There’s no denying that managing a full-time job while planning a wedding is a challenge. When you really think about it, planning a wedding is a full-time job in itself! In the run up, there are so many extra jobs and so much admin to take care of – getting clothes fitted, table plans, sourcing flowers, arranging guests – and you have to find a way do it on top of your regular routine.
When you try to squeeze that into a full working week, and combine it with the extra commitments with friends and family that a wedding inevitably brings, something has got to give. It's important for us to help people to avoid burning out while they're planning their wedding.
But the one thing that we need the most – time to switch off – drops off. Holiday time is taken up with venue visits and meetings rather than taking time out. That’s why we have a policy at UKFast that means you get an extra five days’ holiday in the year that you get married. If you don’t need to take that time off, you can take an extra week’s pay instead.
However you choose to celebrate a marriage, this extra week takes the pressure off, and gives you a little more time to enjoy the build up to the special occasion.
As well as being time-consuming, weddings are seriously expensive. Often there's no way you can do all the things you'd like to because the cost becomes ridiculous. If we as a business can help people to do more than they could have ordinarily done themselves then why wouldn't we do that?
That’s why, on top of trying to alleviate any stress by giving that extra week’s holiday, I also offer the team the use of my Bentley for special occasions. Providing a wedding car in this way ticks one more thing off the list of jobs to do to plan the wedding day. It’s lightening the load, even just in a small way.
Around 18 years ago when we set up UKFast, we were a young team. Our rewards centred on parties and adventures. Now, the team are growing up around us, rewards are family days to Chester Zoo or Disneyland. Along that road, we’ve had too many weddings to count. Some of them are couples who met at UKFast.
When Charlotte and James, two long-standing members of the UKFast team, were married earlier in the year, it was a real landmark moment for me. James, on his wedding day, text me to say that “none of this would be possible without you”. What a message to receive. To give some context, he didn’t mean the loan of my Bentley for his wedding car. James met now-wife Charlotte at UKFast. They joined at a similar time in similar teams, around seven or eight years ago. Since then, they’ve dated, moved in together and had a son, Zac, got married, and have another baby on the way.
These are the stories you dream of being a part of as a business owner. My wife and co-founder Gail and I have always aimed to create more than just a workplace. We want a business where everyone feels like a family, not a team. Within that, James and Charlotte have literally built their own family. It’s an honour to have played a small part in that.