Welcome to Thursday Brides Up North – you are on the serious downhill to the weekend now! Between then and now, there’s a fair bit going on at Brides Up North HQ. Last night on Twitter and Facebook we announced plans for a very special wedding industry party (more on that later – but if you can’t wait… here are all the details) and our guest list is already swelling – so much so that our Paypal system couldn’t cope, whoops! – and on Sunday it’s our first beautiful bridal event in Yorkshire: The Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Allerton Castle. Have you registered for your VIP Goody Bag yet? Better hurry…
So whilst we manage our chaotic diary, I’ll hand you over to a lady who’d probably be much better at all this than we are – Bernadette at The UK Alliance Of Wedding Planners, a Brides Up North Featured Supplier. Planning is this lady’s middle name, and she could probably plan your big day in her sleep. Lucky for you, she’s a little more professional than that… so lets meet her!
Hi Bernadette, please introduce The UK Alliance Of Wedding Planners: how long has the organisation been running and why was it set up?
The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners was founded in 2004 for one purpose: to promote professionalism in wedding planning. The company believes that by investing in training and development and helping to grow the wedding planning industry in a professional manner we can together provide an outstanding and unparalleled service for today’s brides and grooms.
The UKAWP is owned and run by two like-minded wedding planners who are passionate about the industry. Each run a small but successful wedding planning business of their own. Each of the directors has 10 years+ experience running UK-based wedding planning businesses.
They both bring a different approach to weddings, have complementary experiences and operate in different areas, but remain committed to promoting professionalism and good and honest business practice in this field.
They firmly believe that being operational wedding planners and knowing the ‘day-to-day’ of the job enables them to successfully run the Alliance, train new potential planners and nurture and support members.
Tell Brides Up North about the service that UKAWP offer for Brides?
One of the main reasons for the existence of the UKAWP is to act as a reliable reference point for you, the bride. If you are looking for a professional wedding planner, this is the place for you. We are the only membership organisation in the UK dedicated to the ‘wedding planning industry’.
All of our wedding planner members have proven their professionalism and experience before being accepted and the majority continue their learning by attending workshops and seminars. They are dedicated to improving their knowledge to become the best they can possibly be, for you the bride. They all offer a consultation where you can discuss your wedding in detail and how they may be able to help you.
What services does UKAWP offer for its members?
We offer various educational workshops and seminars throughout the year, a mentoring service for planners new to the industry, terms and conditions to use on events and lots of support and networking opportunities.
Why should Brides use a wedding planner?
A wedding planner can save brides considerable time leaving them the fun aspects of wedding planning. Experienced planners have the knowledge of what’s hot and new in the wedding world, as well as saving their clients money with their excellent supplier contacts and wedding hints and tips!
Planners offer meticulous attention to detail and will help reduce the stress that can be associated with brides planning a wedding. It’s important to remember we do not take over, it’s your wedding always. It’s our job to take your vision and implement it.
What wedding planning services are available?
Most planners offer a variety of services so it is worth looking at individual websites, but the majority offer the following:
Full Planning – the planner designs and manages the whole wedding, recommending all suppliers and working closely with the bride to put her vision into place.
Partial Planning – the planner takes the reins somewhere between 6 and 12 weeks prior to the wedding. Most suppliers will be in place but a few may still need securing I would say anything from 6-9 months before?
On the Day Management – the planner works with the bride for just a week or two, seeing through the plans which the bride has put in place.
Why should Brides use a UKAWP member?
Our members have been vetted and reference checked, important in an unregulated industry. Our planners believe in investing in training and their continued learning ensuring they are at the forefront of the industry and offering the best customer experience.
How can Brides Up North use your website to find a UKAWP member in their area?
Brides can pop along to our directory and simply search for a planner near to them, or near to the area they are marrying in.
What would be your top tips for selecting a good wedding planner?
Go onto the UKAWP directory and conduct a general internet search to see what planners are in your area. Look through the websites carefully for typos and bad grammar. What’s your first impression on the planners style: does it excite you? Contact 2 planners for a free consultation, during this meeting does the planner ask lots of questions about you and the wedding? In short are they interested?
Can you give Brides an idea of a reasonable price for a planner’s services?
Most planners charge anywhere between 10% – 15% for full planning (excluding items like rings, honeymoon, attire) but with a minimum starting fee of approx.. £2,500.
Many planners offer partial planning starting at about £1,000 or day of services at circa £450.
Explain your code of business practice and what this means for Brides using a UKAWP member?
All our members adhere to our code of business practice which promotes high standards and offers reassurance to couples. One very important clause is that none of our members accept commission, all discounts are passed directly onto the bride.
How would a wedding planner become a member of UKAWP?
The planner can fill out an application form via our website . Both directors will review the applicant’s website in detail and a decision will be made. Aside from adhering to our Code, we request a copy of the planner’s Public Liability Insurance and written assurance that they use legally binding contracts with their clients, for the safety of all.
What are the benefits of membership?
Members benefit from belonging to a friendly alliance allowing them to build up a core of support when needed for events. We hold various social and educational events throughout the year.
A high proportion of membership fees go directly into bridal marketing ensuring planners have a far wider reach then they could afford independently. Many of our members tell us they receive most of their enquiries via our site.
Tell us about the various training courses that UKAWP offer?
We offer two core weekend courses, Business Practicalities covers how to launch a successful wedding planning business, and Step by Step takes the planner through how to actually organise a wedding for a client.
How can Brides or wedding planners get in touch with you/ find out more?
If brides have any questions about wedding planners in general feel free to contact us and we will be pleased to help. Should you wish to hire a planner don’t forget to look at our membership directory for a planner near to you.