Meet Jess Straker
As part of our mini series, where we take a peek behind the scenes of life at Doxford Barns, we introduce you to our award-winning wedding coordinator – Jess Straker!
Jess has been with the team since January 2016 and is particularly good at applying her tricks of the trade. Jess also competes in flower arrangement competitions, so can be called upon to lend a hand with any last minute touches on your big day!
Jess can be contacted on: email@example.com 01665 579173
1. When did you discover you had a passion for organising wedding & events?
I have always been extremely bossy! As the oldest child of 4 siblings, it was my job growing up to organise our daily activities – so I guess it all started fairly early on in life!
Whilst at university (Harper Adams!) I was on the Summer Ball Committee, which was AMAZING and part of my role was to organise a massive festival-style ball for over 2000 students. We organised over three stages of acts, including Twin Atlantic and Benjamin Frances Leftwich who performed at the event. I guess it was the thrill of seeing all the planning come together, when I realised that planning events is what I wanted to do full time.
2. How do you keep up to date with the latest trends?
I LOVE Instagram! I can spend all day just browsing for new styles, fashions and things to make every wedding that little bit different! Pinterest is good too… but I find Instagram far easier to browse! By looking at one image, it can lead to so many different others and open so many more creative ideas !
3. How did you get into this career and how long have you been in the industry?
I started working at Doxford Barns in January 2016, after a conversation with Katryna Shell (who runs the pods at Doxford Barns) at a BBQ. She told me the owner of Doxford Barns – Richard Shell – was looking for another Events Manager and I said ‘oh I would love to do that!’ and the rest is history!
I started out at Doxford Barns by helping with the cooking and and then it all just went from there!
4. What do you love most about job?
The biggest thrill I get from being in the team at Doxford Barns is being part of a couple’s special day. I know a lot of the tricks of the trade, which really helps to make the day run smoothly, such as how to lace up a wedding dress, or pull a zip that is stuck. These may sound trivial, but they all play a small part in helping to make sure a couple’s perfect day runs as smoothly as it can.
5. What do you think are the most important things to consider when planning a wedding at Doxford Barns?
It is so important to keep in contact with your wedding coordinator. We absolutely love to hear about any ideas that couples have and will do our best to find a way to incorporate these ideas into your wedding.
6. What is the most unusual wedding theme you have come across at Doxford Barns?
We have a Harry Potter theme coming up, which I LOVE the sound of and cannot wait to see!
7. What do you think will be the most popular wedding trends in 2018?
Converse!!! – It has become so trendy now for brides to ditch their heels for comfort!
Another very popular trend we are seeing is After Dinner Cocktails and I can totally understand why! After all, who wouldn’t want an espresso martini to get them ready for the evening party?!
8. What is your favourite thing about Doxford Barns?
The relaxed, family friendly atmosphere makes Doxford Barns an idyllic place to spend a whole weekend with your friends and family. The vibe is totally stress-free and is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the country surroundings.
Image of Doxford Barns by Paul Liddiment
9. What does your typical day look like?
Busy!! The number one priority is supporting couples with their wedding planning such as finalising schedules and function details. I also love to help couples come up with new ideas and inspiration to make their wedding just that little bit different! Alongside this, I spend my time putting quotes together for prospective couples, showing couples around Doxford Barns and looking after our office staff.
I have to admit that I drink far too much tea and do have a tendency to hang around the kitchen at particular times of the day, hoping for a tasty morsel!
10. What are your favourite parts of the job?
Seeing our couples get married and coming out of the Threshing Hall with the biggest smiles on their faces and also those moments before the ceremony, when everyone’s emotions are so high – I have been known to secretly shed a tear for coupes who I have helped co-ordinate their wedding!!
I also really enjoy flower arranging, to the point where I have competed at national level, so i’m always ready to lend a hand with wedding flowers on the big day!
Image: Jess’ flower arrangement
11. What keeps you busy in your spare time?
I live on a Farm in the Breamish Valley and love spending time outdoors; in particular I enjoy skiing and walking our dog Wilma. I am always willing to try anything at least once and recently completed the three peaks challenge.
Image: Jess’ dog Wilma
My biggest thrill comes from skiing – I have already booked to go to Sol in 2019! and I LOVE to dance (at a party, not professionally!) I also have a big weakness for wine, gin, chocolate and cheese but you won’t catch me eating marzipan or fruit cake!
In terms of my personality, I can be quite shy around new people, which probably will surprise my friends and I definitely take things too personally at times!
Autumn is my favourite season and I seem to always have a really cold nose!!!
Image: Jess with her boyfriend Cameron
12. What are your 3 most important pieces of advice for couples planning their wedding?
1. Put your faith and trust in your wedding coordinator – we are here to make your day run exactly as you imagine it to be
2. Communication is key – the more we know about your plans, the more we can help
3. Don’t be afraid to be super organised or feel bad about chasing guests or suppliers for decisions – Your wedding day is incredibly special, so don’t let anything stand in the way of your planning
Jess is here is to help make your wedding planning as stress-free as possible and to offer any support you need on your big day.
If you have any questions about Doxford Barns or your own wedding, please contact Jess on 01665 579173 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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