My Event World - Michael Gledhill

Michael Gledhill, senior events and venue manager at caterer Dine, on managing The Mansion, Alice in Wonderland themed parties, and opening the world's first wedding village.

Dine's Michael Gledhill
Dine's Michael Gledhill

I got into the event industry by accident really. My background is in hotels, I studied hotel management at college and went on to work for a number of four and five-star boutique hotels. My cousin was working for Dine and recommended I apply for a job at Dine working at Allerton Castle. The role wasn’t quite right for me, but I was later called up and offered the position of trainee events manager six years ago.

I have worked here since 2007. I’ve been at Dine for six years now and was part of the company’s 15th birthday celebrations this year.

I was attracted to this particular role because I’ve been involved in hotels and hospitality from a young age, but I’d been wanting to move out of the hotel world for a while. When the opportunity to work in events came up, I grabbed it.

Three years later, when Dine successfully tendered a 25-year lease for the iconic Leeds building, The Mansion, I was thrilled to be asked to manage it. I’ve always worked in innovative, boutique venues and for me, The Mansion was a blank canvas - a new project and a new team to drive forward - I relished the challenge.

Not many people know that planning a wedding or a big event really isn’t as stressful as you might think. In fact, I would go as far to say it can be an enjoyable experience. The Dine team always forges a strong relationship with our clients that the event itself is a pleasure for everyone.

My worst experience at an event was... I was once involved in a marquee event during particularly bad weather conditions. Despite extensive power checks, both the main and back-up generators succumbed to the pressure of the weather and failed one hour before guests were due to arrive. After a lot of quick thinking and leaning hard on our contacts, we managed to get some extra generators delivered at short notice and had the power back up and running within the hour.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s always endeavour to exceed your client’s (and their guests’) expectations – at Dine we pride ourselves on going the extra mile.

The best event I’ve been involved was... I was once fortunate enough to work with our managing director, Daniel Gill, on an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday event. On this event we managed everything from the stationery to the security, valet parking, actors, entertainers – the list is endless. I find that really successful parties are established through innovation and attention to detail; that’s why on this one Dine recreated the English country garden for the drinks reception and even pumped in the smell of freshly mown grass – the best events are the ones where we can let our imaginations run wild.

If I could do it all over again I would do exactly the same, although I’d like to have the opportunity to manage and open up a larger venue of the same quality as The Mansion. Dine’s aim is to find another venue and I want to have the same experience of launching a venue to the market, but this time on an even larger scale.

The one thing I can’t stand is people taking shortcuts. I think professionals in the events industry should have a strong eye for detail, I can’t stand the thought of a member of staff walking past a dropped piece of cutlery without picking it up – it’s a real pet hate of mine.

Outside of work I spend my time with three beautiful girls – my partner, Jessica, and our two lovely children.

If money were no object I’d like to open the world’s first ‘wedding village’. An Alton Towers-style concept with everything in one place – all the top designer wedding dress shops along with entertainment for families and some great restaurants so couples and families can enjoy wedding preparations together.

The one thing I can’t do my job without is my team. The people around me are integral to what we can achieve collectively and they do a brilliant job.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Dine’s managing director, Daniel Gill. He’s built Dine up from a small Leeds catering company to a nationally-renowned events and hospitality group. He’s built a fantastic brand over the last 15 years and is a real inspiration to his team. 

If I ruled the event industry I would relax civil ceremony laws in the UK. Couples can get married abroad in so many locations. I think the laws should be relaxed here to give couples the same rights.

If you'd like to be featured in a future My Event World, email associate editor Rachel Bull.

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