Christina Sparkle

My wedding planning background

When I was about 13 or 14 I went to the standard careers advice session that everyone in my school year went to. A one on one session with the careers advisor, the aim being to help me choose what options to take for my GCSEs. I remember when I told him that I wanted to be a wedding planner he looked confused.

I told him I wanted to be a make up artist, and a florist, and a chef, and a dress designer. I told him I needed a course to help me with all of those things. He told me that no one had ever said that to him before and he was stumped as to what to advise, except that I should choose just one of those things and specialise. That didn’t appeal to me.

I suppose this was 1998 or 1999. Wedding planners in the UK weren’t common place, they were restricted to rich Americans and Hollywood films like Father of the Bride.

Or at least that was my perception.

Towards the end of my two year GCSEs I had another career advice session in order to help me choose my A Levels. This time the career advisor had changed to one of my favourite English teachers. I told her again that I wanted to be a wedding planner and she didn’t look surprised. In fact, she had a lot of knowledge on the subject and pointed me towards the “E” folder of university courses. E for event management.

I chose A levels that fit well with the subject; matching creativity with business knowledge and headed to Leeds Met at age 18 to begin my studies and realise my dream of becoming a wedding planner.

Year 1 at uni I used weddings as the example for all of my work. Year 2 was a placement year, I was very excited to secure a placement with a themed events company and I looked forward to planning all kinds of personal events; parties, weddings, showers and more. Unfortunately what was intended to be a year long placement I cut short because the company actually had very little for me to do; they only had two small events on their books for the entire year and my main task was to be an answer machine service.

After the first placement didn’t work out I moved on to volunteer for a small wedding planning company run by a very lovely lady who unfortunately didn’t have a lot of business nouse. We offered wedding planning advice, venue finding services and stocked a selection of ex-sample wedding dresses. We didn’t have a lot of business at all but it was great to work with someone else who wanted to help people with their weddings as much as I did.

Outside of the volunteer work I also helped two friends plan their weddings; finding venues, planning schedules, mapping timelines and so on.

When I returned to uni for my third year my view of wedding planning was slightly jaded. As much as I loved the concept I didn’t see it as a viable business option in the UK outside of London.

By this time I had started running gigs for my best friend’s band and my 3rd year tutor was a big music enthusiast so my attentions turned to concerts and festivals, a event sector which was on a big rise. I was also making money by designing websites for people so my final year combined these two interests culminating in my dissertation on E-ticketing for large events.

Fast forward 5 years and I now work full time as a web designer. I have a huge passion for event design and I try to bring that through to my web design work; adding lots of cute details wherever I can.

Now I’m planning my own wedding, not a small task for any bride but I have a lot of great inspiration and experience to draw from. The good thing is I know what I want, I know from experience what works, what I consider is a waste of money and where I want my to pay my attention. The bad thing is that I don’t necessarily have traditional ideas and my wedding may not be what my family is expecting!

My only regret: If only I had been as web savvy as I am now I may have found the wealth of beauty, inspiration and advice online to head in the right direction and continue on my path as a wedding planner.

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