How to Become a Wedding Planner: 4 Things to Consider Before You Get Started
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.
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