How To Get Experience As A Wedding Planner
More important than degrees or certificates? Experience.
Whether its an internship at an agency or simply planning a wedding for free, acquiring in-person experience is key to success in this career.
Angelina Colhouer of The Apostolic Wife got started by planning and designing her own wedding.
Almost everyone I knew started to encourage me to start my own company, she says. I agreed to do a friends wedding, and it came out beautifully. As soon as that wedding was over, I immediately booked two more.
Angelina Colhouer talks to guests about her wedding planning business at a bridal expo in Tampa, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
Even if you cant get a wedding planner job, search for a position in the events industry. For example, Orwat recommends working for a caterer, florist or decorator.
Youll have the opportunity to work at many different venues, see how different vendors work and experience a lot of weddings, she explains. Itll also give you an idea of how physically demanding it is to work weddings.
She also suggests going in-house by working in the events or catering department at a hotel or venue.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Wedding Planner
Before you start a career as a wedding planner, its important to understand the necessary skills and training youll need in order to truly thrive. And admittedly, this is where things get a little tricky
You see, technically, a proper education and certification are not required to work as a professional wedding planner. This is why some aspiring planners choose to jump right into the industry without any prior experience. They have a natural knack for putting together memorable parties. As a result, they mistakenly assume thatll be enough for them to be successful in the world of weddings.
But this is where theyre wrong!
In reality, theres a LOT more to professional wedding planning than what meets the eye. You also need to thoroughly understand:
- How to provide exceptional customer service
- Dealing with client conflict
- The different types of clients and wedding celebrations youll be working with
- Researching and securing various vendors and suppliers
- How to develop timelines
- Working within each clients allotted budget, as well as trimming down must-haves and/or securing more funds, if necessary
- The different types of wedding ceremonies, and their religious and/or cultural significances
- Why its critical to bring the entire theme of the wedding together through the use of color, decor, florals, etc.
- How to write airtight client and vendor contracts
- And SO much more!
What Should A Wedding Planner Ask You
Wedding Invitation Advice Hints & Tips!
- What to Ask a Wedding Planner Before Hiring.
- What Packages and Services Do You Offer?
- Can You Work Within Our Price Range?
- How Involved Will We Be In the Process?
- How Many People Are In Your Team?
- How Much Contact Will We Have with You?
- How Many Weddings Have You Planned?
Read Also: How Much Are Weddings On Average
Create A Marketing Plan
Whether you want to be an independent planner, part of an agency, or anything in between, your business will have a hard time taking off without the right marketing plan. Just like wedding venue marketing, wedding planner marketing is all about understanding what couples want and then reaching those couples on the channels that they use. Here are a few tips:
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 .
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.
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Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Wedding Planner
Weddings can be stressful for brides and grooms. Not only are they about to enter into a new phase in their lives, but they are also about to throw a party that’s likely larger and more lavish than any they’ve thrown before. They and many of their guests will remember the wedding celebration forever.
As a wedding planner, you must be sensitive to others’ needs and have empathy and understanding of the amount of pressure some couples place themselves under during wedding planning.
You’ll need to be able to remain calm in the face of adversity, like when the DJ cancels at the last minute, and soothe nerves when things don’t go as planned such as the bride’s dress getting ruined just before the ceremony has started. Preparation, quick thinking, expert problem-solving, and excellent interpersonal skills are essential in this line of work.
Two: Intern With Some Wedding Planning Companies Or Wedding Venues
As you’re taking an online course or after you’ve finishedgo and intern with a wedding planning company or wedding venue.
It’s important that you get a taste of what it’s like to really be a wedding planner . By interning , you’ll get a feel for the job. And you’ll be able to tell quickly if you really LOVE IT or if it’s not for you.
And trust me when I tell you, you need to *LOVE* it .
So, why a wedding planning company OR a wedding venue? Let me explain
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One: Get Some Wedding Planning Experience By Taking An Online Course
The world of wedding planning has changed, and you can become a wedding planner by taking an online course that’ll teach you the ins and outs of planning. So many incredible planners all started where you’re starting now. And most of them found an incredible event planning school to show them the ropes.
My favorite wedding planning school is The QC Event School. I actually taught there for several years and it’s me you see on your video lessons . But regardless of my affiliation with the QC School, I think they have *the best* wedding planning program out there. Trust me, I’ve seen it and helped to build it.
At the QC School you can explore a variety of wedding planner related courses, such as Wedding & Event Planning, Destination Wedding Planning, Wedding Design and more!
Plus, the QC School links you up with a REAL tutor. Someone who owns their own wedding planning business and mentors you throughout the process. It’s pretty incredible!
So, now that you know you can take an incredible online course that’s TAUGHT by successful wedding planners , here’s the next step you should take to become a wedding planner with no experience
Final Thoughts On Becoming A Wedding Planner
Wedding planning can be a really fun job if you love weddings and have an eye for details. A cool head and an organized mind are essential to the wedding planner business.
Your job is to make someones big day as perfect as possible which is truly rewarding.
If you want to become a wedding planner, you can take a course or learn online or even learn from a book.
Make Your Business Legitimate And Legal
Consulting with an attorney is always a smart idea when you’re starting a business of any kind. He can provide invaluable advice when it comes to determining which business structure will work best for you, whether that’s a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a corporation. In any case, you’ll want to register your business name with your state.
An attorney can also review the documents you plan to use in your business, such as a client contract, or can help you create them.
What Questions Do Wedding Planners Ask
The 5 Questions a Wedding Planner SHOULD Ask YOU
- Whats your budget, how many people are you inviting, and whats your dream venue?
- Do you have any vendors in mind?
- How involved do you expect a wedding planner to be?
- What weddings have you been to that you didnt like?
- Do you have any non-negotiables?
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Become A Certified Wedding Planner
As a leader in higher education for wedding professionals, we offer extremely comprehensive, respected, and internationally-acclaimed courses in: Wedding Planning and Coordination, Wedding and Event Design, Destination Wedding Planning, and the Art & Execution of Styled Shoots. We have more than 8500 alumni around the world.
Did you know?
- The Global Wedding Industry is worth $298 Billion. The Canadian Wedding Industry accounts for $5 Billion per year, while in the United States it is worth $72 Billion. as well, in India, the Wedding Industry is worth $50-60 Billion.
- 1 in 5 couples hire a Wedding Planner/Coordinator in Canada and the USA
Becoming A Wedding Planner: My Final Thoughts
Overall, when youre first starting out, pricing can be a moving target. This is perfectly acceptable ! You may find that the prices you set during your first season in business were too low or too high, and need to adjust accordingly. The important thing is that you start from as informed of a place as possible. From there, you can then allow the actual work and experience to shape any future adjustments you make.
Heres to planning with passion and purpose and setting prices that truly reflect the value of your incredible skill-set!
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Join Us For A Free Live Class Discussion To Learn More About How To Get Started As A Destination Wedding Planner
Students must have general understanding of the following:
- Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and/or Google Docs
- Need access to a computer/laptop or tablet and internet access
- Course compatible with Google Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer & Safari
- Tablet owners need to download Puffin Web Browser App
How To Find Wedding Planner Jobs
Now that you know how to become a wedding planner, its time to start applying for jobs or building your client base. First things first, you need to create a resume that will catch a potential employers eye. Your wedding planner resume is almost like a proposalit shows potential employers how youll partner with them to create a happy future. You can get ideas from a sample event coordinator resume and an event coordinator cover letter to help create your wedding planner resume.
Then, once your application materials are prepared, you can get ready for your big day by searching through event planner and event coordinator listings that include wedding planning jobs on Monster.
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Breaking Into The Industry
You dont necessarily have to wait until youve graduated or obtained a wedding planning certificate to start making strides in the bridal industry. At the very least, make a plan and start networking.
Unfortunately, obtaining a certificate or degree doesnt guarantee youll land your dream job or any job, for that matter. As is the case in most industries, youll likely have to work your way up at a wedding planning company. Dont be afraid to complete an internship or take an assistant position the work will be grueling but itll allow you to learn a lot more than if you were just delegating. Youll also be able to learn the ropes alongside a seasoned professional.
Lisa Gorjestani, founder and event planner at Details Event Planning, told the muse that while starting out, wedding planning newcomers should network and get to know as many venues and vendors as possible.
Interning is a valuable experience. This is one of those businesses in which it just takes experience, she said. Even if you are very creative, you need to understand the business side and logistics involved.
If you dont want to start at the bottom of the totem pole, aim for an on-site coordinator position. Youll be able to work with a variety of wedding vendors while learning the ins and outs of weddings and other events.
Starting Your Own Business
Make sure to also take advantage of free and affordable tools, like the Wedding Planners Toolbox from Planners Lounge.
Destination Wedding Planner Certification
This 8 week course is offered as part of the Certified Master Wedding & Event Planning program.
Register for our next class.
Tuition: $1795.00/ Early Bird Tuition: $999.00
- Access to the Online Student Center
- Exam Fee
- Certificate and letters of recommendation
- Certifications from International hotels, travel locations, and resorts.
- Internship opportunities
- DWP Course eTextbook & Online Curriculum
As a graduate of this course, you will receive your certificate and the professional designation as a Certified Destination Wedding Planner.
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How Much Will It Cost To Become A Wedding Planner And Run My Own Business What Additional Expenses Could Arise
From business insurance to the monthly fee youll be paying for accounting software or website hosting, every certified wedding planner needs to have a clear idea of what their business expenses are each month. This will give you an idea of your break-even point. From there, though, its important to consider additional expenses that could arise both as it relates to your business and the events you plan.
For example, if a couple wants a dance floor set up in an untraditional area outside, there might be additional day-of labor costs thatll need to be passed onto them. If their ceremony venue is in a completely different place from their reception, youll have to work with and drive to 2 different venues throughout the planning process.
What does that cost you as you think through that hourly rate you determined in Question #4? Are you renting an office space? If so, is there a chance the rent will rise next year? Are you planning on sending thank-you gifts or welcome baskets to your couples? If so, what will those cost?
You absolutely CANNOT set strategic pricing without first having a clear and constant understanding of what it takes for you to run your business and produce events!