We got the chance to interview the wedding pro, Anna Walter, who works as a Project Manager at Quality Hotel™ Friends in Solna. She shares her best tips and professional secrets for the perfect wedding party.
Anna, what’s the most enjoyable part of being an events and parties project leader?
I like meeting ‘the individual’ and finding solutions. To be able to give that little bit extra and create a wow-feeling. The dynamics in the hotel and conference are amazing. Behind every success is a magic team; together we create meetings and memories with people. My experience with the event agency allows me to see the event from all angles, from the customer’s perspective to the hotel logistics. The customer often sees the event in one way and the hotel another. That is why I am there, in the middle, where I can anticipate challenges and possibilities that neither the customer nor the hotel has thought about.
Have you arranged a lot of weddings at Quality Hotel Friends?
Not yet. But we hope there will be more soon. The last was on New Year’s Eve. It was amazing fun to make the wedding couple’s memories for their biggest day. In the Nordic region, it is not especially common to have weddings in a ”regular hotel” yet, even if they are becoming more so. Here, many people want to rent their own venue or a whole manor house. But the big advantage of a hotel room is that it’s raw, like a piece of plain fabric. It can be shaped to make whatever you want. And of course there is somewhere for everyone to sleep.
Will your first dance as a married couple be at one of our hotels?
This is what it can look like when Quality Hotel Friends in Solna have decorated for a party.
When is the best season for weddings?
Summer is the most common wedding season, but we are weather-sensitive here in the Nordic region. It might sound nice to be able to have a drink and mingle outdoors, but it’s not so cosy if it’s windy and raining. At our hotel we have areas with amazing natural light but the weather does not matter because you are indoors. Then you do not have to think about marquees, warm blankets and umbrellas.
Can you arrange a last-minute wedding party?
It is possible to arrange a party in two weeks, but that is the latest possible even if the hotel is flexible and can solve most problems. In two weeks we will have time to plan to schedule staff and order food. The best thing is to book three to six months in advance, but since many get married in July / August, there is a high pressure on party and event venues. If you want a particular room, you may need to book it at least one year in advance. At Nordic Choice Hotels the advantage is that the most frequent type of visitors are conference guests who are here on weekdays. At the weekends, it is usually never as booked up. So it is easier to book a party at any hotel any weekend than to have the same weekend at a restaurant or specialised party venue. And we have lovely rooms for parties!
There are many advantages to having a wedding party at a hotel. One of them is that it is staffed around the clock. Should anything happen, we are always there.
At the hotel you can offer long-distance guests a comfortable bed, just a few steps from the party room. Like here, at the newly renovated Quality Hotel™ Ekoxen in Linköping…
… or at cool Quality Hotel ™ Friends in Solna.
What if you change your mind and want to change the venue?
For each booking with us there are cancellation rules. As long as you follow them, you can make changes without it costing anything. My tip is to book the venue in plenty of time and then cancel it should you find something else you’d rather have. Our longest cancellation policy is for between 30 and 180 days. This means that as long as you cancel within that time, it does not matter.
Can you also have the actual wedding ceremony at the hotel?
We are actually planning a wedding right now where the wedding ceremony will take place during the evening. It’s a civil marriage where the couple will be married right before the meal. I look forward to it very much. It will be great to able to part in and nice that the staff will get to be present. We will probably all end up shedding a tear or two. It’s the biggest day of the couple’s life and we will all do our best to make them feel cared for and special.
The wedding arranger Anna’s best tips for planning the big party
1. Choose the right venue
Begin with the number of guests. Once you know how many you are going to be and how you want it, you can plan the venue and the beginning after that. Only then will you know if it will suit what you want or not. But many people also do the opposite, decide the venue first (because they know what they want) and plan the party after according to the space they have.
2. Keep track of costs
A hotel includes the entire service package and you do not have to order drinks, food and staff separately. It will be more expensive than if you would arrange everything yourself, but you know exactly what the whole party will cost. In a hotel you get the whole, finished product, as we work with service every day.
3. Negotiate the price
If you are going to have a lot of guests who want to stay overnight at the hotel, you can always negotiate a group discount. For large events, the price is always negotiable.
Let love be at the centre and make sure there is room for dancing!
4. Make a space for dancing
Do you need a stage or dance floor? Think about it when you choose a venue and make sure that the dance floor, stage or whatever it is you want will fit.
5. Move the guests
How do you want the evening to flow? Should the guests be moved from one room to another after dinner and have the dance floor there? Do you want to stay in the same place? The evening should run smoothly without interruption, but it does not happen automatically. It requires some planning.
6. Remember those with allergies
Ask your guests to report any food allergies right from when you send the party invitation. This makes it easier to arrange specific dietary requirements with the person taking care of the food. Party guests often forget to mention their allergies and then it can be stressful for the kitchen when the food is already going out. At that moment it should be the guests who are in focus. We do not want them to have to wait for their food. Of course, it can be solved on the day of the event, but with the right planning the experience is all the better.
7. Don’t do everything by yourself
If you are going to be the focal point of the party, make sure that a toastmaster / MC is in charge during the festivities. Then you can concentrate on your guests and have fun. A good way is to make a order of events schedule in advance. Then you, the toastmaster and the staff will have the same picture of the party and everyone will know when the drinks are served, when the dinner ends and when the dancing starts, etc.
8. Use lighting to give certain effects
Colour the room with light! At the conference hotel there are often LED cans, large light sources the colour of which you can decide yourself. Simple and incredibly effective.
9. Set the mood with music
Make sure that there is good music and that guests are welcomed by someone who welcomes them and tells them about the plans for the evening. Music is a mood enhancer and can create a really lovely atmosphere. With a warm welcome and the right music you will go a long way!
10. Test the food – if you want
Tasting can be the best experience in the world if you think food is important. Please try the menu, but remember to think about your guests and choose food that you think they will appreciate.
11. Help the guests with the logistics
Send an email with good-to-know information to your guests. Tell them about check-in times, gym areas, parking facilities, directions, the nearest bus stops, taxi numbers and such. It’s not a must but the thought is always appreciated!
Focus on spending the day with each other and leave the rest to us. Let the celebration begin!
Book the wedding suite
Did you know that Nordic Choice Hotels offers wedding suites at almost all hotels, in all chains? Below you will see one of the most beautiful suites at the Quality Hotel. Book by contacting the hotel.
The Mastodon Suite with its own Jacuzzi and views of Stockholm is located at the Quality Hotel Globe.
Pamper yourselves in the private jacuzzi at Quality Hotel Globe
An interesting bit of trivia about this suite: the staff call it the ”Petter Suite”. This is because Nordic Choice Hotels’ owner Petter A Stordalen has stayed here many times.
The suite at Quality Hotel Edvard Grieg in Bergen, Norway.
Of course, we are not just wedding experts, we can take all kinds of parties and events! To find the perfect place for your next event, check out our party and event venues throughout the Nordic region here.
Did you get some inspiration and want to know more about the hotels in the article as well as their possibilities for organising parties and events? Below you will find more information!
Anna Walter, Project Manager at Quality Hotel™ Friends in Solna/Stockholm, shares her best tips for those who are planning a wedding party (or someone else’s).