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Finally, after many months of the Wedding Insurance Group being a member, my colleagues Andrew, Natasha and I decided to see the National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP) at their latest networking event. Since I joined the Wedding Insurance Group as their brand evangelist, the NAWP’s meetings always kept popping up online. My first reaction was ‘Wow! They have their events in some pretty awesome venues.” It’s very seductive. We arrived (early!) at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the iconic Chelsea Pensioners.
The venue & introduction
Firstly, it was a stunning venue. You feel a sense of humble grandeur as you walk into the tall and beautiful grand hall and adjacent chapel. The toilets were even situated in an old air raid shelter that (according to one of the pensioners) also used to accommodate a brewery back in the day. We received a very warm welcome from the founding members of the NAWP and a tray laden with Champagne flutes. Elderflower mocktails were also offered decorated with rosemary sprigs that excited the nose every time you took a sip
Networking & conversation
We were one of the first to arrive but instantly started chatting to Create Food, the event’s caterers who also provide event and wedding planning services. They tickled our palatable curiosities with delicacies such as ham hock, eggs benedict and steak tartare.
The conversation was a delightful and informal chat about what changes Create have noticed this year in the wedding industry whilst discussing other aspects of their profession. As insurers, we are always interested to hear information from the wedding professional’s perspective as it helps us tailor our policies.
We continued the evening meeting more professionals, some we had never heard of, and some we had previously spoken to and wanted to meet face-to-face. Everyone was very friendly. It can be quite daunting to approach people especially if they are already talking in a group. However, we were able to catch people as they moved from one group to another. The conversations were mainly a chance for everyone to introduce him or herself and talk about the latest challenges their profession faces. This is a particularly interesting topic to listen to.
It was good to talk to The Royal Hospital events team about their recent initiative to encourage more weddings at the venue which traditionally only catered for couples who had a connection to the hospital or one of its pensioners. It was fascinating to learn that the hospital employs a team of dedicated, trained porters to move the long collection of dining tables in the great hall which all date back to the late 17th Century. It’s great to see a venue with a ridiculously rich background steeped in heritage taking the necessary steps to protect all the features that give the venue it’s iconic image.
Cue the music! We boogied to a nice blend of pop classics from iconic movies provided by the 21st Century Foxes. As the evening drew to a close, I felt like we didn’t have enough time to speak to more professionals. I suppose there are forthcoming events to attend so we have more chances to meet new people, however, it would be interesting to see if the next event introduces a networking icebreaker. For example, set up a group of tables with holders displaying conversation topics. If you want to meet photographers, take a seat at the photography table and get chatting.
We walked away from the National Association of Wedding Professionals with new contacts, some of who feel like new friends and a buzz of excitement. We have had conversations and created new collaborative opportunities that in turn will help us all move forward together. We’ll definitely be attending the next event. If you haven’t joined the NAWP, take a look at their website, it’s worth considering.
Adam is the brand evangelist for the Wedding Insurance Group. He continuously researches how the wedding industry is changing by liaising with our clients. Connect with Adam via our social media channels where he publishes informative videos on a regular basis.