The Wedding Industry, by nature, works in hand with another giant Southwest industry - Tourism/Hospitality. And the Hospitality industry is notorious for having a high turn-over of staff . . . it's a pretty tough gig!
So when you find a professional who has worked in Hospitality for more than 10 seconds, it's quite remarkable. Which is why we want to introduce you to incredible Donna Shaw from Abbey Beach Resort.
Donna has worked at Abbey Beach Resort for over 10 years, and is a consummate professional who works her butt off to accommodate her brides and grooms. She is passionate and organised, calm and supportive, creative and hard working.
Read all she has to share about the Southwest Wedding Industry and all that she has seen and learnt in her 10+ years in the biz!
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Name of the business?
Abbey Beach Resort
Function Manager’s name?
Number of staff that work?
Up to 25 Food and Beverage staff work on a wedding
Date you started in the business?
Donna started in 2000 – 16 YEARS!!!
How long has the business been established?
Abbey Beach Resort started in 1995
What was the core of the business when it started?
A resort for family and friends to visit and relax or couple to get away from it all. We want to create a dream for our guests and bring it to life.
What is the core of the business now?
Not much has changed, we strive to create the perfect memory for our Bride & Grooms. Donna works tireless to ensure that every wedding is the couple’s dream come true.
When looking at the wedding industry as a whole, where do you think the Southwest sits?
The South West is the picture perfect place to say “I do”. We find the wedding community to be very open and engaged. Everyone would like to help provide the best possible outcome for anyone celebrating their big day in the Southwest. Suppliers work hard to collaborate to provide the best offers and services available in the state.
We have a large number of brides who come all the way from Broome and the Northwest to get married in Busselton because it is what they dream off, and we are so happy to be a part of that dream.
What is your all-time favourite month for weddings, year in and year out?
October & November or February, March, April
Is there a service, product or natural resource that you think is genuinely unique and actually cool about our Southwest, and that makes Southwest weddings the best?
The beautiful coastline and forest locations, making for beautiful photo’s, memories and easy access options
What do you love about the wedding scene in the Southwest?
The very varied local suppliers that give so many lovely and unique options for the couple to choose from and the extent of varied suppliers available.
In your experience in this whole industry, what do you think is the most underrated element of a wedding celebration?
The bridal couple taking the time out to actually enjoy their day when it arrives and forget all the nerves and stresses of the day.
Have you ever been asked a question by a bride or groom, that left you gob smacked?
“Yes: because they are looking to hold their wedding ceremony and reception with us that their guests should receive complimentary accommodation on their wedding day.”
If you got married in the next 12 months, what would be your number one priority/expense?
Booking chosen venue to host ceremony and reception and paying the deposit requirement to secure the date so other plans and suppliers can then be booked around both venue and date booked.
Can you recall and share a wedding that caught you by surprise?
Yes without giving too much away . . . . a wedding where I had only dealt with the bride and her event planner and decorator, all of whom were based in Perth, let slip days before the wedding who the actual groom was and then seeing final guest names attending.
(He was head of a certain large bikie organisation!)
Is there ‘something’ that you see in some couples, that makes you think that they’ll be a couple to ‘make it’?
Yes, absolutely. It all starts with the first meeting and or sight walk- through, as I see how attentive they are together.
Sadly this seems to be lacking more and more these days, and sometimes I see the groom having no part in the wedding either leading up to the final weeks and or days. Tragically, in some cases the groom is still missing in action on the day!
What is your all-time favourite location for a wedding in the whole Southwest?
Outside Abbey Beach of course, or Bunker Bay or Shelly Beach Cove.
What does marriage mean to you?
Love, friendship, communication, sincerity and commitment
What is the best piece of marriage advice you have ever heard or been given personally?
Take the time to listen to each other and never go to bed angry or hurt.
Five things that you carry with you on every job, big or small?
* Attention to detail
* Listen to the client’s requirements
* Give a 100% to each task at hand
* Nurture the client or bridal couple
* Work with the staff to get the best out of everyone at each level involved and make sure the ultimate outcome as much as possible is delivered for the everyone.
In your opinion, as couples plan their wedding day, they should consider which month or season to have their wedding?
Yes and no - as weather is becoming such a varied change all year round it is not always reliable now, I think it comes down to the wedding couples budget and the varied options and package deals that they should consider and are now available that are offered all year round so it does not limit the bridal couple to set months so they can now consider an all year round option.
Your favourite piece of equipment or product?
Wez Enterprises’ lantern and canopy fairy light ceiling drape set up in our Ballroom.
The most popular element of your business that customers pay for?
Location (beachfront access) and all in one experience so guests don’t have to go anywhere once they arrive from accommodation.
The couple can hold an outdoor OR indoor (wet weather backup) ceremony, have pre-dinner drinks in varied locations, have numerous choices for their reception all with plenty of free parking.