Woman wearing a white t-shirt that says mothers, daughters, visionaries, queens, women
Chelsi Peter/Pexels

The wedding industry is full of inspiring women - we'd like to introduce you to some of them.

Of course, we don't need a reason to celebrate women in weddings. After all, a large proportion of businesses in this £14 billion industry are led by female entrepreneurs.

However, as today is International Women's Day, it feels like the perfect time to highlight the amazing work of some of the excellent female-owned wedding businesses out there.

These are the women who have set up successful wedding businesses, from venues to planning services. They continue to grow and evolve their visions, challenging themselves to do more. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, they've had to steer their businesses through a time of unprecedented difficulty and uncertainty. 

What's more, we want to celebrate these women because they understand the importance of uplifting, supporting and empowering other women; these values are baked into their businesses.

Their stories will inspire you, whatever industry you work in.

Fehintola Bolodeoku

Business: Wedding Cakes & Patisserie

Fehintola Bolodeoku
Photo by Cristina Ilao

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date

I’ve always been a creative at heart, but I never considered that creating art could be my career. I initially pursued my love for science, but after a difficult time in my life I rekindled my love for art through baking. It started with cupcakes, and then I discovered the amazing world of wedding cakes and sugar flowers.

In the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to create the wedding cake for a wonderful couple. It was my dream brief: a 4-tier cake with a cascade of sugar flowers. In 2017 I became certain that this was my passion; thankfully more opportunities and collaborations followed quickly, and our company MonAnnie became more visible.

We have had the honour of working on many beautiful weddings and projects in the UK and abroad. Our mission is to create bespoke flavour-first, elegant wedding cakes and patisserie for well-travelled foodies with exquisite taste.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry? 

There is something incredibly special about family and friends coming together to celebrate love and the beginning of a new family. It is an absolute honour to play a part in celebrating that.

A very clever intensive care doctor one said to me, “What you do is life.” Life can have many difficult and sad moments, the precious memories we have and the hope of making new ones keep us going. Creating designs and flavours that will become fond memories our couples can treasure forever; this for me is pure joy.

Which achievement are you most proud of? 

I’m usually behind the scenes, but last year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and appeared on Channel 4’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry? 

It’s not about being “the best”, it’s about being “your best”. This is an evolving process of finding your voice, developing it and continuing to nurture it. Your efforts may take some time to blossom; it’s okay to be patient and kind to yourself.

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire? 

There are so many inspiring women doing amazing things, it’s hard to choose just one. Two women in particular whom I greatly admire and who continually inspire me are Mwai Yeboah and Joy Proctor.

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

It’s been difficult. People’s safety always comes first, of course - nonetheless it’s hard running a wedding cake business when there are no weddings!

It’s been a strange line to toe, between wanting desperately for weddings to happen again and watching my husband face a horrible pandemic of sick patients filling up intensive care units. Through this time it’s been important for us to be there for our existing clients who may have had to postpone their plans. It was also special to have been able to create cakes for some intimate weddings.

So I guess we deal with the challenges daily, while learning at each turn.

READ MORE: 55 Unique Wedding Cake Flavours Your Guests Will Never Forget

Jess Rose

Business: Wedding Photography

Jess Rose, wedding photographer

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date.

I've been photographing weddings for around five years. I was based in Machynlleth, Mid Wales when I started out. I'm now based in London and cover weddings across the UK and beyond, but love any excuse to travel home. During the past 18 months or so, I've really found my niche in Feminist and LGBT+ weddings. I feel most comfortable with couples who want to see equality reflected in their wedding photos. This means something different for each couple of course, but I think it's something to be celebrated!

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry?

What I find most rewarding is that no matter how thoroughly the details of a wedding have been thought through, you can never know exactly what to expect on the day. For me, it's those unscripted moments that keep me so interested in documenting weddings. Every wedding day is unique, and I love taking photos that couples won't have planned for, and won't feel they've seen anywhere before. When someone says thank-you with, "I didn't even notice you taking this!", I know I've done my job well.

Which achievement are you most proud of?

Seeing my work in print always feels like a huge achievement, there's something about seeing your images carefully curated and laid out beautifully. In particular, having my work published in Rock 'N' Roll Bride and in Dancing With Her felt amazing. Dancing With Her is run by two incredible women, and is dedicated to celebrating lesbian couples. I really loved seeing my work in that context.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry?

Collaboration over competition! There is so much to be said for reaching out to other women in your industry, and finding ways to support one other, and to create together. It's really important to make those connections, and to strengthen your network instead of competing. Female rivalry is a sexist concept, that doesn't get us anywhere. What I see around me in the wedding industry are female creatives who are happy to lift each other up, and I love that.

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire?

Last summer I had the pleasure of working with Lauren and Holly who run Olive & Pickle, a catering company specialising in grazing tables, boxes and platters. What I love about this business is that the two founders are best friends, and you can really see that connection between them when they're working. I also really admire that they're both mums, and like me, started their business with tiny ones around. Having children doesn't need to be seen as something that holds women back from running a successful business, as long as we're supportive of mothers in the industry. Another female-run business I really admire is Flaming Bride Hair & Makeup, run by Alev Miller. Her feminist attitude to weddings really aligns with mine, and I love what she's about. She's a fantastic voice in the industry because she encourages women to think beyond how they've been taught a bride should act, dress and look.

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

Over the past year, I've focused my attention on intimate weddings, with limited guest numbers (for obvious reasons!). It feels like for many couples, this model will be here to stay, even once we're allowed to party again. There are some really positive implications of this. Big celebrations aren't suited to everyone, and the restrictions have meant that couples have been focusing on what really matters to them, and finding creative ways to celebrate their unity outside of the traditional, conventional mould.

READ MORE: 32 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Rita Colson

Business: Bridal Couture & Eveningwear

Rita Colson

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date.

My career so far has been wonderful, I came into it by chance so every now and then I'm amazed that it's still working and I love it so much.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry?

I find coming together creatively and collaborating on photoshoots with other professionals, really rewarding.The industry has some of the most amazingly talented minds.

Which achievement are you most proud of?

There have been many proud moments but there's one that stick to mind and that's being part of The Wedding Club family. Having a selection of my collection in The Wedding Club and working closely with Clare and the team has been a dream.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry?

I’ve learnt and still learning that people are kind. I’ve learnt not to allow fear to stop me from reaching out, and when you’re in a position to show kindness you do the same. Kindness is so underrated. It’s cool to be kind!

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire?

I have two in mind The Wedding Club and A and Bé Bridal. They're both female-run businesses with strong ethical values that I love.

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

It's been interesting finding ways to connect with clients - I've embraced the Zoom life. Our initial consultation on Zoom is complimentary, this involves a questionnaire and a discussion of all the aspects of the dress. There are other methods that are being planned and explored which will be revealed in due time. I've really enjoyed the creative process of making my business digitally proof.

READ MORE: The 36 Best Wedding Dress Shops in the UK

Deep Bajwa

Business: Wedding & Event Planning

Deep Bajwa

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry?

I've always been a romantic at heart and so being able to work with love for my career is such a pleasure. To see my brides & grooms, to hear their love story, plan a day for them which is undeniably them and then to unfold that day while experiencing their happiness & a major life moment is the ultimate reward. I've missed those endorphins we get from our weddings!

Which achievement are you most proud of?

Having scaled my business from working with budgets of under £100k to working regularly with budgets of £250k, £500k to £1m+ and becoming a well known name within the industry, in 2019 I started coaching female wedding suppliers as "The Well Heeled Coach" in how to scale their business into the luxury end of the market. I've now grown that business to include a wedding membership called Elevate focused on success and scaling, sales courses for the industry (my background is in sales pre-wedding business life) and also one-to-one coaching. I've had huge success and scaled this business to £100,000 within 11 months, but more than that it has helped so many of my industry peers to work better, make more money & feel supported - particularly through the pandemic.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry? 

The main lesson I've heeded on my journey in the wedding world as a planner and a wedding sales strategist is that you cannot do this alone. Whether it be asking for support, networking (with intent), curating your circle for success and for the success of others, you need other people. But it’s important to remember that when you look to connect with others by helping first, it only catapults your growth. Always connect by thinking how you can be of use to them first - this is the best way to build a genuine connection that is reciprocal and lasts.

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire?

I know so many incredible female-run wedding businesses that's it's hard to choose just one - for me I admire all of the ladies in my Elevate membership. They have amazing businesses, are so supportive of others, cheer each other on, even if they are seen outwardly to be competitors and they have survived the last year by turning up daily and doing the work to stay visible and relevant.

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

It's been extremely challenging to have all business for Opulence Events halt for a year. We first ensured our clients were settled and then I set about concentrating on growing the coaching business. It hasn't been easy to keep going, especially with home schooling, but I just knew I needed to do something productive in this time. While growing the coaching brand it was also vital to stay visible with Opulence and keep a presence so that when viable weddings opened up again I wasn't starting on the back foot. To do this I outsourced what I could, particularly social media, and brought in a virtual assistant, so in a time when it would have been easier to down scale I have invested heavily into the business to keep me on upward growth.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Planning

Pat Churchward

Business: Wedding Venue Owner

Pat Churchward of Brinsop Court

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date

It grew out of a holiday letting business at Brinsop Court, which is a beautiful Grade 1* Listed property. There are so many wonderful photo opportunities, which started to make our guests who came to stay think Brinsop would be a great place for a wedding. And so it became!

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry? 

Dealing with happy people, having fun at work, spending my day in the most idyllic of places and helping couple achieve one of the happiest days of their lives.

Which achievement are you most proud of? 

Starting this business from scratch and doing it pretty much on my own. There have been many sleepless nights but I have gradually learnt to manage what is a serious worry and what I can sleep on. During our growth, I have met and had some fantastic people working with me, some of which I was very sorry to see leave, but importantly, there is an exceptional team at Brinsop now.

We are a positive bunch and make sure the couples know we like to say yes! People often ask about ‘bridezillas’…and I say we don’t really have any because we clarify everything so well with them and they get what they want!

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry? 

The same lesson that I would say I’ve learnt working in any industry: there is almost nothing a woman cannot do that a man can. We might just go about things a different way to make it happen. My mantra is, there is always a way….

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire? 

Dewsall Court. I know Sam, the owner, she is a super person and she and her mum have created a successful business at a lovely property.

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

Our clients have been so understanding. We have, occasionally, had to have some pretty difficult conversations, but outweighing these by miles are the endorsements from people thanking us for our kind management and understanding. Being privately owned means Brinsop can make decisions on its own – nothing needs to be too prescriptive. We listen to the wishes of our guests and do our utmost to make their stay exactly how they want it.

On a practical level, we have used the time and built a new barn for ceremonies and receptions, The Knot, and re-landscaped around it over this last year. We have created a Woodland Glade ceremony area and erected The Astley Pavilion to accommodate the numbers for a ceremony outdoors in inclement weather. Everything has been so exciting and our bookings are reflecting the appeal of these new sites.

READ MORE: Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies: Our Favourite Outdoor Spots to Say 'I Do'

Chenai Bukutu

Business: Wedding & Event Planning

Chenai Bukutu

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date.

I started my business 3 and a half years ago. I don't come from a traditional events background, I have corporate experience in retail supply chain management. However, I have always loved parties and hosting, and had always been attracted to the wedding industry. I did my research, got some experience including planning one of my closest friend's three-day wedding and I knew this what I wanted to do. Since I launched, I have dedicated myself to having a business that creates sensational weddings and parties for stylish clients in the UK and abroad. I am pleased to say my client base is diverse, based in the UK, Korea and the US, for example. While they all love the aesthetics and luxurious touches, ultimately they want a memorable celebration for their friends and family, and that is what I deliver.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry?

I founded my business out of a love for joyful celebration, I truly enjoy the opportunity to work with clients to produce exquisite weddings and parties. 

Which achievement are you most proud of?

Being recognised by Harper's Bazaar in their Top Planners List - I was added as a new and noteworthy business to watch. At first, I couldn't quite take it in - the list is full of the absolute best in the business, people whose work I so admire and who have been at the very top of their game in this industry for years. I did that thing of talking myself down given my experience is a fraction of some of these event heavyweights. It took me a while to step into it, embrace it and use it at every opportunity to further demonstrate why I am good at what I do. I use it to keep pushing myself to do more, grow and aim higher.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry?

If you commit yourself to starting a business - be all in. Give yourself the best chance of succeeding by being singularly focused on making it work. I was excited when I first started my business, that excitement turned to self doubt quickly as the first year is tough, particularly in a service business. However, I persisted, and threw myself into learning about the industry and going after the right clientele - my advice is to not half-ass it at the beginning, try your best to not listen to outside influence and those little gremlins inside and just go for it!

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire?

Bumble & Whitney Wolfe Herd. What a story and what a leader. I am immensely impressed by and in awe of her.

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

This season has been particularly challenging. Covid has decimated our industry but the strength and support of colleagues and friends within it have been inspiring.

READ MORE: 30 of the Best Luxury Wedding Venues in the UK

June Glackin

Business: Wedding Stationery, Wedding & Event Styling

June Glackin

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date

It all started back in 2005/2006 when planning for my own big day, with that old cliché…”I couldn’t find what I wanted for my stationery.” Simple but classy was all I wanted, but at the time, I couldn’t find what I was looking for as most designs had ribbons, glitter, fancy edgings. So, I set out to create my own.

Fast forward years and years of early mornings, late nights and happy couples galore, my business has evolved with me, growing from a stationery designer to a wedding and events stylist and planner, working with couples and companies across the globe. Many of my happy couples have gone on to have their own little families and so the calls come in for their baby showers, christenings, parties… it’s a beautiful circle.

The name of my company, Junie Poonie, comes from fond memories of my Momma who always called me “Junie Poonie” … (or June Ann if I was naughty!) My dad, family & friends still call me Junie Poonie. My parents had a little studio built for me in the bottom of my garden 11 years ago; knowing that my mum was poorly she wanted to give each of her children something to remember her by. I love that I have created so much from such a small space, it's where I create and feel closer to her.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry?

Most definitely the “when your heart skips a beat moment” when you catch a glimpse of the happy couple seeing their venue or wedding stationery suite for the first time.

I’m a hopeless romantic with a sharp eye for detail. Being able to support couples in the planning of their big day, throwing ideas at them, bringing out their personalities to reflect on their day (while ensuring there isn’t a wonky candle in sight - that is what I find rewarding.

Which achievement are you most proud of?

Having taken the brave decision to give up my beloved job to fully concentrate on my couples back in April 2018, to then being recognised and awarded as “Best Wedding Stationery Design” & “Best Wedding Planner/Stylist” in the UK Wedding Awards 2019 & 2020 fills my heart, knowing that my Momma would be so proud of her little Junie Poonie.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry?

To be brave. I swear by my “Brave Pants” - I pop them on and do something that I would usually be scared to do so, whether that be ask another supplier for a coffee, or connect with someone I would usually be too afraid to do so, such as an editor or a potential venue. My “Brave Pants” really have helped me to do some things I would usually shy away from and in turn have really helped me develop my business.

I’m also a huge believer in being truly authentically you, imperfections and all; we are all perfectly imperfect. By staying true to who you are and what you believe in, your authenticity shines through your work, your style, your values – couples see and feel that.

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire?

There are many, so many, but one that always comes to mind is Kirsty from Oh My Cakery, she is an absolute legend. Working her socks off day and night, running a business, adapting to any given call, being a carer & mother, yet staying so authentic that it makes your heart swell… and then there are the cakes! 

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

With deep breaths and a very heavy heart. It has been so sad watching and supporting so many couples who have had to postpone their big day, some up to four times.

My natural instinct is to want to help people; I created over 1100 free Save the New Dates for couples all over the world, offering four different digital designs for them to choose from to try to help with the heartache of having to tell all their guests they were unsure of when they would now be getting married. I also created some beautiful bespoke cards for our local Intensive Care Unit, as it pained me that families were unable to visit their loved ones. I connected with the hospital and created a beautiful card that would be sent to the families of those in intensive care, to say that they were in safe hands and that they would look after their loved ones.

It has given me so much time to think and reflect on my business as a whole, and it organically enabled be to reignite my love for stationery.

READ MORE: The 11 Hottest Wedding Invitation Trends for 2021

Nina Beer

Business: Wedding & Events Planning, Venue Consultancy

Headshot of Nina Beer wearing a black dress

Tell us about your career in the wedding industry to date

I have been in the events industry for 17 years. When it came to getting married myself, because of that experience, I knew I needed support on the day to make sure everything was perfect. I couldn't find it!

I could find lots of other amazing services offered by wedding planners, but no one that purely specialised in handling the requirements just on the day. That's why I started the first company in the UK to cater for on-the-day coordination only. Five years later, Occasion Queens has teams in Essex, Surrey and the Cotswolds, and caters for a wide range of weddings across London and the Home Counties in all kinds of venues including marquees, hotels, pubs, restaurants and barns.

What do you find most rewarding about working in the wedding industry?

I truly believe that everyone deserves a stress-free wedding day. You put your heart and soul into the planning and then on the day itself you deserve for it all to come together perfectly. Seeing that happen is the best feeling in the world - being there to see the relief in the bride or groom's face that you are handling everything, that they can just say hello, smile, hug, enjoy and celebrate without having any thoughts in their heads around timings, suppliers, or what's happening next. You know you are giving them so much more than just a service, you are giving them the opportunity to create real and lasting memories.

Which achievement are you most proud of?

At the beginning of lockdown 1.0 I started Plan to Postpone, a free Facebook group for couples who are having to postpone their wedding. I wanted to ensure that couples felt supported and were given factual advice on how best to deal with postponements. Since then the group has grown, we have run endless Zooms on topics such as legalities around contracts, doing your own make-up, mental health, and Q&As on the guidelines. Everyone is respectful of others' opinions and circumstances, and it is a really safe space for people to work out what to do for the best.

We have laughed together and cried together and it has become a wonderful community of people who concentrate on facts, have an understanding of how hard the industry has been hit and support each other to get to the point where they are married. I am so proud of this group and can't wait to see it filled with photos of everyone finally getting what they want, whenever that may be, and one day being able to close it, knowing everyone is now a husband or wife.

What's the main lesson you've learnt that you'd want to share with other women working in the wedding industry?

Do not compare. Women are so quick to look to others that the difference between admiring what someone does to then comparing yourself to them is often blurred. Remember to stay in your lane, do what you do, and do it well.

Is there a female-run wedding business you particularly admire?

All of them! If you run a business, you are female, and you have to juggle everything that comes with that - I admire you! I salute you! I applaud you to keep on going and continue to be amazing!

How has your business dealt with the challenges of the last 12 months?

By showing up! I have made sure that I have stood up for the industry that I love in any way I can. Whether that has been live interviews for TV and radio, running Plan to Postpone, Instagram Lives with colleagues, supporting my couples, supporting my venue clients, writing blogs, running a website dedicated to exploring how to have a COVID-safe weddings, being part of the UK Weddings Taskforce... whatever I can do to fight for the industry and for couples to finally get back to doing what we love is how I have dealt with this last year.

Find out how you can support wedding vendors and suppliers as we wait for weddings to restart in full.