What's happening?

More than 3500 weddings and counting for hotel wedding coordinator Caroline Lee
26 May 2016
by Rhea Alton

Caroline Lee could be Shropshire’s most experienced wedding coordinator with more than 3,500 weddings under her belt during her nearly 20-year career.

The 40-year-old has just taken over as Senior Weddings and Events Planner at the Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel and Spa where her vast experience is helping brides and grooms across the county to plan their dream day.

The hotel has just undergone a major refurbishment and now boasts a new pavilion for outdoor ceremonies.

The bridal suites and main function room have also been refurbished as part of a £2 million upgrade at the 18th Century country house on Ellesmere Road.

“The refurbishments have truly transformed the property into a sensational venue,” said Caroline, who lives in Shrewsbury with her partner and daughter. “We are so excited for all our couples getting married here in 2016.

“There are now so many options for couples at Albrighton Hall, such as our garden room for smaller weddings, the Albrighton suite or the Lakeside suite.

“Unlike at many venues, couples don’t have to hire the venue exclusively as each room is contained with its own bar but we only ever do one wedding a day.”

Caroline joined Albrighton Hall, where her sister Carly Gray also works in reservations, after 18 years working as wedding coordinator at Rowton Castle.

She said: “I wanted a new challenge in a big hotel,” she said. “I was very sad to leave because I had learnt all my knowledge from there but I wanted to expand my wings.”

Caroline initially trained in hospitality and catering at Radbrook College before joining Rowton Castle in the food and beverage team when she was 21-years-old. She then moved to work on reception before taking up responsibility for organising weddings.

Now at Albrighton Hall, her role is to look after the happy couple from the moment they first look round the hotel and choose it as their perfect venue through arranging all the details, big and small, to the big day.

“I really enjoy it,” she said. “I love meeting people, speaking to them and showing them around. You are giving them the best day of their lives and it’s a wonderful feeling at the end when you have achieved that.”

Over the years, Caroline has helped organise more than 3,500 weddings but said each and everyone is individual.

“I have seen all sorts of things,” she said. “From knights on horseback to people arriving by helicopter. Every wedding is different and individual to the bride and groom.”

But she has picked up plenty of tips for couples along the way too.

“Organising a wedding is no easy task and it’s easy to overlook certain things such as timings, how much food to order and how many guests to invite so a big part of my job is advising couples so they have less to worry about.

“I often need to calm down brides the week before the wedding, which is why it’s important there is constant contact.

“The most important thing is that someone feels really comfortable with a wedding coordinator. People need continuity.”

Organisation is the key to a successful day – and with Caroline in charge, couples are sure to be in safe hands.

She said: “I always say you have to nurture people. They want to know they are safe with you and that you will look after all the small, finer details.

“Couples need to feel confident that everything they want will happen. For a lot of people, it’s the little things that mean a lot to them and you need to ensure it’s going to happen.

“The other day I was helping to put out chair covers and tying the bows and when you see the finished product and it all looks wonderful, you feel quite proud. It’s seeing families together and a happy couple and that’s the reward for me.”

Albrighton Hall Hotel is a four star hotel with 87 bedrooms, set in 15 acres of landscaped gardens.

The hotel, which has recently undergone a refurbishment, can cater for up to 250 wedding guests and the Inspirations Spa and leisure facilities, which was part of the refurbishment, allows guests to relax, unwind and be pampered. For further information visit the website at www.mercureshrewsbury.co.uk.

Caroline Lee, the new wedding coordinator at the Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel

Caroline Lee, the new wedding coordinator at the Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel