I have a GSOH, like meeting new people and socialising… OK, it seems like I am placing an ad within the local lonely hearts column, so I will just be me and provide an insight into my world – prepare to be Ella-fied!
It is absolutely amazing how things can change in such a short space of time, when you sit back and think about it. Last year, I was finishing my final year at university within Education Studies, teaching at Primary school level, as well as working as a Cabin Crew member for a major low-cost airline during the uni holiday periods. I was a 23 year old single pringle and had actually come to the realisation that I would have to accept that I would be living alone with my three cats, at my parents' house, for the rest of my life.
Then, one drunken night in the local Wetherspoons, Lloyds V Shed, on the Bristol waterfront (Don't judge me, it was cheap on a student budget and meant I could drink twice as many G & T's!)… I suddenly met my, soon-to-be, Mr Right.
Fast forward to the present time and, after what can only be known as one of those 'whirlwind romances' that I didn’t think could possibly exist, except within the pages of Cosmo, we have visited Rome and Morocco (respective Christmas and 30th Birthday presents to each other – I must add that I am not the one who's 30… yet) and recently purchased a brand new house together.
Every spare minute of my time (outside of work) is currently spent pouring over wallpaper samples, choosing flooring and decorating (and then deciding that I do not like the colour of the Dulux painted walls, much to my boyfriend's exasperation, so repaint them in Laura Ashley paint. Goodbye being able to go out this month!).
Whilst we do not have any immediate plans to get married, I am hoping that this will be the first step towards matters and, of course, seeing if he can put up with me 24/7 – which includes: allowing me to bring my collection of shoes, totalling over one hundred pairs, which definitely require a shoe closet (think Carrie Bradshaw in SATC) and letting my cat, JaJa move in with us. This is unfortunately an ongoing battle, but everyone knows a woman will always prevail, especially a crazy cat lady; it is a truth universally acknowledged that women are mostly… sorry, always right!)
Whilst not a translator myself, I am a keen linguist and have studied French and Spanish A Levels, along with Italian and Latin GCSEs. I absolutely love to travel and immerse myself within the culture and customs of the countries that I visit; there really is no greater pleasure than being able to communicate with people in their own language, even if you do accidentally make the odd translation mishap, which does add to the fun and is a good icebreaker!
As my grandparents live in Menorca, this has aided my Spanish no end and provided me with the opportunity to meet and form friendships with such a variety of people (including Sting's Auntie, a lovely lady, who they were best friends with; I still cannot get my head around the fact that my little, crazy Nana was always having lunch with a huge musician's relative!).
I have previously worked for Gemini, a business to business sister Translation Company of TLC UK, since I undertook my school work experience aged 16. Following the foundation of TLC UK, it was an absolute pleasure to be asked if I would consider coming to work with the team in March 2014. Being able to assist couples with the translation and legalisation of wedding documentation for their dream wedding is an absolutely wonderful feeling. I have established some lovely working relationships with our clients and it is always such a pleasure to be of service, knowing that my assistance plays a small, yet important part in achieving the perfect wedding day; especially when we receive beautiful photos of our couples in their stunning wedding destinations.
For now, I am more than happy to support our TLC UK couples with their weddings abroad, but fingers crossed in time, I can learn from the industry that I am so lucky to work within to become Mrs Jones(-Britton) and say, 'I Do'.
The destination wedding market, just like fashion, goes through cycles. A hot spot can become a 'not' spot and vice versa.
Within the cycles there are mini cycles, which have come about through the rise of the short haul destination. With an ever increasing horizon of choice, the operators and, indeed, the hotels themselves, have upped their game, with the consumer truly benefitting from choice and value.
Two keenly contested destinations are Greece and Croatia. Both boast beautiful coastlines and breathtaking scenery and, as such, Brits have been taking a closer look at these 'hot to trot' short haul locations.
What is more, with short haul, many UK travel agents have their own staff based on site, ready for the meet and greet to continue the experience. This value added isn’t always available with long haul, with the travel agent then reliant on representatives taking care of things.
Despite the rise in short haul, the destinations of Mexico and the Dominican Republic have, for many years, remained high on the top lists of wedding locations. Offering dreamy qualities on every front, which, for many, form the basis of wanting to marry abroad in the first place; it is easy to see why these have remained firm favourites.
Mexico also boosted its credentials by allowing same sex marriages. Unlike the countries of France, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and Iceland (amongst others), it is only allowed presently in certain Mexican jurisdictions, namely Mexico City and Quintana Roo.
Continuing the focus of that part of the world, Cuba has also been an evergreen in the top 10 for many years. The recent political changes and, the quest for inward investment should maintain the longstanding appeal that the country has to offer; maybe extending to others, who may not have previously given it a second thought.
Yet wedding destinations are not, for many, all about beaches. A quick search on the internet produces some other options, which include mountains, lakes and even one called 'unusual weddings'.
Unusual is not the term I would use, but perhaps ultimate (personal preference to one side). How long before the ultimate wedding is on board a spacecraft or, even in another orbit? I wonder what the legal documents for these would be?
"Really, I wasn't aware of any of this, no one said anything. So what do you do? What do I need to do? I'm getting married soon, do I have enough time?"
This is the essence of some of the calls taken from customers getting to grips with this part of their wedding abroad planning. Our first part of the job is reassurance. Yes, you are in the right place and yes, we can help, no matter what your situation.
The focus of our business is not just about service, but the overall customer experience itself, right from first contact: whether by phone, via our website or email, to answer questions; provide information; take payment; delivery and after sales contact.
This is increasingly reflected in our customer feedback and now forms the basis of how we implement improvements and review internal procedures and the various customer engagement points throughout the process.
In some cases, even when the wedding packs sent out by the Travel Agents contain contact information or a 'what to do next' guide, the clarity of those key messages sometimes leave customers with more questions about what is involved and what to do next. Or maybe, more to the point, what is expected of them.
Getting married is a huge life event and we understand that everything needs to be right and not add to the stress mountain. We have, through regular customer feedback, simplified our approach to help demystify what is often seen as quite a daunting prospect for couples.
Customers have helped to shape our range of services so they are adapted to suit every occasion. A full service remains the flagship solution for most, where everything is taken care of. A customer just needs to send their documents to us and we do the rest. Whilst some customers like to take a more active role in proceedings and sometimes engage to double check facts and how they can do some of the process and we do the other. This dovetailing of actions can enhance the experience for them and we are delighted then to have played a part.
No one solution works for everyone and so when you call, you will always be greeted with a 'how best can we help you' approach, so the package selected meets your needs and your needs only. After all, this is about you.
We have been receiving some great feedback on customer satisfaction.
At TLC we pride ourselves on high levels of quality and customer service. Nothing is ever taken for granted and we know there is always room for improvement, new and better ways of doing things and evolving the overall service to match and exceed growing customer expectations.
That said, we are extremely grateful to those customers like Tara and Carrie who took the time and effort to post recently on the TLC company Facebook page their reviews of the recent service they received from TLC and also Lisa and James who again took time out to post a review on our Trustpilot page. Thank you so much to you all.
We know, through many years of working with customers and the work we do with the travel agents, that when it comes to the legal wedding documents side of planning the perfect wedding abroad, this is an area many find daunting.
The aim at TLC is simple. We want to make the customer experience hassle free and we are there to help you through the process. What is more, through listening to customers, we have developed a range of solutions to suit every requirement.
On before of the team at TLC, thank you to all of you who have asked us to help.