Being a wedding planner is not as easy as planning your own wedding. Some people feel that because they planned a badass wedding or bridal shower, they can run a wedding planning business successfully. In reality, this is not the case at all. Learning how to become a wedding planner takes much more than your ability to throw one wedding.
The wedding planning business involves a lot of factors that must be adhered to for it to be successful.
First, you must love parties and have a helpful disposition. You must also be a great organizer and enjoy every minute of it. Being open to other people’s ideas should be one of your strong virtues. This is simply because you may be asked to change your plans at a moment’s notice.
How Lucrative is a Wedding Planning Career?
Most brides are too busy to plan every detail of their wedding. This is not a surprise when you consider the mountain of activities and errands necessary before the wedding day.
A career in wedding planning is a lucrative one for those who are talented event planners, patient, flexible and creative. If you’re starting a career in wedding planning, below are some pointers to get you started:
1. Free up your evenings and weekends
To be a hands-on wedding planner, you must be flexible with your time. Most wedding planners run home-based businesses and work odd hours. This is understandable because most of the time, the job is done over the phone with many unexpected callouts.
There are no strict guidelines on how you’ll work. One minute you can be at the church, and the next at the reception venue. Most wedding planners work on the weekends and evenings because these are the most convenient times for their clients.
You will need to be at the wedding venue right before the event starts to ensure that all the details are inline with your requirements. You’ll also need to be there during and after the event. So be sure that you can free up time to work as a wedding planner before starting a career as one.
2. Be open to learning and training
If you really want to know how to become a wedding planner, then you should be willing to learn, learn and learn! Simply reading up some blog posts will not do.
Professional wedding planners attend seminars, training, and courses. You must be open to learning and willing to adapt. Besides, you’ll get many networking opportunities when you attend these events.
There are some great online courses available. See the below recommendations:
Wedding Beautiful – Certified Wedding Specialist Course (CWS) & Cetified Wedding Planner Course
Wedding Planner Institute – Certified Wedding & Event Planning
QC Event School – International Wedding Planning Certification
International Institute of Event Management – Certificate in Wedding Planning
There are many more great online wedding planner courses. Aside from the knowledge that you’ll gather when training, wedding planners must have the below skill set:
• Great organizational skills
• Budget management skills
• Good communication skills
• Problem-solving skills
• Attention to detail
• Ability to handle pressure and meet deadlines
• Sales and negotiation skills
3. You are just as efficient as the people you work with!
In the business of wedding planning your success is dependent on the vendors that you work with. You must be connected to the people that matter such as photographers, florists, caterers, decorators, service staff and so many others.
Before you get started, put together a network of vendors that can help you achieve your goals faster. It will take you some trial and error to get the right ones, but you can get a head start by taking referrals from people who have used them before.
Remember, the vendors you hire should be able to give you a discount. The price should be below market rate so that you can offer your clients a good deal and break even. In some cases, you might be able to work out a trade by barter arrangement whereby you scratch their back and they scratch yours.
4. Get your portfolio together
Because you’re just starting out, you may not have any clients yet. But this can be easily remedied by doing some free work. Offer your services to about 5 clients for free, just to gather some valuable pictures and recommendations for your portfolio.
Make sure you do a great job that will get you a brilliant recommendation. After doing some voluntary work, your portfolio will look just as great as that of any other seasoned wedding planner. The key is to get as many great pictures and videos as you can. Hire a professional to take pictures of every aspect of your work so you can make a good first impression.
5. Create a brand that will stand out from your competitors
A career in wedding planning involves marketing your skills and creativity. You’re basically selling what many others are selling, so the difference should be your packaging or brand.
To get started in your career, you need to get some professional branded materials. Your brand should show that you are a wedding planner with class and sophistication. Your portfolio MUST make an impression the first time a client looks at it.
A great place to get stationeries is Minted. Check them out here. They offer great professional branded stationery that can be customized to suit your unique brand. I also like 99designs for card designs and logos. You can get some really talented designers to create a work of art that you will be proud of. Visit 99designs via this link.
Brides and grooms will want to see that you’re organized. No one wants to hire a wedding planner without class because it invariably means that they’ll provide you with an unsophisticated service. The level of professionalism you display will usually tip the scale in your favor.
Your portfolio can be printed out as a brochure, but if you can’t afford anything too expensive, a simple flyer will do.
6. Getting a website is an absolute MUST…
The truth is that in today’s world of online businesses, you can’t grow your brand without a website. If you don’t want to limit your clients to friends and family, you must take your business online.
Getting started with a simple website made with WordPress is usually the right way to go. There are so many free themes that will suit a wedding planning business. But if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, Shopify is another great choice. Shopify offers a simple one-click install process and just as great as WordPress.
After setting up your website, the next thing you need to do is get social.
With the entire world on social media, you now have a brand new opportunity to reach more people. Create social accounts on the major social communities and get your friends and family to follow and like your page.
As a wedding planner, you need to let people know your achievements. Your business model is visual so social networks like Instagram and Pinterest would be my number one recommendation.
Linkedin is another place where you can meet other professionals like you and can be very handy for referrals.
These days, when people look for a job the first place thing they do is check out your social profiles. Just as you have branded yourself, ensure that your social accounts are branded and that the content you share is engaging and professional.