Wedding Coordinator Extraordinaire Hana

Meet Hana, wedding coordinator extraordinaire and Edinburgh Napier MSc International Event & Festival management graduate. Hana tells us about how she got promoted from an internship to her dream job as a wedding coordinator two months after graduating, and explains why she left it up to her Husband to plan her own wedding!

Hana, can you tell us about your job?

Since October 2015 I have been the cluster wedding coordinator based at the Principal Edinburgh hotel. Before then I spent 6 months working as an intern for the same hotel as a conference and events administrator.

How did you get your job?

I’d always been working part time while studying my undergraduate degree, and knew I wanted to continue doing that while I studied my masters, but I really wanted to work somewhere that would help me with my future career. At the beginning of my master's I knew I wanted to get into wedding planning, so I started researching local hotels and venues who might be hiring. I saw that the Principal hotel was very good and was going to approach them on my own, so when I realised their Human Resources manager would be attending a job fair held at Edinburgh Napier's Craiglockhart campus I was really excited.

What happened when you met the human resources manager at the job fair?

She asked me to send her my CV and because they saw that I was really enthusiastic and I really wanted to work for the hotel, as soon as I sent in my CV they asked me to come in for an interview. When I told them that I really wanted to work in weddings they didn’t have any positions available in that department at the time, so they offered me an internship as an events and conference administrator instead, but with the option to spend time helping the wedding coordinator. So even though my title was as the conference and events administrator I spent a lot of time during the internship with the wedding manager and she trained me up, and that was a big help in me achieving my current role. 

How did you move from the internship to your current permanent role?

Well when they offered me the part time internship as a conference and events administrator they did inform me that in the future a position in the weddings department could become available, and that they might be able to employ me on a full time basis after I had finished my masters degree. So I kind of saw an opportunity there for further development and a way to get into the industry. Taking the internship was actually a bit risky because I went from a part time permanent position with another hotel to a casual contract at the Principal, but I saw an opportunity so I just went for it.

So you took a risk and it paid off?

Yes definitely it did pay off. Six months into my internship the wedding coordinator position became available, I went for an interview and I got offered the job!

What do you love about your job?

I really love meeting the couples and the personal face to face contact with the clients. I also love that I get to go out of the office a lot and attend wedding fairs, and that I have to actually be there on the day of the wedding with the couple. Its definitely a difficult and challenging job, but those challenge gives me a lot of fulfillment. I would hate to be somewhere where I would be stuck in the office all the time and just bored. I like this mix of being in the office and being out and about.

What are the biggest challenges of the job?

Well the couples can be very demanding sometimes! And it’s not always the bride and groom, it can often be the parents of the couple. When the parents get involved that’s a huge challenge, that can actually be more of a challenge than dealing with the couple themselves! But I still enjoy it. Every single time I overcome the obstacles, the wedding has been a success and I can see the smiles on the peoples and the couples faces, it’s rewarding. It gives me a lot of fulfillment.

Why did you decide to do a masters in festival and events management?

Well I wanted to get a masters degree and I knew I wanted something that would get me closer to the weddings and events industry. I saw the scores here in Edinburgh and I just really loved it. I read a description of the course, and especially the practical things we would be doing on the course really attracted me, so I applied and luckily it worked out!

Were the opportunities for employment in the festival and events industry a big pull in your decision to study in Edinburgh?

Absolutely, I mean Edinburgh is an events city so it’s a great place to be. I was thinking even if I didn’t manage to get into the wedding industry I could still get a job in the events industry in Edinburgh. I knew that it would give me much better opportunities than anywhere else or than staying Aberdeen, so definitely yes the city was a big factor.

What did you enjoy the most about the course?

It might sound a bit silly but I really enjoyed the assignments. This might be why I like the wedding industry because you really need to be on top of things. I love planning my schedule and I like working to deadlines and seeing the results so I really enjoyed working on the assignments and seeing the results. All the teachers were so nice and so helpful, and particularly my dissertation supervisor Dr. Simon Chui was so lovely and so brilliant, I was so lucky. I think because of him overall I would say working on the dissertation was my favourite part. 

What did you enjoy the most outside of your classes?

I enjoyed meeting my classmates for coffee and I really enjoyed the group work. It was a more relaxing atmosphere than at undergraduate level. Most of the people studying masters are doing it because they really want to not because they’ve been told they have to, so I think that’s the difference between friends in the undergraduate and master’s degrees. Obviously I did go out as well and Edinburgh is great city to go out, so the social life was very good. 

What advice would you give to another student who is looking for a job in events or wedding planning and is thinking of studying a masters degree?

I would definitely tell them to try and get a part time job. It doesn’t need to be a job in the events industry while they are studying but definitely in a place which could give them the opportunity to progress and could eventually lead them into the events industry. I know many students just study and don’t work during their degrees. Maybe they think that they might not manage, or it might be too difficult, or maybe they just want to enjoy the student life more and go out and party. But if they do want to see the results straight after they finish their degree I would definitely recommend that they get a part time job either in the industry or as close to the industry as possible to create a network of contacts. That’s what worked for me. 

If you could organise a wedding for anyone anywhere in the world, who would it be for and where would it be?

It would be a wedding somewhere by the beach where it’s warm, and I would love to do it for my best friend, that would be great. Although sometimes it can be much more difficult to organise a wedding for someone who is so close to you, so I'm not sure that’s the best idea (laughing). But if she did get married I would definitely want to be involved.

Are you married yourself and if so what was it like planning your own wedding as a wedding planner?

Yes I got married in Budapest a few years ago, to be completely honest my husband planned most of our wedding!

Really?!

Yes (laughing). Because I’m not Hungarian and I don’t speak the language that was a big barrier to getting things done. Also at the time I was still working part time on my internship at the Principal hotel and I was studying for my dissertation. It was so much to do for me so I left most of the things up to my Husband! And I think he really enjoyed it actually. I’m a little bit of a control freak sometimes but I did trust him fully and I let him plan it and it went great!

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