x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 December 2017

Money & Me: 'I gave up a 17-year career in publishing to become a wedding planner and vlogger'

Tania Kreindler of My Dubai Wedding, says she is good at stretching her client's finances, but not so good with her own

Tania Kreindler decided to set up her own business after struggling to find a wedding planner for her own nuptials. Bernie Richardson / Bernie & Bindi Photography
Tania Kreindler decided to set up her own business after struggling to find a wedding planner for her own nuptials. Bernie Richardson / Bernie & Bindi Photography

Tania Kreindler is a UAE wedding planner and wedding vlogger. Born and raised in Hampstead, North London, the 38-year-old worked for a publishing company in the UK and moved to Dubai to open its Middle East office before launching My Dubai Wedding and a supporting YouTube TV channel. She lives with her husband, Steve, an IT company chief executive, and two cats in The Greens.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

My mother was an interior designer, my father in the clothing trade. We were not minted, but comfortable. A lot of my family is in Austria and Australia, so I was pretty well travelled - shipped off for school holidays, skiing or climbing in the mountains. I did well academically. I’m very creative, wanted to study photography, follow more of a creative path. I did well in my GCSEs and started working for my father.

What brought you to Dubai?

I spent the majority of my life living a bit for the safety and security of other people. It was time for me to live for myself so I bit the bullet and told my employer I was moving to Dubai. They said they’d give me a promotion, my own office, staff, a directorship and open the Middle East office for National Geographic Traveller. That was 2012. I left in 2015. I did consultancy work while looking at what to do next having left a very successful 17-year-career in publishing.

What led you to become a wedding planner?

I was searching for one in the UAE for my wedding. I saw gaps in the market in terms of planners looking after smaller weddings. I struggled to find a one-stop shop where they look after everything from all-inclusive packages through to all-singing, all-dancing packages and could really care without charging an arm and a leg. Everyone was telling me ‘get into event management’. I knew I had something different to bring to the table. I love making a dream come true. I had my wedding at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai; planned and styled it myself, and had input into friend’s weddings. I started My Dubai Wedding as a concept 18 months ago and my own wedding catapulted the idea. I’ve done three since and have six confirmed for next year.

How much were you paid in your first job?

I worked practically every shop on Hampstead High Street; Saturday jobs, getting paid £7 (Dh35) an hour. The first was in a clothing shop called Yankee Doodle, in charge of Levis.

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What prompted you to leave regular employment?

I left a very well paid job, but I had to do something ‘for me’. Having spent many years answering to other people, but earning a lot of respect … I didn’t take this decision lightly, but for the greater good of our future, something potentially more flexible hours. Now I can say 'yes' or 'no' to business or opportunities.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I used to be a massive spender, now I save into my business. Because the business is growing and evolving, anything I’m managing to bring is injected straight back in. I funded the business from savings. My clients call me the fairy godmother. I might be very good at stretching other people’s finances, but I’m potentially not good at doing that with my own.

What are clients seeking from you?

The majority is typically looking for something intimate, up to 100/150 people. They want unique, beautiful, without the ornate. I maintain good relationships with vendors in order to save the bride and groom money, to the point where I’m launching the first all-inclusive wedding package where everything is taken care of. All you do is pay for the number of guests. A lot of people see Dubai as a very expensive place to get married; as soon as you mention ‘wedding’, florists add an extra zero. It’s unfair and unreasonable. I wanted to be the link to make sure that didn’t happen for my clients; look after every dirham and make sure they get the most they can for their wedding. Their money does stretch further so it almost balances, if not goes even further, than washing the face of the fee I might charge for planning.

Where do you save?

In the bank, in a savings account.

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What is your philosophy towards money?

I consider money a means to an end. I’m not as precious about it as I should be. I look at it like energy; fuel for experiences and life. It comes in, goes out. I would rather experience something today and enjoy it, even if it costs a bit, but know I’ve got that memory. I’ve travelled all my life and been to incredible places, seen the most amazing things. People talk about travel as being expensive, I talk about it as oxygen; I have to explore and see things otherwise I feel like a caged tiger.

What’s your most cherished purchase?

Probably my cats. I brought them over from the UK; they are pedigree British Shorthairs - one is called Ellie, who is like a big fat cloud, and the other, Maiya.

Do you prefer paying in cash or by credit card?

Debit card because I like keeping track of what’s going in and out. Cash is more painful, but I don’t like credit cards – they’re false economy.

Ms Kreindler says her best investment has been the license for her company.  Bernie Richardson / Bernie & Bindi Photography
Ms Kreindler says her best investment has been the license for her company. Bernie Richardson / Bernie & Bindi Photography

What has been your best investment?

The license for my company because of the freedom it has granted; finally I am doing something for me. It’s allowed the opportunity to really make this a success.

What do you regret spending money on?

I live by the ethos that I am the way I am today and I like who I am, so no regrets. I’ve got eyes in the front of my head because I don’t want to look behind me. Yesterday I shouldn’t have bought two Starbucks because it kept me up until 3am. I make silly decisions sometimes, but just laugh at myself. My husband says I’ve got too many clothes. That’s inaccurate; I’ve got the appropriate amount considering the number of days in the year.

Do you plan for the future?

I have a solid plan for the future of the business, to make significant leaps and bounds. I should plan more financially, but things come good in the end. The way I look at money is very different to my husband - I need him to balance me out. We are trying to put money away potentially to start a family, but I don’t live my life by what could potentially happen tomorrow. My eldest brother lives in Switzerland. It’s a place I intend retiring to one day, that lovely Swiss mountain air.

What would you raid your savings for?

Holidays, new places. It’s all about experiences for my ‘head bank’. Enjoy now as much as you’re enjoying the idea of what’s going to happen tomorrow, as there’s no guarantee. I’ve lost some very important people – I don’t put as much pressure on myself to make sure the future is filled with something, as I know life can be taken away just like that.