Meet our very own Wedding Guru!
Oskar Gilchrist-Grodnicki is an award-winning wedding co-ordinator who we are lucky to have on our team as Sales & Marketing Account Manager for Scotland. Oskar has been a vital part of our diverse team since August 2018 and has certainly made an impression on us all with his heartfelt charisma and passion for the wedding industry.
We take pride in every member of our team and are excited for you to learn more through our ‘Meet the Team’ series. First up, Oskar talks about the industry he knows and loves, his past experience as an award-winning wedding co-ordinator and how he ties it all together in his current role at WeddingDates.
Here at WeddingDates…
A Day in the Life
“No day is ever the same; as we might be on the road or have many scheduled online presentations or simply having a catch up on admin “sort of day” in the office. Nevertheless, everyday has to start with a compulsory coffee! Then it is over to checking urgent emails and quickly responding. I would then go on to connect with our prospective clients, follow up and proposing meetings, presentations, consultations and all alike activity. End of the day normally involves preparation for the following days calls and appointments. Some days we may also be involved in our social media streams to promote our venue clients and any upcoming and exciting news for their consumers.”
Highlights of the Role
“Meeting many exciting, passionate and like-minded industry professionals and making this industry the best it can be for the prospective wedding couples.”
“The weddings industry is very dynamic and constantly changing – it does no longer like to follow the same patterns or structures and in the day over 60% of the market being millennials, the expectation is set, everyone is expecting customization, easy reach of information within a click of a button, personalization and offers that provide the best value, which doesn’t always mean cheap!”
The Industry We Know & Love…
Advice to others
“You need to have the passion and charisma for weddings in this industry, you can learn all the rest of the “soft” skills on the job! A lot of people going into this industry think weddings are pretty and “fluffy” and of course, they are, but the attention to detail and dedication are vital to make a career.”
For the love of Weddings
“Wedding industry is truly inspirational and there are no questions about that! When I was running, planning and selling weddings over the past 10 years of my career, the feeling of achievement was incredible, especially when you got to observe the most important day of the couple’s life and you know it works like clockwork and it was a great success!
In my current role, I absolutely love meeting many inspiring, passionate and like-minded industry professionals and assist them in producing effective wedding strategies for the most outstanding weddings at their venues.”
“60% of our consumers nowadays are millennials and with them comes generation “mute”, therefore technology and online resources are the power of this industry. Additionally, working within this industry, we are all guilty for picking up the app on our smartphones before dailing a number on it, when looking to book a table at a restaurant or an overnight accommodation.
On the other hand, the main key is to never get too comfortable and stagnant as in this vibrant industry trends, likes and dislikes change very quickly so it’s important to stay tuned in and respond to those changes and sometimes even be one step ahead of the game!”
As a past Wedding Co-ordinator…
Full of experience
“My story started eleven years ago when I arrived to Edinburgh from my home country of Poland and enrolled into my undergraduate course in Joint Events and Marketing Management at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. I simultaneously took on the role of Wedding Supervisor at The George Hotel (now the Principal Edinburgh George Street) in Edinburgh. At the time, I had an immense passion for events but I didn’t think back then that wedding planning would shape my career this far.
Eventually, after completing my Master’s degree in International Management and Leadership, I was offered my first role in wedding planning and one year on, I was approached by the Principal Hotel Company to take on my most recent Wedding role and shape up the strategy for weddings across three of their luxury city centre venues.
Finally, over my three years with the Principal Hotel Company as their Regional Wedding and Special Events Manager and a Group Wedding Sales Training Guru, I was honoured to have been recognised with three Scottish VOWS Awards 2016; 2017; 2018 and one Scottish Hotel Award in 2018.”
“I was assisting one couple with their wedding plans for July 2017 and as they were based in Malaysia, planning was slightly more challenging. All was going perfectly to plan until the morning of their wedding, when the zip to Elizabeth’s bridesmaid’s dress broke off completely. The only option was to sew her into her dress! I took on this challenge having stocked my pockets with sewing kits. My sewing must have been rather good as the thread wasn’t visible and it lasted until the end of the night. We have had quite a few follow up conversation with giggles about it after their wedding!
I have bags of these experiences to talk about which I could do for hours, including:
- Seeing the Bride opening a gift from her Groom on the morning of their wedding and in a little and lovely decorated box were sitting two porcelain turtledoves with a love message – you could feel the love surrounding this couple.
- Running after the couple to the gardens with Bride’s wellies, as they have left them behind at the hotel before heading there for photos.
- An owl being stuck on a ceiling lamp for three hours after being scared with the noise of clapping at the ceremony and us trying to convince it to come down.
- Having two brides in two neighbouring lifts entering their ceremony at staggered points, followed by a full-sized adult man dressed up as a cupid spreading rose petals on the way.
- Having a surprise horse and carriage parked in the hotel’s car park for the couple to depart for their wedding photos in and making sure they don’t find out about it before the ceremony.
- The couple’s chosen cake supplier not turning up due to a car accident and me running to a local bakery to put a simple cake together in time for their cake cutting.
The list is endless and I am sure there is many more I could pull out of my bag!”
Advice to new Wedding Co-ordinators
“My advice would be for new wedding coordinators starting out to take their time in getting to know their couples, wedding trends and their competition. There are simply no shortcuts in wedding planning. Weddings are about taking time, getting to know your couples, expanding your partnership portfolio and most of all attention to detail and personalisation. It is those early days in your career that will set you apart you from your competition so make a mark for yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to work on both.
The biggest part of a wedding coordinator’s success is their personality. Your friendly approach and can do attitude will guide your career and your success. This approach will help you with gaining a better understanding of every one of your clients, and in turn allow you to make a real difference to their experience. All couples are simply looking for your assistance and also to become their wedding expert making you crucial in ensuring their special plan is executed perfectly.
Most of all, make all couples’ requests your priority. You want to ensure the planning process is smooth and simple, and therefore stress-free, for your couples.”
“I must say that winning my first National Wedding Award was the most humbling and exciting moment of my career thus far! I was only in my second year of Wedding Planning and never even thought I had any chances. I’d entered us into these awards thinking it was an experience for me to get our name out there and then there came nominations, then Finalist List and a winning – I was beyond the moon about it!”
Wedding Coordinator No-No’s
“DO NOT EVER tell couples they have to do things in a certain way!!!
The reality is, there might be certain rules and regulations you physically cannot bend, but work with them in giving reasons and suggesting options and alternatives. Honestly, couples are a lot more understanding than we think and ultimately if you provide them with valid enough reasons, they will follow your recommendations as an expert in this field – in the end, it is you that does 2-5 weddings per weekend and probably done over 100 of them in the past year – use your credentials and real-life examples to strengthen your advice!”