Everyone Has Their 15 Minutes of Fame…Even a Wedding Toastmaster!!

It was Andy Warhole who coined the phrase, “Everyone has their 15 minutes of fame”. I must have been cheated because my ‘moment of fame’ lasted only three and a half minutes!

For some unexplained reason I was recently contacted by a representative of Elan Productions, a film company with a contract to make a series of short films called ‘Calon’ about life in modern day Wales. Somehow I had come to their attention and they wished to produce a programme about my work as a Toastmaster. The programme was filmed in March of this year and broadcast in Welsh on S4C on the 19th July.

Although the programme is not scheduled for re-broadcasting in the near future, it can still be viewed on S4C’s CLIC website for the next twenty days or so. Here is a link to the video.  Don’t worry if you can’t soeak Welsh – there are English subtitles available.

I hope to incorporate the film on my own website in the near future, as soon as the necessary permissions have been received…so watch this space!

Wedding Toastmaster Wales & the Border Counties
TostFeistr Cymru


Did you know….?

Did you know that Toastmasters originated in the times of the Roman Empire? Although beer was the beverage of the common people, wine was favoured by the ruling classes and at important events. The term ‘Toasting’  derived from the technique of dropping croutons into the bottle, the purpose being to attract the floating ‘bits’ in the normally unrefined wine.

The recognisable role of the modern Toastmaster, although claimed by the English to be an innate part of their heritage, was actually crafted by a Welshman, one Richard ‘Beau’ Nash, born in Swansea in 1674. After an education at Oxford and a period spent in the army Nash was appointed Master of Ceremonies for the town of Bath. This unofficial position involved matching dancing partners at balls, brokering marriages, escorting unaccompanied wives and the regulation of gambling. His ‘uniform’ comprised a coloured frock coat,knee breeches, black stockings and black , silver buckled shoes. A black cane would be used to bang on the floor to gain attention.  Despite the last element of his duties Nash was himself a notorious gambler and died in 1761, practically destitute.

Little changed until 1894 when Londoner  William Knightsmith, a well known Toastmaster, tired of being addressed as ‘waiter’ by people attending the various functions where he was working. Upon the advice of his wife he bought a new scarlet, long tailed coat, which granted him recognition and added dignity to his profession. Although initially considered eccentric by his peers, once it attracted the approval of The Prince of Wales at a banquet of civil engineers, they clamoured to get a copy of the design, and even to  borrow his own coat. Within a year, virtually all the Toastmasters in London were wearing the long tailed scarlet coat.

From Iwan A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

Across the whole of Wales & the border counties of Gloucestershire & Herefordshire

Planning for Your Perfect Wedding Day – tips from Professional Wedding Toastmaster Iwan Jones

Planning for Your Wedding Day by Wedding Toastmaster WalesCongratulations!

You’ve announced that you’re getting married, or planning a civil partnership, and now begins the hard work.  But with some simple planning tips I can help you avoid feeling like the entire event is overwhelming you.

As a leading wedding toastmaster I have attended countless weddings and picked up a few things in my time! Here are my tips for planning for a perfect wedding day:

1.Turning your dreams into a reality is going to be fraught with problems. The first task you must do is to book a venue.  Whether you are wanting a church service or registry office for your ceremony you will have to book and you may find yourself having to compromise already. Once booked, you will need a venue for the reception (see tip 2!). Also, you may decide that you don’t want two separate venues and opt for somewhere that can host the wedding and reception under one roof. This is the stage where you also find that setting a wedding date is a big challenge – and remember that the season you choose will influence the theme and style of the wedding party outfits.

2. The next important task is find somewhere you like for the reception. Obviously, if you’ve opted to have the ceremony and reception in the same location (many hotels do great packages to cater for this market) you will have to find a venue for the reception. It’s important that you MUST visit it and discuss your plans with them. Popular venues book up years in advance so it might be wise to have a ‘Plan B’ in case your first choice of venue isn’t available. Or you can arrange your wedding date to fit in with availability.

3. Once you have arranged the date, the wedding venue and the reception then you need to tell everyone about it! You will have to send out your invitations promptly and this will probably mean ordering some impressive cards announcing the wedding. Many online sites offer some impressive designs. You can also do this bit yourself.

4. Once everyone knows when and where you are getting married, they will inevitably ask about wedding gifts. Unless you have something specific in mind, you can set up an online wedding gift facility at a number of stores – such as Argos and John Lewis – and people can buy what you actually want. No more receiving six toasters! The other benefit is that people will see what has already been bought for you and avoid replication.

5. And then comes the most important part for any bride – and probably the most frustrating and stressful – that of buying a bridal gown. Even when you have a fixed idea of what you want, trying to track it down can be difficult. Visit several bridal specialist stores. For accessories and outfits for other wedding party members try department stores and high street retailers such as BHS and Debenhams. Just don’t forget to hire the men’s suits too!

6. Everything else is then to be sorted out.  These include booking flowers, the photographer (make sure you visit them and have a look at their portfolio); cake makers, hair dressers for the big day; buy wedding rings; book somewhere to stay that night and don’t forget to book a honeymoon!

Oh, and don’t forget to hire yourself a wedding toastmaster – we can be invaluable on the day! Learn more about me and what I can do on my website pages.

There is a lot to do but you can share out the responsibilities and remember to start a checklist of what needs to be done and tick off items when they have been completed.

In addition, you can always ask your wedding toastmaster who will offer good advice because they attend so many weddings.

Good luck for your big day!

From Iwan
A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

Across the whole of Wales & the border counties of Gloucestershire & Herefordshire

South Wales Evening Post Wedding Competition Winners

Old Walls GowerCongratulations to Steve Butcher and Emma williams of Hendy, Pontardulais, winners of the Evening Post 2012 Win a Wedding competition. The lucky couple have won an all-expenses-paid wedding at the exclusive Old Walls venue in the Gower on St David’s Day 2013.

I am delighted to have been approached to provide a Toastmster service at the wedding and look forward to working with Steve and Emma to ensure that the day is one that they and their guests will remember for a long time to come.

From Iwan A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

Across the whole of Wales & the border counties of Gloucestershire & Herefordshire

The 5 Most Stressful Things That Might Happen On Your Wedding Day and How To Avoid Them

Wedding toastmaster wales helps you avoid stressUnfortunately not every wedding runs smoothly and there are mishaps which can be avoided.

Firstly, it’s important that you write a schedule for the day and keep to it – I have a list of the five best tips to help your day run smoothly here.

So here’s my list of the five most stressful things that might happen on your wedding and how to avoid them:

Wedding dress disasters

By far the most common and most upsetting is having a dress disaster.

This usually occurs when the dress is delivered late or the bride has had fitting problems, such as the dress being too tight or loose. Or, worse, it rips when it is put on.

Avoid this by ensuring the last dress fitting occurs well in advance and then pay close attention to whether you intend losing weight (or indeed avoid gaining any!). There’s not a lot that can be done to gowns on the big day so every effort to avoid a problem should be taken.

Wrong names on the table plan and place cards

This is a minor hiccup but you’d be surprised how many people get upset by this – especially if they consider themselves to be a close friend or relative. It only takes a few minutes to go through the table plan and ensure the names are correct for it and the place cards on the table. Many people will laugh off a mistake but some will not.

It’s also important that anyone announcing names knows how to pronounce them. A toastmaster will sit down with you to ensure the correct pronunciation of any guests who will be called out.

Make up and hair dressing problems

For this situation it’s advisable to always have a ‘plan B’.

If you’ve booked a hairdresser and a make up artist to attend the bride on the morning of her big day and they don’t turn up there is going to be a problem. Not only is this stressful and upsetting but you will need someone who knows what you want doing and can step in at the last minute.

It might be worthwhile sourcing a local hairdressers who may be able to fit you in at the last minute to help save the day.

Missing or forgotten wedding rings

This is still quite common and even when lots of guests remind the best man whether he has the rings – and he will inevitably say yes – it still occurs that he is left scrambling around his pockets trying to locate them. Even worse is the dawning horror that he has, indeed, left them behind.

So to avoid this ask the best man to show you the rings – and more importantly – where he is keeping them for his moment to hand them over.

Unfortunately there isn’t really a Plan B for this and while it’s funny that a relative will step in and loan you theirs, it’s a moment ruined through lack of preparation.

Music mayhem and the DJ from hell

From having a DJ not turn up to a DJ playing inappropriate music, this can be a troublesome booking. For a no-show you’ll need a list of numbers of any local DJ who might be available. You’ll know fairly early on if this is going to happen because he/she should be set up in the morning of your wedding. So if a few hours before the bride and groom are due to be at the reception and there’s no DJ you have a problem.

The other issue is a DJ who doesn’t play the right music for the mood. For the meal you don’t want some obscure heavy metal band playing and in the evening you don’t want a DJ who refuses to play the cheesy music beloved of grans and aunties who get the children up to dance to.

For all of these problems, you will find a toastmaster is unbelievably helpful – and they usually come prepared for the unexpected accident or incident. They will check that everything that is meant to be in place is there and if not will help you resolve it.

From Iwan
A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

5 Tips for making your wedding day go smoothly from a professional wedding toastmaster

wedding toastmaster wales saves stressed bridesIt’s meant to be the best day of your life – and for most people it is.

Though the day can pass quickly it’s important that every detail is planned so there are no unexpected emergencies and for everything to go to plan.

As a leading Wedding Toastmaster I have witnessed some fantastic, well organised weddings –and also some not very good ones!

Here are my five top ten tips to help your wedding day run smoothly:

Make a timetable for the day

I can’t stress how important a schedule is. With a timetable of what is happening and when, everyone will be informed and aware of what needs to be done. Preparing the schedule also gives you an opportunity to see what you may have overlooked. Obviously, it’s going to be very difficult to fix on the big day itself should there be something crucial missing!

You will need to write down everything such as hair, make-up, breakfast, bouquets along with a list of suppliers and their contact numbers.

Remember too to schedule some time in for your new wife/husband.

And then you need to keep to your schedule!

Give directions with your wedding invitations

Again, this is such an obvious thing to do but easily overlooked. Essentially this is to ensure that everyone can find the church or venue and not turn up late. Not everyone plans their trip ahead so having directions leaves no room for poor excuses about not being able to find the church!

It also means you can safely turn your phone off knowing you don’t have to give directions at the last minute when you should be focussed on the wedding itself.

Make someone responsible for the gifts/cards

It’s a simple task but necessary. People will be relieved that someone is taking care of their gift and placing it safely with the others. There’s nothing worse than having guests carry gifts most of the day because they are unsure of where to put them.

It would also help if that person could keep a written record of what was brought because this would make the writing of thank you cards afterwards so much easier.

Have someone keep the kids entertained

This is an ideal job for a younger member of the bridal party. You will need toys, sweets and various distractions so that the young ones do not become too bored and make their feelings known. If you have lots of children attending, it might be an idea to hire a professional entertainer. Goody bags full of things to colour in and play with could be an excellent investment.

Obviously Toastmasters are very good at this task and can help out.

Carry an emergency kit bag

Growing in popularity this is a really sensible thing to do. This could well be the best thing you initiate all day! You will need to make a detailed list of what you might possibly need during the day such as paracetmol, plasters, toothpicks (you’d be surprised how useful these are!), tissues and even something that will camouflage a dress stain (chalk!)

You will need to put this together and hand it to someone you trust – such as the chief bridesmaid to look after it for you.

Many people do not always understand what a wedding toastmaster does and I’d be happy to explain it to you should you be considering using one for your wedding.

One of the most important tasks for a Wedding Toastmaster is to help run things on the day and we can help take the strain from the happy couple who can focus on their guests.

From Iwan
A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

Getting married in South Wales? Visiting a Local Wedding Fayre May Help You.

wedding toastmaster wales advice on wedding fayres The end of February and the beginning of March saw a flurry of activity on the wedding fayre scene. I joined in the fun with appearances at The Ty Newydd Country Hotel, Hirwaun, the Morlais Golf Club, Merthyr Tydfil and The Countryman Inn, Pontyclun.

As I’ve mentioned before, these smaller events are quite different to the major ones, such as the one held in the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff at the end of January. All, however,  are equally valuable in their different ways for connecting with potential clients, with one offering a more intimate approach compared to the rush and manic atmosphere of the latter. The three recent fayres also had the added advantage of being on my home turf allowing me to network with other wedding suppliers whom I might not otherwise meet.

It is gratifying to see that the brides of the S. Wales Valleys haven’t been forgotten by organisers such as the Three Valleys Bridal Fayres who are also doing their bit to promote local small businesses. The fayre at the Countryman is, however, run by the management of this truly delightful venue in the tranquil heart of the S. Wales countryside, with only carefully selected exhibitors being invited to display their wares and services.

Attendance at all three events was encouraging, suggesting that the current economic gloom is having a less detrimental effect on spending than anticipated when it comes to weddings, although it’s fair to say that clients now expect far more for their money, and are prepared to shop around to find what they want.

The advent of internet shopping has obviously proved to be a great boon to anyone searching for a bargain, and it must prove a great temptation for prospective brides to use it to trim the costs of what can be a very expensive occasion. I would however urge caution, particularly when it comes to services such as that of the Toastmaster… unless you’ve met the person you appoint to organise what is possibly the most important day of your life, you won’t know how good he or she is until that day arrives…by which time it’s too late to change things!

Support your local wedding fayres!

From Iwan
A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

What Does A Professional Toastmaster Do At A Wedding? Gain an insight from a profesional wedding toastmaster.

Professional Toastmaster for weddingsYou may think that a Toastmaster is simply employed to arrange the toasts at a wedding but in-fact, the role is extremely important and varied. A professional Toastmaster or Master of Ceremonies plays a huge and highly significant part at a wedding, and one which is vitally important to ensure the smooth running of the day. The Toastmaster can really help to take the pressure off the bride and groom on their wedding day, and deal with those finer details which would often otherwise be forgotten. As such, the Toastmaster has to be an extremely organised individual, with excellent attention to detail.

Initially, the Toastmaster would help with the planning and co-ordination of the wedding, and advise on any areas which may be causing concern or uncertainty to the bride and groom. They would ensure that the bride and groom understand what is expected of them, and the role the Toastmaster would play in the events of the day.

On the day of the wedding, the Toastmaster would meet and greet guests and the bride and groom as they arrive at the reception, and also organise the gifts into an orderly fashion. They would also put the gifts away in a safe area, but one which the wedding party are aware of. It is essential that the photographs from the wedding are special, and as such, the Toastmaster would liaise with the photographer and/or video team, to ensure these turn out as well as possible.

As Master of Ceremonies, the Toastmaster is highly experienced in all aspects of a wedding and as part of their role, they will organise the receiving line, so that the bride and groom speak to everyone as they arrive at the reception. They will also take the bride and groom to their seats, and ensure guests are seated correctly and are content with the arrangements. The Toastmaster will also take responsibility for organising the speeches and toasts, so that they are timed to perfection and everyone is aware of when to take their turn.

Subsequently, the Toastmaster would make the necessary arrangements for the evening event, ensuring that all aspects of it are arranged to suit the requirements of the bride and groom. This may include introducing the DJ and/or band, and helping out with the buffet provisions.

They would also ensure that the gifts, guest-book etc. are taken to the allocated room and everyone is happy and content with the proceedings. The Toastmaster should always be on hand to answer any queries the wedding party may have, and at all times ensure they know exactly what is expected of them.

Fundamentally, the Toastmaster should help the event to flow and ensure time allocations are adhered to throughout the day. They should be friendly and approachable, and help the bride and groom to feel comfortable and happy. As it is such an important day, the Toastmaster will have the necessary knowledge to make it extra special for the happy couple.

From Iwan
A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service

A Wedding Toastmaster: Do You Need One?

Wedding Toastmaster WalesFor many brides it’s the biggest day of their life with every single aspect of the wedding planned to the smallest detail.

With so many responsibilities they could be forgiven for overlooking a crucial aspect of their wedding breakfast – a toastmaster.

The Master of Ceremonies doesn’t just announce the bride and groom’s entry to a waiting room of relatives and friends and then announce the speechmakers.

They can play a more involved, and indeed invaluable, role.

And while some venues will provide the Toastmaster – usually the venue manager – it would pay dividends to explore the idea of hiring a professional to do the job on the day.

One such Toastmaster is Iwan Jones, a Welsh-speaker who is a very popular choice and also a Fellow of the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters.

He says: “A Toastmaster will help co-ordinate the day for the bride, allowing them to enjoy it without worrying about the smaller details and whether things are running to time.”

As Master of Ceremonies, he or she will also ensure that the guests are welcomed in a professional manner and that they are relaxed and enjoying your day.

Toastmasters are happy to be involved in a wedding, whether large or small, and they will also ensure that the wedding runs according to plan.

Properly trained, they bring something special on what is already a very special day. A wedding Toastmaster will offer advice and support before and during the big day and make sure that every eventuality is covered.

So the toastmaster’s duties are not just restricted to making announcements but they will also bring a wealth of experience from meeting and greeting your wedding guests, to getting your guest book signed.

It’s these important small details that will help make such a big difference to the wedding.

Iwan adds: “Essentially a wedding Toastmaster is seen as a guardian of etiquette and is a long-standing tradition at most royal and formal weddings.

“Indeed, the wedding Toastmaster will wear a traditional grand red tailcoat with all the trimmings which brings a unique presence and formality to the happy couple’s big day.”

With a wedding being so special and so well planned, the question shouldn’t be whether you need a toastmaster for the event but how could you do without one.

Not only will they bring peace of mind that everything is running as it should; they are also professional and friendly and bring a special history to the wedding.

Ultimately, a wedding Toastmaster will take care of the bride and guests, giving the married couple time to relax, an opportunity to enjoy themselves so they have lots of fun on what is their special celebration.

From Iwan
A Wedding Toastmaster at Your Service