Write A Business Plan
Remember those Step 1 goals and the Step 2 research? A lot of that information can go towards writing your business plan. There are tons of resources and templates online to help, and we go into greater detail in a separate post, The Essential Steps to Starting an Event Management Business. Here are some highlights of what your business plan should include:
The Best Wedding Planner Certification Programs
Although there are plenty of businesses that offer wedding planning certification, there are only a few that offer an educationally accredited course, which includes the business, design and planning aspects of wedding planning. You may decide to work for/with another wedding planner or an event planning company in the future and you want your wedding planning certification to count for something.
Ill mention two programs that have become popular among wedding planners and have gained the respect of the industry as a whole.
The Wedding Planning Institute offers several certification options and is accredited by the US Government Department of Education. They offer three to four month classroom courses at local universities and colleges across the country. They also offer online courses, self study courses or an exam-only option for experienced wedding planners.
The classroom courses typically include assistance with obtaining an internship, which would be the best way to quickly get referrals and portfolio photos without having to wait several months or a year for your first wedding. The cost of their online course is $995-$1500 depending on your payment option. The Wedding Planning Institute also offers additional courses in wedding and event design, floral design, and green wedding design, among others.
Become A Wedding Planner Assistant
Become a wedding planner assistant and learn the ropes on the job.
Most wedding planner assistant jobs are volunteer based think of it as an internship.
Working as a wedding planner assistant is a great way to learn from a professional.
Another added bonus if you do a good job, you may get work sent your way if the planner is unavailable for a job.
How do you become a wedding planner assistant?
Contact planners in your area and offer your services for free. Most wedding planners will be more than happy to have a pair of extra hands to help out.
In exchange for some photos for your portfolio and a recommendation letter this can be a great way to gain some experience.
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Use Social Media Effectively
Social media is impossible to ignore these days. Wedding planning is a visual process for most engaged couples. Being active and engaging on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are great ways to market your business as a new wedding planner. If you have a blog for your wedding planning business, you can use social media to gain more exposure for the content you share on your blog.
Not only can you share your ideas and expertise, but you can also share photos from your events, testimonials from clients, information about a workshop or conference you attended, and much more. Social media also makes it easy to connect with others in the wedding industry.
How To Set Up Private Practice For Wedding Planners
For more independent and experienced wedding planners, the next step may be setting up for private practice. Ideally, before branching out to start a business, you should have learned the ropes and have a strong understanding of how the industry works. These steps will help you create your own business.
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Q How Much Does It Cost To Become A Wedding Planner
If you want to earn an education to become a Wedding Planner, it can cost you a bit of money.
The average Wedding Planner certificate program online costs anywhere from $150-$400.
If you choose to earn an Associates degree, this can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the school that you attend.
Most certifications for Wedding Planners cost around $100 as well.
It can cost anywhere from $150-$15,000 or more to become a Wedding Planner.
Skills You Need As A Wedding Planner
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How Do Wedding Planners Make Money
With the average wedding costing over $35,000, couples are looking to save money where they can and get the most bang for their buck.
Although it seems paradoxical, a good wedding planner can help cut wedding costs by leveraging their contacts and networks.
Wedding planners make money by charging a set fee for their services .
They may also receive kick-backs or commissions for promoting specific vendors. This is frowned upon by many wedding planning organizations as they believe it to be unethical and means you may promote one vendor over another.
Bear in mind, however, that travel agents make all of their money from commissions earned by recommending certain tour operators and hotels so this business model is completely normal in some industries.
Is A Wedding Planner Career Right For You
As a wedding planner with years of experience in the events industry, I can honestly say that my first few months in the business challenged my ideas of what a wedding planner really is.
The daily stresses and personalities that came with the career were almost too much to handle at first. Many people see the wedding planning career as a romantic and filled with extravagant parties, unlimited budgets, and clients who nod to your every word. This is often the exception, not the norm.
In this article, Id like to explain everything that a wedding planner career is and just as importantly, everything it isnt. I still wouldnt trade my job for any other, but it does come with its fair share of challenges.
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Establish Wedding Planning Goals
It is important to establish wedding planning goals to head into an endeavor with a plan. However, these goals will change over time. There are various options and its truly up to you. How you plan it? Have you ever dream of planning celebrity weddings? What if you want to do a destination wedding? What If you want to throw a party at your local? There are various options. Just think about it and definitely, you will come with interesting ideas.
Think About Where You Want To Work
Not only should you consider where you want to live and the need for wedding planners in that area, but you should also consider whether you want to be self-employed or work for an agency.
If you are independent, self-motivated and have a lot of knowledge in the business aspect of this industry, consider self-employment. You could always start off in an agency to gain more experience, and then create your own business later on in your career. If you’ve just graduated from college, however, starting off at an event planning agency is a great way to develop helpful skills early on in your career.
6. Continue your education
A good way to stay familiar with the latest trends in wedding planning is to continue your education. This can be done by attending various seminars or enrolling in classes specific to your industry. Similar to networking, this could widen your circle and contacts. It is also a great way to sharpen your skills and make sure you’re doing all you can to provide your clients with the best events of their lives.
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What Education Do You Need To Become A Wedding Planner
Some colleges offer degrees in meeting, event, or hospitality management that will give you basic education in event planning. You can also find schools that award degrees and certificates in how to become a wedding planner.
If youre looking to get a head start on your career right out of college, check out these meeting and event-planning scholarships for help funding your education.
The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners offers an in-person wedding planner course as well as online wedding planner courses. These one- to two-day seminars discuss how to:
- Do a client consultation.
- Run your own business.
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For full wedding planning, wedding planners would begin by chatting to their clients, finding how what they want from the wedding and how much money they have to spend. The planner would then make a proposal explaining what they can do and how much it would cost.
The tasks of a wedding planner might include:
- Coming up with a master-plan that features everything that needs to happen for the wedding.
- Having regular meetings with the clients to discuss how the planning is coming along.
- Coming up with themes and creative ideas.
- Giving advice about wedding traditions and customs.
- Researching new trends, products and suppliers.
- Contacting venues and suppliers such as photographers, caterers and florists, and agreeing prices with them.
- Maintaining good relationships with suppliers.
- Making sure everything stays within the agreed budget.
- Overseeing things on the big day to make sure it runs according to plan.
- Many wedding planners are self-employed so they need to promote their services usually on their websites and social media. They also need to keep track of their own spending and finance accounts.
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Thinking On Your Feet
During my years as a wedding planner, Ive received phone calls at 6AM on the morning of a wedding from a vendor stating they cannot fulfill their contractual obligations. Most people would panic at this point , but as a wedding planner your job is to remain calm and immediately begin problem-solving. Whatever you do, dont tell the bride unless you absolutely need to. They hired you to handle any situation that arises, not to redirect all incoming problems back at them. I have been in situations where a couples cake has melted, a brides dress has not fit, or a vendor has not shown up, and all of these issues, while beyond my control, ultimately became my issue to address.
Building relationships with other vendors is imperative, not only to building a successful referral network, but also for having key resources that you can call upon at a moments notice.
I am not a cake designer, but it was my job to smooth the icing on the cake and move it to a cooler place. I am not a seamstress, but I had to quickly pin the dress and calm the bride. I am not a DJ, but it was my responsibility to call upon a trusted DJ in my area and coerce him to step in for the DJ who did not fulfill their contractual duties. Your job above all is to ensure that the client enjoys their wedding day without a hitch, and whenever possible, occluding any problems that arise until after all the festivities are over.
Consider Higher Education Or Training
Though higher education isn’t required, an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Event Planning could be greatly beneficial to your role as a wedding planner. Also, a business or communications degree could help.
Coursework for an event planning degree, for example, could include event promotion, hospitality marketing strategies, organizational behavior and food preparation for various events and ceremoniesall of which would pertain to your role as wedding planner.
Essential Skills And Qualities
It takes a special kind of person to become a successful wedding planner. You need to be a juggler, effortlessly moving from one task to another, anticipating problems before they occur and arranging all the fine details that most people would overlook.
The main skills and qualities youll need to have are outlined below.
- Patience and stamina: When youre dealing with bridezillas, you need to have a calm nature to be able to handle them and allow them to ramble on without taking anything personally. Youll also need a great deal of stamina to keep going, as youll be working long hours, sometimes through to the evening.
- Budgeting and negotiating skills: You might be good at haggling the local market stool seller into giving you a lower price, but can you negotiate lower contracts with vendors each time?
- Organisation and planning skills: It goes without say that you should have great organisation skills and be able to stick to a tight schedule when youre planning a number of weddings.
- Time management skills: As a wedding planner, you won’t only be managing your own schedule, but youll also be planning the most important day of a couples life while ensuring everything runs smoothly and according to plan.
- Networking skills: A wedding planner should be able to work any room effectively. Theyll be laughing with the father of the bride, consoling a drunk bridesmaid and ensuring their number one client is enjoying every minute of the day.
Setting Up Your Wedding Planning Business For Success
I could write an entire extra blog about how to set up a wedding planning business. Its even more complex depending on the type of wedding planner you want to become.
Heres a very brief overview of where you should start:
- Build Your Connections
As a wedding planner with no experience, your network is your most important resource. You cant build a wedding alone. Your connections to good venues, top suppliers, and even other planners could make or break your business. You want to affiliate yourself with as many great professionals in your area as possible. The wedding industry is very collaborative. Look for Facebook groups and in-person networking events to start building your name.
- Define Your Ideal Couple
Who do you want to work for? What kind of wedding are they looking to create? What budget are they likely to spend on that wedding? What are they looking for in their ideal wedding planner?
If its helpful, create actual client avatars of your ideal clients. That way you have a reference point of who you are marketing to when the time comes.
- Create a Professional Website
- Start Blogging
Jenaae will surely tell you the importance of blogging as a vehicle for your business. Blogging literally changed my trajectory. Writing detailed, informative, engaging blogs meant that my website was showing up on page 1 of Google.
- Pricing Your Services
You could be the best wedding planner in the world. It means absolutely nothing if no one knows who you are!
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