We are very proud of our students and love to celebrate their successes and the things they’ve done. Many of them go on to launch successful businesses or get their dream job within the special events industry and it is very rewarding for us to showcase them here on our website.
Student of the Month
Each month we feature a different student and highlight their achievement and successes. It is a great way to promote our students to help establish them in the industry.student of the month
Natalie, you are one of our first and most successful Graduates. Can you tell us what you studied, when you completed and what you have been up to over the last few years?
Firstly let me say a humble “thank you “ to those kind words. It has been a pleasure to still be associated with the Academy long after graduating. I studied the Certificate in Wedding Planning and was fortunate enough to have graduated with a distinction! The Academy, as well as the course, was able to lay the foundation for starting out and am so glad I took the time to certify myself in this wonderful profession, or should I say “obsession”. Over the past few years a lot has happened; I have been published in several publications, both nationally and internationally and most recently been awarded one of Modern Weddings Top 25 Stylist in Australia, as well as being featured on Malaysia’s biggest blog; “Wedding Scoop”
2. In what ways did completing a course with the Academy help you to launch a business and is there something about the experience that you have carried through with you in the years’ since?
The Academy made me look at things from different perspectives, which when planning an event & starting up a business, is paramount. The transparency of the Tutors at the Academy was refreshing and it was the details that one took for granted like drawing up a contract ( the do’s and don’ts, what to consider etc !) was something I have never overlooked and always keep updating! One the thing I do remember though, is that at a workshop I was attending Kylie had mentioned something about “knowing your worth” and at the time I shrugged it off and took it for granted that I knew what I was worth; however fast forward a few years and lot more events up my sleeve, I was able to truly understand what Kylie meant and since then, I have those few words as my mantra.
3. If you had a tip for someone wanting to enter the industry, what would it be? Do you think gaining a qualification is still important?
There are so many tips one could give, but here are few I think are important: be hard-working; the hours may be long and exhausting, but the result is truly satisfying. Secondly, be open minded and soak up industry information like a sponge. Learn that this business is primarily built on relationships, both with clients and industry professionals, so always treat everyone with respect and nurture those relationships going forward. In my humble opinion, gaining a qualification is invaluable as you can never know enough; I truly believe knowledge is power!
4. What are you excited about when it comes to working in the industry and your business for the coming year?
The things that excite me about working in the industry this coming year are the constant changes in event design; textures, colours etc., the list is endless! For my business though, I intend to continue growing my network base with vendors whose business acumen aligns with mine, so that together we can make the wedding experience …one to remember!
Mikhayla congratulations on recently Graduating from the Diploma in Wedding & Event Planning and the launch of One Day Weddings & Events. Tell us how does it feel to have finished your course and launched your business?
Thank you! It is a great feeling to have finished my Diploma! I enrolled when my son was only 8 weeks old, so juggling being a new mama as well as working and studying was definitely a bit of a balancing act. I have always wanted to work in the weddings and events industry, however I never set out with the intention of running my own business. It wasn’t until I was a halfway into my diploma that I realised that if I wanted the job I had always dreamt of, then I would need to create it for myself. I am so lucky to have the most supportive husband, who not only pushed me to enrol in the course, but when I told him my plans of starting my own business, he suggested I use all our savings intended for our honeymoon to pay for the start-up and launch of my business. What a keeper! Now that my business is fully up and running, it is an amazing and very humbling feeling to know that I will play such a large part in the planning and coordination of a couple’s most special day.
2. What a lovely story Mikhayla. Thank you for sharing it with us. You certainly do have a ‘keeper’! Your website is stunning and many of the images are from a Styled Shoot you did. What made you decide to do a styled shoot to find images for your website and how do they reflect your brand?
When I started the planning process of launching my business I went into it with the saying; “do it once and do it well”. I would rather outlay the financial costs associated with launching a business early on and do it well rather than try and cut corners and end up having to re-do it all later. To me, a website was one of the most important factors when starting my business. It had to have all the information about what I do, but it also had to be aesthetically appealing. To ensure all the images used on my website flowed well, as well as looked exactly how I wanted, it seemed like a no-brainer to put together a styled shoot for images to be used. I worked with an incredibly talented bunch of local vendors and suppliers to pull together a shoot that reflects the young and fresh approach that I bring to my brand.
3. You studied weddings and events with the Academy. How did the course help you to get to where you are today?
After planning my own wedding I realised that this is what I wanted to do for a living. However I knew that the experience of planning my very own wedding could not compare to the logistics of planning a wedding for someone else. I knew that if I wanted to turn my passion into my career that I would need to become an accredited wedding and event planner. Not just for the peace of mind for client’s, but also for myself, so that I knew I would be able to handle everything that is thrown at me. I know that if I hadn’t done my Diploma, I wouldn’t have had the confidence in myself to launch my own business.
4. What did you enjoy most about your course?
My tutor Lisa was really amazing. She was so encouraging and offered me so much helpful advice, which I took on board when starting my business and putting together my business plan. I loved the flexibility of studying via distance; this meant I could study when it suited me and my schedule. Not having deadlines for my assignments really enabled me to be able to do my best work without stressing about having enough time to complete it to the standard I set myself.
5. What are you looking forward to most, about working with your clients, in your own business?
I really love bringing out the individuality in each couple and making their wedding a true reflection of them. I am so lucky to work with a very talented group of suppliers, who I trust and know will do an incredible job and they all play such an important part in the event running smoothly. The thing I always look forward to with each couple is the big day itself. It is such an amazing and satisfying feeling seeing all your hard work unfold on the day and watching the couple’s face as they relax and enjoy the day.
6. If you could give someone thinking about study with the Academy and a career in weddings and events some advice, what would it be?
Don’t put it off! This was something I had wanted to do for years, but I always had an excuse and it was never “the right time”. Now that I have graduated and I have launched my own business, I am kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner! To me being a wedding planner was always the “dream job” that I never thought I would have and I convinced myself that living in a small coastal town that there wasn’t a market for my services and used to continuously tell myself; “maybe if I lived in a big city then I could be a wedding planner”. Oh how wrong I was! Since the launch of my business I have been kept very busy with clients and bookings and have been welcomed with open and inviting arms by all the other local suppliers and vendors.
7. What did you love most about the first Wedding you worked on?
I am going to sound cliché, but I really did have the most wonderful and down to earth couple. I was so lucky and we “clicked” really well. They knew it was my first wedding and were more than happy to have me come on board as their Coordinator. I actually had some bad luck/timing and the day before their wedding was up all night sick and by the time their wedding day came around I hadn’t managed to stomach food in over 24 hours. Talk about the worst timing ever! Thankfully, the excitement of my first wedding kicked in and I was able to do a 12 hour day (on an empty stomach), with no issues and the couple had no idea I had been feeling like death the day before. Win! As they say “the show must go on”. The wedding itself ran like clockwork, pretty much down to the minute. All the suppliers I worked with were all aware of it being my first wedding and they were all so lovely to work with. After my first wedding my passion for weddings multiplied ten-fold. I also learnt that: flat shoes are a must, don’t forget to eat or drink water and finally, the pack down is the least “fun” job of all.
Alexandra can you tell us what your chosen course was and why you chose it?
I decided to study Diploma in Wedding Planning Styling and Design because I really liked the modules. It covers everything related to Wedding planning, styling and design as the title says. I like to say that this course is like a body that starts getting dressed until the last moment when you look in the mirror and you are ready for the night or day ahead: confident with a knowledge baggage.
Can you introduce your business to us and tell us a little about why you launched it?
My business name is Food Stylist Melbourne. Besides wedding styling and coordination, its main service is fine tuning the catering presentations for garden weddings (garden or private). So either I bring the bride and groom the perfect catering company according to their wishes or once they have one Catering company, I get the caterers food and present it properly, styling it for a wedding. I bring the big guns: elegant linen, interesting tables, crockery…depending on the theme and concept. Specially after a Ceremony, some couples love having finger food and drinks celebrating their big moment before getting ready for their reception so that’s where I come in, styling their table. Besides this I can organise food truck weddings and as well picnics for different occasions (proposal, baby showers, bridal shower, birthdays). I am lucky to be mentored by Denise from Wedding Zone which took me under her wing showing me how weddings are done in the Botanical Garden, showing me all kind of events and helping me when I have questions. Besides this You Christine helped me a lot by giving me the opportunity to coordinate two weddings for I do Crew in the beautiful Fitzroy Town hall. That was an amazing start for my career.
What have you learned from your studies with the Academy that helped you to launch this business?
That you need to think outside the box, you need to be different and being different is not a bad thing. Making a mistakes is normal, as long as you learn from them and all the videos with different stylists from all over the world with their stories made me confident, made me understand that ‘Rome was not built in a day’, it takes passion, perseverance and confidence. I know I have just started and have so much to learn but I say yes to a lot of challenges, workshops knowing that I make connections, meet people, spread the world regarding my business.
What would you like your business to be known for?
A business known for providing quality services, uniques concepts, elegance respecting the culture and wishes of every couple.
What would you say to someone reading this who would like to launch their own business but is unsure if they can do it?
Try! Don’t be afraid. Or be scared but know that it is normal. You will have obstacles, questions, fears but there is a great community of students on our Facebook page and teachers ready to help you. We are here to support each other, help and motivate. There will be tough moments when you will think ‘ what am I doing’, I still have them sometimes but it is normal. And just say yes to events, going to places, trying workshops, meeting people. You may find that you are better at a different area of the industry by trying or getting in contact with that niche.
Amy is a recent graduate of the Certificate in Wedding Planning and launched her company, Amy Molloy Wedding Planner, upon completion of her course. Amy is based in Perth and became a student with the Academy to help her launch her new business and learn about the areas of wedding planning that she felt she was lacking in. Congratulations Amy and we look forward to following your journey.
Here is what Amy had to say about her course: “The Certificate of Wedding Planning really prepared me because it covered all areas of wedding planning, not just the parts that I had encountered with my own wedding. I really enjoyed how it was spread out over twenty units, each one going into detail of not only what to expect when you have your own business, but how to find your niche and become a successful wedding planner. I found the videos and podcasts very educating and the feedback from tutors always very constructive and helpful.”
1. Meg it is some time since you completed your studies with the Academy. Can you update us on what you have been doing?
It has been a little while; so in the last couple of years I have been working extremely hard to get our business name out there! I am now lucky enough to be doing something I love full-time.
2. Can you tell us about the services you offer via your business and is the business you have today the one you had in mind when you enrolled with the Academy?
We offer three main services at Gingermegs Floral Creations. We specialise in Florals, Styling and Hire. When I first enrolled in the Academy I never thought we would be in a position to offer these services. I have always had a passion for flowers and truly believe they go hand in hand with styling.
3. What makes a wedding special in your eyes?
It needs to be a true reflection of the couple – those little details that are unique to them.
4. How have your studies with the Academy helped you in your career?
The Academy has given me a great insight to the industry and has also confirmed that this is what I love doing.
5. Styling a weddings calls on such a range of skills. Do you have any tips for someone who is wanting to pursue this path?
Take every opportunity to get hands on experience. Be persistent, be kind, be patient be honest, be creative!
Louise you have graduated from our Certificate in Event Design, you are also working in the industry and have launched your own Styling and Events business in Perth, called, Lacey Road. Congratulations on those achievements! What were your goals when you enrolled in the course and how do you feel the course has prepared you for achieving them?
My goal was to launch my own Event Coordination and Styling business using my existing experience in planning corporate and community events, as well as the knowledge about event design and styling I gained through AAWEP. This course has given me the confidence in my styling and creative abilities I needed to launch my business and start taking on clients and projects on my own. I have also now been able to enter the wedding industry and recently coordinated and styled my first ever wedding which was both a destination wedding and included over150 guests; talk about hitting the ground running!
Absolutely Louise! That is a great achievement and a wonderful way to start out. What have you most enjoyed about your course/being a student of AAWEP?
The challenge of being a mature aged student! I have always loved a challenge, in fact I thrive when given one, so it has been so enjoyable to test my existing knowledge about events as well as pushing my brain to absorb new information and get creative with styling assignments.
What is it about weddings & events that drives you to wanting to make this your career?
The end result. Nothing makes me happier than to see all of my work come to life on the day of the event and watch people enjoying the setting I have created. I can be stressed out of my mind dealing with unforseen hiccups, or mother nature bringing some unexpected weather to the party, but I’m always able to take a step back, breathe and be in total awe of how lucky I am to be able to coordinate and/or style such amazing events.
That is a fantastic way of describing one of the things that most of us love about working in weddings and events Louise. What would you say to anyone else who feels passionate about working in the industry and is considering taking a course?
Go for it. Knowledge is power and it should never be underestimated how much confidence can be gained from learning new things. I already had 7 years experience in events but I knew I still had so much to learn; I wouldn’t have been as prepared as I am now to take on clients without this Certificate under my belt.
Michelle, can you tell us what you are studying and how the course is helping you with your business, Complete the Look?
I am currently studying a Certificate in Wedding Planning through AAWEP and have found that the information contained within the course, the access to internationally recognised wedding professionals and the consistent support from the tutors has allowed me to enhance, develop and provide my clients with a unique set of skills and services that truly represents who I am and my passion for creating dream weddings.
You are enjoying some incredible success with your business. Can you tell us about some of the exciting things you have been doing?
This year I have expanded my business to include all of Australia and the International stage. I had the honour recently to travel overseas to the city of love Paris to meet with clients and create new professional connections with some extremely talented people in our industry. I also had the pleasure of working on my business and building my brand.
I am also very excited about the current behind the scenes work I am doing with my new branding, social media, website and amazing new services.
I have also had the honour of being apart of a number of beautiful weddings this year and feel amazingly blessed to help each couple achieve their dream wedding days.
If you had a tip for someone wanting to enter the industry what would it be? Do you think gaining a qualification is important?
If you are looking at entering the Wedding & Event industry and your looking at launching your own business I would highly recommend that you invest time into getting to know your local wedding suppliers, volunteering to work with them, start building the foundations for your business and invest in yourself, your future and your passion by obtaining a recognised qualification in Wedding & Event Planning or Styling. Today our clients are wanting to engage professionals who have amazing experience, qualifications and industry knowledge.
What are you excited about when it comes to working in the industry and your business for the coming year?
I am excited about the opportunities our clients provide us to access limitless creativity which in turn provides our industry with access to cutting edge technology, lighting, sound, food and the list goes on. As a result of these opportunities I am personally excited about the expansion to the international stage that my business is striving to achieve this year and the amazing professionals I will have the honour of working with to create personalised dream weddings for my clients.
You are combining the demands of motherhood, with running a business and doing the course. What strategy/tool do you use to manage it all?
I spend a lot of time planning out my week and day and setting myself up for success. I have a system where I categories each task into Imperative, important, if possible and not important. By using this system I find that my
work is streamlined, study is achievable and my family remains my main focus.
I have also learnt that I need to be flexible when it comes to what I need to accomplish each day and that its OK to reschedule if my plans change. I also use a journal every night to help unload my mind, set myself goals, reaffirm my dreams and release any tensions or stresses. These strategies have enabled me to continue reaching for the stars and smashing my goals.
Shelley you are enrolled in our Certificate in Wedding Planning and you have been busy with the launch of your new business. Can you tell us some more about your business?
Luxury Weddings and Events is a Sydney based wedding and event styling & theming business that specialises in both indoor and outdoor Wedding Ceremony setups. Our aim is to provide an ultimate wedding package for our wedding couples to assure that their wedding day is one that truly belongs to them and picture perfect in every way. To make things easier we will work with our wedding couples along the entire way and will do all the setup and pack down – all they need do is let us know what package they want and the time we need to be there.
Shelley, what were your goals when you enrolled in the course and do you feel the course is preparing you to achieve them?
My goals initially when enrolling in this course was to get some guidance on where to start and a stepping stone into the industry. However, it’s proven it’s so much more! The level of insights and guidance was very valuable and has definitely given me a whole new spectrum of the industry.
What have you most enjoyed about your course/being a student of AAWEP so far?
The ability to have flexible learning – wherever and whenever I want I can access the course materials and also most importantly the opportunities to network with other like-minded people to share knowledge and learnings!
What is it about weddings & events that drives you to wanting to make this your career Shelley?
I have always been passionate in styling and theming but having the opportunity to contribute and be a part of someone else’s big day and making their dream come true; the feeling of satisfaction is truly indescribable.
What would you say to anyone else who feels passionate about working in the industry and is considering taking a course?
Do it! If you’re really passionate about being in the industry then don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what you want. AAWEP provides a lot of guidance and support to make sure you get off the right start.
Natalie is enrolled in our Advanced Diploma in Special Event Planning and Design. When we asked Natalie why she chose to enrol in this course she told us;
“I truly believe that clients are becoming more and more savvy in making choices, and if having Accreditation helps with that choice, then I had no hesitation in obtaining it. I choose AAWEP as educator of choice because of the years of experience and the range of topics covered. I have experience in corporate events but have found the Academy very knowledgeable on the wedding side as that’s the side I wish to focus on. It has been fantastic to learn more in depth about the industry. I really enjoy the support and the feedback and I look forward to eventually finishing my diploma!”
Natalie’s business is a new start-up, so we asked her how she had found the process of launching and getting those first clients;
“I have actually found that the setting up of the business side pretty easy, I like admin so no problems there, what I’m learning is how to market oneself as you are your business brand. It has been great so far, I have clients already, way before I planned for them, which has been fantastic. Unfortunately I still work full-time, but you know what? That’s okay because I have goals and a plan and the money coming in helps with those, and frees me up from worrying.”
Brooke, you completed our Diploma in Wedding Planning Styling and Design. Can you give us a little background on what made you choose this course and the Academy for your studies?
I’ve always had an interest in learning more about planning and styling weddings and events, and as a young girl I used to love that movie with Jennifer Lopez – The Wedding Planner! A little cheesy I know!
I studied a Diploma in Events/Hospitality a couple of years ago, but I felt at the end that I wanted to really focus on weddings. The Diploma in Wedding Planning, Styling & Design seemed like a really good fit; it focused on a lot of things I wanted to know, like how to present my services to a bride, sell myself and it encouraged me to reach out to the fantastic vendors we have in Wagga Wagga and Albury.
How have you found the experience of completing the course online?
I’ve found the experience a lot easier than I thought! It has taken me a little longer than I wanted, but life gets in the way sometimes! In saying that, I’ve always found it easy to get back on track because planning weddings and events is something I’m really passionate about!
Congratulations on the launch of Yellow Lane Wedding & Event Designs. Your website looks amazing and I know the images are your own from Styled Shoots. Can you tell us a little about your business and why you chose to do a Styled Shoot to get your own images for the site?
Thank you! I’m really proud to say that I designed my website by myself, with a little technical help from my sister!
Yellow Lane is a bespoke planning/styling/hire company located in the beautiful Riverina. We love to create premium events, with lots of detail and beautiful design. I chose to plan, style and coordinate styled shoots so that I could start promoting my own work, and I wanted to be able to show my branding, inspiring the kinds of brides and clients I hope to work with in the future.
For me, it was also about connecting and networking with the incredibly talented vendors around the Albury + Wagga area! I think we’ve all become a little addicted to how much fun they can be!
Were there things that you learned through the course that helped you have the confidence to launch your business and undertake the Styled Shoots?
Definitely! I loved learning how to create the perfect mood board and learning about all of the different aspects that make up a wedding – and being able to put them into action was an added bonus! It was like creating a mini wedding! There were also moments where I had to teach myself to have confidence, and remember that I’m still learning, but I can do this!
What would you like your business to be known for?
I’d love for Yellow Lane to be known for beautiful Hamptons style weddings, premium weddings and events full of stylish design and splashes of bold colour – The go-to wedding + event planner + stylist.
What can we expect to see you doing more of in 2017, now that your course is behind you?
Coordinating + styling more styled shoots (Just for fun! I promise!), planning some exciting events, and styling plenty more weddings! We’ll be expanding our hire range very soon too!
Do you have a tip to share with someone reading this who would also like to pursue a career in weddings and events and perhaps do a course?
If you think you’re passionate about weddings and events, then go for it! Take the chance, and see what you’re really capable of! My tip is to try not to lose sight of your goals and what you want out of the course, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
Ryan you recently graduated from our Certificate in Wedding Planning. Congratulations! Tell us what made you choose the Academy and this course specifically?
Thank you so much – it is very exciting! I chose the Academy because when I decided to undertake a course in wedding planning I wanted it to be with the best and in all my research the Academy was the one that stood out the most to me. The course I selected suited exactly what I was looking for, the support was outstanding and the assignments helped me develop my style, what I wanted to do and overall was just so enjoyable.
Since enrolling you have launched your own business, can you tell us how the course prepared you for taking this step?
Launching my own business was always my end goal and it happened quicker than I expected. The course really cemented for me that my own business is what I wanted and it helped me be more targeted about what services I wanted to offer; my wedding styling and also that weddings and events was what I wanted my career to be all about. The other thing about the course was that because of all the different topics of the assignments, it covered so many areas that are so important to think about when starting your own business.
What is it about weddings & events that drives you to wanting to make this your career?
LOVE – the simple answer to this is LOVE. I just believe in it so much and want to create amazing weddings and events for couples who choose to celebrate their love in front of their friends and families. There is nothing more amazing then seeing two people in love, who want their special day to be nothing but magical and being able to be a part of that is why I do this. I also love being creative and trying different things, different themes, different styling and being a wedding and event planner allows me to do this.
Are you combining other work with your business? If so that is a big commitment, even though it is early days, do you have some tips for getting the balance right?
I currently work full time as a team leader in a foster care agency and with the business as well it is very demanding on my time. My biggest belief is that if you are going to do something, do it but allocate your time appropriately. Don’t over commit yourself to things and keep it in control. My other biggest tip is be patient! Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your business so take the time to ensure that everything is perfect and exactly how you want it before you launch yourself out there. In saying this, there is nothing wrong with mistakes, so if you make them then learn from them.
What would you say to anyone else who feels passionate about working in the industry and is considering taking a course and going after their dream job, or launching their own business?
If you are considering undertaking the course or launching your own business be sure that this is what you want to do. You must have real passion for this, want to work hard, not give up on your dream and not be scared to push yourself further than you expect. Take a chance because you never know where it will take you!!!
Amy has recently completed the Diploma in Wedding Planning, Styling and Design and has launched her business, Merriment Weddings, offering planning and styling services to brides on Sydney’s lower North Shore. We are always proud to see our students reach their potential and fulfill the dreams they talked to us about when enrolling and Amy has certainly done that.
Here is what Amy had to say about her time studying with the Academy. “I really value the professional guidance from the tutors and the added extras that AAWEP offers to students such as special deals, work experience and business packages. The course has also provided me with the knowledge, skills and guidance to achieve my ultimate goal of starting a business.”
Academy Inspire May 2017
Becoming a Creative Thinker
You will often hear people refer to working in weddings and events as a creative career and it is. But this term can also be very intimidating if you have never seen yourself as ‘creative’. I am asked fairly regularly if you need to be an artist to be able to work in weddings and events and I believe this comes from a misunderstanding of what creativity actually is. The answer is no by the way and thank goodness, because I can draw the some-total of two things and one is a worm and the other a butterfly!
The word creative is defined as: the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness. Artist and Writer Nicola Newman describes creativity as being about making something that wasn’t there before; which usually comes down to knowing how to use specific tools, and developing your skills in using those tools. I will add that to be creative you need a healthy dose of curiosity too.
What I really like about Nicola’s definition is the emphasis on creativity being a skill that you can develop, just like learning to drive a car or play the piano. When working in weddings and events as a Planner and Designer one of the things you will most use creativity for is creating concepts for your client’s weddings and events. If you can paint, draw, style and decorate you may use those skills to work on elements of the event yourself, or you can hire Stylists, Florists and Lighting Designers to use their creativity to bring your ideas to life. But it all starts with your creative thinking and that is the skill I want to encourage you to focus on developing if you want a creative career in this industry, because it is the one skill that you cannot succeed without.
We help our students develop their creative thinking skills through the Projects and Assignments in our courses. Good old Google is also a great source of resources for ‘creative thinking’ exercises. I also highly recommend reading The Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you truly doubt your ability to be creative, this book is a must-read.
If the word creative scares you and you believe that you have not got a creative bone in your body, I urge you to spend this month working on proving yourself wrong! If you decide to take up my challenge, please email me and let me know what you discover.