Belfast woman crowned BBC’s first ever Ultimate Wedding Planner

Belfast woman crowned BBC’s first ever Ultimate Wedding Planner

A NORTHERN IRISH woman has won the title of Ultimate Wedding Planner as a popular new BBC series came to a close this evening.

Belfast native Chantelle Walsh was one of eight contestants who took part in the series, which kicked off in August.

She ultimately took the top prize, following a gripping finale which saw her go head-to-head with fellow finalist Toby Hawker tonight.

Chantelle, a former hairdresser, and Londoner Toby, who previously worked as a dancer, were tasked with creating a regency extravaganza wedding celebration for couple Aaron and Ordain for the final episode of the BBC Strudios production.

Ultimate Wedding Planner winner Chantelle Walsh is a former hairdresser from Belfast

Earning rave reviews from the couple for their efforts, both finalists received high fives from judge Fred Sirieix before he joined his fellow judges Sara Davies and Raj Somaiya to decide the winner.

And it was Chantelle - who turned to wedding planning after the Covid-19 pandemic hit – who was victorious, with the Irishwoman claiming the win “means the world to me”.

“I gave it my all and I'm so happy with everything I achieved,” she said.

“I learnt so much from the judges and I'm now better equipped and more experienced than ever to launch my own business.

“The motivation and confidence this show has given me is unreal and I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s been life changing.”

Speaking of her achievement, judge Fred Sirieix said: “What a fantastic winner.

“Every wedding is about the personal touches and Chantelle epitomised that in the final in particular.

“It’s been a brilliant journey watching her grow and she really delivered when it mattered the most.”

Chantelle in action on the show

Fellow judge Sara Davies added: “Watching Chantelle grow into the planner she became by the end of this process was such a huge privilege.

“In the final, Chantelle ran a perfect wedding and delivered a bespoke personal experience worthy of winning.

The competition was tough as all eight of the wedding planners are really talented, but Chantelle just gave us a little extra which makes her a very credible winner.

“She’s going to be a wedding planning superstar.”

The eight Ultimate Wedding Planner contestants for 2023 (l-r) Bernie, Shabana, Toby, Yasmin, Jack, Charlene, Tash and Chantelle

Eight fledgling wedding planners originally entered the process which saw them plan six ambitious themed weddings for real-life couples across the six-part series.

All episodes of Ultimate Wedding Planner are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.