Considering tying the knot in the city? We caught up with Senior Social Occasions and Weddings Expert Claire Bowpitt from one of the capital's most fabulous hotels - The Corinthia, London - to discuss stylish city celebrations...
How did you get into the bridal industry?
"I started in the events industry five years ago, working on social occasions at the Emirates Stadium, and moving into beauty, fashion, and weddings in venues in the home counties. I realised I had a passion for the bridal industry and so started my own business as a wedding planner. Being able to take someone's dream and create something amazing from it - being trusted to plan the biggest day of someone's life - is an amazing privilege. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from my job and I've met a lot of friends along the way - having worked so closely together on such an important day, you often tend to keep in touch."
Tell us about your role at the Corinthia Hotel.
"When a bride-to-be or couple gets in touch, I invite them into the hotel to have a brainstorm over afternoon tea or coffee in our gorgeous lobby lounge. From there I deliver the whole package - from the venue to logistics to recommending and liaising with suppliers to make their vision come true. On the day, I'm a real-life Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner, armed with everything from pins to lipgloss - the only difference is I have a Blackberry rather than an earpiece!"
What sets the Corinthia apart from any other top hotel in London?
"Our location in the heart of London makes the Corinthia stand out. It's ideally placed for the most stunning wedding photographs of the London skyline from one of our penthouse suites or from the Golden Jubilee Bridges right next to the hotel looking across the Thames to the London Eye directly opposite. On the morning of the big day, the in-house Daniel Galvin hair salon is the perfect place for the wedding party to get ready, while sipping champagne in their robes. Food, of course, is the other key ingredient which sets Corinthia London apart as a wedding venue. Michelin-starred Executive Chef Garry Hollihead's clean and simple style of cooking with food sourced from the UK. Wedding guests can enjoy a sumptuous rump of lamb or tender fillet of beef in our Ballroom venue just as they would in a restaurant. Finally, our Ballroom itself is a fantastic draw - with natural light and contemporary colours, but still retaining its traditional Victorian features, it really is a very special venue right in the heart of London. And because the Ballroom has its own private entrance from the street, its own cloakroom facilities, and a semi-private courtyard, privacy is guaranteed."
Now more than ever, couples are looking to make their wedding stand out. What's your advice for adding a personal touch to a wedding?
"The easiest way to add a personal touch to a wedding is for the couple to remember what is important to them. By taking themselves back to the defining moments of their relationship a couple can make their day so much more personal. For example, remembering the Jazz music that played in the background of their first date and having this play during the wedding breakfast or just something as simple as serving the same champagne for the toasts that the couple drank to celebrate their engagement can make the day extra special."
What are the reception decoration trends for 2014?
"2013 was all about The Great Gatsby, in 2014 we are seeing a return to romance, which is an absolutely perfect match for our Ballroom, with its pale lilacs, pinks and greens. This year it's all about roses, hydrangeas, lace, and candle light.
Do you use an in-house florist?
"Yes, we do. By Appointment Only Design are based at Corinthia Hotel London. You often see Javier, the Operations Director, and Tony, Creative Director, floating around the hotel creating beautiful displays and meeting wedding couples over coffee."
Can you tell us about the first ever wedding you planned and how it differed from the ones you're planning now?
"When I first started planning weddings, there was an obvious emphasis on a colour scheme. All aspects of the day had to match and the accent colour (hot pink at the time) was used on everything from ribbons to wedding favours. Now I find that more couples are happy for a miss match of colours and instead want a more quirky feel to their day. It's no longer about the little details but instead about the overall day and creating an amazing experience for their guests."
Cornthia Hotels; www.corinthia.com