Member focus – Weddings by Mary

15 July, 2016

Today we’d like to introduce Mary who runs Weddings by Mary. Over to you Mary…


How did it all start?

A phone call from a catering contact: “Do you know any Wedding Planners Mary as I have client looking for some help & guidance?”

“Yes” I replied, “Me!”  Having handed my notice in the day prior at the wedding venue I had worked at for the past 10 years I was looking for a new challenge and two days later I met the client and got the job……

Do you have a favourite venue?

I worked at Great Lodge in Great Bardfield, Essex recently and will be working there again in August. It is a beautiful converted barn providing a blank canvas to work with.

How would clients describe you?

Confident, efficient & caring

Wedding planner/s you admire?

Louise Perry

How do you unwind?

Walking the dog

What themes are you working on for 2016/17?

Rustic & fun seems to be the order of the day. Couples are very keen to keep their guests entertained from photo booths to games!

What trends are you seeing?

‘Nude’ cakes, large letters & rustic!

What is your signature dish?

I have a wonderful recipe for Fruity Moroccan Lamb. The combination of spices gives the most amazing aroma and the best thing it is one of those cook now relax later dishes. 

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

Simon Cowell

Is the job as glamorous as you thought?

I have never thought of the job as glamorous, having worked at weddings from a young age I saw very early on the amount of hard work that happens behind the scenes. It didn’t put me off though.

What is your vice?

Chocolate & coffee – they call to me!

Plan and Design a Wedding with our Step By Step Course

12 July, 2016

We’re delighted to announce dates for our autumn training courses. Our Step by Step course is increasingly popular with students as it literally teaches you how to plan a wedding from the moment you have been hired.

We frequently sell out on our courses as space is limited so we hope you can join us on the 1st & 2nd October or 3rd & 4th December. To register go to our booking form

If you have recently lunched as a wedding planner, or indeed wish to launch in the near future, you may find yourself unsure of where to find that all so important key information for your clients wedding.  Just where do you find that dream venue, how can you trust the suppliers you hire or you wonder how many catering staff are required to serve guests proficiently?

UKAWP Ltd Brand Images

We will go through all this with you, from where to find the best suppliers for your couple and what are the right questions to ask, to showing you how to create a client budget and assigning what % of said budget should go to what areas.

We show you examples of the different ceremonies in the UK and how etiquette plays an important part in todays weddings, albeit in a modern way!

The final part of the course focuses on the wedding day itself, right from the ceremony through to the evenings entertainment.

Wedding Planner Training

What makes this course extra special is our wonderful #SBScontributors, leading experts in the industry who have reviewed and edited the content relevant to their sector. You can meet some of these suppliers by reading more about them here.

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

Photo Credit: Simon Carr 

10 Things You Never Knew About Being A Wedding Planner

8 July, 2016

Being a wedding planner is at the top of many people’s dream job list, but does the reality match up with the romantic fantasy? In 2014 this was a question that Marie Claire asked the UKAWP and of course we were more than happy to oblige by highlighting the reality of wedding planning as a career.

Directors of the UKAWP

1. It might surprise you to know that most wedding planners only manage 8-10 weddings per year. Let’s do some maths: multiply 8 x 150 hours = 1,200 hours. Assuming you will take four weeks as holiday per year that’s 25 hours per week organising client weddings. The rest of the working week is spent ‘running your business’ (marketing, accounts, PR, admin). So, a wedding planner needs to make sure she/he is earning enough from those 8-10 weddings per year to cover their wage, tax, and business running costs as a minimum.

2. The role of a wedding planner is 80 per cent administrative. About 150 hours are needed to organise a client’s wedding ensuring all key suppliers have been booked and within the clients budget.

3. You will be working evenings and weekends so make sure your family support you in this. Take a day off in the week instead as a compromise

4. Planning someone else’s wedding is very different to planning your own, mostly because people have such different tastes. Can you deal with that? You need to view the wedding design objectively; does the design suit the personality of the couple? Your job is to make the couple’s dream wedding materialise, it should match their vision perfectly.

5. At times, couples might take their stresses and frustration out on you – do you have the strength to shrug it off? Do you have the patience to guide them through any difficult decisions they are currently experiencing? Do you have the maturity to never take any such stress personally? Remember being the centre of attention to so many can be difficult for a bride and they can get a tad emotional leading up to the wedding. Listen to the concerns of the couple and answer, as succinctly and calmly as you can, this isn’t the time to get argumentative. Are there any duties you can take from the bride to ease the stress?

6. You might be working on eight weddings simultaneously, that’s approximately 120-160 supplier emails, contracts, negotiations, schedules and meetings to arrange! If you’re not organised this isn’t the job for you. It’s not unusual to have two brides with the same name, marrying in the same year, it’s vital you are not mixing the weddings up!

7. You are your brand. Clients hire a planner because they like the person behind the brand. A good planner has the ability to relax a couple within minutes. If you’re shy, timid and lack confidence this isn’t the career for you.

8. On a wedding day a wedding planner is invariably the first person to arrive and last person to leave, frequently never sitting down until late in the evening. But despite being tired a wedding planner always needs to be in control and still look presentable, a couple won’t want to see a wedding planner looking tired and disheveled.

9. Working on your own on so many weddings, invariably within a short timescale of the summer months can be stressful and tiring. Make sure you have the support you need, if you need to hire a virtual assistant and bookkeeper to keep on top of the office admin then do so. Try to book a weekend away once your season has finished, if you’ve had a wedding that weekend then don’t work on the Monday.

10. Although planners have brought everything and all suppliers together, it is important to nurture good supplier relationships, not ‘boss people around’. Teamwork is essential and behind every good planner is an unbreakable team.

This article was originally published for Marie Claire in 2014.

If you would like to talk to a planner about your wedding please visit our directory

6 Month Intensive Mentoring for Wedding Planners

5 July, 2016

As a continuation of the support we give planners via our training courses, we also offer wedding planning mentoring for a select few. Working with an experienced, successful wedding planner can be incredibly beneficial for planners in the early years.


We have just a small number of mentoring sessions available for new (less than two years old) businesses with a director or one of our ambassadors. The sessions are led by you. In short we ask from the outset how we can help you and each session moves forward on this basis, with goal setting a key element.

It is not essential that those taking up the mentoring service are members of the UKAWP.

Your mentoring will include the following:

  • Initial questionnaire for you to complete prior to our first session.
  • Month 1: Skype call to get to the nitty gritty of how we can help you (2 hours).
  • Months 2-6: Monthly Skype calls working on pre agreed topics and goals (1 hour each).
  • Email access between sessions plus telephone/ Skype at agreed times for urgent issues.

To learn a little more about this service contact

The next mentoring slot is available from August.

Photo credit: Simon Carr

Member Focus – Chantilly Rose

1 July, 2016

Today we’d like to introduce Christina who runs Chantilly Rose. Over to you Christina…

Chantilly Rose

How did it all start?

I have always been interested in the world of weddings but never knew if I would ever be in the wedding industry, let alone have my own business! After planning my own wedding and having a nightmare with the venue coordinator, I never wanted another bride to feel the way I did on my wedding day. I ended up doing her job as she left soon after we arrived, without telling us so. It was from that day that I realised I would be perfect for that job but it was always a ‘dream job’.

I then relocated from Portsmouth to Oxfordshire due to my husbands job in the RAF and met a wonderful lady called Rachel who already had her own event décor business. We quickly became friends and I started working for her as and when she had jobs on. She had the idea of doing a wedding competition for a couple in the emergency and armed forces services to win a wedding but didn’t know where to start. I put myself forward as the in house wedding planner for this competition in exchange for her help and knowledge, and slowly began developing my business in the background so that I could launch after the wedding day. After the day was over I was in no doubt that this was going to be my business and I would finally help others carry out their dream day without the stress that I had.

Do you have a favourite venue?

There are many I am yet to visit but I adore Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The monumental country house sits within gorgeous surroundings and the venue is just stunning. The high ceilings and fine detail within the building itself are amazing.

How would clients describe you?

Organised, professional and friendly. I get to know the clients individual needs, understanding that everyone’s budget and tastes differ.

Wedding planner/s you admire?

I adore Sarah Haywood. She is known as one of the best luxury planners in the U.K. I love her style and her professionalism in her work. I am yet to meet her but she is such an inspiration and where I would love to be in 10 years time.

How do you unwind?

Having two young children (as well as one older ‘child’, namely my husband) to look after and working from home I rarely get any ‘me’ time but when I do I usually just have a glass of wine or cup of tea and some cake with a few friends. I’m easily pleased!

What themes are you working on for 2016/17?

I am seeing a lot of silver and white at the moment. Two clients of mine are both having this theme this year. I am also doing a fairground type theme soon.

What trends are you seeing?

Metallics are very much in still and I think will be well in to 2017 too. Floral crowns and backdrops are of huge interest to brides too so I think we will be seeing more variations of those soon.

What is your signature dish?

I am not a chef in any way, shape or form but I can make really good roast dinners. My husband doesn’t complain anyway!

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

Prince Harry (Henry) of Wales. I have grown up watching him on the television and seen him grow into the man he is today. As we are similar in age I feel I can relate to him in some way. He seems like such a down to earth guy. I’m sure his wedding would be well suited to his personality and of course, who doesn’t want to plan a royal wedding?!

Is the job as glamorous as you thought?

Being a wedding planner is a lot of hard work with very few perks. I always knew it wasn’t going to be glamorous as such but I had hoped it would be more glamorous than it has turned out to be.

What is your vice?

Chocolate or sweets. I find it hard to resist the temptation.