Every since I was the flower girl at my aunt’s wedding, I knew what I wanted to do in life, plan weddings, make people smile and bring a unique sense of wonder and glory to their special day. And not only that, this was what I considered a dream job, I was fulfilling my “little girl” dream, but I was being paid to do so. That my friend is akin to achieving Nirvana
Now that’s not to say wedding planning is easy, it’s not, it takes a confident personality and a sense of getting the job done and done right. As the big day approaches, it’s going to get stressful, that just comes with the territory and should be expected.. But when things come together, and you see the bride smiling, you know in your heart that this is the perfect job. And guess what else, being a wedding planner is recession proof, weddings are going to happen no matter what, so not only does doing a good job bring satisfaction but also I know that others will be calling and asking for my help for their weddings.
While I shouldn’t be surprised at the fact this wedding planning is fast becoming a major industry, I’m sometimes amazed that many young people aren’t sure what’s involved. So I thought, in this About Us page, I’d tell you a little about myself, but mostly a bit of what it takes to prepare for a career in wedding planning.
First Things First
For me, becoming a wedding planner was part of my very being, I knew, without a shadow of doubt, this would be my career. Are you that clear on the choice? Realize that this is or will become a career, it’s not a part-time job, it much more a life mission. But don’t be daunted, just walk forward and start to learn the business. Now then, how do you determine that? Well for me, I first interned with an established wedding planning firm, and they had me doing a little bit of everything. That’s certainly one way to do it and a good choice. However, first I recommend you read what I believe is the best book about wedding planning out there
To get a good feel for what’s involved. This will give you a good foundation should you decide to seek an intern position. In fact, the more you know going in, the better the possibility of negotiating a good salary.
Certified or Certifiable
Becoming a wedding planner isn’t as easy as just saying, “I’m going to plan weddings for a living”, there’s a lot more to it. That said, it’s not mandatory that you become certified, that is a personal and business decision. As for me, no I’m not certified, but I’ve studied and planned for the job, interned with an established company and helped my parents run their business for a time.
If you’ve never run a business, written contracts, paid business taxes and a host of other responsibilities, those are a few of the tasks you’ll learn if you become certified. The cost will range from $1k upwards, so if it’s a financial consideration, realize that on-the-job training will teach you more in the long run, but in the short-term, becoming certified will give you a good foundation.
My wedding planning business was built, primarily, on word-of-mouth which is the best form of advertising. When a happy bride tells her friends who planned their wedding, and when she says it with enthusiasm, I’ll get the call. And when the call comes, rarely do they ask if I’m certified, their only concern is whether or not I can do the job, and guess what, I can.
They say that the best way to learn a foreign language is by immersing yourself in the culture, the land, and the people. When you do this, and when it’s mandatory that you speak the native tongue, it’s incredible how fast you learn. The same can be said about wedding planning; if you’ve decided to become a wedding planner, then there is no better way to learn the business than to jump into the fray and plan. But then, how can you do that?
For me, I was lucky enough to intern with an established firm and there, along with my voracious reading, gave me the tips and tricks I’d need for the long haul and my first wedding as the head planner. There’s another way, and that’s a bit different, it’s called friendship. Let’s say you have a friend or a friend once removed is you’ve heard will be married soon, well, why not plan their wedding, free of course.
What you’ll need to do is get in touch, let them know your plans for the future and that you’d like to plan their wedding if they’re willing. And of course, be sure and mention you’ll do it for free. Now here’s a tip if you go that route, arrive at their home with a wedding plan in place. It doesn’t matter if you have to amend it later, but this will show your friend two things.
1. Your organizational skills.
2. Your enthusiasm for the job.
Then, assuming they say yes, roll up your sleeves and get to work, all the responsibility will be on your shoulders and you don’t want to mess up. Not only do you want to give your friend the best experience possible, but this is going to be your, so to speak, college degree in wedding planning.
Now here’s a thought when it comes to interning instead of doing your friend’s wedding. Both will work, but if you’re able to spend some time interning, and should you make a mistake, it will be on someone’s else’s dime. Either, or both avenues will work, I used both and I’ve never looked back since. Follow your dreams, your heart and do the best job you can.
Okay, no matter how you did it, you’ve got to the point of opening your own wedding planning business. I know exactly how you feel, it’s exhilarating and also a bit scary. The idea is to get the phone to ring and book a job, but how exactly can you do that? Well, there’s an adage in advertising that goes like this.
“There’s a funny thing that happens if you don’t advertise… nothing”.
That’s obvious, but the flip side is to do too much, and do none of it well. You need to be focused on one market, then later, when you’ve got that market tapped, only then move on to the next method. Of course, in today’s world, Facebook advertising is an excellent method to reach those in your local area, but it’s not the only method. There are bridal expos, Yelp and a host of other methods; one includes writing a book on wedding planning as a giveaway (that works great by the way). The only danger here is to spread yourself too thin, then never get traction in any one area. It’s, of course, natural to want to rocket to success, but sometimes moving slowly and steadily is the best course of action.
I want to end this by offering a word of caution. Wedding planning isn’t for everyone, it IS for me, it feeds my soul, and every time I see a beaming bride, I get a broad sense of satisfaction. Wedding planning gives me freedom and a way to exercise my creativity. That said, it kind of rises and falls on my efforts. That’s fine for me, but it’s not something for everyone, as some need more structure in their lives. Do some soul-searching and don’t rush into the field. But if you make the decision, I’ll sure look forward to meeting you one day, who knows, maybe we can even partner on a big celebrity wedding.