Luton Hoo Hotel and Spa, the luxury wedding venue in Bedfordshire, is one of my favourite places to photograph weddings, and I am thrilled to be one of their preferred suppliers. Marje Ednie is the Wedding Coordinator at Luton Hoo, and it is my pleasure to present this Big Day Small Talk interview with the bubbly and delightful Marje.
Marje Ednie at Luton Hoo
Tell me a little bit about yourself – where are you from?
I’m from Scotland, just outside Edinburgh, so I’m a Fifer, and I’ve been down here for 27 years. I have two children, they are 24 and 21, both have left now and have homes of their own but they do come back and raid the fridge. I’m now on my own and loving it….
I’ve been here at Luton Hoo for about four years, I started six months after it opened, although there were still hard hat areas especially at Warren Weir. I previously worked for the Ramada chain, based in Hatfield, and started there as a receptionist. By chance one day I was asked to fill in for someone In the conference & event office and loved it. Six months later wedding bookings were picking up and I was asked if I’d like to be a wedding coordinator – OMG yes please! That was 15 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
Are you in the middle of a project now?
I’m in the middle of moving house – it’s driving me mad! I was about to complete on a house last October when the seller pulled out, so I was left in between houses, as I’d sold my own already. Rented a house, tried to buy it, that fell through, so I’m still renting. I have another on the go – so hopefully this one will go through. I hadn’t realised it was so stressful – the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. And expensive!
What do you love about your job?
I just love it! The one to one, seeing it from the start right through to the end, I just love it. I’m a romantic at heart, and I’d rather sit and speak with someone than talk on the phone. I’m not a good phone person. [you're a good emailer though!]
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about being a wedding co-ordinator?
Keeping calm. There are a lot of bridezillas out there, and I think you need to keep them calm and let them know that you’re here to help them – you’re on their side. If you’re stressed, then they’re stressed. Let’s work together.
What do you think are the trends this year?
Wedding dresses are getting bigger. I think floaty vintage dresses look good here at Luton Hoo.
Do you think that’s a reaction to the recession – ‘Stuff it I’m going to have a big dress despite everything?’
No, I think people have an initial idea of what they’d like, try something on that doesn’t suit them, then see a big dress and go Wow, I’m going to have this! Trouble is, I’m not sure that brides get the right advice when they buy their dresses.
What has been your most memorable booking and why?
All of them! They are all amazing!
What do you think of the wedding industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
This year has picked up a lot. It was very slow last year. In five years time I think people will be going abroad more. They are killing two birds with one stone, wedding and honeymoon, and their guests are with them. I can see that happening more and more.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I haven’t really had any, although once I was invited to one of my brides evening parties. When I arrived the buffet was being laid out and I’d got it wrong. It was a Jewish occasion, and they’d served bacon in the Croque Monsieur instead of mushrooms! My instructions hadn’t got through, and I felt terrible. The couple were fine about it, it was just one of those things.
A website and/or blog you like?
I don’t have enough time to do blogs, although I’m always looking at web sites – I like The Wedding Planner, and I’ll often pass on information to my brides from there.
What talent would you most like to have?
Oooh – I love to be able to sew – I’m very envious of people who can make nice dresses. That, and singing and dancing. The only time I think I can sing is on the Karaoke, and that’s after a couple of glasses of wine! I love ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Dancing on Ice’ – love it!
If you were having fun, what would you be doing?
I’d be out with my girlfriends having fun. We recently started doing the hotels in London, every six weeks or so we’ll go to a different hotel. Last week we went to the Grosvenor House, we absolutely loved it there. The Landmark was nice, and next time we’re going to the Millennium Hotel.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Something that is overrated?
Your favourite film of all time?
Oh, I’m a soppy bird so I love all the romantic ones – ‘The Bodyguard’ with Whitney Houston, and ‘Pretty Woman’ with Julia Roberts
A book you’ve enjoyed recently?
I’m such a nosey person, so I love biographies. I’m reading Adele’s at the moment [Adele's biog is out already??] My favourite? I love other people’s business, that’s what it is. I just pick up whatever catches my eye. I also enjoyed Arabella Weir’s ‘Does My Bum Look Big In This?’ and I love the Babylon books – Wedding Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones especially.
What ambition have you yet to achieve?
I’ve yet to achieve scuba diving because I’m scared of deep water. My friend took me on a glass bottomed boat just to give me a feel for it – it really freaked me out! I tried a snorkel when I swam with dolphins, but I didn’t like this whole thing around my face – it takes a lot of getting used to.
What would you say has been the main key to your success in your business?
Just being me.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become professional and do what you do?
You have to have the patience of a saint, and be interested in your clients. You have to like the profession, you’ve got to have the passion, and you’ve got to do your research.
Three tips for brides?
Be calm, don’t be a bridezilla, it’s not worth it – you’ll want to happily remember your day.
And book a group breakfast the next day because then you can reflect on the day before with your friends. You’ll not have seen everything that goes on, and your friends will love telling you all the stories.
What is your most treasured possession?
My mum’s engagement and wedding rings, which I wear.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting on a sun-kissed beach! I love my holidays – they’re really important to me. On cruises we stop off at different places and you can spend the day on the beach.
What would your superpower be?
I’d love to be a fly on the wall! It’s my nosey streak!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
My general manager at Ramada always said ‘Just be you’, so I did.
Your favourite indulgence?
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Two things – I did once want to be a midwife, and now I would like to work in a funeral parlour. It’s from when my dad died, we went to get the funeral sorted and everybody was so hard – you don’t need to be hard about it. You need to have that little bit of compassion, and I think I could do that. I love ‘Call The Midwife’ on television! Miranda Hart is wonderful in it!
Tea or coffee?
Cat or dog?
Neither, I’m not really an animal person.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Hopefully retired, if the big lottery win comes in I’d definitely retire. If not, I’m happy where I am. I’ll keep doing this, it’s a lovely job. I love making everybody feel at home here, it’s like being in your own front room.
If you had one wish…
Health and happiness, that all you need, nothing else.
Thank you, Marje, it was a pleasure to chat with you.
Thank you! I enjoyed that actually!