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We discover what it is like to make people's dream come true...
“Complete professional elegance and calm”
Imagine being responsible for the biggest day in a girl’s life – her wedding – not just once but up to eight times in a month. That’s what Amanda Handley’s role is as The Berkeley’s Social Events Manager.
It takes a special type of personality to maintain complete professional elegance and calm when emotions are running high. And when it’s all over, and great friends have been made, there are Christmas cards to look forward to, first anniversaries to help plan, and most magical of all, new babies to add to The Berkeley family.
“Her ability is to listen carefully, and help people achieve their goal”
This master of planning did not plan to be in this role at all, she ‘just fell into it!’ Amanda started her career at 16, with placements from catering college at some of the capital’s finest hotels.
Her first full-time job was in human resources, which perhaps honed her ability to listen carefully, understand and help people achieve their goals.
She then moved into what was traditionally called ‘banqueting’, a term used to describe large groups of people coming together for celebrations.
“It’s the people that make her day come to life”
Listening to Amanda describe her day is captivating. Of course there’s the administration and organisation, emails to write and answer, menus to check and recheck, dates and times to confirm, amend, reconfirm.
However, it’s the people that make her day come to life and talking about them brings a different nuance to her expression, her smile grows and she relaxes.
The bride-to-be is the most special of these people, and Amanda knows that if she can make her happy, then all the supporting characters in one of life’s great performances will fall into their correct places.
“It’s about being ready for anything”
And no matter how much she is teased to tell gossipy stories about disasters, tantrums and tears, there’s not a murmur from Amanda. She describes the highs and lows of the planning and the day of a wedding itself with a clarity that displays maturity beyond her years.
As any good skipper knows, life is not all plain sailing. It’s about being ready for anything to make every voyage a success. The highs include the buzz of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready in their suite, the look on a Dad’s face when he sees the bride for the first time.
The lows... well they can be dealt with – sometimes a glass of bubbly does the trick. Her expression to describe what she does with such discretion and elegance is ‘total pressure’. In her terms it’s about the ability to manage that pressure, both for her, and for all the people she has responsibility for Mothers and mother-in-laws are focused on making sure that their children have a wonderful day, with everything organised and in place.
Dads are nervous about ensuring a confident walk up the aisle and a good speech. And as for the bridesmaids and groomsmen? Well, that’s a closed book in itself.
If there’s one word to describe Amanda’s relationships it’s ‘friendship’. If she can create that bond and build that trust, then nothing is ever a problem, just another challenge to be met and conquered with her winning smile.
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The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom +44 (0)20 7235 6000
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