Member Focus – The Bespoke Wedding Company

Today we introduce you to Kelly Chandler, previous founder/ director of the UKAWP and lifetime Supreme Member. Kelly runs The Bespoke Wedding Company. Over to you Kelly…


Pippa Mackenzie Photography

How did it all start?

I was travelling the world working as a logistics project manager for an agency in the conference and incentive travel market. It was all good fun but I missed being away from my new husband and was looking to find something which allowed me to work in a similar market where attention to detail is key but on a more personal and local level. At the same time a great friend had been made redundant was considering her options; she came to me with the idea and before I knew it we were ploughing ahead and had created The Bespoke Wedding Company.

Do you have a favourite venue?

That’s a really hard question as there are so many beauties I’ve been privileged to work in but for me it’s the people who work there who make the venue.  I can name on one hand the venues who have the same dedicated staff as they had 5 or 10 years ago when I started out; they are real gems and always go the extra mile for my clients which means the world to me.  Take a bow: Highclere Castle, Syon House and The Dairy @Waddesdon Manor.

How would clients describe you?

Reliable, professional, detail-oriented, like a ‘dog with a bone’ when they want to achieve something. I’d like to think they would say fun and friendly too – I’ve kept in touch with a huge number of past clients long after their wedding as a friend which is the best testimonial I guess.  And I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with various sets of friends who’ve recommended me to the next friends marrying!

Wedding planner/s you admire?

Ooh, that’s a tricky one as I know so many, personally largely through my work with UKAWP. I look for inspiration to the likes of Sasha Souza and Mindy Weiss in the US and will always have a soft spot for Siobhan Craven-Robins who is one of the original and finest UK wedding planners alongside Sarah Haywood, who is an inspirational planner and businesswoman.

How do you unwind?

It’s got to be a glass of wine to the rescue sometimes – New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is my tipple of choice. And then if there is more time,  the walking boots are donned and I love getting out into the countryside for fresh air and scenery.

What themes are you working on for 2013/14?

A real variety but one very romantic English country garden wedding and then one wedding with multiple themes including a chic all-white reception area and a smoky, moody, with a little bit of glitz, cocktail bar and nightclub.

What trends are you seeing?

I’m seeing couples being ever more focused on their priorities and doing away with convention. The visual memoirs of the day are very important and more money is being invested in film and photo. I’m seeing more architectural flowers and installations in a room as well as or instead of more usual bloom-filled table centres.  I’m seeing an attitude of less is more, with a focus on less items but with a far greater quality on those items which are chosen.

What is your signature dish?

Hmm, well I recently made a yummy lamb tagine and pomegranate couscous which went down a storm and my chocolate cake with the help of The Primrose Bakery book was a hit of late too.

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

I am a big fan of Kristin Scott Thomas and would love to plan a splendid celebration for her.  She is the epitomy of elegance,  sophistication and class to me and I just love her work and personal style. Amazing that she manages to dazzle in both English and French, that’s just pure talent. I’m sure any celebration would be understated yet luxurious and gorgeous, right up my street.

Is the job as glamorous as you thought?

I’ve never had expectations of glamour with event planning. From my first ever experience on-site on a corporate job where I lost half a stone in a week as I was always waiting for the correct meal time, I learnt that you work long and hard but the rewards are in being part of it and seeing all your efforts pay off.  Happy faces all round are very rewarding and I almost always shed a quiet tear during every wedding ceremony.

What is your vice?

Cadburys Mini Eggs, Champagne and my iPhone.


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