Planning your wedding can sometimes be the first spark that ignites a passion for a career in Wedding and Event Planning. We caught up with Christine Ligthart, Director of Education at the Australian Academy of Wedding and Event Planning, to learn about their courses for wedding planners, event planners, wedding stylists and event designers.

What are the options available for someone who has discovered a passion for wedding and event planning whilst planning their own wedding?

There are some people who plan their wedding and enjoy it, but are very happy to move on afterwards, but there is another group who find that they miss the creativity of organising their own special day after the ‘i-do’s’ are said.  Whilst planning their wedding they may have discovered that they have skills and a talent for planning, styling and or design and miss the whole process now that it is over.  It is not uncommon for us to be contacted by people who feel this way, before their actual wedding, or just after it.

How you feel about the whole process of planning and designing your own wedding is a great indicator as to whether this could be a career for you and by taking a course like ours, where you can gain more specific skills and knowledge to help you to work with clients, you are able to take that passion you had for your own wedding and turn it into a career you know you are going to love.  Many Brides go on to find employment with other Wedding professionals, or within Venues, but there is a growing number who launch their own wedding business.  For a lot of people, planning a wedding opens the door to a whole new world!

What are some of the highlights students can expect from your courses?

Of course, gaining professional skills and knowledge is something that is gained from doing a course and so is the confidence to be able to go out there and ‘do it’.  Planning your own wedding is a great experience, but doing it for another couple is very different.  What I see so often with our students is that they grow in confidence throughout the course and go from asking the question; can I do this and will someone take me seriously, to knowing they can.  Another aspect our students love is the opportunity to dive into the creativity of weddings and events throughout the course.  The courses make it possible for students to explore their creativity in a number of ways and even students who had never considered themselves creative, or felt lacking in this area, find that the course gives them the chance to develop their creativity.

Then there is the thrill of launching your own business. Whilst many students go on to find employment after doing one of our courses, as I mentioned earlier, there is a large group of our Graduates who have successfully launched businesses. For some, the desire to do this grew throughout the course and for others this was their goal when they enrolled. This is a very rewarding thing for us to be part of too.

Another highlight I personally value highly is the discipline that is developed from doing an online course and having to be somewhat responsible for your own learning.  Whether you find employment or launch a business, the experience of having to motivate yourself and apply yourself to tasks, without someone watching over you, is highly valuable when working in weddings. Being able to develop this trait just by doing the course is an unexpected highlight for many of our students.


AAWEP Alumni Mikhayla from One Day Wedding & Events


What would you say are the top skills that are required to be a successful wedding and event planner?

Being a good listener and a good communicator

Being able to visualise the bigger picture, but also being able to break it down (this applies to planning, styling and design)

Being confident, calm and a problem solver

Being great at developing relationships; whether with clients or suppliers

Tell us a bit about your students. What has inspired them to pursue a career in the wedding industry?

We have an incredibly diverse student body.  People come to us from all backgrounds, and employment sectors; from mining through to law, retail and entertainment. They are just out of school, just married, on maternity leave, or looking for a new career direction.  Others see a niche they could work within, based on their own experience, or cultural background (destination weddings for example).  Our broad appeal never surprises me though. This industry offers so many different opportunities for motivated, hardworking and creative people.

A lot of people who enrol in our courses are looking for that Career change though.  They recognise that working in weddings offers something that most other jobs don’t; its the ultimate creative project, but also such a happy event to be part of.  Likewise for those looking to launch a business in the industry.  More so than just about any industry, the wedding industry really fosters entrepreneurship.  This is something I particularly love about our industry.

What’s the best way for someone that is considering enrolling at  AAWEP to get a taste of what the course involves?

We offer what we call an Education Experience which takes someone into our virtual campus and gives them an overview of how it all works and what the course content is like. We have included in this Education Experience samples of assignments and student work and there are interviews with some of our Students and Graduates too.  There is no obligation to enrol and it is completely free.  Anyone wanting to Experience Education with the Academy can sign up here.  I am also available to chat with people about what it is like to study with us. I have been with the Academy myself for 10 years and have helped many of our Graduates go on to have successful careers/businesses in the industry. I am also a Wedding Planner and I have my own wedding business, the I Do Crew.  I am always happy to chat with people who want to find out more about what it is like to run a business, or work in the industry.

What’s the potential for students upon graduation? Is there continued support available to ensure students are industry ready?

I think that anyone who follows the wedding industry will tell you that there is enormous potential for skilled professionals to do well. Weddings have moved so far away from the ‘cookie cutter’ style of years ago and couples now desire weddings that reflect their own style, personality and journey as a couple.  Increasingly, they are turning to professionals to help them manage the time it takes to bring a wedding like this together, but also to help them realise the vision they have in their mind for the perfect day.

If we just sold courses, we wouldn’t be who we are.  We are passionate about the industry itself and also about the Graduates we send out into it. We do not disappear after someone completes their course with us and there are a number of ways students can continue to enjoy our support beyond the course; including being part of our private Facebook Group, Academy Live, having their work/business promoted via our website and in our publications and accessing further education/workshop and mentoring opportunities.  We also publish the Wedding Business Magazine which is freely available to anyone with an interest in the business of weddings.

Some of our Graduates never leave and now work with us as Tutors and as is the case with my business, as Freelance Wedding Planners. We are our students and graduates biggest fans!

For more information about the Australian Academy of Wedding and Event Planning, visit their website here.