Aka the most wonderful place in all of the lands – plural. I’m not joking, The Bishop’s Palace is genuinely magical. I’m not sure if it’s the gorgeous towering medieval buildings, the incredibly beautiful gardens, the community spirit, or all 3! But I L-O-V-E it there. On one of my first days, a colleague said to me ‘it really gets in your blood’ and that has since resonated so much with me. It’s true – it honestly does get in your blood.
The Bishop’s Palace is run by a trust, meaning it’s a non-profit organisation. Any money they do make goes straight back into the trust to preserve the buildings & gardens and make it increasingly desirable and accessible to be enjoyed by all. And it’s so amazing to work for a company who runs on that basis. Plus, I have a huge number of amazing colleagues across many different departments, and we’re all left to get on with our work to the best of our abilities. No micro-management or lack of belief in our abilities (which, as you may know, is something I have had the displeasure of experiencing previously).
Obviously, people have to make money. But I feel that when making money out of people’s weddings becomes the focus of the business you may as well be working for an enormous corporate chain. Turning every wedding into a business development opportunity, for me, loses all meaning of what the wedding industry is about. And, as a bride-to-be I have actually rejected suppliers for my own wedding on that basis. Anyway, slightly off topic there. But my point is that at The Bishop’s Palace, your wedding is contributing to the preservation of an 800 year-old site, and I think it’s magical!
What I do
Now onto the fun stuff, what do I do all day? Well, as the Wedding & Venue Manager, I’m the face of the wedding and private hire department at The Bishop’s Palace. I deal with all incoming enquiries, and have a system in place for following up with enquiries and generating show-rounds. I’m also the person who conducts all of the show-rounds and (hopefully!) turns them into bookings.
A lot of my time is spent on the business development side of things. My first couple of months were spent focussing on a small re-brand of the wedding department to bring it up to a higher standard. I’ve also been accumulating previous wedding images, and over the next few weeks I’ll be submitting those to various blogs & magazines to get featured. I’ve created a specific ‘wedding’ Instagram for The Bishop’s Palace (@bishopspalaceweddings – go & give it a follow!) to keep the wedding department separate from the huge amounts of other things that go on at the Palace.
As the manager, I’m also responsible for all wedding & events staff. Making sure they’re working the hours they need to, approving holiday, managing office hours vs function hours, and keeping everyone happy! We have a weekly team meeting in which I have to give a brief overview of private events that are happening at the Palace, and once a month we have a management & trustee meeting for which I have to prepare a management report and be present at and contribute to the meeting (which usually lasts most of the morning).
Alongside all of that, there are various meetings with other team members (chefs for example) and meeting with local suppliers to build professional relationships. The list goes on! But that’s the bulk of it. And I couldn’t be anymore thrilled that this is my life!
I’ve had a lot of questions about how I’m finding the travelling, how long does it take, etc. To be honest, it’s really not that bad. It takes me 2 hours almost on the dot and it’s a really easy & pleasant drive. I’m only there 2 days a week (usually Mondays & Thursdays), so only doing the journey twice which makes it very do-able. I think if it was 3 days or more I would definitely struggle, but it’s not, so, yay!
During the drive I mostly listen to podcasts which is actually a wonderful use of my time. The times of day that I’m travelling are also, in my opinion, ‘lost’ times of day anyway. In the morning, I would just be in bed for a bit longer and have more time to get ready. And between 5pm-7pm all I’d do is probably cook dinner and maybe do some chores or go to the gym. Euan has dinner covered on those evenings and chores & gym can be done on another day!
And that, is that!
So, there you have it! That’s what I get up to on most Mondays & Thursdays. If you want to know anything else, just drop me a line. And please do consider The Bishop’s Palace as your wedding venue if you’re getting married!
In my last post, I outlined the main things I’m up to at the moment. And, as promised, here is the first of the more detailed posts! Starting with my interview at The Bishop’s Palace.
So, The Bishop’s Palace… How did it start? Well, quite by chance the job came across my radar. I’d always loved the area (Wells) as my Auntie had lived there for many years, plus it’s close to our fave UK city (Bath), so – on a whim – I applied and thought nothing else of it. A few weeks later I had an email inviting me to interview – I was so shocked but also incredibly thrilled!
The interview prep was quite intense, and I worked very hard on making sure I knew what I was going to say. I had to prepare a show-round of the Palace (having never been there before!), to be followed by a formal interview and short written test. Safe to say I was pretty nervous! I spoke to my Auntie who gave me some inside knowledge on Wells and what she knew of The Bishop’s Palace, which helped me feel more equipped for the interview.
For me, the most important part of this was the experience. I’d never had an interview as formal as this so I really wanted to make the most of it from a personal development point of view.
So, the interview happened and I thought it went the best it could have done. But I didn’t at all think I would get the job. Alas, I did! And what a beyond wonderful feeling that was. To have had an interview of that level and to have been their preferred candidate honestly felt surreal.
They wanted me to start at the beginning of January, and by this point it was early December so decisions had to be made quickly. Ordinarily, I like to take my time over big decisions, but sometimes you do just have to make snap judgements and go with it.
My situation at that point was safe and easy. I knew what I was doing in my current job, the business was less than 10 minutes away, and I did the majority of my work from home. However, there was something inside me that deep down knew it was time to move on. I had learnt a huge amount but it was getting to that point where I was starting to outgrow the job. At times I felt like a baby bird who had her wings but wasn’t allowed to fly. And I decided it was time to fly.
More in my Next Post…
I think that’s enough from me for one post! In my next post I’ll explain more about The Bishop’s Palace itself and the work I do there.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to keep up with my Instagram!
As most of you will know, for the past 2 years I’ve been working for a beautiful wedding venue on the edge of Dartmoor – Ever After. You’ll have seen from Instagram how stunning the venue is and how much I have enjoyed my time there. I’ve seen the business grow amazingly over the past 2 years, and I know it will only continue to grow, so it’s wonderful to have been a part of it. I wish Nicola & Steven and all the staff & suppliers I have worked with every success for the future!
But now is the time for new adventures, perfectly placed alongside a new year as I start my new position at The Bishop’s Palace at the beginning of January. I’m going to be their Weddings & Venue Manager, which is a huge step up for me and an incredible opportunity. I’m totally thrilled and very very excited to get stuck in! It’s a chance for me to really prove myself and spread my wings.
About The Bishop’s Palace
My new adventures are going to happen in the medieval city of Wells, which is where The Bishop’s Palace can be found. It has been home to the Bishops of Bath & Wells for over 800 years (wow!) and the current Bishop resides there now.
Parts of the palace, and the 14 acres of gardens are open to the public (plus their award-winning cuisine in the cafe!) and the place as a whole is run by the Palace Trust; an independent charitable organisation (a little bit like the National Trust, but on a smaller scale). You can hire The Bishop’s Palace for many things (including film sets – let’s hope I’m involved in a few of them!), but I’ll mainly be focussing on the hire for weddings.
You can find out more about The Bishop’s Palace by visiting their website.
So yes, my new job is in Wells (which is near Bath & Bristol), but we won’t be moving anywhere yet. This position is part-time, which means I’ll only be commuting for a couple of days a week, and my hours are flexible so I can dictate the days & times I’m travelling.
I’ve also got some other exciting projects on the horizon, which have only really fallen into place over the past couple of weeks. It’s funny how things work out! It’s a huge leap of faith, but I’ve figured you don’t get anywhere in life without taking a few risks!
So, that’s that. 2019 is going to be full of new adventures, exciting projects, and big dreams. But for now, I’m off for the Christmas break. Someone pass me a mulled wine!