Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful events in a couple's relationship. There are a million details to consider when planning a wedding. It is hard work, and not everyone is willing or able to handle the tasks on their own. That is why many couples decide to hire someone to take care of all the details for them. With the help of a professional wedding planner, planning a wedding can become fun and exciting, rather than stressful and exhausting. With weddings happening every day all around the world, becoming a professional wedding planner might be an amazing career to pursue.
A professional wedding planner is a wonderful career choice for outgoing people who are great at time-management, organizing, and attention to detail. You should be a great communicator with strong interpersonal skills. You should also be willing and able to work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and you must be a patient person. Ideally, you love attending weddings and you love helping people. You are also a great problem-solver and can get things done under pressure. If this sounds like you, continue reading to find out how to become a wedding planner.
What Is a Wedding Planner?
A wedding planner, also known as a wedding coordinator, is a specialized event organizer who helps engaged couples plan all the logistics and details of the ceremony and reception for their wedding day. Wedding planners may also assist with the planning of other events that are related to the wedding day, such as the bridal shower or the rehearsal dinner.
The wedding planner will usually work with the couple for the entire time they are planning their wedding. The wedding planner might also attend the wedding or other events related to the wedding to provide on-site support and troubleshooting if anything goes wrong.
Couples hire wedding planners because they are not able or willing to take care of planning their wedding themselves. As their wedding planner, they will hire you to contact and negotiate with vendors, manage their wedding budget, and ensure that their even runs smoothly. To be a successful wedding planner, you should have all of the following skills:
You will have several tasks on your plate at one time. You will need to get each task completed on time, per your clients' instructions.
Every wedding has a budget. Your client will expect you to stick to the budget. Most couples have to save up to afford a wedding and they will be very unhappy if you do not stay within their set budget.
You will need to keep track of every aspect of the wedding. From expenses, to vendor contracts, to the guest list and seating charts, it will all be up to you to keep everything organized.
You will be working with a couple, and possibly their parents or other family members, for a long period of time. You will need to be comfortable meeting with them. You will also need to be able to meet new people and network to grow your business.
You will communicate daily or weekly with your clients. You will also communicate with vendors. If you cannot effectively communicate the needs of your clients to the vendors, you will not be able to satisfy your clients and help their dream wedding become a reality.
Working to help people can be emotionally exhausting. You will need patience to deal with all of the emotions that are often experienced by engaged couples that are planning a wedding. It is a stressful time for the bride and groom and they might not always know exactly what they want.
You will need to work evenings and weekends, sometimes for many hours at a time. You might be planning several weddings at one time. You will need to be energetic for each meeting with your clients to show them that you are as excited about their special day as they are.
As with any job, problems will arise. They will be unpredictable and vary in severity, but you must be able to solve every problem that arises to keep your clients happy.
Quick Thinking Under Pressure
If something goes wrong on the day of the wedding, you will be under an extreme amount of pressure to fix the problem immediately so the day is not ruined.
Sensitive to Others' Needs
Your clients are your priority. Keeping them happy is your priority. You need to listen to what they want and help them achieve it.
Sense of Style
It can also be helpful if you have a good sense of style and are able to think creatively. This will help you with selecting appropriate decorations and flowers to match the couple's desired color scheme.
There is no specific degree requirement to become a wedding planner, and no specific college program that will teach you how to become a wedding planner. If you happen to have a degree in business, communications, public relations, marketing, or event planning; you will have greater credibility as a wedding planner. Here are four tips to help you educate yourself in lieu of a formal college program:
Tip #1: Do Your Own Research
You are already taking the first step by reading this article. We also strongly recommend that you attend trainings and seminars about how to become a wedding planner. Many professional organizations offer training seminars and certification programs that will give you a competitive edge in the job market. You should find a program or several workshops that will teach you about wedding budgets, working with vendors, religious ceremonies, cultural wedding traditions, and general wedding etiquette.
You will need to do research to find reputable, quality seminars and workshops that are worth your time and money. You should also read as many wedding planning blogs, books, and magazines as you can find to keep your knowledge relevant.
Tip #2: Join a Professional Organization
Joining a professional organization, such as the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP), can not only increase your credibility to potential clients, but will also provide you with wonderful networking opportunities. You can meet people within the organization that would likely be willing to teach you how to become a wedding planner.
Tip #3: Gain Real-World Experience
The best way to learn how to become a wedding planner is to actually become one. Start out by freelancing as a wedding planner for your friends and family. Whether you charge them a fee or not, you will gain valuable experience and hopefully a good reference to list on your resume. You might even get referrals from those weddings.
If you don't feel comfortable planning weddings for your friends and family, consider taking an internship position at an event planning company or becoming an assistant to an established self-employed wedding planner. This real-world experience will teach you how to become a wedding planner better than any seminar you attend.
Tip #4: Consider Choosing a Niche
If you want to stand out from your competitors in a saturated marketplace, choosing to specialize in a specific type of wedding might be a good idea. For example, you could specialize in a specific religion, or specialize in location-specific weddings, or specific wedding themes. Think of your favorite types of weddings, and do some research about how to become a wedding planner for that specific type of wedding.
By specializing in a specific type of wedding, you can market yourself as an expert in that field. Then, you can branch out to include other types of weddings once you have a solid portfolio to show potential clients.
A wedding planner who decides to work as an independent contractor, an independent consultant, or business owner, will need to file the appropriate forms for business licensing in their city, county, and/or state. If you will work for an event planning company as a wedding planner, you will not need to obtain a license to do your job.
Wedding planners can be employees (full-time or part-time) for a private company, such as an event planning agency. Or, a wedding planner can be a self-employed owner of his or her own business. As an employee of a private company, you would likely have a fixed salary and benefits. The company you work for will provide the clients to you, but if you work for yourself, you will need to find your own clients.
If you decide to work as an independent contractor, an independent consultant, or business owner, you will need to determine your rates of service (how much you will charge your clients) and you will be responsible for your own benefits. You will also need to have a professional website of your own, business cards, and a marketing strategy.
According to Glassdoor.com, the national average salary for a wedding planner is approximately $49,000 per year. This will depend on whether you are full or part time, self-employed, or employed by an event planning company. It will also depend on the city and state where you provide your services.
How to Become a Wedding Planner - Conclusion
Becoming a successful wedding planner is not easy, but it can be a very rewarding and exciting career for someone who is well-organized, outgoing, and creative. Whether you decide to complete a certificate program, join a professional organization, start an internship, work for an event planning company, or start your own wedding planning business; we hope that this article has given you a good understanding of how to become a wedding planner.