How to Become a Wedding Palnner
Have you ever wondered how to become a wedding planner? What about a wedding vendor, wedding consultant, or professional bridal consultant? As it turns out, all these job titles describe the same position, and it allows those involved to make a tidy profit and share in one of the most important moments of a couple’s life.
In the United States alone, over 2.4 million weddings are held each year. Most of the brides involved want the day to be perfect, but they simply don’t have the time to devote to every element of the ceremony. That’s where the wedding planner comes in. They coordinate with other professionals, keep the proceedings under budget, and ultimately enjoy the benefits of working within a $165 billion industry.
In the following article, we’ll examine how to get started as a wedding planner, including the necessary skills and financial requirements. Potential earnings will also be discussed, as well as examples of the profession in film and television.
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re considering a career as a bridal consultant, you might want to ask yourself the following questions before you proceed:
- Do you enjoy taking on new challenges?
- Are you skilled at talking on the telephone?
- Are you skilled at face-to-face meetings with people?
- Would you describe yourself as a good listener?
- Are you good at handling stress?
- Do you have good taste when it comes to selecting music, flowers, and colors?
- Are you able to bargain with others in order to save money?
- Can you relay information to others verbally?
- Are you detail-oriented?
- Would you describe yourself as organized?
- Are you able to get along with other people?
If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, then you should have no problem learning how to become a wedding planner. If, however, most of your answers were “no,” you might want to consider a different career path.
What Does a Wedding Planner Do?
So what does a wedding planner do? The following list details their primary responsibilities:
- The wedding planner interviews the couple getting married (and often the parents) to get an idea of the desired outcome.
- Prepares a budget.
- Prepares a list of all the wedding guests who will attend.
- Puts together seating arrangements for the reception, rehearsal dinner, and perhaps even the wedding.
- Develops a checklist and works from it. This may stretch back as far as one year before the wedding ceremony.
- Reserve venues such as hotels and wedding manors.
- Act as a mediator when the bride and groom (and their families) have differing opinions on the wedding.
- Hire professionals such as photographers, caterers, florists, bakers, etc. (while staying under budget).
- On the day of the wedding, the bridal consultant will make sure that all items are delivered and all services are performed.
- Prepare any legal documentation that might be required, especially in the case of destination weddings (ceremonies held outside the bride and groom’s home country).
- Develop a back-up plan in case things go wrong.
Expenses and Profits
One of the great advantages to being a wedding planner is that the start-up cost is relatively low. All you really need to begin is a phone, calendar, planning book, and list of professionals such as caterers and florists. The client will ultimately be paying for all the goods and services, and beginning professionals can run their business out of their own homes.
Many wedding planners charge a flat fee for their services, and these normally range between $1500 and $5000 in the United States. In the case of upscale or famous wedding vendors, the price tag may be based on the final cost of the event. In such a case, it’s not unusual for the consultant to charge 5-10% (which can often amount to anywhere from $20,000 to $2 million).
As you can see, pursuing a career as a wedding planner can be extremely lucrative.
Advertising and Connections
In order to become a successful wedding planner, you’ll need to get your name out there. This is where advertising and connections come in handy. Establishing connections isn’t as hard as you might think. All you need to do is make sure that previous customers tell their friends about you, and businesses such as photographers and cake decorators are willing to provide a referral (which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re throwing business their way).
As for advertising, the best place to start is in your local Yellow Pages. After that, you might try ads in bridal supplements or the wedding section of your local newspaper. And, of course, it’s never a bad idea to create a website for your business and get involved in social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Continuing Education for Wedding Planners
While many wedding planners are self-taught, there are also numerous professional organizations out there. One of the oldest and the best is the Association of Bridal Consultants, a company dedicated to training coordinators since 1955. They offer a wide array of courses and seminars, and anyone wanting to know how to become a wedding planner should visit their website.
Areas of Interest
The following areas of interest are invaluable for those looking to become a wedding planner. Some will be used more than others, but you can bet that successful consultants possess at last a basic understanding of each of these.
- Basic Psychology
- Culinary Skills
- Business Math and English
- Accounting and Business Management
- Database Management
- Art History
- History of Fashion
- Design Techniques
While none of the above skills have anything to do with picking up a phone and calling a florist, they will enable you to run a more efficient business and serve customers of all races, religions, and tastes.
Wedding Planners in Movies and Television
While learning how to become a wedding planner, you might want to conduct some added research by turning on the TV. While wedding planners in movies and television aren’t always realistic models, they do give the beginner a basic idea of what might be in store. The following wedding-themed programs, films, and networks are highly recommended:
- The Wedding Planner – Released in 2001, this romantic comedy stars Jennifer Lopez as a wedding planner who falls in love with the future husband (Matthew McConaughey) of her biggest client. While this sort of behavior isn’t recommended in real life, it does make for an entertaining film.
- Amazing Wedding Cakes – Broadcast on the Women’s Entertainment network, this show spotlights incredible wedding cakes made by professionals.
- Bridezillas – Brides prepare for their special day, often behaving in a less-than-dignified manner.
- Bulging Brides – Brides struggle to lose weight in order to fit into their dream wedding dresses.
- Say Yes to the Dress – Brides shop for their perfect wedding dress at the prestigious Kleinfelds. Airs on The Learning Channel.
- My Fair Wedding – Renowned party planner David Tutera helps women put together their ideal wedding ceremony. Airs on the WE network.
- Get Married – Airing on Lifetime Television, this series debuted in 2007. It’s hosted by Colin Cowie, a lifestyle expert and event planner.
- My Big Redneck Wedding – CMT presents outrageous redneck weddings, including mud wrestling and dogs acting as the best man. Hosted by Tom Arnold.
- Rich Bride Poor Bride – Brides attempt to plan their wedding while staying under a specific budget. Airs on the WE and Slice.
- Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? – Shown on the Style network, this series follows brides and wedding planners as they prepare for the big day. Each episode is one hour in length.
- Wedding TV – A television channel in the UK that’s dedicated to weddings, fashion, beauty, and relationships. In 2008, it was named the Best Specialist Channel.
- Wedding TV Asia – Also broadcast in the United Kingdom, this channel specializes in Asian weddings and relationships.
- Rock the Reception – This TLC show follows a pair of dance choreographers as they plan unique choreography for wedding receptions.
That concludes our look at how to become a wedding planner. While we’ve tried to cover all the basics, you can find additional information by searching the Internet or your local bookstore. Being a bridal consultant is a challenging career filled with plenty of surprises, but the emotional and financial payoffs are well worth the effort.