Events

Master of Ceremonies

I was pleased to be invited, albeit at just three weeks’ notice, to serve as MC at the Luton & Hertfordshire Insurance Institute’s annual awards dinner held at the lovingly restored 16th century Manor Barn attached to Knebworth House. Mark Morris, President of the Institute, writes ”We booked John as our Master of Ceremonies for our Dinner […] and cannot thank him enough for the work that he put in that made the event run so smoothly. With having John there, it took a lot of pressure of myself and the running of the event.”

I was also pleased to serve as MC at the spring networking event of the National Association of Wedding Professionals at Harvey Nichols; I was delighted to introduce Siobhan Craven-Robins of NAWP, and guest speaker Alison Hargreaves, Director of Guides for Brides. Another gig was at The Artichoke in Croxley Green with My Local News, celebrating the publication of its 2,000th edition; I was delighted to introduce Nik Allen, the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine, and guest speaker Dean Russell, Member of Parliament for Watford.

Katie & Tim’s Wedding

Tim writes: From first meeting John, he has been the ultimate professional and worked tirelessly to ensure we had a really special wedding day. He handled the ups and downs of planning, cancelling, rearranging and changing wedding venues during the Covid pandemic like a real professional and was always available when we needed him. He ensured everything was planned and prepared in the run up to our day so we didn’t need to worry. On the day, John was always there for us and thinking ahead making sure everything was ready before it was needed. He did an excellent job at keeping all our guests happy and our family loved him. We couldn’t have asked for anything more! Thank you! 
Katie & Tim, Quy Mill Hotel and Spa, Cambridge

Louise & Richard’s Wedding

Photography by Zoë Warboys Photography

Louise writes: From the first meeting with John at the Hilton wedding fair, John came across as very professional. The whole process of working with John was exceptional; the advice and tips he gave us to help prepare for our wedding day was really helpful and made planning our wedding easier.
On the day of our wedding everything went very well and smoothly. It made me and my husband feel at ease and not have to worry about our guests asking what’s happening or what’s next. John managed the whole day with complete professionalism. Me and my husband were able to enjoy the day. I would definitely recommend having a Toastmaster at your wedding; it takes all the stress out of the day. You couldn’t ask for a better Toastmaster; John was great. Thank you for making our day better.
Louise & Richard, South Hill Park, Bracknell, Surrey

Aa’ishah & Imran’s Rukhsati

Image by Q Mughal

Another first for Toastmaster John: a Pakistani rukhsati reception and dinner signifying the ‘sending out’ of a Moslem bride from her family home to her husband. The event was held at the Royal Nawaab, a popular halal banqueting suite in West London. I had only four weeks to prepare for this, and when I asked if there were any speeches, Aa’ishah and Imran said they would like me to deliver the speeches on their behalf: a little about the couple themselves and messages to members of the family present. I was honoured to do this, contributing quotes from an 18th century Jewish mystic and a Lebanese poet, which were well received. I was also invited to share the meal with the guests, which made a change from the light meal that I usually have when working at weddings. The evening concluded with the veiling of the bride with the traditional dupatta, a red chiffon scarf held by her mother.
Aa’isha writes: We would like to thank John for being an amazing toastmaster at our rukhsati event (Asian reception). It was his first time doing such an event, and he done a grand job in gaining insightful information regarding the rukhsati, getting to know us better and overall giving us reassurance with his toastmaster experience. He done a splendid job in greeting our guests, doing speeches and ensuring all guests are looked after well – a true gentleman and wish him all the best for the future.
Aa’ishah & Imran, Royal Nawaab, London

Ellie & Charlie’s Wedding

Image by Eneka Stewart Photography

When I met my couple, Ellie and Charlie, to discuss their wedding plan, they told me that they were getting married at St. Mary’s Church in Old Amersham and then walking the short distance to the reception venue. I suggested that I meet them at the church after the ceremony and escort them and their guests, ringing my hand bell and holding up the traffic; they jumped at it! We certainly turned a few heads and put a smile on a few faces; such fun.
Ellie writes: Not only was John an excellent Toastmaster at our wedding day, he was a great support throughout the strange times we currently live in. We had to postpone our wedding date twice before finally tying the knot in June 2021! With constant changes to Covid-19 restrictions and rules, John helped us to organise and offered great advice. From our perspective (and of our guests) the wedding was AMAZING and everything ran so smoothly! We highly recommend John; he’s an utter professional and gentleman. We wish you all the best, John, and a huge thank you for everything! 
Ellie & Charlie, King’s Chapel, Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire

National Association of Wedding Professionals

Image by www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk/

Tracy writes: “We held our Spring 2020 Networking Event at The Marylebone Old Town Hall last week. We were delighted, and felt very privileged, to host one of our events at the iconic London building during its centenary year. Alison Cathcart gave a short history of the building ahead of the group show-arounds later on.
Tapenade catered the event with a delicious selection of savoury and sweet canapes and flowing pink champagne, and Precious Randall gave a brief synopsis of the company and their USPs. Bethany Wright from Bridebook was our guest speaker and gave a rundown of their 2019 Wedding Report to our members and guests.
Our member, John Ashmele, was on hand throughout the event to make the relevant announcements and introductions and helped to keep everything running on track! Photographing the event was the consummate professional and all-round nice chap, Ross Willsher.”
NAWP, The Marylebone Old Town Hall, London

Ali & Toby’s Wedding

Image by www.leeallisonphotography.co.uk

Toby writes: “From my point of view, the wedding was a huge success! Everything happened on time, all the guests knew what was going on, and all the staff seemed to work seamlessly. Just the fact that Ali and I did not have to worry about anything during the day meant that you did your job superbly.
It was a relaxed wedding, but you gave it a sense of occasion and helped everything run smoothly and to time so thank you for all your hard work on the day. There were no problems, no hiccups, and no delays!
Once again, thank you for all your work for our wedding, and you contributed immensely to the fond memories we will always have of the day. Take care, John, and may you long be taking care of other couples on their special day as you did with ours.
Toby & Ali, The Barn at Alswick, Buntingford, Hertfordshire

Charlotte & Rick’s Wedding

Image by www.victorshackphotography.co.uk

Charlotte writes: “We hadn’t thought of employing the services of a Toastmaster for our wedding prior to meeting John but are very glad we did enlist his services for our big day. From our initial meeting at a wedding fayre to our subsequent planning meetings and emails, it quickly became clear that John would provide a calm and reassuring presence on the day to make sure that everything went to plan.
Our wedding day went off without a hitch, and John was on hand from a couple of hours prior to the ceremony until well into the evening reception to help guide us and our guests, and iron out any little issues to ensure the day was as fabulous as we had hoped.
John is professional and has a gentlemanly grace of a bygone era, and is calmness personified. We would of course highly recommend him to any wedding party.”
Rick & Charlotte, Chartridge Lodge, Chesham, Buckinghamshire

Anni & Dale’s wedding

Image by www.katrinabartlett.co.uk

Anni writes: “Thank you so much, John, for facilitating our packed wedding day schedule. It was a huge relief knowing that our itinerary was being left in your capable hands. From our preliminary chats, you reassured us of your expertise through your calm nature, traditional etiquette, and the time you invested in us. It was refreshing to see such passion for preserving the traditional role of a Toastmaster. For our fusion Indian/English wedding reception – uniting different cultures – it made perfect sense for us to draw on your services and it was a vital role on the day. Thank you for taking great care of us on our special day John.
Dale and I would highly recommend John if you are in need of a calm and confident gentleman with clear wisdom and experience.”
Anni & Dale, Heatherden Hall, Iver, Buckinghamshire

Katy & Graham’s Wedding

Image by www.3Aphotography.com

Graham writes: “We found john to be very professional and friendly; he controlled the crowd very well, kept the wedding to schedule, worked well with hotel staff to ensure our special day was perfect. His own personal toast to us was very heart warming and was commented on by some of our guests as being very emotional. John also liaised with us on the day, guiding us on toasts, gifts and speeches. I would highly recommend this gentleman to anyone having a wedding as our day was perfect and we will be recommending him to our family’s up-coming weddings. John – thank you so much for your services on the day.”
Graham & Katy, Letchworth Hall, Hertfordshire

Jonathan’s Bar Mitzvah

Image by www.stephenswain.com

Gillian writes: “We asked John to be our Master of Ceremonies at Jonathan’s Bar Mitzvah. We found him very helpful and professional. After our initial meeting, he came up with several ideas, and suggested an overall agenda to the evening. He was very prompt in replying to our discussions and gave us some excellent ideas for the evening. On the night he was very helpful in ensuring the evening ran smoothly, and he was hard at work all night! He was also flexible, which was important, as because of the bad weather, the agenda had to be modified. Finally, we were impressed as he personally congratulated our son on his performance at shul and had taken some (streamed) photos which he sent to us after the event. What a lovely and thoughtful touch.”
Gillian & Robin, Shendish Manor, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Kim & Tai’s wedding

Image by Patrick Judson www.simplyphotographic.co.ukTai writes: “Thank you for acting as Toastmaster at our wedding: the day went smoothly and without stress, thanks in no small part to the service you provided. Thank you also for helping us to organise the day, with your advice around tradition, etiquette, and timings. Having a Toastmaster was absolutely the right decision for us to make, and I would be happy to recommend you to friends, family, and anyone who is getting married.”
Tai & Kim, Fanhams Hall, Ware, Hertfordshire

Leanne & Michael’s Wedding

Shortly after completing my formal training as a Toastmaster and whilst studying for my written exams later that year, I was offered my first wedding in North Stifford, Essex. The couple, Leanne and Michael, were getting married at a nearby church before the reception at the Park Inn Hotel. I arrived at the venue early, and after introducing myself to the Banqueting Manager and familiarising myself with the layout, I awaited the arrival of the couple and their guests. As I was waiting it started to rain; and it rained, and it rained! The car park was flooded, and water was pouring through the front doors and into the foyer. The staff were bailing out the water with buckets and literally manning the pumps.
…and I’m thinking: “How I do I get my couple inside when they arrive?” I retrieved a golf umbrella from my car and directed the chauffeur to a side entrance, from where I was able to escort the couple, safe and dry, to their reception.

Be assured that I will always work with your best interests in mind, so please contact me to discuss your event.

John Ashmele FGPT
Fellow of the Guild of Professional Toastmasters
Graduate of the Professional Toastmasters’ Academy
m: 07710 400412 e: john@ashmele.co.uk