Director, Customs House
What study and career path has taken you to Customs House?
I decided to go overseas to study Hotel Management in Switzerland at the Hotel Institute Montreaux. It was a fantastic opportunity to study with students from 38 different nationalities. I started my career working for Hyatt International in Australia and Switzerland. I continued working overseas in London before returning to Australia to discover the this newly renovated jewel called Customs House.
You’ve recently made improvements on the lower level. What’s changed?
We wanted to create an additional event space that captures and links to the spectacular views of the river and Story Bridge. Once a part of the Queens Warehouse, the brand new space flows seamlessly out onto the water front terrace, making for breathtaking backdrop. Inside the new space, the most eye-catching feature is a dazzling geometric ceiling, an architecture designed pattern of triangular bronze panels which give a unique, contemporary edge to the classical setting. Our latest event space can be adapted to host weddings for up to 120 and cocktail soirees for up to 200.
What changes have you seen in the wedding industry over the past 10 years?
Ten years ago you use to see weddings from New York that were at the next level when it came to styling but today in Australia we are leaders on the world stage. We have seen weddings progress from simple yet elegant affairs to jaw dropping visual feasts. Most weddings were also church affairs but today most of our couples like to combine their reception with a ceremony by the river. I feel that it makes for a more relaxing day as you don’t need to rush in-between two venues.
What wedding trends are you seeing now and what do predict for the coming 3 years?
The level of styling will continue to increase as suppliers are importing new chairs, candelabras, linen etc. I also predict that projection and lighting seen more at corporate events will also start to be used at weddings to create more mood into the reception rooms. This year I am attending Engage with is a luxury wedding summit being held in Ireland. It brings together the top 300 wedding professional from around the world to share ideas and to inspire each other.
Customs House has attracted good staff, what do you put this down to?
We try to encourage a great culture by respecting opinions and embracing diversity. Next year we are focusing on two charities were we involve the team as give back to the community.
What food and beverage options most appeal to couples?
Top local seafood is always a great way to start the evening. We feature sweet spanner crab which is hand-picked to salads with Moreton Bay Bugs and scallops from Hervey Bay. If our couples aren’t having cake for dessert a classic end to the meal is our stunning crème brulee.
You’ve met hundreds of couples over the years. Which ones stand out and why?
My favourite couples are organised as they are not stressed as they have a plan and a timetable so they can relax the days before their wedding. You always have guests flying before the wedding so ensure all the boxes have been ticked and deliveries done two days before your big day. Don’t forget to delegate to trusted friends and family!
What wedding day tips do you have for couples?
Choose a venue where you trust the team so you can relax and enjoy your day. Remind your family and friends that first and foremost it is your day. Don’t be forced by your family into decisions that you really don’t want but at the same time try to involve them in your day.
What’s the next big thing for Customs House?
We are sourcing some new candelabras from overseas so we can’t wait to see them on our tables!
On a lighter note ….
What part of the world is on your next vacation itinerary?
I normally escape the winter to southern Europe for a few weeks in July or August but next year I am getting married so we are off to the Maldives to relax for a week!
When you arrive home after a wedding or corporate event what do you like doing?
Relax on the sofa with my partner enjoying a single malt scotch.
When hitting the kitchen what is your hero dish(s)?
We enjoy a slow roasted lamb shoulder. We can roast it for 6 hours so it is tender and juicy and all is prepared so we can spend the time with our guests rather than being in the kitchen.
What is your personal number one online retailer for purchases?
Massimo Dutti as I love their suits and casual clothes. They don’t really deliver to Australia but I am lucky as my fiancé is an international flight attendant.
Favourite web site(s) / Ap?
Instagram – It is wonderful to see images from colleagues around the world and the events that they are creating for their clients.
What is the one thing you always pack when traveling (apart from a phone charger)?
Bose Noise cancelling headphones.
Link to ‘Weddings at Customs House‘