How To Become A Wedding Planner And Hit The Ground Running
If youre organized, creative, and have volunteered to plan every party since you were a kid, you might have thought about how great it would be to plan events professionally. Pair that with the fact that you might have already helped more than a few friends plan their weddings and you could be seriously considering it. But, as much as you want to jump headfirst into the deep end, the part of you that always thinks ahead wants to make sure you have all of your proverbial ducks in a row . So today, we wanted to help you map out what you need to make that fun and fulfilling career choice a reality by walking you through the steps it takes to start a wedding planning business. From making sure youre filing all the necessary paperwork to building a brand that attracts your dream clients, grab your to-do list and take all the notes you need to get your business off the ground.
What Is A Business Plan
A biz plan is an overarching strategy for the who, what, how, when and most importantly, the why.
And let’s face it, the why is why were all here and why YOU listen to our podcast!
You take strategies you would have in your company: your ideal clients, marketing, sales, competitive analysis and you map out a plan for them.
Figure Out Your Finances
Unless you have a money tree growing in your backyard, youre going to have to figure out your finances for this start-up endeavor. To start a wedding business, you can do it economically, but youll need to determine how much money youll need initially.
Youll also need to consider where you plan on investing it. Will you spend money on the creation of your website? Will you invest in a lawyer for your contracts? How about advertising?
You can approach your start-up in baby steps, so youre not spending all of your finances right away. Do your research and put a budget together for your wedding business so you stay on track.
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Which Social Media Platforms Should Event Planners Use
The key to choosing the best social media platform is to do what makes the most sense for your business. Social media is not one size fits all.
That being said there are some platforms that will work best for event planners because they are more visually, allow you to share pretty images and helps you to showcase your work. These include:
This is also the time when you want to get a domain name for your business and set up a website, I highly recommend WordPress, but if youre not tech-savvy you might look into platforms such as ShowIt or Squarespace that are easy to use and also allows you to optimize your website for search engines.
According to FitSmallBusiness.com you can register a domain and have a website up and running in just 6 steps:
Consider Working With Instagram Influencers
Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media organically.
Industry influencers already have an established and loyal following. With one post, your product immediately establishes a connection with a brand new audience. It’s that powerful.
When finding influencers to promote your product, do your research and make sure that their following will actually be interested in your product.
It’s easy to be blinded by any influencer with a huge following, but if those followers don’t resonate with your product, there may not be any value there… so make sure you do your research!
Evan Marshall, founder of Plain Jane discusses how “micro-influencers” have impacted his business:
Influencer marketing has been huge for us. Our approach is pretty simple. We give out samples of our products and ask people to post about us on social media aka a micro-influencer strategy.
We really like this approach because we get authentic stories and content. We cannot really control the messaging so the product has to speak for itself. We dont really take product photos at all. Our customers take the photos and we ask to reuse them.
With any influencer strategy, you have to be very sure youre targeting the right people and engaging with them. You can make sure youre targeting the right influencers by looking through their posts and then looking through the profiles of their engaged followers.
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Challenges To Expect As A Wedding Planner
Before leaping into a career as a wedding planner, there are some challenges you can expect, especially if you havent worked in the events industry before.
Another challenge is deciding what education you need. There are wedding planner courses, wedding industry conferences, business conferences, marketing classes, coaching and mentoring programs, and many other resources available for your wedding planner education. Take time to evaluate all the opportunities and the investment required for each of them before making a decision.
While certification in wedding planning is not required, it can give you credibility and knowledge if you do not have previous experience in the wedding industry. There is no set path to become a wedding planner. If you ask ten successful wedding planners how they got started, you will get ten completely different answers.
One final challenge you might encounter on your path to becoming a wedding planner is the financial expectations you have for this career. Most successful wedding planners have sustained a long-term career because of their passion for planning events and for helping couples plan one of the biggest days in their lives.
Successful event planners are driven by a 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 unusual to become financially wealthy through a career in wedding planning.
Do Diligent Event Venue Market Research
Before you get your wedding venue business up and running, make sure to inquire about other similar venues in your district, as well as the overall wedding settings interest in the area. No matter the competition, or lack thereof, there is always something you can offer that the other venues do not.
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Becoming An Independent Wedding Planner: Conditions For Success
The main difficulty for a wedding planner is to identify potential clients early enough, i.e. individuals who plan to get married in the next few months.
There are several solutions for this:
- Conducting a market study that is broad enough to detect and contact potential clients,
- network with other wedding service providers: they will be able to act as prescribers for your services, and you will be able to return the favor by calling on them for the various tasks of the wedding:
- pastry chefs and wedding-cake designers,
- videographers and photographers,
- accommodation owners,
- fireworks, etc.
What Will You Get From This Masterclass
Receive a copy of our Wedding Business Roadmap to help you get started.
There are limited spaces available. Not everyone who registers will be able to get in as our platform only allows for 250.
So make sure you sign up to the masterclass, book it in your calendar and plan to show up 10 minutes early to save your place!
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Utilise Those Handy Tricks And Relationships
If you have existing experience in wedding planning think about the relationships that you can utilise in your new venture. Perhaps there are some great suppliers that youve worked with in the past, or some tricks youve learned along the way. A great start here is to consider using venue finding websites many focus on specific locations and allow you to input criteria that your couples are looking for. This is one of my favourite sites for wedding venues, with a large collection of historic, iconic and unique venues of varying sizes and styles.
Attending Programs / Accreditation
Though it is not mandatory to get a certification, there are many community colleges offering these skills and a wedding planner certification. There are also several wedding planner courses online that you can attend to get accreditation. You can add these to your resume, showing that you are a certified wedding planner to impress potential clients,
Tip: Get support/networking/certification from AACWP membership while considering a wedding planner career.
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Host A Social Media Giveaway
People love free stuff and love competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.
If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to “enter your email.” You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.
One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you’ll get.
This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.
Giveaway Example and Tips
Example from TJ Mapes, founder of RIPT Apparel
Our most recent successful giveaway was when we gave away a PS4 + the new Spiderman game. I hosted the giveaway on our site and then let our audience know about it via email/social channels.
Entrants earned different amounts of entries for entering in different ways , for instance enter via email, get 10 entries. Follow us on Facebook, get 5 entries. Subscribe on Messenger and get 25 entries.
I also built out a drip sequence in Klaviyo that contained four emails to encourage entrants to take more action, like referring friends and liking us on social.
Email #1: Thanks for entering!
Email #2: Explained how to earn bonus entries:
Email #3: About us
Email #4: Coupon for entering
PS4 Giveaway Results:
Why Starting A Wedding Planning Business Now Is A Good Idea
As the economy has gotten stronger in the past five years, couples have increased their disposable income, married more frequently and spent more on hiring wedding planning help and other services for their big day.
The internet reduces your marketing costs and increases your profit margins as it makes your business more accessible to potential clients.
It also draws more brides and grooms to your door looking for someone to help them make their nuptials unforgettable and special.
Its a growing business that offers opportunities for lucrative returns for your efforts if you have the skills and the capital to make a name for yourself as a wedding planner who can deliver dreams on any scale.
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Create A Wedding Brand That Gets Noticed
There are a lot of wedding planners out there. What makes you different?
One of the cornerstones to marketing is that people buy with their eyes, and your brandaka the visual manifestation of your companyis what sets you apart.
You need to create a visual brand that gets noticed.
One that makes YOUR ideal client stop in their tracks.
One that makes your perfect client buy with their eye.
Your visual branding helps to accelerate the know/like/trust factor with your customer. The couple who wants to hire someone like you lands on your website or sees some of your marketing, and because of its polished nature and overall experience, they want to know more.
More Tools And Resources For Wedding And Event Planning
There are many great tools and resources available online for wedding and event planners. The Planners Lounge is the first place to start. Planners Lounge is a community and resource site for wedding and event planners to relax, talk, learn, and inspire.
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Establish Your Wedding Planning Business
You’ll need to take care of legal issues such as a securing business licenses and establishing your company before you book your first client. Write a business plan, detailing all aspects of your wedding planning business, including your market, how you plan to find clients, what fees you’ll charge, and financial goals. Create a , including the materials and methods you’ll use to attract couples to your business. Obtain needed licenses and insurance.
Organize your schedule to manage all the tasks involved pulling off the perfect wedding. Organization and a schedule will be key especially if you have several weddings in the planning stages at the same time. Your calendar and contacts need to be portable, so a small planner or storing in your mobile phone will ensure you have your appointments, and your client and vendor contacts with you at all times.
Pull together a network of suppliers and vendors, including caterers, tux rental, wedding photographers/videographers, reception halls, florists, restaurants and country clubs.
Plan How To Promote Yourself
Its important to have some idea of how you intend to source business before you begin. How will people know you exist? Then, why should they choose you? Being able to market yourself is an important part of starting any business, but remember this is the most important day so far for your couples and trust is imperative.
Plus, when youre planning your costs, youll need to include your marketing. Do you need a website? Can you do this yourself? Do you have photography from weddings youve managed in the past? How are your clients going to find you do you need social media profiles, an SEO strategy, advertising budget?
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Develop A Company Image That Reflects Your Style
Wedding planning is all about style. Brides are trusting you, your eye, and your ideas to make their weddings beautiful. Your company image from your business name to your logo to the colors and fonts you’ll use in your must demonstrate great style and attention to detail.
Maybe you or someone you know is acquainted with a great graphic designer who can help bring your image to life at a nominal cost. Otherwise, websites like 99designs offer logos, cards, and stationery at a relatively modest cost. Some even create websites.
At the very least, you’ll need great-looking business cards and a smartly designed website to start out. Brochures and print ads can come later.
What Do You Need To Start A Wedding Planning Business
If you’ve decided to start a wedding planning business there are several critical decisions that need to be made. When deciding what to charge, wedding planners have several choices, according to WeddingPlanning.com. You can offer services free to the bride but get a percentage of what each vendor charges, or charge a flat rate based on an agreed-upon number of consulting hours. Other alternatives include a percentage of the wedding budget or a combination of a flat rate with extra hours charged on an agreed-to hourly basis.
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