If you want to make it big in the wedding industry even without any experience, one of the best things to do is to learn how to become a wedding planner. There are so many opportunities in this industry, and you will be surprised at how much you can make as one.
In data published by IBIS World, it says that over the five years to 2019, the industry revenue is expected to increase. This is regardless of the fact that more couples are opting to do wedding planning by themselves.
Furthermore, it says that according to The Knot, which is one of the most popular wedding websites in the world, ten years ago, the wedding planning industry was booming with 40% of couples who got married hired wedding planners to help them from preparations until the day of the wedding.
Although the number decreased to 29% in 2018, the industry is still very much alive and kicking. In fact, more and more people are interested in how to become a wedding planner. We find it not surprising though because wedding planners give so much convenience and ease among couples. Needless to say, having them around makes brides and grooms stress-free.
To back this up, wedding planners these days do not only handle weddings alone but they offer other events planning as well. That is backed by data presented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that says, professional event planning has a growth rate of 10% from 2016 to 2026, which is definitely higher compared to an average rate of all occupations tracked.
Just an interesting fact, did you know that in 2016 alone, the average cost of a wedding in the United States was $26,720? That was actually higher compared to $25,700 in 2012. You see, more couples today actually spend more on their wedding compared in the past years.
So, having said all that, it is safe to say that the wedding planning industry is the next big thing.
So, perhaps by now, you have questions in your mind that need answers, right? Well, that’s what we are here for! Today, apart from sharing tips with you on how to become a wedding planner, we are also going to answer some commonly asked questions when it comes to wedding planning. This include:
- What is wedding planning?
- What does a wedding planner do?
- What traits and/or skills does a wedding planner need?
- How much does a wedding planner make?
…and of course
- How to become a certified wedding planner?
If you are ready, brace yourself, and get ready to absorb all the information we are going to share with you. Note that all these are essential especially if you want to succeed in this industry.
WHAT IS WEDDING PLANNING?
A wedding is one of the most significant events in a couple’s life. It is also one of the happiest, and most memorable. However, planning the wedding can also become one of the most stressful.
Wedding planning, as the term suggests, is basically about planning the whole wedding – meaning, from day 0 until after the wedding. It refers to the planning, organization, as well as management of the whole event.
It’s an industry that is full of love, fun, and joy to say the least. It is something worthwhile, especially knowing the fact that you get to witness every love story being sealed in marriage, and essentially, becoming a great part in making it a success.
Wedding planning, however, is not just about fanfare. In fact, there is so much at stake in it. The success of a beautiful wedding lies in wedding planners’ hands. So, imagine the weight you carry in your shoulders, right? That is exactly why there are certain skills and traits that a wedding planner needs to have, which we are going o share with you in a while.
Before we move on to the entirety of our blog, we found this video by BiancaReneeToday on YouTube, and we find her insights really helpful for those who wanted to jump in and join the wedding planning industry. If you want to check this out, just hit the play button.
WHAT DOES A WEDDING PLANNER DO?
As earlier mentioned, as a wedding planner, your ultimate job is to plan, organize, and manage a wedding. You play an essential role in making the couple’s dream wedding happen with ease.
But what exactly does a wedding planner do?
Let us run down some of the key roles of a wedding planner:
Hold a Consultation Meeting
Usually, a wedding planner starts everything by meeting with the couple for consultation. Consultation is very important in order for the wedding planner to understand the couple’s needs and wants. This does not only include particulars for the day of the wedding but other related events as well as the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, welcome dinner or lunch, etc.
It is also the time when the wedding planner and the couple talk about the wedding budget. This helps the wedding planner in giving the couple an idea of what they can expect with such a budget. You see, your role as a wedding planner is very essential. It is definitely not a joke to one.
Draft, Finalize, and Present Contract
The contract is everything. It is where you input the coverage of your services, outlining every single detail of what the couple can expect from you.
Some of the services you may offer as a wedding planner are:
- Arranging the location or venue of the wedding (both the for the ceremony and the reception)
- Arranging the florist (this includes bridal and entourage bouquet, reception and church or ceremonial venue dress-up, etc.)
- Arranging the caterer
- Arranging the designer and printer of invitation and other printables
- Arranging the designer of the bride’s wedding gown, entourage, and mothers’ attire
- Arranging the designer of the groom and his entourage’s attire
- Help look for, book, and pick-up wedding favors
- Help look and book a supplier for lighting and visual details
- Help look and book a hair and make-up artist
- Meeting and negotiating with vendors/suppliers
- Running the rehearsal
- Oversee the set-up of the ceremony area
- Oversee the set-up of the reception venue
- Ensure that the wedding starts on time
- Ensure that all wedding entourage are on time
- Dealing with unruly guests
- Handle RSVP
- Ensure that all details of the wedding are well-taken cared of
- Ensure that all contracts between suppliers and the client are intact and are followed
- Ensure all rentals and borrowed items are returned
- Ensure that all payments are done, deposits are given back
- Ensure that the venue is left clean
Note that the services you offer depend on whether the client will avail of a FULL WEDDING PLANNING or ON THE DAY WEDDING PLANNING package.
Ensure All Services Agreed Upon Are Properly Implemented
As we have just said, the services you will provide the couple depends on what kind of wedding planning package they will avail. As a wedding planner, it’s up to you to come up with the list of services you will provide – although in general, wedding planners do follow almost the same format.
You may check the list of services we mentioned earlier for your reference.
WHAT TRAITS AND/OR SERVICES DOES A WEDDING PLANNER NEED?
Before we move on to know the steps on how to become a wedding planner, it’s probably just right to assess yourself first. Do you have the right traits and/or skills for the job?
To help you with it, here are some of the key traits and/or skills that every wedding planner should have according to industry experts:
- Organizational Skills
- Communication Skills
- Planning and Organizing
- Time Management
HOW MUCH DOES A WEDDING PLANNER MAKE?
Of course, one of the motivators to get into this field is knowing how much you can get from wedding planning.
According to The Wedding Planner Book, wedding planners make more or less $44,000 per year or roughly $3,000 per wedding gig. Yes, that’s how huge you can make by planning someone’s wedding.
You see, this industry is very competitive especially these days. That is why it is important to ensure you get everything done right in every wedding or event you hold so clients will keep coming in, and revenue will continue rising.
HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED WEDDING PLANNER?
We actually have shared already some of the most important information on how to become a wedding planner earlier – the roles and responsibilities, and the qualities a wedding planner should have.
So, basically, what we are going to share with you now is more comprehensive steps how to become a professional wedding planner.
STEP 1: ACQUIRE A FORMAL TRAINING
Although you can do wedding planning even without formal training, it’s still is different if you have one. This allows you to learn the intricacies of wedding planning. You can complete a diploma program if you really want to step-up your game.
Remember you are in an industry that is very competitive. Needless to say, you will compete with so many established wedding planners. So, you got to have a good strategy to be able to succeed in this field — and getting formal training is one of them.
By completing a diploma program on wedding planning, you will learn about the most important at the same time crucial work of a wedding planner such as contract negotiations, vendor relations, marketing strategies, bridal registries, as well as budget management.
On top of that, you will also learn the different types of wedding ceremonies (which is very important as a wedding planner), attire, as well as stationary. You will also learn about proper etiquette at these events.
You see, having all these kinds of information will definitely make you stand out from the rest — of course with your personal touch into it.
Some of the institutions where you can get a diploma program on wedding planning are:
- Atlanta Technical College
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
- Dakota County Technical College
- Edmonds Community College
- George Washington University
- Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
Again, these are just some of the institutions where you can get a diploma program. For sure, there’s one in your area, too. All you have to do is check online where you can enroll for the said program.
STEP 2: ATTAIN A HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE
While completing a diploma program in wedding planning is essential to help you get familiarized with the fundamentals you need to be able to get into the wedding planning industry, having hands-on experience is required to be able to put all those concepts into daily practice.
But how do you obtain a hands-on experience?
Just like in any other field of work, hands-on experience is attainable by participating in an internship program, particularly at an event planning agency. Another way is by helping out people you know in planning their wedding. You can also ask around your local community for couples who are planning to wed and offer them free services. For sure, a lot of couples would love that. Just be ready to show off your knowledge and skills so you get to earn the couple’s trust.
STEP 3: DECIDE ON A NICHE
You are probably wondering what we mean by choosing a niche. Well, in this day and age, wedding planning is not just about being wed in a church and then the reception. Today, couples do have a lot of options. Apart from that, we have to take into consideration that there are also different types of marriages.
So, what exactly do we mean?
Some ideas you can consider as a niche are:
- Destination Wedding
- Church Wedding
- Outdoor Wedding
- Same-Sex Wedding
- Full Wedding Planning
- On-The-Day Wedding Planning
These are just some of the options you have.
But why does a wedding planner need to find or choose a niche?
Having a niche or a specialty will help you stand-out from other wedding planners. It will also help increase your expertise in that specific area. Always keep in mind that wedding planning is very competitive, needless to say, huge industry to be at. So, again, you got to step up your game to gain clients, and eventually, rise on top.
STEP 4: LOOK FOR A MENTOR
One of the best ways to learn how to become a wedding planner is by working for and with a professional wedding planner. As they say, the best way to learn is by learning from the experts.
So, if you are a newbie in the industry, it is only right to find a mentor. We highly recommend looking for someone who is generous enough to teach you the ins and outs of the industry — not necessarily by lecturing but by how she works.
Learn the roped of the industry by partnering with someone who has the experience and the expertise in it. Look for a seasoned mentor who can help you see the day-to-day realities of the job. This is all the more helpful if your end goal is to put up your own wedding planning company.
We know what you are thinking. Where do you find one?
Well, here goes networking or making connections. Below are some of the professional associations that wedding planners can join for both networking and mentorship purposes:
- American Association of Certified Wedding Planners
- Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants
- Wedding International Professionals Association
- National Association of Wedding Professionals
- International Association of Professional Wedding Planners
- Association of Bridal Consultants
- National Association of Event Planners
- Hawaii Island Wedding Association
It is also worth sharing that some of these organizations also offer wedding planning courses, which you may also consider. It’s also an opportunity not just to learn, but also to network, make connections, and of course, find a mentor.
STEP 5: GET A PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION
Wedding planners do not necessarily need a certification to be able to do business. However, having such credentials is very useful to be able to stand out in the industry.
The American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, which is “a professional organization for trained or certified wedding planners” offers a certification. More so, they also provide “support, resources, and networking for wedding planners, as well as professional development, certification, and continuing education.”
To be an AACWP Certified Wedding Planner, you must first meet the Trained Wedding Planner criteria, which include:
- The applicant has successfully completed an approved course of study for wedding planners
- The main focus is a wedding planning
- Has been in business for a minimum of one year
- Can show proof of liability insurance
- Has completed membership application including stated approval of the AACWP Code of Ethics
- Payment of AACWP membership fees
Once the above criteria are met, the Certified Wedding Planner status may be granted as long as the applicant fully meets the following criteria:
1. Completion of one (1) year of TWP membership in good standing to include the equivalent of four continuing education hours.
2. Proof of full-service wedding planning of three (3) recent weddings within the past 18-month period. Provide copies of a signed agreement between the planner and the bride for each wedding, a wedding planning calendar or timeline for each wedding, a budget for each wedding, and verification of planning meetings with at least two vendors for each bride.
3. If the applicant is a current TWP member and took the AACWP training course, he or she must have completed two favorable mentorships with current CWP’s or CMWP’s on the mentor list of AACWP. The evaluation forms should be included from both mentorships. Wedding planners who are active and have been certified by a board-approved wedding certification course have the option to request that a current CWP or CMWP mentor observe two of their weddings in lieu of the mentorships with an AACWP mentor.
4. Supply copies of the following:
a. Two letters of referrals or appreciation notes from Brides whose weddings were within the last twelve (12) months.
b. Tax ID number
c. Proof of current general liability insurance
d. Evidence of advertising, including a copy of such
e. Evidence of an account established with two national suppliers
5. OUT OF STATE APPLICANTS AND APPLICANTS FROM 50 MILES OUTSIDE OF THE DFW AREA. A CWP applicant, from out of state or 50 miles outside of the DFW area, formerly trained by AACWP or another approved certification course, is not required to complete two mentorships in Dallas. This applicant shall provide proof of six (6) recent full-service weddings within the past 24-month period. Along with the completed application forms, included shall be copies of a signed agreement between the planner and the bride for each wedding, a wedding planning calendar or timeline for each wedding, a budget for each wedding and verification of planning meetings with at least two vendors for each bride. Copies should also be submitted for all items under #5 above to complete the application for Certified Wedding Planner.
6. AACWP application processing fee ~ $50 ~ Applicant will be invoiced upon receipt of materials.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO BECOME A WEDDING PLANNER
Wedding planning is not only an interesting industry, but it comes with a lot of opportunities and potentials. Well, every year, a lot of couples wed anyway. So, it’s like you will never run out of clients – but that is if you have the right knowledge, skills, and of course, you have further studies to brag.
After all the information we shared, do you think you have what it takes to be a wedding planner?