Being a professional wedding planner is more than just loving weddings and being able to throw a great party. People interested in becoming a wedding planner often contact me about how to get started. Below are some of the more common questions asked by people who want to be a wedding planner.
(By the way – even though this information is directed at those interested in becoming a planner, it is also useful to someone who is planning her/his own wedding).
1. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
- Get as much education (wedding/event related and business related) as you can.
- Network as much as you can.
- Read, read, read! Read bridal magazines like Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, Grace Ormonde, etc., (what brides are looking at). Read books and magazines on decorating, flowers, etc. Read trade publications such as Vows, Special Events Magazine, and Cater Source. Read wedding blogs such as Style Me Pretty, Wedding Bee, or (my personal favorite) Preston Bailey.
- Join (and participate in) organizations (wedding related and business related).
- Take the time to make appointments to visit other vendors. (Remember, referrals go both ways).
- Remember that it is UNETHICAL to misrepresent yourself by saying you are a bride (or getting a friend or family member to do so) in order to get information from other consultants.
- Take it slow and steady, you’ve got a lot of relationships to develop and maintain, and when they say it takes as least five years to establish a new business, believe it. But the time invested is worth it.
- Be sure to give yourself regular “off time,” especially if yours is a home based business. (This has been hard for me to do, but my husband and our 20 year old son give me incentive).
2. What wedding associations/organizations are there?
There are several reputable associations, including:
Some consultants will swear by one and not another, and vice versa. Look into what’s available to determine which one(s) will suit you best.
3. What would you consider to be the most demanding part of your job as a consultant?
Keeping brides, (as well as grooms, and other wedding professionals) informed and educated as to what professional wedding planners/consultants/coordinators truly do, and what differentiates the “professional” from the “hobbyist.”
Being a wedding consultant is nothing like what is usually shown in the movies or on tv, and isn’t the high-paying, oh-so-glamorous get-rich profession as so many seem to believe.
Other tips, suggestions include:
How I Got Started as a Wedding Planner
4. Be aware that there are no “typical” work weeks, and that you WILL be expected to work evenings, weekends, tomorrow, etc. While I find being a bridal consultant to be rewarding, it isn’t all “fun and glamorous.” Contrary to what many people think, it is not all about getting to go to a lot of parties. It is work.
5. Contact local wedding related companies. Are they hiring? While the position(s) they have are not wedding consulting, you will gain valuable “behind the scenes” experience.
6. This is a field that relies heavily on good communication skills, both verbal and written.
Before contacting any wedding related companies, take the time to find out the name of the contact person, including proper spelling. This is a detail oriented profession, and addressing someone by their name rather than a generic “dear sir or madam” or the like, or misspelling their name, is one detail not to be missed.
While you’re sure to be enthusiastic and excited, you need to be an active and effective listener (talking 90 miles a minute without taking a breath is not good). Also, clarify and summarize details of the conversation (ex. if an appointment has been set, state “we’ll be meeting at 2:00 at such and such place on Tuesday the 23rd.”)
You only get one chance at a first impression, and if you use poor grammar/spelling/punctuation, repeatedly forget the person’s name, etc. you will not be taken seriously, and may not get another chance.
7. Keep in mind that many wedding planning companies may be just a “one-man- or one-woman-show” and do not have any paying positions to offer, but may be open to having someone job shadow, with the experience being the payment.
Photo credit: © Margoorita | Dreamstime.com | Wedding Planner Photo
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