Winning wedding formula

Janine Hunt Head of Weddings at Whittlebury Park
Janine Hunt Head of Weddings at Whittlebury Park

Janine Hunt is Whittlebury Park’s Head of Weddings and is celebrating 15 years working at the Northamptonshire estate this year. Janine’s journey has seen her coordinate over 1,000 weddings with the team in which they endeavour to make every Whittlebury wedding successful for the business and unforgettable for the couple. Whittlebury hosts around 70 weddings per year and has a thriving Asian wedding business too.

Whittlebury’s wedding story started with just its current owner, Carol Sargeant, taking the lead when the business was set up. As interest grew and the number of weddings increased, Janine became part of the team and started her career in September 2004 working with Carol as the wedding coordinator. Over time, Janine established herself as an integral part of the team, and in August 2017, having witnessed and managed the coordination with over a decade’s worth of weddings, Janine took on the role of Head of Weddings.

Over the past 15 years, how has your role evolved?

“When I first started, I was primarily assisting at each wedding we hosted. This then grew into being more involved with the planning and meeting couples and advising them. Now I am in a more strategic role where I am also responsible for introducing new wedding packages, which is directly linked to my insight from industry. I’m passionate about Whittlebury remaining a leading venue in Northamptonshire and ensuring our offer is appealing to our couples. Because our venues are so adaptable in terms of layout, décor and size, no wedding is the same and over time and with my different roles I’ve built up a sound knowledge of how each will suit our couples. My years of experience have also helped me to be able to advise confidently with suggesting different options depending on each couple. For instance, I am always happy to advise alternative solutions for modest budgets, such as a later ceremony, to fit a budget.”

Is there a particular wedding and personal highlight that you will always remember?

“One of our couples that got married in 2011 have had all three of their baby naming ceremonies with us. It’s amazing to still be connected with them after all these years, and to see their family grow is very special. Many of our couples stay in touch and we are always getting great feedback, which we really love reading as it marks the end of quite a journey and hearing how much they will remember their big day gives everyone in the team such a boost after our hard work.”

How do you keep up-to-date with the latest trends?

“We have some great suppliers on our ever-growing list that we use, and getting to know them is a great way for the team and me to understand what the latest trends are. Over the years, we’ve grown to know each of our suppliers, some of which are local, some regional and also national, and we invite them to our annual Wedding Fayres where they can showcase industry trends within their sector.”

What is the Whittlebury wedding team ethos?

“I am very proud of how flexible and amendable the team are. We get all sorts of requests from couples and it takes a great team spirit to achieve the vision. We’re a big venue and so during wedding season, everyone has to work together to make every wedding a success. I would say that my role in achieving this is by always keeping everyone informed and having good communication within the operations team. We have recently become an Accredited Wedding Venue with leading online wedding directory, Hitched, which is a fantastic achievement.”

Where do you see weddings at Whittlebury going in the next few years?

“We are set within 600 acres and so there is lots of scope to develop our outdoor wedding offer, I would like to introduce outdoor festival themes as these are really popular. We’ve also seen lots more same-sex weddings at Whittlebury and this is also something we’d like to welcome more of in the future.”

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