Member Focus: Bernadette Chapman
In our regular fortnightly series we welcome Bernadette from Dream Occasions in Essex who is the training director for the UKAWP.
Why did you become a wedding planner?
I was a very successful PA in the city for 10 years and worked for an American company so of course my stateside colleagues talked about hiring wedding planners for their weddings. This intrigued me so I started researching the internet about the industry; it was still relatively unknown in the UK so I learnt a lot from US websites. There are a lot of similarities between my job as a PA and wedding planning.
What’s your USP?
Calm & logical approach to wedding planning. I have an incredible knowledge of marquee weddings and the logistics involved in organising events at home. I also run another company with my husband called Dream Occasions Hire so I tend to have many useful products for clients to hire.
Do you have a favourite venue?
Well marquees are my favourite weddings but if I were to choose a venue then I do love Leez Priory , this is because you have the rare opportunity to create an outside wedding ceremony. The chairs lined up on the lawn look breathtaking, I love the fact it feels like the couples home for the weekend with many rooms to choose from for different aspects of the day/night. The staff are very organised and their wedding coordinators happy to work alongside an independent planner.
How would your clients describe you?
Friendly, brutally honest, focussed, reassuring, diplomatic, dedicated & calm.
Have you ever had a challenging client and how did you deal with it?
A few! Every client is different and brings with it new challenges, I tend to work out quickly what line of communication they prefer and what particular worries they might have, I can then ensure my service alleviates any stresses they have.
How do you unwind?
I love to read, anything from girly books to business tips and my favourite author is Stephen King. Not what you’d expect from a wedding planner! I also love to go hiking with the family and camping, this allows me time to relax in a natural environment with no access to the internet and normally limited signal on my phone as I favour camping in forests. My fellow directors do think I’m a bit mad for camping but as a family we love it (I will admit to countless blankets and hot water bottles to keep warm)
Which wedding planners work do you admire / respect and why?
I admire my 2 fellow directors in the UKAWP not only for their work within the UKAWP but for constantly evolving their businesses which I think is essential, but it would be too cliché to say them so… I love the work by Sasha Souza and Preston Bailey both US celebrity planners, I think their work is amazing. And finally I admire Siobhan Craven Robins she has raised the profile of wedding planners through her TV appearances & celebrity weddings here in the UK, and she is very nice as well!
What is your biggest achievement since launching?
I guess launching the UKAWP, having the vision that the UK needed a UK focussed organisation for wedding planners. Also having the belief in myself and vision for growth which sadly many planners do not have. If you don’t know what you are aiming for you will of course always be disappointed.
What trends are you seeing for 2009?
Mix matched bohemian chic which is sometimes harder to create then a simple pink wedding!
Thanks Bernadette, dont forget to visit Dream Occasions to find out more about her services.