My mom recently got married and I had the opportunity to serve as her unofficial wedding planner. It was a fun experience, but not without its challenges and stresses. And it got me thinking about what it would be like to become a wedding planner. And more importantly how you become a wedding planner.
Have you ever found yourself wondering the same thing? I mean, who wouldn’t love to help beautiful brides make their big days magical? I know I would love to do it more. But before you (or I) get started, it is important you understand exactly what needs to be done to become a wedding planner. It is a step-by-step process that requires you to follow some basic guidelines.
With the proper training and a passion for planning, you will be well on your way to helping couples bring to life the wedding day they have always dreamed of. You can learn a lot from those who have already succeeded in wedding planning.
So, lets dive right in.
How To Become a Wedding Planner:
Step One: Do Your Homework
Before starting any new endeavor, it’s always a good idea to do your research. It takes more than just good party planning skills to become a wedding planner, and there are several other factors that need to be considered when making this decision.
You’ll want to research what you need to know about writing contracts, the various types of wedding ceremonies, creating continuity with the themes, and also how to forge relationships with various vendors you may use.
You’ll also want to learn more about the area where you want to work in as a wedding planner. If there is no demand for your services, or the area is already oversaturated with planners, you may need to consider a different area where your services will be in demand.
Step Two: Work to Develop and Refine Wedding Planning Skills
There are a lot of skills that you will need to become a wedding planner. The more of these skills you possess the better chance you have at achieving your professional goals.
Most of these skills revolve around working with people. But there are other skills you’ll need to develop. Among the skills you’ll need to refine are organization, networking, multitasking, patience, and people skills. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding your place in the industry.
For many brides, one of the most overwhelming aspects of planning a wedding is choosing the dress. By forging relationships with local wedding dress shops, you’ll better be able to help your brides make this tough decision, if they reach out to you for this reason.
Step Three: Become Certified In Wedding Planning
One of the most important steps you need to take to become a wedding planner is getting certified. You can choose to take a wedding planning course online or offline. Both are sufficient for getting the basic training that you’ll need to perform your job duties.
Any legitimate wedding planning certification program includes instruction on subjects like bridal registries, managing a budget, working with vendors, negotiating contracts, and various strategies for marketing.
And while it’s OK to only earn a certificate in the subject, studying towards a diploma in wedding planning can only help you. Check with your local community college or university to see if they offer a diploma program either online or in person.
Alternately, you could complete a program with the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners. You’ll attend a seminar for a day or two where you will learn skills like how to consult with clients and the basics of running a wedding planning business.
Step Four: Establish A Web/Social Media Presence
In today’s competitive world, one of the biggest steps in becoming a wedding planner is establishing a presence on the web, including social media.
When you have a website that potential clients can contact you on, you’ll be better able to gain a piece of the market for yourself. Your wedding planner website should include not only contact information where you can be reached, but also a little about what you can do and why clients should hire you to plan their wedding.
A list of services you offer is a must. What is less certain is whether you choose to state your prices on your site. Only you can decide what the right choice for you is. You also have the option of letting clients book you as their wedding planner through your website.
Above all else, don’t forget to choose a domain name that is catchy and easy to remember. In most cases, it should simply be what you choose to call your business.
But your professional website is only one step in your journey to become a wedding planner. The other step is to embrace social media and use it to your advantage. The biggest rule for using social media is not taking on more accounts than you can manage. Having an account lie dormant is worse than not having one at all. You can avoid this by making a list of the social media platforms you are the most interested in using. How many you have time to manage depends on your schedule.
Your social media sites should align with your website in the sense that they should all complement each other well. Keeping the tone and visual style consistent across all your platforms will help you build a brand people will be excited about.
Step Five: Market Your Wedding Planning Services
Doing your own marketing is important in almost every career. This starts with making sure everyone you encounter knows you’re a wedding planner. Don’t overlook the importance of having business cards to hand out to potential contacts as you meet them. Building a professional network starts with interacting with as many people as possible.
Even your competitors are people you should be introducing yourself to and getting to know. When you build trust with someone else in your industry you are strengthening your own value within it. It’s not unheard for a busy wedding planner to recommend your services to potential clients if they can’t take those clients on themselves.
Step Six: Seek Out A Mentor
One of the best ways to learn how to become a wedding planner is to find a mentor to guide you. This is another reason why networking is always a good idea. A mentor can not only give you an idea of what to expect out of the industry, they may even be willing to help you plan your first few weddings.
Step Seven: Follow Current Industry Trends
At any given time, you have to know what the trends are in the wedding industry. Since they tend to change from one year to the next, working outdated information can make you look incompetent. There are many certifications you can get beyond the basic wedding planning certificate. As new trends appear, it becomes your job to learn everything you need to know about them.
The internet in general and social media specifically, are effective tools for keeping up with all the latest changes in wedding planning. By reading publications on the topic you will always be prepared to give future clients what they want on their wedding days.
Step Eight: Consider Specializing In A Niche
While it’s fine to work as a general wedding planner, you may want to specialize in a niche for your planning company. For example, if you are as passionate and knowledgeable about travel as you are about weddings, consider specializing in the planning of destination weddings. Or for a unique approach, consider specializing in holiday themed weddings.
Step Nine: Volunteer For Wedding Planning
Sometimes the best way to get started in the industry is to offer to plan a friend or family member’s wedding. Even though you may not get paid, you will gain valuable experience you can use when you do start charging clients for your services. And when you personally know the couple you are planning a wedding for, you will likely feel more confident doing it. This confidence will keep you motivated when you do get your first paying clients.
Another option is to seek out a local event planning company and offer your services on a volunteer basis. It’s even better if the company will let you complete an internship with them.
Step Ten: Set Your Career Goals
The more goals you have for your business, the more motivated you’ll be to reach those goals. Just be open to the idea of changing your goals as time passes.
Some experts recommend using what is called SMART method. This stands for:
- Time Bound
But just setting goals isn’t enough. You’ll also want to devise a plan to meet each one of them. Those plans should include what you intend to do to attract clients and how you’re going to find vendors to work with.
Step Eleven: Establish A Business Plan
A business plan is not the same as a goal plan, but it is even more important. Before you start working for clients, you’ll need to establish a solid business plan. It needs to include information like the estimated amount of your quarterly revenue, as well as an estimate of your monthly revenue.
You will also have to set a monthly budget for your business. Make sure your budget includes enough funds to allow you to offer your services. You’ll also want to make sure you have room in your monthly budget for marketing expenses.
Ultimately, your business plan should be divided into several sections. Those sections are Executive Summary, Company Summary, Products/Services offered, Market Analysis Summary, Strategy and Implementation Summary, Management Summary (only if you’ll be employing other people) and Financial plan.
Step Twelve: Actively Recruit New Clients
Once you get started as a wedding planner, you’ll want to keep actively recruiting new clients. This is why it’s important to mingle with not only vendors, but recently married couples. They may have family or friends that are getting married, and they’re more likely to recommend you if you make an effort to stay in touch with them.
An effective way to recruit new clients and contacts is to participate in as many wedding planning conventions as you can. This will help you build a network of professionals that will help your business thrive in the future.
Step Thirteen : Learn Proper Work/Life Balance
It’s safe to say that when you work as a wedding planner, you won’t be working typical business hours. Most of your consulting work will take place on weekday evenings, while you may find yourself eventually booked with ceremonies every weekend.
So in order to enjoy a prosperous and fulfilling career which will have you working non-traditional hours, it is crucial to be able to balance your life so that work doesn’t become what you live for.
Q: What qualifications do you need to become a wedding planner?
A: There are a few qualifications you need in order to become a wedding planner. One of them is that you need the proper training. By earning a certificate or degree in this field your clients will know that you are committed to getting the job done and you know what it takes to make that happen.
It also helps to have previous work experience that is relevant to wedding planning. Many people that start out as event planners then go on to specialize in wedding planning, knowing they already have the basic skills they need.
Q: Do wedding planners pay for anything?
A: In general, as a wedding planner, you will be able to charge a flat fee for every aspect of the services you’re providing a couple with. It is not always necessary for wedding planners to pay for anything themselves, though you may find yourself having to when you are still trying to establish your business.
Q: How much money do wedding planners make a year?
A: Though it can vary, on average, a wedding planner in the U.S. earns approximately $42,000 annually. At roughly $20 per hour, it is up to you to decide if all the work you will have to put into your job is equivalent to the amount you will get paid.
Q: How do I get started as a wedding planner?
A: As stated above, if you decide to become a wedding planner you’ll have to receive proper certification in the industry, and draw up a business plan and budget that are realistic and attainable.
Overall, becoming a wedding planner is a process that can be time consuming, but worth it in the end. As long as you have the skills, passion, and business acumen, you’ll have everything it takes to become wedding planner and succeed at it.
Have you recently embarked on this career path? If so, let us know how your experience has been. You may serve as an inspiration to others who are considering entering the field.