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In at the deep end. My first week with Square Events – By Natasha Hills

What a week! My first week working for Square Events and Perfect Weekend, my first Masonic Lodge Ladies Weekend experience, my first site visit to a hotel, well I suppose there is a first time for everything.

 

My name is Natasha, I joined the lovely team at Square Events Management just last week and I was thrown straight in at the deep end, as by Friday I was out on the road to meet Guy Mason (Director of Square Events) for a site visit at The Woodland Grange Hotel, which has lovely conference rooms (ideal for training and corporate events); a smaller oak panelled room which could work for smaller lodges and a number of newly refurbished bedrooms.

 

Then onto Q Hotels Chesford Grange for a Masonic Ladies Weekend showcase event.  The staff at the hotel in Kenilworth, Warwickshire were extremely friendly, helpful and hospitable. The facilities were ideal suiting lodge events from 100 pax and the bedrooms were of a very high standard throughout.

 

We arrived just before the snow started to fall in Warwickshire, the atmosphere was amazing and the snow made the hotel look even more beautiful. They provided a fantastic showcase and a thorough understanding of Masonic Lodge Ladies Weekends, it was a fantastic opportunity for me to get a better understanding of the way in which these types of events are organised and run and just how much planning and preparation goes on.

 

It was great for me to get involved from the off, helping out with decorations in the banquet suite and final touches, where we later had a fantastic four course meal and although later in the evening there was a distinct lack of bodies on the dance floor, all attendees invited by QHotels and Square Events appeared to be having a fantastic time and the last few guests were up into the early hours along with some of the QHotel hosts, Guy Mason and myself from Square Events.

 

Square Events and Perfect Weekend would be happy to help you with any of your upcoming events, so do not hesitate to contact us regarding any of your thoughts, we are always happy to discuss your event and offer any advice where required. Guy, Matt, Tara and myself would be delighted to answer any questions you may have, please call the number below.

 

Call us on 01202 400855

So you’ve just become the President’s Lady?

Some tips for organising the perfect Ladies Weekend/Festival

  • Get involved – After all the event is to thank the Ladies and you are the partner of the Worshipful Master.
  • Where do you want the Ladies Weekend to be?
  • Which hotel do you prefer?
  • What entertainment would you like for the event?
  • Which menu would you rather choose?

Responsibilities ahead of the event:

Choosing a venue – Obviously the most important decision as the success of the event will largely be measured on the numbers attending and people will not go to a hotel that represents poor value, low quality or located in an area of low interest. With thousands of hotels in the UK how can you be sure the hotel you have chosen is the right one? With 15 years’ experience of organising Masonic weekend events in hotels all over the UK we will put together a proposal based on your brief in hotels of the highest quality as well as negotiating the best rates through our historical knowledge, negotiation skills and buying power.

Developing the event – The personal touches that you add to the event is what will define it from the previous years. The entertainment, the Ladies present, the menu cards and the flowers all greatly benefit from input from the Lady President and that additional care is really noticeable come the event.

Over the weekend – The main point of worry for a lot of Lady President’s is the response to the Ladies speech. Many a lady has spoilt the time ahead of the speech with unnecessary stress about standing up in front of everyone. Each Lodge is different, but in recent years, a lot of the focus on speeches has been reduced. Where 15 minute speeches were common place the norm now is for far shorter speeches. For inspiration you can search for ‘Masonic Ladies Night Speech’ on youtube

The main focus of these events is to honour and thank the Ladies for putting up with their husband’s regular absences and late night returns so the importance on making it a night to remember for all the ladies relies heavily on your input.

Please do not be afraid to get in touch and put your thoughts and influences into the event. We are always happy to discuss your event and offer advice where required. We’d be delighted to answer any questions you may have and invite you to get in touch on the number below.

Call us on 01202 400855.

Dinner at Lainston House by Tara Anderson

What a lovely evening that was hosted for Brief2Event and Square Events Management by the 5 Star, Exclusive Hotel Lainston House. Lainston House is a 17th century country house standing in 63 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside. Perhaps the most spectacular view is from the hotel bar as the lawn stretches pristinely into the distance along a tree lined avenue.

Onsite they have a wonderful kitchen garden where they grow and use all their own fresh ingredients, the different aroma’s you get walking through is just out of this world. The hotel offers you a chance to experience Falconry within the grounds, with team building days – such as making your own pizza’s outside, to watching the falconry show, great for a drinks reception and dinner too.

It just so happened that the meal a colleague chose consisted of lamb from the nearby farm and rhubarb and ginger freshly picked from the kitchen garden. The ingredients certainly didn’t have to travel far to the plate.

With great company and a wonderful show round it was great to see the little extras that come with the 5 star product.

 

The hotel provided excellent service, beautiful grounds, lovely appointed spacious bedrooms and a delicious menu. The traditional style Dawley Barn would be perfect for a Masonic Ladies Festival. You are also very aware that the hotel is trying to be as eco friendly as possible with their ingredients travelling a short distance, giving advice to guests about how they can be more ‘green’ while staying at the hotel, along with the hotel still doing extensive research to continue reducing their impact on the environment.

 

With excellent transport links and four sister hotels of similar quality Exclusive Hotels are an essential ingredient for a perfect event.

 

5 Star properties are sometimes ignored due to the cost, but having met with the Sales Manager it has been said the hotel will be open to work with clients needs and if you have a budget, they will be happy to look into this and will take this into consideration when putting costings together. Please do keep these properties in mind for your next event.

Square Events introduce ‘Try Before You Buy’

As a Festival Secretary or President you have the responsibility of choosing the perfect Ladies Weekend location.

Is the price right?

Are the contract terms fair?

Is the hotel like it is in the pictures?

Does the hotel have experience with Masonic events?

Square Events have the answer to all these questions.

Having placed more than 1,500 Lodges over 15 years in hundreds of national hotels we have the historic knowledge, the hotel contacts, the buying power and relationships to make sure the answer to all the above questions is YES.

Following on from our initial conversation we will provide a full colour proposal detailing every single hotel in your chosen area that matches your brief. These hotels will have a proven track record of hosting Masonic events or, if you have chosen somewhere a little different, we will ensure that the hotel have all the support and event knowledge they need to make your event run smoothly.

Once you have narrowed your search, or ideally found your preferred venue, we invite you to ‘try before you buy’. Subject to hotel availability your complimentary overnight stay* will be a chance to enjoy the hotels facilities, see the function room, experience the bedrooms and meet with the events team who will ensure all the relevant information is taken.

Assuming all is satisfactory with your visit you can confirm the event safe in the knowledge you have the ideal venue.

Alternatively we can send you details of other Lodges who have confirmed events in your chosen Ladies Weekend venue and, after first checking with the Lodge in question, send you invite details for their event.

Of course sometimes life is just too busy to be able to get away to visit your chosen hotel. As a solution we are always happy to put you in touch with Festival Secretaries / Presidents who have held Ladies Festivals in the hotel before who can give you an honest appraisal of an events success.

Please read more about our services for First Time Organisers and Festival Secretaries by clicking the link or get in touch by calling 01202 400855 or emailing [email protected]

*Some venues may payment for overnight, refunded upon confirmation of event.

Spending time in the garden (of England)

Following on from Square Events busiest ever month for Masonic Ladies Festivals I thought it was time for a mini-break to relax and recharge the batteries. Always on the lookout for suitable hotels for Lodge Ladies Weekends I had decided to visit the QHotels properties Bridgewood Manor and Ashford International.

 

Due to crazy parking prices in Brighton Lodges looking for suitable Masonic Ladies Weekend venues have started to look elsewhere in the South East and with Kent being the ‘Garden of England’, with great shopping and plenty of history a suitable alternative has been found.

 

QHotels Bridgewood Manor is located in Chatham in close proximity to the M2, M20 and M25 and with excellent rail links also within 30 – 40 minutes of central London. The entrance area is full of quiet little areas where you can relax with a drink. Dinner in the Squires Restaurant was magnificent and it’s clear that chef takes a lot of pride in the food that leaves the kitchen. The hotel is set around a lovely courtyard which would make an ideal setting for a drinks reception ahead of your Ladies Night. The bedrooms are well appointed and extremely comfortable especially the suite we were staying in!

 

QHotels Ashford International is perfectly located being just 5 minutes from the Eurostar Station with its high-speed links to France and central London. Shopping enthusiast will be buoyed by nearby Canterbury, the (apparently) fabulous McArthur Glen Designer Outlet and, just two stops on the train away, the new Westfield Shopping Centre. The hotel is ideally set up for Masonic Lodge Weekends with large banqueting suites able to cope with numbers up to 250 for a dinner dance and various levels of bedrooms all beautifully decorated and lavishly appointed. The public areas are spacious and again decorated to a high standard. The hotel has a gym that wouldn’t be out of a place at leisure centre complete with a luxurious spa which will surely be extremely popular with the Ladies.

 

With extremely competitive prices I truly believe that both hotels would be ideal for Masonic Ladies Weekends. When your next Ladies Festival comes around why not pass Square Events Managements details to the Festival Secretary and recommend that he gives us a call and includes Bridgewood Manor and Ashford International in the brief.

 

Contact Matt on 01202 400855 or visit the Square Events Management website.