With wedding season right around the corner, we thought we’d take a moment to check-in with our very own wedding and event expert, Amanda Long, Catering Sales Manager. Our most recent MVP award winner, Amanda manages all of our social media channels, social events, and keeps us up to date on all things trending. She is hardworking and dedicated to all of the wedding couples who begin their “Happily Ever After” at “The Jeff” and we’re excited for you to get to know her a bit better.
How did you get started in your career?
I’ve always felt very comfortable in hospitality, so you could argue that I’m doing what I was always meant to be doing. My first job I was hosting, bussing, and waiting tables when I was 16. Waiting tables and serving banquets carried me through college (and helped pay the bills!). While I thought my future career path was going to be in politics and law, I was regularly drawn to internships that allowed me to focus on event planning – multitasking on political campaigns, fundraisers, and ground level party planning. My extra-curricular activities and involvement with Greek life at UMASS also gave me the opportunity do this as well. Rather than take a position in the field my degree was in, I took a position as a banquet supervisor at a busy restaurant – it was the best decision I could have made. I spent almost eight years at that property, growing the banquet and off-site catering business, and really putting myself in a position where I could make my own way. I had wonderful mentors to coach and guide me, who also gave me the creative freedom to run with ideas. From there, positions were created for me based on the growing business. I grew from a supervisor to managing all the marketing, events, and off-site catering. I joined the team at the Inn on Boltwood in 2012.
It seems like every year a different trend or set of trends emerges. How do you stay on top of current trends to be able to advise your clients?
It’s valuable to monitor social media – that’s where the influencers are and where the most present information is, which is constantly changing. I like to follow various national wedding and event blogs, as well as, other venues, planners, photographers, and industry professionals that have a great following and have similar business practices and goals as we do. Feedback is so instantaneous online – so you know almost immediately if an idea is going to take off or should go away forever. Trends will come and go, some we want to stay gone forever, and there will always be the classics that stay tried and true. When it comes to advising my clients, I like to let them tell me about their personalities, tastes, and preferences, then I’ll start to make recommendations that fit the “feel” that they are going for. I often find myself added to Pinterest boards – Pinterest is a great way to dive into your client’s vision and know exactly what they are trying to achieve.
Have you ever booked an event for a client that was remote? What planning advice do you have for others in a similar situation?
Being a venue that is attractive to destination couples, I spend my day doing a lot of emailing and FaceTime. FaceTime or Skype is a wonderful tool for clients that are planning from afar. My best piece of advice is to not let the “destination” idea overwhelm you. We’re here to help! I’ve had clients from Paris, Germany, Japan, and more. Use vendors that your venue recommends, rather than overwhelming yourself with options. Set up preliminary phone calls and FaceTime calls to do the initial interviews, and then, set up as many face-to-face meetings as you can at one time while you are visiting to have the best use of your time. Ask your venue if you can have space to meet with your vendors at the venue itself to cut down on the travel and maximize your time.
What is your travel bucket list?
Where do I start?! Any place that is warm and I can have a sunrise or sunset over the ocean. Greece, the South of France, Maldives, Bora Bora, South Africa. . .
What is one thing people should know about you but don’t?
I’m a big fan of Plantagenet and Tudor history and the British monarchy in general. Queen Victoria is my favorite modern-era monarch (Who doesn’t love a good love story? Speaking of trends, did you know Victoria set the trend of wearing a white dress on the wedding day?). I never leave home without my Kindle, where you can typically find some type of historical fiction or non-fiction about the time period queued up.