Interview with: Sandy Moretta and Bernadette Chapman
Company Name: UK Alliance of Wedding Planners
Location / Coverage: UK and some destination countries
What is the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners?
The UKAWP is the leading industry body for the UK wedding planning market, with wedding planners across the country and abroad.
How did the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners start and how long has the business been going?
The UKAWP was the brainchild of Bernadette Chapman, who launched it in 2004 with a business partner. After the latter left, in 2006 the UKAWP began in its current guise and continues to grow and develop.
What does the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners offer to wedding planners?
The UKAWP offers wedding planners a number of things, the two main areas being training from and membership of the leading industry body for planners in the UK.
We also offer many educational and social events which are open to member and non-member planners, and sometimes the wider industry.
Wedding planning can be a lonely business sometimes, so we are great believers in networking and often collaborate with one another for weddings.
Why should wedding planners join the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners?
Being a UKAWP member shows brides that a planner is serious about their professionalism and continued education.
Most members work in a relatively small geographical area and therefore national advertising can be wasteful. The UKAWP dedicates a large proportion of members’ subscription fees to advertising on behalf of all members and encouraging brides to look at our directory to find their local members, which is much more cost effective.
How does a wedding planner become a member and what does this mean?
Both new and experienced planners can apply for membership. We have a strict application process, which includes ensuring planners are trained and/ or have been in full time events management for a minimum of two years.
Members must adhere to our Code of Business Practice.
What services can the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners offer to couples planning their wedding?
The UKAWP itself offers couples a large directory of vetted and trained professional Wedding Planners.
Individual members offer a variety of services ranging from full wedding planning to partial planning, and in some cases on the day management, depending upon a couple’s needs.
Why should a couple choose a wedding planner who is registered with UK Alliance of Wedding Planners?
Wedding planning in this country is currently entirely unregulated, meaning people can set up with no training, no experience and sadly, occasionally, really no idea about how to run a business safely and professionally.
Choosing a UKAWP member means you are opting for someone who has been rigorously checked and trained, who follows our Code of Business Practice, is insured and uses legally binding contracts to protect both client and planner.
Where are your wedding planners located?
We have members all over the UK and a handful abroad. We aim to increase the number of destinations in which we have members as we know UK couples often like to marry abroad.
Do all your members offer the same services?
Our members offer a variety of services depending upon their location and expertise, but most offer full planning and some form of partial planning.
How would a bride and groom find their perfect wedding planner via the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners?
We suggest couples look through our directory to find members based in, or covering, the area they wish to marry in.
Have a look at members’ websites and book a consultation with a number of members you are interested in meeting.
Your wedding planner is someone you will work very closely with so ask all the questions you wish and air any concerns you may have, then review their proposals and make your choice.
What are the best and worst things about being a wedding planner?
Goodness – well, we are all very different characters, but I think for most of us the best thing is seeing the couples’ faces on the day when everything comes together as they envisioned.
The worst? Probably each wedding coming to its inevitable conclusion and having to move on. The lovely thing is we know many clients remain friends and keep in touch with their planners, which says a lot about our members.
What is your top tip for planning the perfect wedding?
Well I guess I’d have to say hire a professional wedding planner! I would also say stick to what you and your other half want – it is your day, not your family’s or your planner’s – yours. A great way to start married life.
Random question… What was the last book you read?
Well for me, Val McDermid’s ‘The Torment of Others’ (I know, horrid and very non-weddingy, but I love a good murder), and I can guarantee for Bernadette some kind of paranormal love story.