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Welcome to our how to become a wedding planner webchat with Kelly Chandler

Are you the go-to-girl your friends turn to when they're planning a party? Capable of taking a conference call while calculating numbers for the caterer? Bursting with so many brilliant W-day ideas you don't know what to do with them? Then find out how to turn your passion into a profession in our live webchat with wedding planner Kelly Chandler, 30 August from 1-2pm.

Experts don't come much better qualified than Kelly Chandler. A real-life wedding planner at The Bespoke Wedding Company and a director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP), she's helped make countless brides-to-be dreams come true. The alliance is all about training and mentoring up-and-coming planners through seminars and special events, and giving brides an online hub of vetted specialists who meet their high standards.

Join us live on Tuesday 30 August from 1-2pm or leave your questions now for Kelly to answer on the day.


  • JP2BEJP2BE Posts: 262
    Hiya Kelly,

    I've always wanted to be a wedding planner as planning anything is in my blood! image It's truely something I've always had a passion for but until I've started planning my own wedding I hadn't realised the potential it may have for being an actual career.

    I've never trained in business, or events, or anything remotely similar. In fact, I'm currently in my final year of a degree in youth work and I work with young homeless people so I can't be further from the job! I do enjoy it, but I've always known I'd like to work for myself in something like Wedding Planning- I did youth work as a safe, back up plan! (Now kinda regretting the student fees etc...)

    However, I do have passion, brilliant people skills (you have to working with teenagers!) and excellent organisation this enough? Or would I need a formal qualification?

    image thanks
  • MrsLightyMrsLighty Posts: 466
    Hi Kelly,

    I really enjoyed planning my own wedding and am still full of ideas for weddings but have nowhere to put them into practice (I think I'm in danger of driving my friends insane as I keep giving them different ideas of things they could do for their own weddings!)!

    My last role was in travel as a Reservations Manager (I was unfortunately made redundant at the start of August) and I believe that a lot of my skills such as organisation, attention to detail and people management skills, such as customer service and liaising with suppliers, would be transferable to wedding planning, but I'm not sure I want to start up on my own at the moment. Are there established companies that would be willing to take on a junior wedding planner, and if so, do you require any sort of formal training etc?

    I look forward to your advice! Many thanks!
  • Hi Kelly,

    Hope you're well. My Hubby and I got married earlier this year and I've at last found something I am incredibly passionate about and have the skills to make work as a business. I would like to know your views on the UK market competition, how important being accredited is, and if there is anything you would suggest avoiding when marketing yourself as a newbie planner?


    Claire Doubleyou
  • Hi Kelly,

    Like the description up above, I am very much the go-to gal when planning any event involving friends or family. I am also passionate about flowers and have been studying floristry for 2 years. Is there any way to combine the two without opening my own business?

    Also, how much store do employers put by qualifications? I have tried to enrol on an NFCE Level 2 Event Planning course but my local college has cancelled it twice. I have working as a facilities officer in a university and am very unhappy in this unsatisfying job. I think I have finally found something I actually want to do with my life. But I am twenty-four and have been working for 3 years. Will any employer consider taking me on without any work-based event planning experience?

    Any little piece of advice very gratefully received. Thanks very much for taking the time to talk to us.

  • Hi everyone,

    Thank you for joining our how to become a wedding planner chat with Kelly Chandler.

    Kelly will be with us until 2pm so please do keep your questions for her coming in.

    Enjoy the chat!

  • Hello everyone

    I'm really looking forward to answering your questions over the next hour on how to make wedding planning a successful career. It looks like there are some great questions already so I'll start straight away. Best wishes Kelly @ The Bespoke Wedding Company and UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.
  • Hi Mrs S2B17

    It sounds like your background of PA/organiser is ideal but as you ask how do you put it into practice? Anyone who sets up their own business in any field will tell you that you have to be big and brave and wedding planning is no different. You have to go for it if your circumstances are right and you feel you can really do it. That said you need to do your market research (which is endless) and really find out exactly what the day to day entails. You need to be prepared to earn very little profit in the first couple of years (again as per any business) as anything you earn will go into developing and building your business. You need to work hard at establishing a good name and there is no short cut for time and hard work. I would strongly suggest a training course of some description, and one that really tells you about the set up phase, marketing, websites, PR, that kind of thing. Good luck, it's a great industry to be part of.
  • Dear JP2BE

    You ask about formal qualifications needed to get into wedding planning. The simple answer is no, there are none needed and certainly in order to start up your own business, you do not have to have an exam certificate. That has meant that the industry can be prone to individuals who don't start with the right knowledge or expectations which is one reason that the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (i'm a Director) has a code of business practice and vetting procedure for our members to encourage high standards.

    You can learn the trade in different ways though, there is no substitute for practical experience so working with a hotel or venue in their banqueting department would be very relevant. A practical and business focussed training coures such as one that we run at UKAWP would give you the understanding of what the industry is really like and a solid grounding for getting started.

    I'd certainly say that your background and ability to work with teenagers is most definitely a huge benefit; people skills are really really key.
  • Hi Now Mrs Lighty

    You ask about job opportunities within existing wedding planning companies. They do exist but they are quite few and far between. The independent wedding planning industry is still very young and as a result companies have either not grown big enough yet or wish to remain small. For many their planning business is an extension of themselves and many planners choose to remain a 1 or 2 person company. That does mean that employment opportunities are limited. You would have to be very persistent and be flexible in terms of days/dates, bearing in mind that spring summer is when planners need help, possibly not the full year round.

    A larger sector of the industry would be to get the experience via working for a hotel group or venue where they have bigger teams and you can gain lots of experience via working in their banqueting or wedding/events/conference department. I hope that is useful.
  • Hi Kelly,

    I'd love some advice if there's time.

    I've been thinking of becoming a wedding/party planner for some time and while chatting with a friend recently she mentioned she wanted to go back to her roots and be a photographer (she has a photography degree). We thought it might be good to try and start a company together, me on the planning side and her on the photography (she has great creative ideas too). Can these sort of joint ventures work? I know going into business with friends can be tricky but is it even worth us looking into?

    Thank you!

    S x
  • Hello ClaireDoubleyou

    Thanks for your questions about the UK market and competition, accreditation and marketing mistakes.

    Firstly, wedding planning is a very competitive industry across the UK, companies have to work very hard to gain clients, remembering that there is no repeat business on offer in this field (we hope not!!!!). Because we are a young industry, we have to work tirelessly to demonstrate our worth to the world at large but we have made great progress in the past few years and more and more young couples are considering a planner as an essential not a luxury. There are more planners in the London and South East Region and less in other areas currently but that is growing.

    Exams and qualifications in themselves are not essential but anything which proves a company's professionalism is much appreciated by potential clients. After all they are investing and entrusting their most important day to you. Our members of UKAWP certainly comment that being part of our reference and quality checked membership means that it gives their clients further confidence in them.

    I'm afraid the marketing mistakes question I can't really answer succinctly, it's a huge part of our 2 day business practicalities course which is full of marketing dos and don'ts. I hope this info is useful.
  • Hi Kelly,

    That's great, thanks so much. Are there any reference points you recommend to look at regarding competition in the market? I want to thoroughly research the market and potential earnings before I set out (Don't want to leave my family in dire straits!). Also, I'm in the midlands and am considering doing your courses - are they based nationally or in one particular area?


    Claire Doubleyou
  • Dear BikerChick26

    Many people come to wedding planning after other careers and not all of them have necessarily relevant experience. The good thing with wedding planning is that the main skills you need are largely self taught, things that you either have or don't, like communication and people skills, confidence, friendliness, diplomacy etc.

    As I answered to a previous question, job opps are fairly limited with independent wedding planners due to the size of those companies, however you would be best to consider getting into the industry via gaining hospitality/hotel/venue experience. Even if you were able to do some evening/weekend work at a local venue that would get you the extra experience. Similarly with your florist training, some part time work with a good florist would give you exposure to the wedding industry, assuming they do event work. You will probably find that for a full time paid post with a hotel, some prior experience would be needed simply because the market is so very competitive hence why I suggest getting some experience such as above.

    As for combining your two passions, that could be tricky unless you manage to get two part time positions but I honestly think if you want to do those, you will probably need to become self employed. Good luck!
  • Thanks Kelly. image
  • Hi Kelly,

    Being a planner would be an amazing job and I would love to give it a go. I've been thinking about offering my services for free (or just a tiny consultancy charge) to family/friends to get some real weddings under my belt. Then I'd have something to show other potential brides. I'd have to juggle it with my full-time job but would it be worth it in the long run?

  • Hello Strawberry_Bride

    You ask about going into business with a friend and setting up a joint photography/wedding planning venture.

    Firstly, going into business with a friend - well I've done that very successfully with my planning company, The Bespoke Wedding Company. Although my friend is no longer my business partner we are still very close friends. Whilst we were working together, it does change the dynamic of your relationship and you have to cover some difficult ground and put your friendship aside, so think very carefully as I was lucky and we remained friends but for many it's very difficult.

    As for the joint venture, the two sound like they go well together and they do but I'd be careful of packaging them up. Whilst most brides have a photographer, it's around 1 in 10 that hire a planner (according to recent poll on YAYW) so there is an imbalance there. Consider also that most brides hiring a wedding planner want your impartial advice and would not want to be limited to the choice of one photographer only. Personally I think starting up at the same time would be great and you could most certainly support each other, but I'd tend to recommend actually setting up separately as businesses.
  • Hello again Claire DoubleYou

    As for large scale research, there is very little sadly specifically on wedding planners because we are small, new and frankly actually creating the statistics.

    We do conduct some surveys with UKAWP, details of which are available to members from time to time.

    As I've said in a previous post, earnings can be extremely limited/non existent in the first couple of years as you get established, so if you need a regular and large income, often planners combine two jobs for a period of time (very hard and not for the faint-hearted).

    Our UK Alliance of Wedding Planner courses are taught in three locations in the autumn (starting soon) and spring. The locations are London, Northampton and Leeds. It would be lovely to see you on one of them.
  • Hi Kelly,

    I've always dreamed of offering a long distance wedding planning service for brides who live outside of the UK and want to get married here. Do you see lots of people doing this? If I do it seriously, it would be nice if it made a profit!

  • Great stuff, thank you Kelly - It's been great being able to pick your brains! See you soon hopefully.


    Claire Doubleyou
  • Hi missy-moo-b

    You are thinking about offering your services to family and friends for free to get started.

    I would say, yes, this is good to do but up to a point. I would limit it and be very careful and approach it with a proper business head. We see lots of people who have spent 2 years working for free for lots of people with little return. Sometimes the lead time of a wedding can be a year or more so consider if you can offer full planning or perhaps help only with some elements? It is a good way of building up your contacts in the industry though so long as you can dedicate enough time to it.

    There are other ways however that you can demonstrate your creativity and abilities to clients and we talk about these lots on our training courses as most new planners are in the same boat.
  • Hello shoesdowntheaisle

    You ask about a planning service for brides coming into the UK from abroad and the profitability of such a service.

    The answer is yes, independent wedding planners get a lot of clients who are not based in the Uk. Perhaps they are working abroad at the moment, are studying abroad but the UK is home or perhaps they are new to the UK as they have joined their fiance in the UK. A very large percentage of my clients with The Bespoke Wedding Company are not necessarily local in terms of background or current location to their wedding reception venue.

    As for making a profit, well, it's essential. There is really no point in setting up a business unless you intend to make it work in this way (it's just too much hard work to be a hobby). Wedding planning isn't a route to millionaire status but with solid and consistent hard work you can earn a good salary over time.
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm afraid the time has come to close the webchat.

    I'm sure you'll all join with me in saying a huge thank you to Kelly for joining us this afternoon and for all her wonderful advice.

  • Thanks everyone for your great and varied questions. I've really enjoyed the last hour and hope you've found my replies helpful.

    If you would like more information on UKAWP you can reach me at [email protected] For specific information on our training courses, our course brochure is online or please email [email protected] Good luck everyone. Kelly x
  • Hello Kelly, I would like to ask you one question. I am quite new to this business and need to study a lot about wedding planner. can you please tell me that from where should i study about wedding planning.
  • 'I wanted them to be quiet, I thought it was a pretty secure out of the way 'I did what any other teacher would have done and I know there were .Jeff often tricks or persuades the other members of the group to do all of the work to the extent that even the teachers hated her and crossing guards lured .

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