Member Focus – Your Wedding Angel

3 September, 2015

Today we are excited to introduce one of our newest Associate Members, Heather from Your Planning Angel . Over to you Heather…

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How did it all start?

I’ve always adored weddings and in 2010 I thought about setting up my own wedding planning business, but at the time I was invested in a career within the financial sector. 5 years, a wedding, two house moves and two children later I finally decided that it was time to put my plans into action. After training with the UKAWP I knew I’d made the right choice. I left my job in February 2015 to set up Your Planning Angel and I’ve not looked back since!

Do you have a favourite venue?

There are too many fabulous places to have a favourite. Stately homes and Castles are always beautiful places to work at but I love a venue that is a blank canvas. It gives the couple the chance to really let their imagination run wild and dress it to suit them and their day.

How would clients describe you?

According to recent reviews, approachable, polite, imaginative, super organised and confident.

Wedding planner/s you admire?

I admire many wedding planners and love how all of them are slightly different in their approach and style but if I had to narrow it down I’d have to say Matthew Oliver for his gorgeously informal vlogs that make me smile every time I watch them, Bernadette of Dream Occasions because what she doesn’t know about Marquee events just isn’t worth knowing, and Natalie Lovett who was my inspiration to take a leap of faith and set up Your Planning Angel.

How do you unwind?

In an ideal world I’d snowboard every free moment I could but due to the considerable lack of snow in Wiltshire I try to go running at least once a week instead. Failing that, a good cup of tea usually does the trick!

What themes are you working on for 2015/16?

Very pretty weddings taking inspiration from the vintage theme with a very romantic feel. Lots of beautiful highly scented flowers, candles in mason jars, lots of different textures and gorgeous glassware on the tables.

What trends are you seeing?

Vintage and Rustic Country are still very popular and that has fed into an increasing desire to bring the outdoors in. I’m seeing some truly gorgeous set ups using trees, plants and lots of flowers to create an outdoor feel, which is a perfect choice with our rather unpredictable weather. The biggest trend, if you can call it that, is for couples truly personalising their day and planning everything from the location and design to the food and entertainment to reflect them as much as possible.

What is your signature dish?

Chicken & mushroom Risotto, according to my Husband but I really love to cook anything Asian inspired with lots of chilli, ginger and fresh vegetables

Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love to design?

Prince Harry, definitely. The day would no doubt be gorgeous and traditional but we all know Prince Harry has a bit of a wild side, so I think the reception would be nothing shy of spectacular!

Is the job as glamorous as you thought?

The hours are a lot longer and the time I have to invest in actually running my business as well as planning weddings is pretty intense so I wouldn’t exactly say it’s glamorous but it is however the best job in the world in my eyes and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is your vice?

Great food and great wine. Followed by dark chocolate. Then more wine.

 

Wedding Coffee Club

28 August, 2015

We are conscious that the Summer is a crazy time for our industry, but even during the mad times, working in the wedding industry can be isolating. There are days when we want to meet fellow wedding professionals just to talk through the lows and highs of being in this fast paced industry. Of course with the introduction of social media, it can feel like we have colleagues sitting right next to us, but at times we need some face to face chats – not to mention the caffeine! Which is why we launched the Wedding Coffee Club last November.

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These coffee sessions are held in various locations across the UK, normally attended by a director, regional ambassador or member of the UKAWP. If you plan to attend a date please use #ukawp on social media leading up to the coffee date so we can gauge how many people are expected or drop us an email on info@ukawp.com. There is no charge, and no official booking procedure.

Please note – these sessions are for anyone in, or looking to join, the wedding industry: you don’t have to be a wedding planner or a UKAWP member.

For Hertfordshire and North London folks, plus Surrey people, there are two sessions booked for Wednesday 16th September  10:00 – 12:00.

Sopwell House, Cottonmill Lane, St. Albans, hosted by Sandy Moretta, UKAWP Director

The Medicine Garden, Downside Road, Cobham, hosted by Kelly Chandler, UKAWP Ambassador

Further dates will be posted soon.

Wedding Planning Excellence 2015

21 August, 2015

We are very excited to announce Wedding Planning Excellence (WPE) 2015, a two day seminar organised by the UKAWP to support new and experienced wedding planners providing practical, educational sessions for their business growth and development.

WPE is the brainchild of Bernadette and Sandy, UKAWP’s directors and owners of Dream Occasions and Tern Events respectively. WPE was born as a result of their driving passion to promote professionalism in our industry, empower fellow planners with practical knowledge and create a supportive community.

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After the success of the past four editions, WPE is coming back for the 5th time with a program full of insightful and helpful advice to help you define the areas you can improve on and give you the tools to push your business to the next level!

You will find all the information you need on the WPE website, however here’s some key fact about the seminar:

When?

Friday 27 and Saturday 28 November 2015, hopefully right at the end of wedding season, while you are planning and thinking about what changes you need to make for the next

Where?

The beautiful Millbridge Court Wedding Barn (Frensham Rd, Surrey, GU10 3DJ), which we secured via the lovely Emma of Coco Wedding Venues, a fantastic resource for your UK venues search!

What should I expect?

We have devised the two days so that you can choose to attend one or both days depending on your level of experience and years in the business. Speakers are still being confirmed but this is what you can expect.

Day 1 has been tailored to newer wedding planners (<3 years in business) and it will cover the following topics:

* How to style your brand, with branding specialist and author Fiona Humberstone 

* Calculating your worth to ensure profitability

* Marketing your business through social media and blogging

* Scheduling your time and batch your tasks

* How to deal with challenging wedding projects while staying true to your brand values

* Styling shoots and building your team & supplier list

 

Day 2 has been planned to help experienced planners fine-tune their skills and take their business to the next level:

* Getting the life and lifestyle you want, with life & business coach Polly Alexandre 

* SEO masterclass

* Diversifying your business for profit

* Customer service: the small things that will improve your client experience

* PR: how to get on, and stay, on the editors’ radar + innovative ideas to showcase your expertise

* Growing your business: the ins and outs of employing staff and renting office space * Breaking the luxury-market barrier, with James Lord of Quintessentially Weddings 

Each session will last approximately one hour, enough to cover the topic in depth and give you time to ask questions. At the end of day 1 we have also slotted in a dedicated panel discussion to give you the chance to ask senior UKAWP planners all your burning business questions.

What else will be provided?

In addition to knowledge we will give you food, drinks and great upbuilding company – the recipe for a great time!

Kalm Kitchen will provide a light lunch and refreshments on both days, and at the end of day one, for those who can stay, we will host dinner and drinks for a spot of networking.

How much?

For a limited time only you can book each day at £275 members and £325 non members.

Once the Early Bird offer expires, the investment will be £375 per day (£325 for UKAWP members), including food and refreshments. 10% discount will be applied to day 1 + day 2 bookings.

How to book

Head over to www.ukawp.com/wpe/registration

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Why us?

There are so many interesting and creative workshops for wedding professionals that choosing one to invest your money and time on can be hard. We understand this, so we have listed 5 reasons to choose WPE which we hope will help you make your mind up:

1. WPE has been tried and tested. We ran it consecutively for 4 years before having a little break, the feedback from previous attendees has been fantastic (here are just some of the reviews from previous delegates). In 2013 we decided to take a break to review the format and focus our energies on our Alliance, but we were so overwhelmed by the number of planners asking us when WPE would come back that we just couldn’t ignore them!

2. The program is dedicated solely to wedding planners. You won’t have to sit through sessions where you have to pick and choose the information that is relevant to you – the whole seminar will be tailored specifically to you.

3. We, the UKAWP directors, are planners first and foremost. We know what it’s like to start your own business; we understand the struggle of standing out in a competitive market, of being entrepreneurs as well as wives and/or mothers; we have made mistakes and learnt lessons and just like you, we too recognise the need to constantly evolve and develop your business so as to keep up with our dynamic industry. By splitting the program into two to cater for different levels of expertise, you can be confident that you will be surrounded by people who can empathise with your challenges and answer your questions in a way that will truly benefit you. 4. This year WPE has been planned in collaboration with some of our members – a group of wedding planners who have been in business from as little as 2 years to as much as 10+. We’ve listed and consulted with them to fully understand your needs at various stages of your career. By leveraging their individual strengths, as well as their level of expertise and years in business, we’ve devised a program that we strongly feel will be crucial to your development.

5. The UKAWP is an alliance with long-standing reputation. We have dedicated the last 11 years to educating new planners, teaching best business practices and promoting professionalism. WPE is not a new business venture. It’s an extension of our already well-established business that allows us to share with you the knowledge and experience we have acquired throughout the years.

We are confident this year’s WPE will be better than ever. We are excited by this learning opportunity and we can’t wait to share the experience with you!

If you have any other questions feel free to get in touch.

 

Photo Credit: Simon Carr

The Benefits of UKAWP Membership

17 August, 2015

Why apply for Membership?

The wedding industry is not only unregulated but it also attracts hundreds of new businesses every year. In order to become and remain competitive you need find ways of demonstrating your professionalism and commitment to providing excellent service.

One way you can do this is to join our ever increasing member base of professional wedding planners and wedding suppliers, demonstrating that your business has passed our rigorous application process.

Many members tell us that their listing on our directory is their main source of client enquiries. We advertise nationally on behalf of the membership, thus driving bridal traffic to our directory where couples can look for members in their area.

OK, so what are the real benefits of membership then?

The main benefit of joining the UKAWP is becoming part of a UK Alliance which is passionate about the industry and which works hard to promote the benefits of hiring a planner for today’s stylish weddings. By being accepted into the Alliance, applicants will have had to prove their experience, or training, and knowledge. Promotion up through the various levels of membership, for planners, is based upon members’ continued education, wedding experience and involvement in the UKAWP. Please refer to the application forms [ Membership ] [ Associate Membership ] [ Destination Membership] [ Wedding Supplier Membership ].

Other Benefits

  • Certificate of membership of the UKAWP to be shown to potential clients
  • Use of well regarded and recognised ‘Associate Member’, ‘Member’, ‘Supreme Member’, ‘Destination Member’, or ‘Wedding Supplier Member’of the UKAWP logo on website, advertising and marketing materials
  • Ability to refer potential clients to the UKAWP Code of Business Practice and application/ promotion process to gain enhanced client confidence
  • Inclusion on the UKAWP online database of member companies. This map-based database is searchable by all visitors to the site and every entry includes a listing in two large geographical areas with company logo, description and full contact details including website (Destination Members listed by country)
  • Increased media awareness of member companies. The UKAWP has links with a variety of media outlets and has an ongoing press and public relations strategy to increase continually the profile of the Alliance within the wedding industry. Journalists are put in touch with members for interview opportunities/ coverage on a very regular basis
  • Benefit from the UKAWP’s ongoing advertising plan in wedding media on and offline. Currently this includes key wedding blogs and regular online marketing spend. This alone saves members several hundreds of pounds per annum
  • Personal input into how our bride facing marketing budget is spent annually
  • A voice and seat at our Annual Member Meeting held in May of each year
  • Discounted entry fees to attend any UKAWP meetings, networking events, seminars, workshops or training courses
  • Discounted fees for some of our UKAWP Business Tools
  • UKAWP branded marketing materials such as brochures, pens and pads and collateral available seasonally. Ideal for any exhibitions or events you are organising or attending
  • Access to a network of supportive, approachable and experienced professionals to help, guide and advise on any critical areas of difficulty or concern
  • Access to a network of experienced planners to assist where additional staff are needed at weddings at pre-agreed, competitive rates
  • Access to a network of keen students for ‘shadowing’ opportunities
  • For Ambassadors, experienced members and Supreme members, there are sometimes opportunities to mentor students within their first two years of business at pre-agreed rates
  • Access to your local ‘Regional Ambassador’ who will be able to support you with local issues
  • Superb discounts to offer your clients from the UKAWP’s Partners
  • Opportunities to be ‘launched’ as a Member and showcase your work on our BlogFacebook Page and via Twitter
  • Potential to reduce your annual membership fees via discounts from our ‘Member Get Member’ scheme
  • Discounted online advertising of vacancies in your business
  • Private LinkedIn and Facebook groups to share ideas and concerns and get help from peers

Can I talk to someone before deciding whether to apply?

Of course you can. If you would like to discuss the benefits of membership, which membership type you should apply for or have any other questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact our Membership Director, Sandy Moretta, via membership@ukawp.com or on 01442 828061.

You can also download our Membership brochure.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.