Lauren Butwell — Stafford Hospitality

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he Stafford Hospitality venues of The Perry Hotel and the Bay View Inn, Petoskey, are infused with the charm and detail of the Victorian era here in our own Northern Michigan wedding territory. Matching that charm and attention to detail for the past year as a wedding coordinator is Lauren Butwell. She has a great working knowledge of the many aspects of what it takes to put together a successful event because she has worked for Stafford’s the past 8 years in various positions such as, hostess, waitress, front desk, chef, etc. She’s a woman of many talents!

Lauren knows how to take good care of her couples and their needs. She says the best part of her job is working with people. “As an event coordinator I experience all types of personalities. I truly enjoy getting to know the brides, their families and their individual styles. It is always fun for me when I get to see all of the hard work put into planning a wedding come to life on the day of. It makes the moment even more special when the bride comes out and is brought to tears by the sight of all her hard work put together carefully by our staff.”

Because of a couple’s excitement and coming to know the amount of work it takes to create a complete wedding day can overwhelm them, Lauren has some advice of what to be aware of so it can be avoided. She said, “One thing many couples tend to overlook, in my opinion, is the flow of the evening. Brides have a vision of what the day is going to be like, and then, there is what the day will actually be, based on the sequencing of events. An example would be when to have the speeches. If your guests have already been waiting a significant amount of time to eat you might want to have the speeches in between the salad and entrée courses. This way your guests are not deprived and it gives them something to do while listening.

“You want your guests to enjoy your special day as much as you do!  The things that may not seem important have a large impact on how your guests interpret your event. The joy of having a wedding coordinator is they will remind you of these small overlooked details.”

Here’s one of Lauren’s favorite stories about a wedding for an employee that she was part of at the Perry Hotel. “In November, the executive chef at the Perry Hotel, Wendy, married the sous chef at the Perry Hotel, Scott. They had a beautiful outdoor ceremony on the Rose Garden Veranda with a cocktail hour and reception immediately following in the H.O. Rose Room. After all the festivities during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert had subsided it was time for the first dances. The newly married couple started off with a classic by Jimmy Buffet called Creola. Next, Wendy and her father Butch danced to Last Dance by Donna Summers. Any one who is familiar with this song knows that it starts out slow and gets progressively faster. When the song started to pickup Wendy and her father went into the hustle and had choreographed a dance to the song. It was a great moment and really made a lasting impression on me… I am lucky to work in a profession that allows me to be a part of such a special moment in people’s lives.”

In October I was the wedding officiant. Unbeknownst to me, the groom was the perpetrator of Lauren’s most embarrassing moment as a coordinator. The groom had come out to the site – the canopy was holding against the rain, and his young son needed a chance to burn off some energy. So the groom and I were standing outside, waiting. As Lauren tells it, “There were only three people in the processional during the ceremony, one being the groom. So when I went to get him from his room I panicked because I thought I had a run away groom! When in reality he was already standing out at the altar.

Her last bits of advice for any of your planning your upcoming wedding. Lauren reminds you not to sweat the small stuff. When you are able to engage a wedding or event coordinator, that person will not let you forget anything. She continued, “Remember that your guests will only remember three things from your wedding, the food, the music and if they had a good time. They won’t remember what color napkins you had or what your table favors were. Keep it simple and enjoy every moment of the planning process!”

From personal experience, I can tell you that working with Lauren is a pleasure. She’s a gracious and caring person, has an eye to detail and a heart that wants the best for you on your special day.

To talk personally with Lauren, or book your wedding with Stafford’s Bay View Inn, Crooked River Lodge & Suites and the Perry Hotel, Lauren can be contacted at (231) 348-6017 phone or email her at laurenb@staffords.com. Visit Stafford Hospitality on the web at: www.staffords.com and www.facebook.com/staffordshospitality