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Alison Hargreaves in Guides for Brides office

Alison Hargreaves


Founder & Director of Guides for Brides and Wedding Industry Expert

About Alison

Alison is one of the most highly respected wedding professionals in the UK, having worked for over 30 years across numerous successful wedding businesses. She has studied detailed data relating to weddings in the UK for over 12 years, and uses her unique and qualified insights to inform and advise couples and businesses. Her insights, along with independently verified data have been used by government bodies such as the Law Commission and the Competition & Markets Authority to help inform their work on weddings. She speaks on a variety of topics including wedding data, sustainability and wedding marketing at various wedding conferences and webinars.

She is the founder of the award winning website Beyond Weddings, as well as Pride Guide, Wedding Safe and Trusted Trace, and is best known as the founder of Guides for Brides. She created this popular brand in 1995 after she faced the challenge of sourcing suppliers solely through word-of-mouth referrals or recommendations from venues during her own wedding planning.

She recognised that other brides might encounter similar difficulties and set out to create a valuable local resource for wedding businesses and couples planning their weddings. By offering top-notch personal recommendations of wedding venuesand suppliers in their local area, the guide aimed to assist couples in creating a personalised and stylish wedding and helped businesses connect with their target audience.

Alison welcoming attendees at the Guides for Brides Customer Service Awards 2023

Today, Guides for Brides is a well-known brand within the UK wedding sector and its sister companies focus on supporting specific niche markets, including:

  • Pride Guide - To support LGBTQ+ couples find wedding businesses that are trusted and experienced in delivering weddings for their community
  • Beyond Weddings - Helping luxury wedding venues and planners to get in front of couples planning destination weddings and high net worth celebrations.
  • Champagne Weddings - A guide for the luxury wedding market to promote luxury wedding businesses to couples
  • Weddings for Less - Supporting couples on a budget to tie the knot through recommendations of great affordable wedding businesses.

Alison took an active role in the wedding industry throughout the pandemic. She was involved in the formation of WhatAboutWeddings and then played a central role in establishing the UK Weddings Taskforce. She was Deputy Chair throughout its formation and a key member of the communications team. Working closely with the government, the Taskforce helped ensure that weddings could safely reopen in a manner that was beneficial for all. The Taskforce went on to support the creation of an APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) to protect the interests of wedding businesses and venues in the long term.

In addition to this vital work, Alison also utilised social media to provide updates on changes to wedding laws and policies. Through weekly Facebook and Instagram Live broadcasts, she reached tens of thousands of couples and businesses, keeping them informed and up-to-date on relevant developments.

More recently, Alison has been employed as a wedding venue consultant, using wedding industry data to spot opportunities for outside investment in the wedding sector.

Alison Hargreaves speaking on expert wedding industry panel at Global Wedding Excellence conference in Dubai, January 2023
Melrish Studios

Alison’s Role at Guides for Brides

As our Founder and Director, Alison plays an active role in ensuring that business aims are met and our clients and couples are given the best possible advice, thanks to her extensive wedding planning knowledge and industry experience.

She continues to learn through regularly attending industry networking sessions and conferences, and continues her work in educating others in the wedding industry by speaking at major wedding industry events such as The Meeting Industry Association’s Wedding Conference, The RSVP Symposium (formally Bridelux) and The Hotel Marketing Conference.

What is your favourite thing about the wedding industry?

It's such a happy industry to be part of! You don't survive in the wedding industry unless you genuinely enjoy helping others, so it is an industry full of kind and creative individuals helping excited couples to create magic.

What is a wedding trend that you are enjoying at the moment?

There's more of a focus on family and friends than we have ever seen, with couples incorporating elements that brings everyone together to celebrate, rather than the couple being on such a pedestal that the guests are merely the audience.

What is your biggest tip for couples who are planning their weddings?

Plan everything with military precision beforehand to give yourself the best chance of the day you both hoped for, and then just relax and let it happen.

What is your biggest tip for wedding industry professionals trying to reach couples right now?

Be professional. It is the easiest way to differentiate from the many amateur suppliers and family friends who are willing to give their time for free. Respond promptly and professionally, keep your professional and private life separate, keep risk assessments and insurance up to date.

How to contact Alison

You can email Alison at alison@guidesforbrides.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn.