What It Takes to Become a Wedding Planner

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Wedding planner iconOne of the ideas I’ve toyed with in the past is becoming a wedding planner.  For me, being mother of the bride was such a wonderful experience (each and every time) that I thought about parlaying this experience into becoming a professional wedding planner. 

Of course, I never did anything beyond simply thinking about and researching it, as I poured my heart and soul into my wedding blog.  But I did learn a lot about the ins and outs of this career path (probably more than I had hoped!), so if you like the idea of becoming a professional wedding planner, read on.

Take Accountability for Your Own Education


First and foremost, it’s important to understand that there are no certification, educational or regulatory requirements to become a wedding planner.  This is both a pro and a con.  The good news is that this basically eliminates any and all barriers to entry, so it’s a quick and easy profession to dive into head first.  But the double-edged sword lies in the fact that this easy entry has resulted in a super high failure rate because most would-be planners go into things blindly and without any strategic direction.  Therefore it’s important to take it upon yourself to learn the ropes.  Do tons of research online, and enroll in a bridal consultant training program from an entity like the Association of Bridal Consultants or Weddings Beautiful.

Honestly Assess your Skill Set

Once you’ve researched and learned the profession, you’ll be better equipped to understand if the profession is really for you.  The point to keep in mind here is that this is not basic party planning; your clients will typically have a lot invested in their upcoming wedding, and they are putting their trust in you to get it done to their liking.  Thus, it can be a highly stressful profession, especially if you’re serving a dreaded “bridezilla.”  To succeed, you must be a great listener, have terrific social skills, and have an acute attention to detail.  In other words, you must make sure you can absorb what the clients say, and then keep on top of all the moving parts to execute their vision.  In a sense, you’re a project manager.  So once you fully understand everything that is entailed in being a wedding planner, take an inventory of your skill set, and make an honest assessment of yourself to determine your probability of success within this field.

Register and Set Up Your Business


Once you’ve gotten yourself fully trained, educated and committed to the field, it’s time to register your business.  Your city or state may have specific requirements for creating a business entity and/or getting a business license, so definitely check into that.  In most states, an LLC (limited liability company) or S-corp will fit the bill.  Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid running your business as a sole proprietorship, but again since all states have their own rules you’ll want to solicit advice from your accountant.  Most times you’ll start out working from a home office, but for an ultra-professional appearance, consider renting office space.  Consider hiring an attorney to craft your contracts and other legal documents.  And get the correct business insurance too.

Spread the Word

The next and most important step is to spread the word.  The wedding planning industry is predicated on referrals, so get out there and start making friends with wedding industry vendors and professionals within your local area.  Do some outbound telemarketing, and go door to door on special occasions to introduce yourself and hand out doughnuts.  Attend as many industry events as possible to network, and join a local association.  Consider advertising in bridal magazines, local newspapers, the yellow pages, and even billboards or radio during peak times.  And of course, invest in creating a nice website.

Summary


To sum it all up, if I planned to become a wedding planner, I would first research the profession and take a training course in order to decide if the profession is a good fit for me.  Then, assuming it is, I’d talk to my accountant and attorney regarding the proper business set up, insurance and legal documentation.  Then I’d pound the pavement and network with anybody and everybody within the industry.  Finally, I’d create and execute a strategic plan and marketing plan.  And perhaps most importantly – I’d believe in myself! Good luck!

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