Ask the Wedding Planners – Straight-Talking Answers!

As a consultant dedicated to helping venues shine more brightly in the industry, I talk a LOT on my blog, in my training programmes and via the talks and presentations I make about what venues need to do to keep relevant and appeal to modern couples.

Today I throw open the doors to some trusted industry colleagues and fellow wedding professionals, specifically independent wedding planners, who like me, work with clients through the entire wedding planning process and have exposure & vast experience with wedding venues across the country and across the world.

Group Wedding Planner image | Kelly Chandler ConsultingAndri Benson and Kelly Chandler Consulting

I asked them two questions:

“What makes a venue a favourite of yours?” and “In what areas could venues improve?”

Here are their insightful answers:

“When working with clients helping them to find their perfect venue, for me it’s all about the way the venue can make that client feel. Creating the right impression right from the off when meeting the client is key. Ensuring the clients feel wanted and listened to about what they really want for their day – not to fit into the “norm” or ticking boxes of what the venue wants the couple to be.

A professional wedding planner will give the venue an advance “heads up” or briefing on what their client is looking for. So the advice is, for the venue to really listen to that. Or if the couple approaches direct, ask them what they’re looking for and shape your offering around them.  Not the other way round”

Melanie Kiani 
Bellissimo Wedding Planners & Venue Managers 
UKAWP South West Regional Ambassador and Member 

What could venues do better: “Listen”! 

“A venue that delivers beyond expectation and takes time to ensure clients feel like theirs is the only wedding! Some of the busiest and very popular venues that I’ve worked with manage to do this extremely well. The last thing couples should feel is that they’re part of a wedding conveyor belt.” 

Val Mattinson, Creative Director, Benessamy Wedding & Event Planning & UKAWP Midlands Regional Ambassador

What makes a venue excellent/one of your favourites? 

  • A venue that wants to work with a planner and creates a good relationship together
  • One that puts everything in writing so there are no surprises on the day
  • A venue that has good indoor and outdoor space
  • A flexible venue that genuinely wants to please their clients
  • One that understands the power of social media and interacts with their clients and suppliers online

Sandy Moretta, Director, Tern Weddings & Events & The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners

How could venues improve their offering?’  

  • I feel clients are wanting a service that is more individual to them. They don’t want to feel like it is a “formula” led wedding with each wedding almost feeling like a cookie cutter of the previous clients wedding. i.e. select 1 starter/main/dessert from this menu, ceremony is set up like x, wedding breakfast like y. What about clients who want menus created bespoke for them? What about if they want to use rooms in a different way? Venues should show flexibility. This also goes for tastings -clients want to feel special rather than part of a mass tasting evening.
  • Venue staff showing future potential clients around a venue that has been hired for exclusive use also feels wrong to me and clients have commented on this in the past i.e. I am setting up a clients wedding where I have hired in everything to create the right look for my clients, (over using the venues own stock) and venues are showing bride and grooms around –  I feel they are benefitting from my design skills yet rarely credit the planner involved.  
  • Think more about the aesthetics of the weddings. So using round cloths to the floor / near to the floor. Have good quality crockery, cutlery and glassware. Not putting out bottles of wine on tables too early if the photographer hasn’t captured a wide shot of the design (bottles of wine and jugs of water on tables ruins all the hard work put into the design) ensuring you have nice salt and pepper shakers, (I had one wedding where everything was beautiful and the staff placed brown salt and pepper shakers onto the table. This was a 5-star venue and I insisted these were removed, it would’ve made more sense to have clear or glass ones that didn’t clash with any design chosen).
  • When doing a show round, ensure you have all key information beforehand i.e. staff have already checked the date, numbers and ceremony type.
  • Offer couples a drink at a show round, listen to what they want for their wedding instead of saying this is what we normally do at our weddings.

Bernadette Chapman, Director, Dream Occasions Weddings & Events  & The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners

Sandy Moretta tern events Bernadette Chapman Dream Occasions Kelly Chandler Consulting UKAWP Mix 'n Mingle | Kelly Chandler Consulting

So I hope that gives you some food for thought in taking a good look at how your team deliver your wedding experience, especially if you’d like to work with clients of wedding planners. If you’d like some outside expert help to assess, evaluate and affect positive change in your venue, then my consulting service ‘Refine & Shine can help.

You can read more about it here.

Do get in touch for an initial Discovery call on or 01483 282858.

If you’d like to find out more about wedding planners operating in your area with a view to building a relationship between them and your venue, then do take a look at the website for our leading industry body, The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

Chiswick House | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Image credits:  Hannah Duffy Photography: Wedding Planners: Val Mattinson from Benessamy Weddings & Events, Melanie Kiani, Bellissimo Weddings with Kelly Chandler //  UKAWP Annual Members Meeting and UKAWP Mix & Mingle // Fiona Kelly Photography – Ananya Cards 10 Year Celebration (Andri Benson & Kelly Chandler) // Chiswick House Wedding Planner Event – Photography: Magdalena Frackowiak