Meet the Wedding Academy Team
I’m Kylie and…
the truth is I was never going to settle for a 9-5 job. I was always going to be in business for myself and it was really just a question of what I would do and when I would do it.
As a little girl my favourite thing to do was to dress up my dolls and play weddings. Their honeymoon was always somewhere different so I could pretend to be in a different country. By lunchtime I’d usually had 3 weddings. Fast forward a few decades and I’ve married twice, lived on three continents and in five different countries.
A born and bred Essex girl I spent the first 15 years of my life playing the violin and piano and I didn’t immediately have the makings of a wedding ceo. However, music gave me more life lessons than school ever did. It taught me discipline, focus, commitment, and an ability to apply myself and work hard. It also brought out my competitive streak and a determination to never give up, ever.
When I left school I followed my heart and studied at the Royal College of Music in London, which was all I had ever dreamed of, but when it came time to graduate and think about what was next in my life for some reason music wasn’t top of the list. There was a hunger inside me to try something new and see what else was out there. Other people took a year off to find themselves so why shouldn’t I?
That year turned into a lifetime and I never went back to a career in music. What I did do though was discover a passion for weddings and business. By the age of 22 I was running my first company, or should I say it was running me. It wasn’t the easiest road as there weren’t any courses, eBooks or YouTube videos to show you the way you had to be prepared to sink or swim. Social media didn’t exist, you didn’t just ‘Google it’ and advertising was only for the corporate giants unless you counted Yellow Pages. But I loved it and it ignited a fire in me.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though, not by any stretch of the imagination. I made a tonne of mistakes, nearly bankrupted myself and learnt very early on to never, ever, ever, ignore my gut instinct because when I did it spelt trouble. Would I change any of it? Of course I wouldn’t.
Today, I live in rural France with my husband Richard and my Border Collie Lottie running the Wedding Academy doing what I love. It’s been quite a journey
I have just celebrated 10 years of my wedding planning business and looking forward to 10 more. It has flown by and I attribute that to the lifestyle it has given me and the fact that it does not feel like work.
A decade ago my life was very different, I was a secondary school teacher working long hours and having no freedom in my job. So rather than doing it till I retired I thought I should follow my heart and started setting up my own wedding planning business, so I have been where you are and remember it well.
I loved planning my own wedding (secret – not everybody does you know) and felt that I had more skills to offer and wanted to explore a new path. Might have been the hormones as I was on maternity leave with my third daughter, but whatever spurred me on I have never regretted it.
A short while into that journey I started working with the academy mentoring students alongside planning weddings and I have done the 2 side by side ever since. I am very lucky to have found a career that combines my 2 strengths and passions – teaching and weddings. Although I am not a great believer in luck, it was not an accident that this happened I take full responsibility for it and love sharing what I have learnt along the way with fellow wedding business enthusiasts.
Hi there. I’m Christine – it’s nice to E-meet you.
Around the Wedding Academy I’m known as the girl who has been here the longest (apart from our CEO Kylie Carlson of course).
I joined forces with Kylie over 10 years ago in Australia, when she was just starting to build her big dream . Over those 10 years, I have absolutely loved being part of the Academy’s growth and success – we’re global now!!
At various times my roles have included Business Development, Marketing and writing copy for our websites, social media and marketing materials.
But, I can honestly say that what is even more cool, is that day by day, in my role as a Mentor & Course Advisor and ‘offerer’ of work and work experience, I have helped 1000’s of wedding lovers like you, take action on their big dreams. When I see the name of someone I helped pop up on Instagram, I do a happy dance (benefit of working at home without anyone watching)!
But don’t just take my word for how excited I am about helping people like you become people like me (Wedding Planners);
“Anyone working with Christine will get someone who is not only passionate but honest and hard working.” Kylie Carlson
If you’ve got big dreams to crush in the wedding industry, you’re the slice of orange in my Gin. As you might expect: I’m completely obsessed with what I do (and with Gin).
If I were a wedding I would be a multicultural destination wedding. Why? I have had the privilege of living in various places with some amazing friends who have all invited me to their weddings in some far flung places. Destination weddings satisfies my wanderlust and helps me connect with people who I enjoy spending time with and celebrating a special occasion in exotic locations.
I came into the wedding industry via my background in marketing and media sales and honestly I have never looked back. Moving from a bridal media owner selling advertising space on their website to joining the Wedding Academy and helping the next generation of wedding planners join our fantastic industry has been amazing. It’s been great to be a part of the wedding industry in Dubai, the community has grown and I have had the privilege of attending various conferences in and around the GCC and Europe as well as speaking and organising industry events and parties together with industry associations such as ILEA (International Live Events Association)
I love helping to connect people who go on to create amazing things together. It’s not about growing the industry for me but about helping people realize their full potential to live their dreams and become successful wedding business entrepreneurs.
I grew up in a small city in New Zealand called Nelson. I moved to Brisbane in 2008 and spent most of my 20’s perusing various careers trying to find just the think that I felt passionate about.
I knew from an early age that I was always going to start my own business one day. That was always my goal, I dreamed of having a career that supported my work life balance and allowed me to work flexible hours from home.
After moving to Australia I spent years studying everything from Business Management, Human Resources and Accounting. I worked in various corporate positions and never really felt satisfied with trying to climb the corporate ladder.
Everything changed for me in 2011 after I got engaged. I absolutely (like a lot of us!) fell in love with everything weddings! I felt like I had found something that I needed to pursue as a career. The whole wedding planning process brought me so much enjoyment. As a naturally organised person I knew my previous experience and skills would align perfectly with the change in career.
I signed up for a course with The Wedding Academy a few months before I got married in 2012. I knew straight away that I was on the right path. The months I spent completing the course and putting together a business plan for my own wedding planning business brought me so much fulfilment.
By the age of 24 I had my own business in Brisbane specialising in Wedding Styling and Planning. My business went on to achieve every goal I set for it, even the ones I felt that were never going to be achievable. I poured my heart and soul (as well as finances!) into growing my little business and I feel so proud of everything I achieved during the 4 years I owned it. Of course I made mistakes along the way and often spent way too much money on unnecessary things but I learnt so many valuable lessons that have allowed me now to go on to start other businesses in the industry.
After selling my business and having my son Lincoln, I moved back to New Zealand in 2018. I have worked for the Wedding Academy for over 4 years now and have really enjoyed sharing my experiences with other students as they work towards starting their own businesses in this exciting industry! I also currently own a Social Media Management business called Socialised, where I look after a variety of clients predominately across the Wedding and Events Industry.
Since I was a little girl I always dreamed of a career in the Fashion Industry. When I was 7 I even tried to make my own version of a Disney Princess gown! So it’s no surprise at 19 I left my hometown in rural England for the fashion hub of London.
After 4 years at art school and another 4 working my way up in the world of fashion I realised there was a huge disconnect with my girlhood dreams and the reality of my career. I was succeeding in my industry but I wasn’t happy or fulfilled.
In my late 20’s I was hit by the realisation that I didn’t really want to work for other people anymore. I wanted to be my own boss and reap the rewards of my hard work.
So the big question for me was, what can I apply my skills to that will allow me to be creative and be my own boss?
At the start of my fashion career I’d worked for a couture bridal studio. I knew it was a lucrative industry so it got me thinking…what wedding industry jobs could I do?
As soon as a google search led me to the Wedding Academy website and I discovered that wedding planning and styling was a viable career, I was hooked!
Just over 3 years later and a year into my business I’ve got nearly 15 weddings under my belt and I couldn’t be happier! I love running my own business and working with couples to plan and produce the wedding of their dreams.
I feel incredibly lucky that a few months into my course I landed a much sought after role assisting Kylie as part of the Wedding Academy team.
I’ve learned so much on my journey with the Wedding Academy, both as a student and a team member. I manage a lot of the design and social media for the Academy alongside running my business.
I also love to be able to connect with both current and prospective students, sharing my own experience of the course and launching my own business. Expect to see my on the Wedding Academy Facebook page sharing my wedding business insights and advice as I navigate this wonderful career journey.
For nine years Kylie ran a highly successful London based wedding and event business, planning and designing events around the world for an enviable list of high profile clients. After selling her company in 2003 she moved to Australia where she spent a year on the five-star resort of Hayman Island managing their onsite events as Operations Director.
After coming off the island she was looking for a change and it was then that the idea of sharing her knowledge by starting an online Academy for the wedding industry was born. Ten years later as CEO of the Academy of Wedding and Event Planning she manages 6 regional virtual campuses across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, UAE, South East Asia and North America. Through the Academy she has helped launch the careers of over 3,000 wedding professionals and is a business expert for the industry.
Kylie also has her own YouTube Channel and is a sought after speaker around the world. Through her personal brand she offers an intensive online business school for creative entrepreneurs, CEO School, along with a business retreat held in locations globally.
Zoe owns a successful wedding planning business, Cherish Weddings, where she works with some high profile clients and shares her experience with students as lead tutor and course consultant.
“I started Cherish wedding planning in 2008 as a complete career change from teaching. I have 3 daughters and was looking for a job that was more flexible and in complete contrast to teaching dance. In 2010 I met Kylie (Company director) for a coffee in London as she was looking to expand the UK branch, and I have been working with her and the team ever since. I still run my own wedding planning business too and I find this helps me to give current advice about the industry and honest answers to student’s queries which I think is important. My philosophy for brides is that they should enjoy the ‘process’ of planning their wedding as much as the day itself.”
Martha is an Academy Alumni who studied the Diploma in Wedding Planning, Styling and Design. She joined the Academy team back at the end of 2016 as the Brand Manager and is the design genius behind our annual International Wedding Trend Report and quarterly Wedding Business Magazine. She also collates the Academy blog, manages our social media, helps to create the concept for many of the Academy styled shoots and works with us on all the studio days creating new course material. To say her role is varied would be an understatement, but as a former student herself she has a unique advantage and can really help students in their day to day study.
Not only is Martha our Brand Manager she is also the woman behind Anemone; the founder, planner and stylist who has a love of elegantly understated and unique city weddings. Martha comes from a fashion and brand management background and therefore takes a very design-led approach, has a fantastic eye for colour and texture and always pays attention to the finer details.
Sam is the founder of The Wedding Owl, and is an experienced specialist wedding business consultant. She has extensive, practical knowledge of the Wedding Industry, wedding venues, and wedding suppliers and loves helping wedding business grow. She is the perfect tutor for our Diploma in Wedding Venue Coordination.
She has worked at award winning wedding venues in senior management roles for over 10 years managing the wedding process from the initial enquiry to closing the sale, to up-selling, through to delivering the event on the day. This includes organising food tastings, engagement shoots, wedding shows (both in-house and using external suppliers), invoicing and tactfully chasing couples for payment.
Sue set up Eleganza Weddings & Events in 2004 and has gained a reputation for organising successful and well-planned weddings. Her key aim was to offer a planning service that puts customers wishes for their wedding day at the forefront of everything she does for them. Top of her list has always been ‘listening to clients’ and ‘exceeding expectations’ mixed with all the romance, all the fun and the anticipation of planning their “special day”.
Prior to forming our Company Sue had many years of managerial experience for a large Corporate Company both in the UK and overseas. Her project management experience coupled with planning, communication and organisational skills experience from previous roles has proved invaluable for wedding day management.
Sue has also had experience in customer service roles, managing client relationships, sales and negotiation and holds various Floristry, Design and advanced Cuisine qualifications. She has found that there are many roles and hats you wear when you are planning a wedding and her broad range of knowledge and experience has certainly helped her.
When she started on the wedding planning career path Sue undertook training both practical and theory in the UK and the US for many aspects of wedding planning which was enjoyable and confirmed her belief that this was the path she wanted to follow!