Wedding Venue Expert, Consultant & Trainer
About Kelly Chandler
About Kelly Chandler
It’s been a long while since I’ve introduced myself fully. With many new followers, community members and venue connections joining me of late, it felt like a very good time to tell you more about this wedding venue expert, consultant and trainer …
How long have you been in the events & wedding industry and how did you get started?
I’ve been in event planning for 23 years and wedding planning and the wedding industry for 17 of those years. I fell into events when I left university with a French degree along with a passion for travel, a natural love of marketing & communications, bags of organisational skills and the love of a good gathering or party! I’ve worked on a vast array of events over that time. Across the globe from pharmaceutical marketing advisory boards, medical congresses, large-scale conferences, high level reward trips for blue-chip client top achievers, charity galas, private parties and of course unique wedding celebrations.
Do you have a favourite event or wedding venue?
I’m asked this a lot and whilst I have some personal favourites, I know that it’s most definitely not one-size fits all in the wedding market.
The style of the weddings I planned with my independent planning business (The Bespoke Wedding Company) which operated until 2017 tended towards classic elegance, designing timeless celebrations in aspirational British settings, but without ostentation. I’m rather partial to a country house, stately home and heritage “home from home” and am very lucky to have worked on many wedding weekends in gorgeous private rural settings. I’m very experienced at understanding the conflicting demands, financial considerations, protection of privacy and more, which working in privately-owned and/or heritage properties brings. I’m very lucky to spend most of my time these days as wedding venue expert, consultant and trainer working with heritage and rural clients in beautiful quirky characterful places and spaces. Often full of challenges but an absolute privilege.
What is your proudest career moment?
There are quite a few, over 17 years in the industry. Being made a Director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (our industry body) back in 2006 was a landmark. Being asked to join the Judging Panel for the highly-praised The Wedding Industry Awards in 2014 was also a proud moment. Then over the past five years, launching and growing as a wedding venue expert, consultant and trainer, on the back of so much demand from ambitious locations wanting my advice and input is very satisfying.
What is your least favourite thing about working in events?
I still find it annoying that many people think it’s so easy to put together an event effectively and quickly and often pass off events & weddings to team members who are very inexperienced when actually to do it well does take a lot of time, attention to detail, skill and training.
What is your most memorable wedding that you worked on?
This was for a couple who wanted a wedding celebration party for their UK guests when they had previously married in the USA. Guests met on the steps of St Pauls Cathedral for transport to a mystery venue which was actually a rather dark and moody nightclub under London Bridge which we utterly transformed into different zones including a Russian themed drinks reception, a classic white draped marquee lunch, a circus workshop complete with all activities and a Moroccan afternoon tea. Crazy and action-packed and lots of fun and detail!
How did you branch out from wedding planning into wedding consulting?
This happened very organically after being asked by several ambitious venue teams who I worked with over many years on weddings, for business advice to help grow their venue businesses & achieve ambitious goals and wedding booking targets. Being asked time and again and, with an inbox full of people asking for my valued input, it was time to put that into practice and create a new business as a wedding venue expert, consultant and trainer.
What is your favourite service you offer to wedding venue clients?
I enjoy getting face to face with clients as much as possible and supporting them over a long period to really achieve transformations. My signature programme is my ‘Refine & Shine’ 6-month programme.
Here I work one to one with established wedding venues to refine and improve their whole wedding approach from the outside in. To help them achieve better sales results through looking at all areas of their wedding offering. This private programme allows me to really delve into what a venue does, suggest change, and allows their team time to reflect on how they do things. The transformation that occurs really rather quickly is great to see. Within the follow-ups that are part of the 6-month programme we see major shifts & positive change in all areas of the wedding business, with lasting improved sales performance, happier teams and happier clients.
And just for fun…
Who in the public eye would you like to meet or plan an event for?
I’m not big into fame or celebrity as a rule, but there are a few people I’d like to have dinner with such as Alex Polizzi (I fancy a spell as the Wedding Inspector) and Kristen Scott Thomas (just so elegant and intelligent and partly French, which is just effortlessly glamorous in itself).
Who is the most interesting person that you have sat next to on a plane?
Well that would be my husband. After 20 years of marriage, we’re still learning together and we enjoy some fabulous adventures with our little family.
What do you like to do when you are not busy running events & consulting for wedding locations?
I love living in a village setting in the Surrey countryside near to Guildford and regularly exploring nature and the outdoors – National Trust’s Polesden Lacey is like a second home to me!
I’m a big believer in “experiences” over “things”, with a particular passion for travel to France (I have a degree in French) and the island of Corsica which is one of my favourite places on earth.
The love of a good party naturally extends to enjoying hosting and time with friends and family over good food and wine is a must in my life, but I’m more “front of house” than a kitchen dynamo!
I hope that gives you a little more insight into what makes me tick, what experience I bring and what I like best. I’m passionate about working with like-minded ambitious venue clients to bring out the best in their teams and their unique venue – if you’d like to explore whether we could work together then please do get in touch over email and let’s talk.
And for advice, discussion and group support for wedding venues, do check out my free Facebook group, Wedding Spaces Going Places. You can sign up here: https://www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk/join-wedding-spaces-going-places/
Image credits: Charlotte Webb Photography // Rachel V Photography // Stoke Park – Paul White Photography // Hedsor House // Kelly with daughter Neve at Polesden Lacey, National Trust // Kelly at Polesden Lacey, National Trust
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