Don’t Forget To Play – by Matthew Oliver

28 June, 2016

We loved this article by member Matthew Oliver, all about not forgetting to take some time out to have fun even in the midst of wedding season. Over to you Matthew…

I’ve brought back the #fridayfeeling as I saw this quote today and knew I had to post it because it’s actually how I feel right now!

Marc Johns


As you can imagine we’re entering into wedding season, for some they’re already inside and they won’t be coming up for air till later this year.

In this time it’s so important that we make sure we have time to play, even it’s it’s for a couple of hours, or if you’re lucky a weekend!

Being in this industry, is challenging and can be very emotional at times and been a planner you could be working on your own during the week, so I advise giving yourself some play time – play time could be anything like, shopping, catching up with friends, exercise, date nights, hanging out with family, or even playing with your favourite Star Wars figures (I did say play time)- or in my case my gold dinosaurs!

Having a weekly task list and adding this play time to it is vital because then you’ll know you have to make time for it, especially if you’ve made plans!  I’m a sucker for making plans and then when it comes to the day of ‘play time’ I’m always worrying I’ve not got time for this!  We should not be worried, we should be excited; but unfortunately this is the case for a lot of us, as regardless of what we do we feel we’re letting someone down, if it’s a client a boss, your partner it’s what we think!

This play time does not just go for wedding folk, it’s important you couples out there have time to play too!  If you’re planning your wedding on your own or even if you have a planner, it’s so important you find time to play/relax and do something that does not involve wedding planning – though make sure not to even bring up wedding planning because it won’t be play time!

So what are you all doing this weekend or next week that let’s you put your pads down and turn your computers off?  I’m going for drinks this evening followed by a Thai with the boy – this is my play time, what is yours?

I’m sure you all can relate to this, but I feel we all need to do this for ourselves because quite rightly we deserve it!  In this day and age we work to hard and forget the play!  Remember the saying work hard, play hard?!

Love you loads,


Matthew Oliver


International Wedding Planner xx

Launch a new career as a trained Wedding Planner

24 June, 2016

We’re delighted to announce new dates for our very popular wedding planner training courses. If you want to launch a new career ready for the 2017 season then we’d love to see you on one of the below dates.  We believe the most successful way to learn a new skill is by interacting with like-minded individuals which is why we run classroom based training. Each tutor has approx. 14 years experience as full time wedding planners enabling them to bring real life scenarios to the classroom and highlight teachings face to face.

Wedding Planner Training

We pride ourselves on our honesty and immense enthusiasm at wanting you to succeed and update our course regularly. We want you to enter this vibrant industry with the knowledge necessary to be successful. Our Step by Step course has been reviewed and edited by leading wedding industry experts, lovingly known as #SBScontributors.

Our students are all at different stages of their path into wedding planning, some have spent hours researching the industry with a business launch imminent, whereas others are at the start of their journey and plan to launch in a year or two. We don’t mind what stage you are at. We love helping you on the journey and answering your questions in our highly interactive weekend courses. We have two courses as well as various workshops throughout the year.


If you are interested in joining the 70+ professional planners who are our members , not to mention the hundreds of planners we have trained since 2004, then register today to take that next step in your new career.

Business Practicalities

London – 3th & 4th September
London – 19th & 20th November

Step by Step

London – 1st & 2nd October
London – 3rd & 4th December

What is the Cost?

Each weekend course costs £540 if paid in full or £600 in instalments complete with lunch both days and full course notes for you to take away. We also send you downloadable templates to use in your new wedding planning business.

FREE Booklet of Discount Vouchers

If you attend both Business Practicalities and Step by Step within a 12 month period we will send you a booklet of vouchers worth £100, these can be used against future UKAWP events.

For further details

Please contact Bernadette on 01376 561544 or or to register complete our booking form 

Photo Credit: Simon Carr 

You’re engaged!! What next? 10 Tips to get you started

21 June, 2016

Congratulations on your engagement. You’re on cloud 9, you’ve retold the proposal story a hundred times and you and your future spouse can’t stop talking about the future and your ‘big day’. But just how do you plan a wedding, and where should you begin?

Dream Big
Yes, you have permission to start dreaming about your wedding!  Go wild, what would you choose if money was no object?

Suss out your style
Buy a variety of different wedding magazines, start a Pinterest board, and browse wedding blogs to get a feel for the kind of wedding you want.  The style of wedding you want is likely to evolve over time, but it can have a big impact on other parts of the day, such as venue, so it’s important to get a good idea early on.


Think of a date
Think about which season you’d like to marry in and what year.  Are there any special dates that mean something to you both as a couple?  Must it be a weekend, or will you consider midweek (which could be considerably cheaper for venue hires)

Who to invite
It goes without saying that you’re going to want to invite all your friends, family and work colleagues to your special day – but wait until you’ve crunched some numbers before you start verbally telling everyone they’re invited – every guest has a price to their head! A rough number of guests is necessary for when you start shortlisting venues

The average UK wedding costs £20k, but you can spend considerably less or more – what can you afford? Are you paying for the wedding or will family be contributing? Figure out what money you have saved, and what you plan to save leading up to the wedding. 

Start discussing the type of venue you want and ideally the location.  Will it be where you live now, or where one of you was bought up?

Get Pinning
Pinterest is great for bringing all your ideas together.  As planners we  love it – sometimes it is clear a clients verbal description of what they want for their wedding is very different to the visual description.  Having Pinterest will help formulate your ideas when speaking with designers (stationers, planners, florists, cake makers) for your wedding. You can easily create private boards and show just key people involved in the wedding – keep the big reveal for your guests until the day itself.

Plan it together
Try to plan your wedding together, after all you are entering the ultimate partnership as a married couple, so start as you mean to go on and learn the art of compromising! The wedding day should end up being a culmination of both your ideas and personalities.  It’s also important not to lose sight of what the day is about – you as a couple – you will not be able to please everyone!


Photo by Simon Carr

Member focus – Anita Brown 3D Visualisation

15 June, 2016

Today we are delighted to introduce new wedding supplier member Anita who runs Anita Brown 3D Visualisation. Over to you Anita…

Anita Brown Photo

How did it all start?

During my Interior Design studies, my eyes were opened to the world of 3D Visualisation.  I was amazed and astounded at the results and benefits of 3D Visualisation and before long, I was offering a freelance 3D Visualisation service to the Interior Design industry, which then expanded to Weddings and Events.  I left my office job in December 2015 and started my own 3D Visualisation business.  The rest as they say, is history!

Do you have a favourite venue?

I’m very fond of venues that are stately homes due to their history and architectural design.  I’m particularly taken with Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland.

How would clients describe you?

My clients would (hopefully!) describe me as a perfectionist, with an excellent ability to interpret exactly how they envisage a design.

Wedding planners or suppliers you particularly admire?

Northern Ireland Wedding Planner, Betty Williamson, would be a favourite of mine.  She has a great eye for detail and her photography is breathtaking.

How do you unwind?

I’m a little bit of a movie buff, so taking time out to enjoy a great movie is at the top of my list.  I also enjoy catching up with friends and blogging in my free time.

What trends are you seeing for 2016/17?

The trend for less formal Wedding reception design, is something I’m seeing a lot at the minute.  Individuality and quirky aesthetics, in a casual environment, seem to be on the rise.  I think the use of wild flowers, barn conversions and lots of rustic texture will continue to dominate.

What is your signature dish?

I make an awesome traditional Christmas stuffing!

Whose celebrity wedding (dead or alive) would you love work on?

I was completely obsessed with the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Her dress was absolute perfection, in my opinion.  So being involved in creating the 3D visuals of their wedding reception would have been a delight and a privilege!

What is your vice?

Family sized packets of crisps!

Malta Weddings

23 May, 2016

We are delighted to introduce an interesting blog post about planning a destination wedding in beautiful Malta, written by Lisa of Carmela Weddings.

pool (1)

How easy is it to get married in Malta?

Malta is becoming more and more popular as a destination wedding location for UK couples. As a specialist in Maltese weddings, we’re often asked similar questions from potential couples who want to get married in Malta but are worried that it’s too difficult or costly. This is true for many other countries but fortunately, it really isn’t for Malta! Here’s a quick Q&A guide to show you how easy it is and answer the most common questions we get.

Will my wedding be legal in the UK if I get married in Malta?

Simply put – yes it will. Marriages in Malta are subject to the provisions of the Marriage Act, 1975 which means if you are a UK or Irish citizen your wedding in Malta is legally binding under UK and Irish law. This is the same for citizens of most other countries too who want to get married in Malta.

Do I have to live in Malta for a month beforehand? What are the residency requirements?

No, there are no actual residency requirements at all but you do need to visit a registry office a minimum of 2 days before your wedding to show your passports and finalise the ceremony. Most of our couples travel over 2/3 days before their wedding to top up the tan and visit the registrar.

tree (1)

How much paperwork is involved?

There is some paperwork to fill in whether you want a church wedding or a civil wedding and we can assist you with this part as it can look daunting at first. The main document you need is the application, known as an RZ1. This has to be lodged in Valetta or Gozo with the following documents:

  • Declarations on oath – called an RZ2. This must be signed in front of a solicitor by both of you and the solicitor must stamp with their seal.
  • Original long birth certificate with both parents’ names on. If it doesn’t have both names on, you’ll also need a statutory declaration from someone that knows you and the parents concerned. The solicitor will have to sign this declaration.
  • Passport – you can send a photocopy for the application but use your original when you get to Malta.
  • If you haven’t been married before then you’ll need a free status certificate – you can get this from your local registrar. They call it a certificate of no impediment.
  • If you have been married then you’ll need your decree absolute and previous marriage certificates if you are now divorced. A solicitor will also have to sign an affidavit saying you have not remarried since.
  • If you have changed your name, you’ll need the deed poll certificate and if you’re under 18 you’ll need consent from your parents.

Note that the free status certificate and RZ2 are only valid for 3 months!

When do I send all of this in?

The application has to be received at least 6 weeks before the wedding day but no more than 3 months before it. So there’s a small window there. Our advice is to get it all prepared and signed by the solicitor in advance.

Can we come on our own to Malta and get married?

You will need two witnesses who are over 18 to be there. We are often asked to be witnesses for our couples who want to have their wedding completely on their own.

tables (1)

What types of venues are there in Malta?

There is such a variety of venues from vineyards, farmhouses and villas to beachfront pagodas, gardens and grand hotels – there’s a huge choice of venues to have your ceremony and reception.

When is the best time of year to get married in Malta?

Most of our couples decide to get married between April-June or September and October. Average rainfall for June is just 1 day in the month so if it’s weather you’re going for, June is your best bet. It can get very hot in July and August so if you do opt for those months, a late start time for your ceremony of 5pm is recommended.

Carmela Weddings Confetti cones (1)

Is it expensive to get married in Malta?

Malta caters for every type of budget. Over half of our couples get married in Malta because of the lower cost of venues and suppliers so they can stretch their budget further. Saying that, there are options for big budget weddings in Malta and the industry gets bigger there every year as weddings in the sunshine become more popular.