Calling all wedding lovers! Do you dream of helping couples plan the most special day of their lives? Do you get a thrill every time you hear “I do” or see a bride in her wedding dress for the first time? Then becoming a wedding planner just might be the profession for you.
While it’s one of the most rewarding jobs a person can have, being a wedding planner takes more than just organizational skills and good taste. In order to share what the road to becoming a wedding planner is really like, we tapped some successful industry insiders to share how they got started as well as information on what skills and qualifications are needed to make it in the industry.
Read on to find out how to become a wedding planner, straight from the experts.
5 Planners on How They Got Started
For those who want to pursue this path but don’t know where to begin, we interviewed five renowned wedding planners—many of whom run courses to teach up-and-coming event organizers.
Heather Hoesch and Lindsay Ferguson
Hoesch and Ferguson own LVL Weddings & Events, known for producing one-of-a-kind weddings in California, Hawaii, and Colorado. They are also co-owners of Planner Life Academy, which offers workshops and virtual training programs to prepare leaders to open their own wedding planning businesses.
Ferguson worked part-time for a wedding planner in Chicago as a young professional. “I always had a love for hospitality and customer service focused careers,” she says. “I grew up with an entrepreneurial mom who really encouraged me to find something that I loved and was passionate about.”
I grew up with an entrepreneurial mom who really encouraged me to find something that I loved and was passionate about.
In high school, Hoesch worked for a family friend who owned the local bridal salon. “She hired me to clean, hang, and steam dresses,” she recalls. In college she worked for a catering company that primarily did weddings. “It was a crash course in weddings,” she continues. “I learned a ton about food, service, timelines, flow, logistics, guest experience, and catering to couples’ needs for their special day.” Five years later she was ready to start her own company.
Dorman is the Owner of 42 North, a full-service wedding and event planning firm. She is based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and specializes in high-luxury celebrations across New England. She also mentors young wedding planners through a sister company, Mavinhouse Events.
Early in her career she worked as an event hostess, an executive assistant, and a GM at a restaurant. “These experiences helped me build fortitude and a deep understanding of what happens in the ‘back of the house.’” Dorman explains. Her first wedding planning job was for a small, local company where she took on more responsibilities before getting clients of her own.
Treynet is the founder and CFO of Firefly Events, a high-level event planning company with offices in New York, California, and Wyoming. She also runs The Firefly Method, a community and education platform for thousands of wedding planners and small business owners across the world.
She started a career as a development coordinator for a nonprofit in Los Angeles, where she planned large-scale, celebrity-driven events. A year later she helped her best friend plan his wedding on the island of Holbox, Mexico, and started Firefly Events soon after. (Fun fact: she booked her first paying client off Craigslist!)
Rago owns Michelle Rago Destinations, a wedding and events company considered one of the best in the world. Her office is based in New York City, but she is known for organizing elaborate destination weddings in far-flung locations.
She attended the New York Restaurant School, worked in hotel sales, and operated a flower business for years before landing on weddings. Those experiences gave her a “more holistic approach of producing with an emphasis on design, food & beverage, and service,” she says.
Skills and Qualifications
Now that you know what it takes to get your foot in the door, it’s time to learn more about the skills and qualifications of successful wedding planners.
Be a great leader.
Being a wedding planner requires you to wear many hats. At any one time you have to deal with vendors, couples, families, and finances. Of course, there can also be a lot of drama. “Being a good leader and being able to stay calm, delegate, listen, and lead in a time of stress is your most important skill,” Ferguson says.
Learn these skills by interning or shadowing with wedding planners, so you can be immersed in different situations and learn how to address the chaos.
“Anyone can learn the systems and standard operating procedures of event planning, but what makes a planner really great at their job are characteristics like problem-solving, empathy, professionalism, and high attention to detail,” says Dorman. “Someone who likes to feel purposeful, and strives to make others feel important and cared for are two factors for success in this unique industry.”
Be organized and attentive to details.
Wedding planning requires you to be uber-organized and attentive to details. After all, so many components go into the event from schedules to menus to playlists. “These skills or traits can be built on as you grow into your role,” says Dorman. “They are muscles that can get stronger as they are flexed.” If you don’t have these traits naturally consider an internship or entry-level job to help you develop them.
While you don’t technically need any certifications or degrees to become a wedding planner, getting experience from a veteran is essential. “As a wedding planner, you’re also safeguarding one of the most important times in most people’s lives so it’s imperative you know what you’re doing,” says Treynet.
“Corporate planning or nonprofit planning does not count,” adds Ferguson. “You must seek out quality education from a reputable source and couple this with hands-on experience by working under a wedding trained and experienced planner.”
Seek nonstop learning.
“The best wedding planners have a ‘never stop learning’ mindset,” says Hoesch. “They read, they watch webinars and social media lives, they collaborate and listen to podcasts. They take courses, attend workshops and conferences.” Many of these resources are available online, so you can start your education in your free time. As Rago puts it, “If I have learned anything over the last 20 years, it’s the importance of constantly learning and keeping up with what is tried and true.”
Having practical experience in organizing and planning events is a definite asset if you want to become a wedding planner.
There are many ways to gain this experience. One way is to gain experience as part of a job role in a position with some of the same duties and responsibilities as a wedding planner. For example, those who work as event coordinators, personal assistants, purchasers, marketing coordinators or human resources coordinators often perform duties similar to those of wedding coordinators, such as:
• Negotiating purchase contracts with suppliers
• Scheduling and planning meetings
• Working within specified and strict budgets
• Arranging services like the delivery of audio-visual equipment
Another way to gain experience related to wedding planning is by working in an entry-level planning jobs. Working as a wedding planner or event planner’s assistant, either directly for an independent event planner, or for an events management company, is a great way to learn while on the job. Working in an entry-level capacity for such as employer would allow you to work into planning weddings and other events yourself as your experience and competence grows.
Landing an internship or other form of work-integrated learning opportunity (paid or for school credit) is another great way to develop event planning skills while you are still a student, or as a recent graduate.
Success Tip: Having a great reputation is key if you want to become a successful wedding planner. Gaining as much related experience and education as you can will help you hit the ground running when you get your first client…who will then give you rave reviews that will help attract a second client, and so on.
Characteristics and Traits You’ll Need
In order to enjoy performing the duties of a wedding planner, you need to have certain personal characteristics. Taking enjoyment from your job duties is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which can lead to having a long and successful career.
• An interest in weddings, compiling information, organizing events and negotiating
• Willing to make yourself available before and after the normal 9-5 work day
• Able to take unscheduled calls and consultations in stride
• Willing to hold the client’s best interests as your first priority
• Willing to address issues that are beyond your control, such as a DJ not showing up
• Sensitivity to the needs of many people
• A calm personality; able to be a source of comfort for others in high-stress situations
Skills You’ll Need
You’ll need a variety of skills in business, communications, design, event management, and project planning.
Business Skills: Since most wedding planners are self-employed, they need to possess skills in business in addition to the skills they posses in planning weddings. Knowing how to market you services, sell your services to your clients, manage your finances, and manage multiple projects are key if you want to grow your business.
Communication Skills: Wedding planners must be able to listen to the needs and wants of their clients, and must be able to keep them informed regarding important details regarding the planning of their wedding. Good wedding planners must also be able to take and give orders, and must always have tact, such as when gracefully declining prospective clients that won’t be a good fit for them.
Design Skills: Having knowledge of design fundamentals is key if you want to become a wedding planner. For example, wedding planners should have knowledge of which colour schemes go best within certain lighting conditions, and during which seasons. Even if clients want to design their own wedding, a good wedding planner can provide design consultation and prevent clients from creating an aesthetically unappealing wedding.
Project Planning Skills: Wedding planners need to be able to effectively plan the biggest day of people’s lives. This means they cannot overlook any detail with regards to sourcing vendors, working within a budget, and most importantly juggling the needs and wants of two people and their families. In order to maintain their reputation, wedding planners must also be able to keep planning mistakes to an absolute minimum.
Event Management Skills: Wedding planners need to see their projects through to completion by ensuring the big day they planned for goes off without a hitch. They must be able to supervise the work of vendors and venue staff (which involves being able to delegate), as well as using time-management and organizational skills to ensure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, when they are supposed to do it.
Check our job board below to find Wedding Planner postings in your area.
Did you know there are thousands of Google searches each month on how to become a wedding planner? Many colleges are now offering certificate and degree programs to keep up with the demand. If you are thinking about a career in wedding and event planning, here are a few things to consider before you get started.
1. Does wedding planning fit you and your ideal lifestyle?
Wedding and event planners often work in the evenings and on weekends to meet with clients and to coordinate the events they plan. Your clients typically work a 9-5 job and will expect to meet and talk with you after work and on the weekends during the wedding planning process. Most weddings in the United States take place on Saturdays which will keep you busy when most of your friends and family may be relaxing and enjoying the weekend. On a positive note, many wedding planners take a day or two off during the week to relax and regroup. Do you feel comfortable with this kind of work schedule?
Wedding planners are often extremely busy during certain months of the year. For example, if you live in the Midwest or northern US, you can expect to be very busy with weddings during the summer months. If you live in the southern US, you will be busier in the spring and fall months when the weather is most ideal.
Brides, grooms and their parents can be very emotional during the wedding planning process and on the wedding day. As their wedding planner, you are often their confidant, psychologist and mediator. If you love to help people, care about your clients and are a good listener, you may love this career. Brides, grooms and their families rely on their wedding planner to be the voice of reason and calm throughout the planning process and on the wedding day.
In addition to the actual schedule and emotional aspects of being a wedding planner, it also involves hard, physical work. During the wedding day, you can expect to be on your feet for 10-15 hours. You could be moving boxes, setting up wedding details, helping with table linens and more. Wedding planners have to be on their “A” game mentally all day which can be just as exhausting as the physical labor. For many wedding planners, the reward of seeing all their hard work come together on the wedding day and hearing praise from their clients easily makes the hard work worth it.
There are a million reasons why wedding planning is a great career but if you are exploring whether this is a good career choice for you, you may want to read 12 Reasons Not to Become a Wedding Planner.
2. What certifications or classes are needed to become a wedding planner?
Aside from what is required to own a business where you live, there are no required certifications or licenses needed to become a wedding planner in the United States. If you ask ten successful wedding planners how they got started, you will get ten completely different answers.
To evaluate the best way for YOU to get started, consider what experience you already have planning events. This could be event planning at your current job, planning events at your church or just planning parties for family and friends (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries). Any prior experience will help you get started in a wedding planning career. Also, if you have business or marketing experience, you can use that to help launch your own wedding planning business.
Take inventory of the experience you have then evaluate the education options available. The education options are endless! Mentoring programs, community college classes, wedding planner conferences… there are so many options available.
Our Get Started in Wedding Planning Class introduces many of the education options available, how to get experience when you have none, how to build a portfolio quickly and much more.
3. Are you in it for the money?
Most successful wedding planners have sustained a long term career because of their passion for planning events and for helping brides plan one of the biggest days in their life. Successful event planners are driven by passion for what they do, not by financial gain. Many wedding planners support themselves and their families with their wedding planning career, however it is rare to become financially wealthy through a career in wedding planning. It takes years of hard work to build a reputation and strong business as a wedding planner. The good news is that once you build your reputation and network, you will reap the rewards of your hard work for years to come.
You can read more about wedding planner salary ranges to get a feel for what wedding and event planners make.
4. There is a lot to learn.
Some people plan their own wedding and decide to become a wedding planner the next day. There is a huge difference between planning your own wedding and working with a paying client to plan their wedding. The family dynamics, knowledge of many reputable vendors, ability to coordinate a wedding day, designing weddings, how to create detailed and correct timelines, knowing what to look for when reviewing vendor contracts, what happens at vendor meetings, creating and managing a budget with someone else’s money and so much more are all tasks that need to be learned and refined to be a successful wedding planner.
In addition to learning the details of planning the actual wedding, there are also many elements of starting and running your own business to consider. Aside from having the correct licenses and insurance, you also have to market your business, sell your services, determine your pricing, invoice and bill clients, attend networking events, balance your books, analyze where to advertise, learn how to interview and hire staff and so much more.
Just like any career or new business, it takes time and learning. It just so happens that wedding planning is an incredibly fun career to learn!
Take a look at the Top 7 Mistakes Made by New Wedding Planners to avoid these mistakes when you first get started.
Our Udemy class on Getting Started in Wedding and Event Planning goes into much more detail about how to get started in this industry, how to get experience when you have none, what kind of services to offer, how to build a portfolio, types of jobs available, education resources and much more.
About the Author:
Debbie Orwat is the Owner and Creative Director of Save the Date Events, a successful wedding and event planning firm in Denver, Colorado. Debbie is also the owner of StudioWed, a boutique wedding showroom and concierge service in Denver. StudioWed opened in February 2010 and has established itself as the “go to” place for brides and grooms planning a Colorado wedding. Debbie also is the founder and editor of Planner’s Lounge a resource site and community for wedding and event planners to relax, talk, learn and inspire. Planner’s Lounge was established in 2011 and has become the number one resource site and online community for wedding and event planners.
Connect with a community of wedding planners on Facebook and follow along on Twitter and Pinterest for valuable information, advice and resources.
To have a successful career as a wedding planner you must be creative, calm under pressure, a brilliant organiser and never miss a deadline
‘Wedding planning sounds like a fun, glamorous and exciting career and often it is. But it’s not an easy job to do. You need to be highly driven and determined in order to succeed,’ explains Sam Ketterer, director, Absolute Perfection Wedding Consultancy.
What do wedding planners do?
As a wedding planner you’ll be responsible for organising weddings and ensuring that the day runs smoothly, as well as acting as a calming influence on your clients.
Professional wedding planners offer several levels of service, such as:
- Full wedding planning – organise every last detail of the wedding.
- Partial wedding planning – be responsible for some aspects of the wedding while leaving others to the clients.
- On-the-day management – provide support on the wedding day itself.
On a typical full wedding project, you’ll start by discussing your clients’ initial ideas and budget, then make a proposal setting out what you can do and how much you’ll charge for your services (a fixed fee or sometimes a percentage of the total cost of the wedding).
Once you’re hired, you’ll draw up a masterplan that sets out everything that needs to be done and by what deadline.
Tasks will include coming up with possible themes, suggesting and booking a venue, and negotiating with suppliers such as photographers, florists and caterers – always bearing in mind the amount of money your clients have set aside.
It’s vital you have a comprehensive knowledge of venues, products and suppliers, so a lot of travel and background research is required.
In the run up to a wedding you’ll need to be prepared to work long hours, including evenings and weekends – especially in the spring and summer when you’re likely to have multiple projects ongoing. You’ll also attend on the wedding day to oversee the logistics.
The reward is to see the happy couple enjoying their big day thanks to your planning and organisation.
Wedding planners are often self-employed and, in this case, you’ll have additional administrative tasks such as your accounts and promoting your services, usually by creating and maintaining a website.
Do I need specific skills and qualifications?
There are no particular qualifications required to become a wedding planner – it’s much more important to gain experience. You won’t be hired to plan somebody’s wedding if you don’t have a history of successfully organising events.
You may be able to get some experience by planning your own wedding or those of friends and family. Another option is to search for local wedding planners and ask them for work experience or opportunities to shadow them.
While not essential, an academic background in hospitality and event management will help you develop the right skillset. Find out about event management courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. If you choose the university route, get involved in societies and clubs and be proactive in organising their events.
For specific tutoring in wedding planning, short and online courses are available through organisations such as:
‘If you intend to be self-employed, look for courses that include modules on setting up and running a business’ recommends Sam. Learn more about self-employment.
You’ll need to have these key skills if you want to be a successful wedding planner:
- Calm under pressure – your clients will expect everything to be perfect. They may take some of their stress out on you, or a supplier might let you down at the last minute. You’ll need to able to deal with all of this in a professional manner.
- Communication skills – you’ll have to advise your clients, but also listen to them. It’s their day, not yours, and your job is to ensure everything is as they want it.
- Creativity – whatever the theme or style favoured by your clients, you’ll have to be creative and stay on top of the latest trends to put together a wedding to remember.
- Strong research skills – ‘it’s your job to meet the brief of your client and so it’s important that you know where to look for all the weird and wonderful requests you will have to meet,’ explains Sam.
- Entrepreneurial spirit – you’ll usually be responsible for marketing your services and growing your business.
- Good with money – as well as managing your own finances, you’ll be given responsibility for spending someone else’s money. Staying within the budget you’ve been given is essential.
- Organisational skills – juggling the many different elements of a wedding isn’t an easy task and you’ll need to be able to stay on top of it all. Not only that, but you’re likely to have more than one wedding on the go.
- Time management – there’s no stricter deadline than a wedding day, so it’s vital that you can get things done efficiently and effectively to the highest of standards.
- Tough negotiation skills – ‘being able to haggle down the price with suppliers and venues will ensure you get the best prices and keep your clients happy,’ says Sam.
‘The best wedding planners possess a broad skill set. They tend to be outgoing, personable characters with good empathic skills,’ adds Sam.
How do I get a wedding planner job?
Many wedding planners are self-employed, so it’s not unusual to set up your own practice early in your career.
However, wedding planning companies do exist and often advertise vacancies on their websites – alternatively you can send a speculative application. Your first job could be as an assistant wedding planner. Search the internet to find relevant companies in your area.
Sam suggests trying to get some experience to help you land a job. ‘Offer your services to a local wedding planner or wedding venue, just to get your foot in the door. Show them what you can do and before long, a permanent position will be yours for the taking.’
You’ll typically earn around £17,000 to £20,000 when you first start out as a wedding planner, rising to between £20,000 and £25,000 with some experience, according to the National Careers Service. Once you build your reputation and get even more experience, you can earn more.
If you have a calm nature, a love of parties and a helpful disposition, an exciting and lucrative career in wedding planning can be yours. Almost anyone can convert a present occupation or hobby into being a wedding planner.
Today’s bride is too busy to plan her wedding, and what was once expected help from family members is now often unavailable, because they live in other cities or are very busy with their careers. To reduce tension and to ensure a perfect wedding, more and more brides are turning to wedding planners for assistance.
Wedding planners have incredible flexibility in their days, and most planners work out of their homes. It is a career that is easily integrated with child-rearing or caring for elderly parents. Most of the work is done over the telephone, and appointments at churches, reception venues, and with the bride usually can be scheduled at convenient times. However, being at weddings to be sure all the details are carried out and to calm the nervous couple means that wedding planners will have to work on weekends and evenings.
Steps to Launching Your Career
First, think about the different elements of a wedding the planner must arrange: venues, themes, flowers, food and refreshments, clothes, photography, honeymoons, and other aspects of the wedding. Most people have had some experience in one or more aspects of these facets of a wedding and most wedding planners have converted a job as a florist, caterer, photographer or travel agent into a larger and more exciting career as a wedding planner. If you haven’t had one of these careers, perhaps you’ll want to start off looking for a job as an assistant to a wedding planner, or a job in the events planning department of a non-profit organization. This will help you develop the skills you’ll need to be a successful planner.
Make a list of the elements of the wedding. Find several vendors for the various elements you will not provide yourself. Interview them and decide which ones you want to use for your future weddings. See if you can get a discount for referring them on an exclusive basis. You may also be able to work out an exchange of references–you’ll scratch their back if they scratch yours.
Find ways to use your talent in helping friends and acquaintances plan their weddings. If you already have a career as a florist you can get paid for your floral work, but also offer to assist the bride with the rest of the wedding, first as an additional free service, then gradually offer to do these services for a fee. Or if your talent has been a hobby, offer to help your friends with their own or children’s weddings. Perhaps you can volunteer to assist brides at your church with their weddings to gain experience. After doing several weddings voluntarily, which you must document with photographs, you are ready to put together your portfolio and begin your exciting new career.
Put together a portfolio of your experience in wedding planning. Go to a good stationery or gift store and buy an attractive photo album. Do not skimp on this purchase, because this will be part of your first impression. Brides will want to see that you are organized and know how to do things with style. Also write a narrative of your background in the wedding industry, without mentioning that much of your history has been voluntarily.
Get permission from your friends to use them as a reference, and ask them not to mention that you helped them for free. After the wedding is over, and the friends are grateful for your assistance, tell them you are getting started in your new career as a wedding planner, and ask them to refer you to their friends who are getting married. Word of mouth will always be your most important source of new business. You may ask your friends to mention your name in their wedding announcements as the wedding planner. Mentioning that they had a wedding planner will impress their friends and you will get free publicity.
Talk to local places of worship and catering halls about their weddings; particularly ones where you have a personal connection. Give your business cards to the wedding coordinator or whoever talks to brides about using the space for a wedding. These people may refer you to the brides long before they think about hiring a wedding planner. Try to get a list of future weddings from them, and send the bride a letter and a brochure.
Consider having a brochure printed–it can be an inexpensive tri-fold brochure in black and white or a more expensive printed piece with color photographs. Start with an inexpensive version, but be sure to use attractive and easy to read fonts, as well as a nice layout to make your brochure present the right image. Your local copy center can assist you with this project. After you have been in the field for a while you can have a more expensive brochure printed, featuring the weddings you have done.
Have business cards designed and printed–these are inexpensive and easily obtained at your local copy center. You should then give them out liberally to anyone you might meet at events, grocery stores, and even at friends’ weddings.
If your city has a bridal fair, get a booth and advertise your services. You will be exposed to a large number of future brides, some of whom are just starting to think about their weddings, and who probably will be overwhelmed at the fair by the number of decisions to be made. These brides will be glad to find someone who can help them plan the perfect wedding.
Consider advertising your services in the yellow pages as well as in carefully selected publications. Advertising is very expensive–only buy ads in publications which future brides and their families are likely to read or consult when they are thinking about getting married. You’ll want to choose local publications rather than national magazines.
A Final Bit of Advice
As you start your new career, be patient. The telephone is not likely to ring the first moment. Your business will probably be small in the first year, but it will grow each time you do a wedding. Ask every bride you assist to mention you to anyone who talks to her about her wedding. Be sure the brides and their mothers all have a supply of your business cards to give to their friends. You may consider paying them a referral fee for each new client they send your way. From every wedding, you coordinate successfully you will probably get three new customers. It won’t take long before you’ll have to hire assistants to handle the volume of work you have.
Wedding planners help couples plan the events surrounding their wedding. Weddings encompass more than just the marriage ceremony, and couples use the services of wedding planners to help them find and book venues, caterers, florists, officiants, photographers, and musicians. Wedding planners also help make sure the events of the day go on as planned by setting a timeline and making sure all members of the wedding party follow it.
A wedding planner’s clients tell him or her what kind of wedding they want, and the wedding planner helps them set a budget and find the right venues and vendors to fit with the couple’s vision.
What kind of training is required to become a wedding planner?
Some wedding planners learn on the job, but others take training courses through private schools and community colleges. Students in wedding planning courses learn how to create and work with budgets and contracts. They also learn about current fashion, etiquette, and event design. Prospective wedding planners must also know how to find and work with vendors like photographers, videographers, caterers, DJs, and bands. Many wedding planners work for themselves, so training courses also cover business topics like public relations, marketing, pricing, and billing.
Students in some wedding planner training courses have opportunities to help plan a wedding for a client.
Are there any certification or licensure requirements?
Wedding planners are not required to become licensed to take on clients, but those who are working independently may need to register as a business with their state.
Some wedding planners choose to become certified to show potential clients that they have completed some training in their field. Wedding planner certifications are offered through organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants, the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, and the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants.
Certification courses can be taken from home or in a classroom. Many organizations certify wedding planners at different levels, and certification may require planning and receiving letters of recommendation for a certain number of weddings.
While certification is not required, it can be beneficial, because employers may prefer to hire someone who is certified, and couples may use the certifying agency’s website to find a certified planner.
How long does it take to become a wedding planner?
Wedding planner training courses can take anywhere from a day to a few months to complete. Planners who complete training courses and want to become certified may take several months to plan enough weddings to qualify for certification.
What does a wedding planner earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups wedding planners with meeting, convention, and event planners, and the median yearly pay for professionals in this group was $45,810 in 2012.
PlannersLounge.com reports that wedding planners with one to four years of experience can expect to earn between $14,795 and $73,047. Generally, as wedding planners gain experience and can show potential clients positive feedback from past work, they earn a higher salary.
What are the job prospects?
The BLS projects that employment of event planners will grow by 33 percent between 2012 and 2020, making this one of the faster-growing professions in the United States.
What are the long term career prospects for wedding planners?
As they gain experience, wedding planners can take on more elaborate weddings with bigger budgets and earn a higher salary. Becoming a successful wedding planner also depends on one’s business skills, as planners need to promote themselves to expand their customer base.
Wedding planners who go to work for a venue or event planning company may eventually gain enough experience to become event coordinators.
How can I find a job as a wedding planner?
Some wedding planners work for event planning companies, and these companies may prefer to hire planners with training, certification, and experience. If you completed a wedding planner certification program, your school may offer job placement assistance. You can start your career as an assistant or intern with a company that plans weddings.
You can also seek work with a venue that caters to weddings. Many couples who don’t hire their own wedding planner use the services a planner employed by the venue they choose for their ceremony or wedding reception. Without some experience, you may not be able to land a job right away as an event coordinator, but you can start out as an assistant.
If you go to work for yourself, all you need to start is a client. Successfully planning weddings can lead to referrals and new customers. As you gain some experience, you will be able to show potential clients examples of your past work.
How can I learn more about becoming a wedding planner?
You can learn more about becoming a wedding planner through the various certification agencies that exist for the profession, such as the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, and the Association of Bridal Consultants.
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The right way, but finding an honest answer isn’t exactly easy—until now.
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If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in my decade in the events industry, it’s that success as a wedding planner lies in community and teamwork. Here, it’s WE over ME any day of the week.
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HI, I’M SARAH!
I’m the founder and wedding planner mentor behind Chancey Charm, a wedding planning & design firm with planners all across the US. As a born Georgia Peach, a lover of sunny afternoons, and a mom to an incredible boy—I’m a firm believer that your business should pay you both financially and in personal freedom and flexibility, that allows you to focus on your family and faith.
With a decade of experience in the events industry, it’s become my life’s passion to share the tips and tools I’ve collected along the way with aspiring planners who are in the same uncertain shoes I was once shakin’ in myself.
Chancey Charm operates coast-to-coast with an ever-expanding team of 35+ planners, each of whom I personally mentor. We continue to hit over $400k in sales every year in multiple markets, have been published over 200 times, have served over 650 happy couples, and have had over 2,000 planners join our supportive community.
What do you get?
Guides to help you start on a proven path to success—so you can skip stress and trial-and-error.
An Incredible Community
Join our private wedding planner Facebook group of 300+ members. Think of it as an instant support system.
Members Only Video Training
Dive into 4 of Sarah’s favorite members-only video training.
These plug-n-play Canva templates are easy to customize and will give you the professional feel you’ve been looking for when it comes to marketing materials, on-boarding a new client, and designing that next styled shoot.
Get personal guidance and support directly from Sarah (that’s me!) in our private Facebook group.
Chancey Charm Wedding Planner Badge
The ultimate badge of wedding-planner honor—with all of the knowledge and know-how to back it.
Personal Planner Connections
Our Planner Connecting Point program connects new planners looking to help with seasoned pros looking for help.
Do you love weddings? Would you laugh in the face of organising table favours for 200 people? Then becoming a Wedding Planner could be the perfect career move for you.
Becoming a Wedding Planner essentially involves helping happy couples make their way up the aisle hitch-free and with all the little details they dreamt up waiting for them – without them having to lift a finger.
You might be tasked with planning the whole thing from start to finish, or you may just be needed for a few key aspects, but a Wedding Planner will typically:
- Meet with couples to discuss their ideas and budget
- Devise a suitable theme and provide advice on logistics for the big day
- Contact suppliers for quotes and negotiate prices
- Book suppliers and keep in touch to ensure they turn up on the wedding day
- Organise the venue and decor
- Turn up on the day itself to coordinate events from behind the scenes
If you’re the kind of person who is organised at all times and doesn’t get stressed out under pressure, then you’d probably be a great Wedding Planner. However, needless to say that it’s vital you love weddings too – you’ll have to treat each once like it’s your first.
A great Wedding Planner will be:
- Great at multi-tasking
- Good at communicating
- A people person
- Willing to work long hours during the wedding season
- Able to think on the spot to deal with potential unexpected catastrophes like florist failures or bridesmaids who have fallen out
I became a Wedding Planner after having so much fun organising my own nuptials that I actually felt bereft when my evenings weren’t taken up with folding favour boxes and working out table plans. I love organising all the little things that can really make a difference on the big day and although I can get stressed sometimes, seeing my clients’ faces when they walk into their venue to tie the knot makes it all worthwhile.
You don’t need a degree to become a Wedding Planner, although a Wedding Planner or supporting course with Wedding Planner with Finance and Business may be beneficial when it comes to finding the right role.
he online wedding planner course will provide you with all the skills and knowledge you need to effectively organise, manage and execute the perfect wedding. Being a major event in many people’s lives, a wedding needs to exceed all expectations.
This is a career that will require all of your skills! Are you a creative problem solver, good at thinking on your feet? Are you organized, and as good at directing clients and employees as an army general? Are you stylish, with a flair for original design? This is for you.
- 13 Proven Wedding Planner Marketing Resources (immediate, lifetime access)
- 4 Action Worksheets To Help You Take Next Steps (sent out bi-weekly, lifetime access)
- 4 Video Trainings To Go Along With Action Worksheets (sent out bi-weekly, lifetime access)
- Access To A Private Mastermind Facebook Group For A Year
- Monthly LIVE Q & A with Sarah Chancey inside the group!
- Bonus: 4 Members Only Marketing Training Videos (immediate, lifetime access)
WHAT WE WILL COVER:
- Quarterly + Long-Term Goal Building, With Pricing To Match
- Your “Sweet Spot” Checklist
- How To Market Your Wedding Planner Business With Clarity
- Design Mood Board Creation
- Creating Styled Shoots To Build THE Brand You Want
- Venue Partnerships
- Social Media Strategy Made Simple
- How To Attract Your Target Client Online
- How To Get Your Client’s Wedding Ready For Publication
- Healthy Team Growth & Location Expansion
Are you ready to see consistent leads in your inbox (from people who aren’t family or friends)?
Are you looking for a small, supportive community you can count on as you try to navigate growing your wedding planning business?
I’ve got you friend!
You don’t need business school under your belt to be a rockstar at marketing your wedding planning business.
This Wedding Planner Mastermind provides a proven roadmap for leveraging powerful marketing channels and tactics to your full advantage! All you need to do is bring your drive and determination to the table—this Mastermind will guide you from there.
The best part?
You’re not alone, we’ll be tracking through the content with a group of planners who understand right where you are. We’ll do this together and keep pushing each other for a year via a private Facebook group.
Let’s make your business dreams come true together!
(LET’S BREAK DOWN ALL THE RESOURCES IN THE MEMBERSHIP BUNDLE!)
Proven wedding planner marketing plan
A tip-to-tail marketing blueprint for attracting your ideal couple
Define where your brand is headed and the people you most want to book.
Sarah’s personal business resource list
The sanity-saving tools I rely on to run a scaled, successful wedding planning business.
Elevate your portfolio with this expert guide for producing an on-brand, on-budget styled shoot.
Learn the ins-and-outs of working with venues successfully and seamlessly.
Learn how to leverage social media to attract and book on-brand leads.
Learn how to take leads from liking your Insta posts to signing on the dotted line.
Plug-n-play Canva templates that will have you looking legit instantly. Rack card, service guide + welcome guide included.
Done-for-you lead to client communication you can put your personal stamp on
They search, you appear. Learn how to attract your ideal client by leveraging search keywords.
“As seen in” all yours with expert tips for getting your client’s wedding published.
Setting clear goals from the start is the key to building a business that works for you.
did you know that love at first travel actually started as a blog? nEEDLESS TO SAY, WE HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IN EMPOWERING COUPLES TO PLAN THEIR WEDDING THEIR WAY.
TO the BLOG
Are you a wedding pro? Read more about Kara and her marketing education here.
***We are no longer actively hiring but thank you so much for your interest!***
For all things destination wedding planning, we have created this 70+ page guide for you to deep dive into. It would actually be INCREDIBLY helpful if you are thinking of becoming a destination wedding planner because, really, we cover everything.
Can I be honest? This is the scariest thing I have done yet. I have worked tirelessly for the last few year to build my company from scratch. I have hired people to help with certain projects and I have an amazing VA (virtual assistant) to help with certain day-to-day tasks as well. But I am finally ready to add one or maybe two more TRAVEL AGENTS to the Love at First Travel team. This is a part-time, commission-based position. Because of laws and restrictions beyond my control, this position is only open to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North West Territories, Yukon, Nova Scotia and PEI.
More Details about the position and how to apply at the end of this post!
How to Become a Destination Wedding Travel Agent
Although I am sharing a lot about what I did, I also included things to consider if you are thinking this might be the dream job. It really is a dream job by the way. It is also one of the most stressful jobs in the entire wold. I just want to be completely upfront with you about what you are in for if you do choose to pursue this as a career.
I Became a Travel Agent FIRST.
How to Become a Travel Agent
How You Get Paid
Or, Become a Wedding Planner First.
Destination Wedding Travel Agent vs. Destination Wedding Planner
Education is SO important.
The most important quality to have is to ALWAYS be learning. I personally got a bachelor degree from the University of Alberta before I opened my business. I majored in psychology (and it does come in handy every now and again 😉) but a bachelor degree is definitely not a necessity! What is DID teach me though was how to work HARD and how to be RESOURCEFUL.
Other than formal education, I also had about a million jobs while I was in university. If this isn’t a tell tale sign of an entrepreneur, I don’t know what is! And I have learned a LOT about customer service and it has served me so well. One of my favourite memories was during a “pre-shift” meeting at earl’s on New Years Eve. I remember it so clearly. My manager at the time gave us all some serious real talk.
I know we do this everyday. I know you may have your own NYE plans after this. You may have something going in your life. Let’s just remember that for some of our customers – this is their big night out. Some of them don’t get a chance to go out all the time and this is THEIR New Years. Let’s do everything we can to make it as special as possible for them.
I think I will carry this lesson with me forever. It’s ALWAYS about the client. It’s ALWAYS about making their experience with me as special as possible. And every side job has taught me something new so even though it isn’t formal education – the experience as been invaluable.
The reason this industry is full of AMAZING and AWFUL (real talk!) travel agents is that you need to be SUPER SELF-MOTIVATED to get Education. Although I got basic education from my host agency, I did a majority of training on my own. A few examples of courses I took (and paid for!) are the DWHSA Romance Travel Specialist Course (I also followed up with their DWHSA Bootcamp this year) and The Firefly Method for Wedding Planners.
On top of a few SOLID courses, I have probably watched over 1000 webinars from my computer. Many suppliers have trainings as well (Sandos Smart Agents, AMResort Master Agents, Royal Caribbean WOW Specialist, etc). I attend as many industry events that come to Edmonton as I possibly can. I also TRAVEL as much as possible so I can personally see hotels & destinations that I sell. If you really are planning on starting your own business, please be prepared to invest in yourself. I am not even counting all of the business specific training I have taken!
Find a mentor. On top of trainings, one of the most invaluable things I did for my business was find a mentor. Learning how she does destination weddings was more valuable than anything I could have learned myself online. Business happens in real time so find a mentor you trust and who is willing and happy to help. Be grateful for them too because this industry can be crazy and they are likely very busy.
Because of laws and restrictions beyond my control, this position is only open to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North West Territories, Yukon, Nova Scotia and PEI.
In case you are reading this for more information on the position available at Love at First Travel – here it is! I am really excited to take this next step in my business. I am really looking for someone who will be equally as excited. In case you are new around here, I don’t do things the “typical” way and this is no exception. For this job posting, I am going to start with a list of reasons why this may NOT be the job for you:
- You will be considered an independent contractor. This means that although you don’t need traditional “business” costs like a website, business licence, etc, you do still have costs. You can expect about a $400 investment for training & set up costs and $40/month in service fees.
- The job is commission based and you are paid commission AFTER the client returns home from their vacation/wedding. For destination weddings, this means you get paid 12-18 months after you “start” the work.
- Because of the pay structure above, you will start part-time. Realistically, I would want you to budget anywhere from 1-4 years before earning a full-time income.
10 Steps to Become a Wedding Planner
By Catherine Goulet, Jan Riddell and Tag Goulet
If you are like most people, you have probably attended at least a few weddings. As the excitement of the wedding day approaches, many brides-to-be, along with their family and friends start thinking, “I wonder if I could become a wedding planner?”
If you have been wondering the same thing, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” That’s because today there are more opportunities for wedding planners than ever before. In our busy society many couples turn to a professional wedding planner to ensure their wedding is as stress free as possible.
As a wedding planner you can have a rewarding career that lets you use your creativity to organize the happiest day of people’s lives.
As long as you have the desire, you can become a wedding planner since no special education or experience is necessary. Here are 10 steps to breaking into this dream career, based on the FabJob Guide to Become a Wedding Planner, the textbook for IAP Career College’s Wedding Planner Certificate Course.
1. Learn about weddings
There are numerous details involved in planning a wedding — from selecting the date to choosing the reception menu. To teach yourself wedding planning, help out with as many weddings as possible, visit bridal shows, read wedding magazines and books, and conduct informational interviews. Talk with clergy of various faiths, recently married brides and others connected to the wedding business such as florists and caterers.
2. Develop your skills to become a wedding planner
Successful wedding planners have a number of traits in common. They are usually creative people with excellent interpersonal skills who love to plan events. While most of these traits come naturally to many wedding planners, an important skill that some need to develop is organizational ability. To help you stay organized, you can create timeline schedules and checklists, and use organizational tools such as a day planner or binder to keep track of all the wedding details and paperwork.
3. Create a portfolio
A portfolio is a collection of photographs that show people your skill at planning weddings. Offer your services to friends and family who are getting married in exchange for pictures for your portfolio. To show your creativity, you can also include photographs of table settings or room decorations you have created in your home, or pictures from your own wedding if you planned it yourself.
4. Find a job in the wedding industry
Even if you plan to start your own business, consider getting a job in the industry first. These positions can be used as a stepping-stone to gain valuable experience and contacts. Wedding coordinators are hired by hotels, country clubs, and churches across the country. Some exciting options include working as a wedding coordinator at an attraction such as Disneyland or at a resort in a location such as Banff, Hawaii, Las Vegas, or the Caribbean.
Many job opportunities for bridal consultants are available with companies that supply products and services for weddings including bridal shops, department stores with gift registries, florists, and caterers.
5. Set up your own business to become a wedding planner
Setting up a wedding planning business is similar to starting any home business. You’ll need to handle matters such as deciding whether to incorporate, setting up your office, and developing systems for getting paid.
There are many excellent resources available to help you start your business including the U.S. Small Business Administration in the United States and the Government of Canada’s Canada Business.
6. Decide what services you want to offer
Wedding planners offer a variety of services and packages based on their specific skills and interests. You might offer complete wedding planning services, wedding day co-ordination only, or consult with brides and grooms who want to plan their own weddings. Some wedding planners specialize in arranging “destination weddings” at resorts or on cruise ships.
7. Develop relationships with vendors
Vendors are suppliers of any product or service related to weddings, such as limousine companies, musicians, photographers, party supply companies, invitation printers, etc. Vendors can be a valued partner in planning a successful wedding.
8. Get clients
Supply business cards and brochures to the vendors you work with, and ask them to recommend your services to their customers who are getting married. Other ways to market your services include advertising, networking, and participating in bridal shows.
9. Consult with clients
Once you start getting calls from brides and grooms, arrange a client consultation meeting. Ask questions to find out what type of wedding they want, their budget, number of guests, etc. At this meeting you will discuss your fees, which might be an hourly rate such as $50 per hour or a flat fee. Explain how you can help the couple have the worry-free wedding of their dreams.
10. Be recognized as a professional
Successful wedding planners are always interested in learning new ideas to use with their clients. Consider joining a professional association for wedding planners to keep up with new developments in the industry. Clients will be impressed, especially if the organization certifies you as a professional wedding planner.
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a wedding planner?
Imagined how it’d be to help organise the most romantic, gorgeous day for a loved-up couple?
To rise to the challenge and be ‘that amazing person’ who finds the most stunning bride’s dress, who arranges the most delicious food or helps locate a true fairytale venue?
Whatever drew you to the idea of working in wedding management, you couldn’t have picked a more rewarding career path… and we’re talking $$$, as well as the emotional fulfilment of helping plan the most spectacular day!
In fact, research indicates that over 116,000 weddings take place in Australia every year, whilst this industry generates over $2 billion annually and the final cost of a wedding clocks in at around $31,368.
(In other words, there’s a lot of money involved when it comes to creating the perfect day.)
Not only that; the average salary for a wedding planner falls between $50,000 to $63,000. And it’s not difficult to see why, what with a wedding planner typically wearing multiple hats throughout the entire process; they are often a planner, advisor, creator, coordinator, stylist and decorator, as well as a source of calm and stability in what can be a highly emotional time for the wedding party (although we don’t reckon anything will come close to the film Bridesmaids!)
Yet it’s not really the money that first drew you to this career, is it?
Rather, it’s your own interests and passions that made the idea of diving into all things wedding so appealing… the prospect of immersing yourself in this dynamic, exciting and colourful industry.
Which is why today we’re going to walk you through 5 Essential Steps to Become a Wedding Planner, so you can make your dream career a reality.
Step One: Do your homework
Whilst this career can seem extremely attractive, it’s not one you should pursue lightly. That’s why the first step is to do your homework and understand exactly what responsibilities and skills make a successful wedding planner.
To begin, a wedding planner needs to be:
- Driven to succeed
- Level-headed under pressure
- Flexible and proactive
- Highly organised
- Energetic and enthusiastic
(But don’t feel daunted by how intense these personality traits may seem, as these qualities can naturally emerge through your training and increased exposure to this industry.)
Generally, you can expect the key responsibilities of a wedding planner to include:
- Outlining finances and ensuring budgets are adhered to
- Helping to find a dress/dressmaker
- Organising cake-tasting sessions
- Securing venues for a ceremony and/or the reception
- Providing recommendations for trustworthy subcontractors who’ll supply
- flowers, filming, photography, food/beverages etc.
- Arranging make up and hairstyling for the bridal party
- Coordinating timings and transport options
- Sourcing a quality DJ or band for the reception
And that’s just a few examples.
You should also understand that there are different levels of wedding planning and management, which can be scaled depending on your couple’s needs. These include:
- Full wedding planning
- Partial wedding planning
- On the day event management
To expand, full wedding planning – as you can expect – includes organising essentially every element of the day. From the dress-showings to the cake-tasting, sourcing the perfect venue to liaising with the caterers/wedding band; it’s all of the above and more.
Whereas partial wedding planning can mean limiting your services to specific elements of the day, such as selecting a venue or helping to organise the food. On the day event management, in contrast, is what it says on the tin: you are there to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day itself.
Your working hours in this role can fluctuate and be irregular, with weddings taking place throughout the year, on all days of the week and often during evenings and at weekends. Surveys have even shown that Saturday weddings are the most popular, with spring the favoured season – so be aware that you’ll experience notably busier periods with increased competition for venues and services!
Lastly, you should note that the majority of wedding planners either work as partners in larger wedding planning companies or are self-employed contractors. This means you have the option to work autonomously or as part of an established enterprise – it’s really up to you.
Wedding planning is a career that involves long hours, requires management and organisational skills but sees the reward of a happy couple at their perfect wedding. Planning weddings or having your own wedding planning business will see a strong career growth as there is a huge demand for wedding planners across the UK. Read on to find out how to become one!
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Wedding Planner?
Legally in the UK, there are so specific qualifications required to be a wedding planner; however, having previous work experience within areas like event planning, hospitality, business management is extremely beneficial to planning the perfect wedding. Many people in college (further education) start their careers within fields such as project management, public relations, event management and even marketing.
For training purposes, you can attend institutions such as the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) (the UK sectors leading body), where you can receive training from successful wedding planners in a range of environments. These can include workshops, one-on-one training sessions and even webinars. As a side note, applying for membership of the UKAWP will help you stand out in this professional field comfort new clients in knowing they will be working with a certified wedding planner from a leading organisation.
You may also choose to attend short online courses or attend other organisations such as the UK Academy of Wedding and Event Planning or The Wedding Planner School. Whilst it’s not critical to have training, it’s definitely useful when helping potential clients set up for their big day.
As a Beginner, Where Should I Start in Wedding Planning?
Before attempting to dive straight into a wedding planning career, it’s a good idea to first get a feel for the industry by finding a job in hospitality. This will give you a feel of what the industry is like and what sort of demands might be placed on you once you start working as a wedding planner.
Work experience is best gained alongside a relevant course for the best results and more rounded understanding.
Skill Set Required for a Wedding Planner
In order to be successful as a wedding planner, you’ll need a wide spectrum of skills, which should consist of:
You have undergone education programs in the event management field and are accredited by one or more professional associations as a wedding planner.
Still, the road that takes you to achievement is affected by many things other than formal educations.
Here you are some easy tips to become a successful wedding planner you can do right now.
Make a good image of yourself
Some people say that we should not judge the book by its cover, but many of us actually do.
For a wedding planner, this is, in fact, a good thing. People will judge you and think high or low of you within the first minute you meet with them.
Even when the would-be bride and bridegroom don’t do that, many times it is good to assume that they do.
There is always a preconceived notion of what a wedding planner should look like and behave.
A wedding planner is neat, organized, knowledgeable, and business-savvy. It means your overall image has to be up-to-date and sharp.
There is indeed a big difference between “look like a professional” and “act like a professional”.
In your case, both are equally important.
Similar to other professions, you have to carry the professional image to your everyday life.
A wedding planner is not like a police officer or firefighter who gets easily recognized at work by the uniform. You don’t have a uniform, but the way you interact with people can determine who you are.
A good wedding planner is a person who has social skills of surpassing excellence.
At times when you have many wedding to think about, get some sort of organizational system with which you can prioritize the closest event without neglecting the others.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to have a specially-made calendar filled with all your responsibilities.
If that is too old-fashioned, use event management software on your computer.
Let us not forget that you can store your data in the cloud, making it easily accessible anywhere.
In case it is still too cumbersome, you can download even planning software or app compatible with your smartphone. There are many of them available; some are free and others are not. The full-featured app may also include registration functions.
Even when you can’t find one with such function, there is plenty of stand-alone event registration software to choose.
Create a marketing strategy
The best marketing strategy is one that’s low on cost but high on returns.
There are websites and social media where you can post your profiles or create a professional company image.
If your wedding planning business works on special niche such as indie brides, eco-friendly wedding, ethnic events, etc, advertise to blogs that cater your target markets.
Broaden your network
Investing your time and money on marketing is good, but building a good relationship with other wedding planners in your area is also a smart business move.
Joining professional associations of catering services or successful event organizers can provide easier way to know more venues, caterers, photographers, and other professionals related to your field.
Research what it takes to become a wedding planner. Learn about training and education requirements, certification options and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.
What Does a Wedding Planner Do?
A wedding planner, also called a bridal or wedding consultant, coordinates the logistics of marriage ceremonies and wedding receptions. Planners meet with the couple getting married to understand their preferences and expectations of their big day. They then begin to plan the details of the wedding, like the location and time, but while staying within budget. They will book the venue and work with service providers, such as caterers, to ensure everything meets their clients’ requirements. The day of the wedding, wedding planners oversee the day’s activities to keep things running smoothly and make sure everyone is satisfied. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.
|Education Required||High school diploma; certificate or associate’s degree recommended|
|Education Field of Study||Tourism management, event planning|
|Certification||Certification is optional|
|Key Responsibilities||Discuss and implement clients’ needs, coordinate vendors, troubleshoot problems|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||7% (for all meeting, convention and event planners)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$41,665 (for all wedding planners)**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
What Is a Wedding Planner?
A wedding planner is similar to an event planner in many ways. Essentially, you’ll discuss a clients’ wants for the event, and you’ll plan the event after agreeing upon a budget. You’ll work with caterers, location managers and other people that contribute to the event. You’ll be at the event the day it happens to guarantee that everything goes as planned and nothing is amiss. The mother of the bride or the bride usually hires a wedding planner.
Step 1: Research Wedding Planner Job Duties
Common duties include booking venues, ordering flowers, choosing caterers, hiring entertainment, finding a photographer or videographer, offering advice on wardrobe selection and mailing invitations. You’ll also coordinate travel arrangements, rehearsals, the ceremony and the reception. You’ll work in an emotionally charged environment, and you must be able to keep peace between all elements, including grooms, brides, families, guests and vendors, to keep the wedding and reception running smoothly.
Step 2: Complete High School
To enroll in a college program you’ll need to complete high school or earn the equivalent. During high school you might shadow a wedding planner to see what a typical day in this career entails. Consider volunteering for committees that plan events and dances to gain some experience in the organization and planning of a major event.
Step 3: Earn a Degree
Many wedding planners are self-employed, so earning a degree or at least taking courses in business, marketing and accounting could be a good investment. Community colleges offer associate degrees in tourism management and event planning. Both of these programs teach you the essentials to working with people and organizing an event in another person’s life. You’ll learn how to meet a client’s needs and desires while staying within budget. Community colleges also offer floral, hospitality and artistic classes that may provide additional skills.
The Wedding Planner Institute works with colleges to provide wedding planner certificates. These programs also prepare you for eventual certification. Most certificate programs cover wedding traditions, cultural differences and colors and patterns of clothing. Courses in negotiation and working with vendors and clergy may also be offered. Along with training you on party planning, you’ll also learn about the details others may forget when planning a wedding.
Step 4: Obtain Certification
The Wedding Planning Institute provides the Wedding Planner Certification, which is recognized throughout the industry. The institution is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Organization for Competency Assurance and the Learning Resource Network.
Step 5: Cultivate Professional Contacts
A large part of your day will involve contracting vendors who work with events and weddings. Florists, caterers, cake makers and bands all come together to make an event happen. You’ll want to develop professional connections to these vendors so that you might be able to negotiate lower rates for clients with tight budgets. During internships and pre-certification, you’ll want to look for opportunities to work with established wedding consultation firms. The contacts you make with venues, such as casinos and hotels, could also lead to a job planning weddings for that business.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Lodging managers, travel agents and food service managers are related careers that require a high school diploma or equivalent. Lodging managers oversee the activities of their establishment and ensure their guests’ satisfaction during their stay. Travel agents manage the details of a clients’ trip or vacation, including booking lodging, transportation and entertainment. Food service managers supervise staff and the daily operation of their eating establishment. They may also handle the business side of their restaurant.
Are you looking to start a successful wedding planning business? Do you book more brides, earn more money and rapidly grow your wedding business without slashing your prices and offering crazy discounts, just to get brides to choose you? Becoming a wedding planner is what a lot of people wish to do. But how can you become a successful wedding planner? One that makes money?
Before we get started, we wanted to invite you to join our Wedding Pro group. And if you are serious about your Wedding business, then you should be on Pinterest. Join our Pinterest group and let the pinning party begin. We also dd want to mention that we use affiliate links on our posts, and if you purchase anything, we might make a commission.
We have received a few inquiries from readers asking us to share with them the exact strategies we used to become a successful wedding planning business. Becoming a Wedding Planner takes a lot of learning, marketing and creating great relationships.
If you have the love of planning parties, events and enjoy running the show, you might become a successful wedding planner. Couples are now looking for professional help as relying on friends and family is becoming uncommon. This is mainly due to the busy lives we all have now. Becoming a wedding planner doesn’t mean waking up in the morning and starting the business. They are so many things to consider, especially if you want to be successful.
A few things to consider if becoming a wedding planner is your career:
- Getting a wedding planning certification
- Starting a website and blog
- Creating long-term relationships with other wedding vendors.
- Creating Wedding packages
- Networking at trade shows etc.
We could write a 10, 000 worded post on becoming a wedding planner, but that would be too much. We instead decided to put it in a Wedding Planning eBook to help you become the best wedding planner there is! It is packaged with much-needed information to help you establish your wedding business and become the best.
Becoming A Wedding Planner eBook
The E-Book goes through the little tweaks we implemented in our wedding business to make it as successful as it is today. We will answer all your burning questions in terms of if you require education, or is a blog really necessary and all the marketing efforts we used to really grow the business. I detail how and what you should work on to build traffic to your wedding website and why your storefront ( Wedding Website ), should be doing all the work for you and attracting brides! Go ahead and grab your copy. Do the work and you will see clients calling to book your services.
What is included in this E-Book:
- Reasons to become a wedding planner
- Courses to take to become a wedding planner – ei – WPIC
- How to find your perfect Niche
- Finding your brand
- Logo and key messaging
- How to pick your business name
- Creating your websites
- How to increase your wedding business sales!
- How to Promote your business to attract Brides
- Places to market and book your clients and much more!
If you are just starting out in the wedding industry OR you’ve been in business for years but are NOT making the money you’d love to see in your business then you MUST get this E-Book! We focus on teaching you how to market your wedding business to see growth.
We hope this helps you become a better wedding planner! Share. Learn. Grow!
Amazing read to consider is also looking into the 10 Habits of a successful wedding planner.
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As part of The Study here at FWS we are discussing how to become a wedding planner with the expertise of Bernadette Chapman from UKAWP…
Have you always dreamed about “how to become a wedding planner” and running your own business?
Perhaps whilst planning your wedding you enjoyed it so much you have decided to make a career change and start a wedding planning business?
But what is it like to be a professional wedding planner, organising multiple weddings for clients? In this blog post leading wedding planner trainer Bernadette Chapman from the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners gives some key advice on how you can launch as an independent wedding planner.
What is the role of a wedding planner?
The key purpose of a wedding planner is to offer support and guidance to couples with their wedding. This could be organising the wedding from start to finish, or simply managing the day itself. If you look back to the struggles with your own wedding, were there certain areas you feel in hindsight a wedding planner could have helped you?
Bridal bouquet image by Authentic Love Photography from Château de Lignan gatsby inspired photo shoot.
Some of the tasks a wedding planner is involved with:
- Sourcing the dream venue
- Recommending fabulous and trusted wedding suppliers
- Creating the wedding design
- Negotiating with suppliers to get the best price
- Handling paperwork and keeping track of all contracts, budget and supplier payments
- Producing the schedule and sending to key suppliers
- Project managing the day itself
Photo credits: clockwise from top: Mark Sisley Photography, Melting Pot Pictures, NGS From Meet the experts: Fabienne Slater from Elian Concept Weddings & Events
Anyone that has planned their own wedding will know you have to be organised to ensure every task has been completed prior to your wedding day. Multiply that feeling by 10 or more weddings a year and you will have an idea of how organised you need to be as a wedding planner.
Do you need to be qualified?
The wedding industry is not regulated and as such you do not need any qualifications to launch as a wedding planner. However, to give yourself a greater chance as possible you may wish to enroll in a reputable wedding planning and wedding business course. Ensure you learn from a credible expert who knows the ins and outs of wedding planning. This also gives you extra kudos when displaying the training badge on your website.
Initial Steps to get your business launched
1. Identify the type of planner you will be. Logistical, design led, destination?
2. Identify who your ideal client is. Instead of trying to market to every client, you want to market to the ones right for you. This is because wedding planning is a niche sector. So just who are your clients? Spend time getting this right and seek advice from consultants to help you if necessary.
3. Choose your company name. Purchase the domain name and register all social media accounts. You want all of these to have continuity.
4. Start your business legally, so register the name, tell the tax man
5. Hire a designer to create your brand identity for you (logo, fonts, colours)
6. Either build your own website or hire a designer to do this for you. There is no need to spend thousands on your first website. But it does need to reflect you and the clients you are targeting. Ensure you have good quality images
7. Devise your services and appropriate price brackets for each service
8. Have a 1 year and 3 year plan for your business. Know your financial targets and profit margins for each service.
9. Create a marketing strategy for your business and start posting on your blog and social media. Build personal connections with others in the industry by attending networking events and interacting in facebook groups
10. Have business templates in place (onboarding, contracts, invoices)
Research into planners in your area. What services do they offer and what prices do they charge? What is their USP? How can YOU be different? How can you stand out from them? How can you pitch your business differently?
Understand Your Profit Margins
Really think about your pricing and take into account any costs, i.e telephone, broadband, travel, stationery & your time. If you are serious about becoming a wedding planner and not approaching this as a hobby then ensure your price reflects your time, experience and knowledge.
A successful wedding planner is confident and knowledgeable. You should never say “I don’t know” when asked a question. Remember you are being paid for your experience and knowledge; clients should have faith in you at all times. Your confidence will be one of the deciding factors whether you are hired so the more knowledge you gain the more confident you will become.
Where will you get clients
In most cases, clients will either find you through your website and/or social media. Or it will be a personal recommendation from a supplier or venue. Think about where you can highlight your experience. For example, long term UKAWP member Fabienne – owner of Elian Concept Weddings and Events has been a guest writer for French Wedding Style for many years and has written many articles for us. Clients, therefore, trust her credibility and knowledge.
Almost anyone can get the right education and taken appropriate training courses to work as a wedding planner, but not everyone will succeed. Sadly, many people dream of planning other people’s weddings and do everything needed for the job, but for one reason or another, they fall short, eventually giving up on this particular career path altogether. For any job, especially one such as this, the goal is to build a reputation for being among the best, so clients do the seeking rather than the professional going out to find new clients.
The Wedding Planner’s Role
Someone interested in a career as a wedding planner should fully understand the role. Understanding the role is the first step in how to become a wedding planner. The planner would be responsible for every detail of the wedding, coordinating with suppliers and vendors based on the desires of the bride and groom. As a part of coordination efforts, the wedding planner would need to make price comparisons, negotiate services and cost, and review, as well as execute contracts.
Along with coordination efforts, to become a wedding planner with a successful career, this person would also need to work in the role of consultant. One mistake that some people make when pursuing a career such as this is overlooking the need but also the value of providing consultation. By this, we mean maintaining objectivity when challenges arise.
Even when things seem to be seamless, emotions of the bride, groom, family, and friends are running the gamut in the wedding consultant role, the professional would help keep everyone moving in the same direction while staying within budget, in scope, and on schedule. In both the wedding planner and wedding consultant role, the person would always work on behalf of the bride and groom to ensure a dream wedding occurs.
How to Become a Wedding Planner: Special Gifts
It goes without saying that to become a wedding planner in demand, an individual would need to possess some special gifts. While education and training would certainly be valuable when it comes to success, some people are naturally more suited to a wedding planning career than others are. Due to the very nature of the job and the vast responsibilities involved, we felt it would help to offer insight into special gifts someone should possess to become a wedding planner in high demand.
Calmness – A great wedding planner has the ability to remain calm and objective even amidst the turmoil
Negotiations – Another skill that sets an excellent wedding coordinator apart from an average coordinator is the ability to negotiate services, products, and prices to success but without becoming demanding or abrasive
Organization – Even a small, informal wedding can become chaotic. A skilled wedding planner would be able to recognize potential issues and use organizational skills to keep every detail in order. Unfortunately, even a small overlooked detail could ruin this beautiful day, so great organizational skills are mandatory.
Knowing Position – To become a wedding planner in high demand, a person must be strong enough to take a leadership role when needed but also be humble enough to step back and follow when necessary. Most successful coordinators have tremendous drive and desire to succeed so learning to pull back at times can be difficult but there will be times in a wedding planning career when this would occur.
Being Conscientious – Having other people’s money to use in creating a dream wedding can be tempting, causing some less experienced or conscientious coordinators to spend every dime. However, the wedding planner that couples want to work with is the person who respects the budget of the client and works tiredly to make magic happen but while coming under budget.
Fashion Sense – While this might not seem that important, it actually is. The more fashion sense a wedding planner has, the more efficient a job he or she can do. This means having the knowledge or common sense about types of music, color choices, flower species, and so on. In fact, for couples interested in a themed wedding, to become a wedding planner that everyone wants to book it would be vital to understanding different traditions and customs.
Miscellaneous – Just a few of the other special gifts that a successful wedding planner should possess include great bookkeeping, strong marketing, sound business management, basic culinary and photography knowledge, and even some knowledge of art history and world religion.
There is a lot to the career, but if you have the right personality and attitude, you can become a Wedding Planner in Los Angeles who is successful.