behind the Scenes (BTS) photography by Nu Bride.

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