CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a wedding planner.
Is becoming a wedding planner right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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Although not necessary, obtaining an associate or bachelor's degree in a related field, such as marketing, public relations, business management, communications, or hospitality management can really help.
Certification & Internship
Certifications can be attained through various organizations, including the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) and the Association for Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC). The coursework will vary depending on which organization you choose, but subjects include etiquette, event logistics, vendor contracting, sales and marketing, and legal matters.
However, getting certified is not going to help as much as actually putting in the time interning for a real wedding planning company (unpaid, if necessary). The practical knowledge you will gain when you’re working on real weddings, with real brides, coordinating real vendors, keeping paperwork straight, and executing events week after week cannot be taught in the classroom or on the Internet.
So the first thing you need is experience - the question becomes how do you get that experience? Get the word out about your services and attract a client base by making business cards, spreading the word to your friends, posting ads online, making a website, and reaching out to old contacts. Start planning events (for free) for friends and family. Make sure they understand that you’re treating them as real clients and may need them for genuine referrals. Take many pictures and make your website an amazing marketing tool.
Anything that gives you experience building events from scratch and learning client management will give you a leg up. Even applying for entry-level positions at event planning firms and public relations firms known for their events is an excellent idea.
How to become a Wedding Planner
In the United States, aside from what is required to own a business, there are no required certifications or licenses needed to become a wedding planner. Due to the high demand though, there are many colleges that are now offering certificate and degree programs in wedding planning.
It is good to keep in mind that planning your own wedding and working with a paying client to plan their wedding is vastly different. Creating and managing a budget with someone else's money, creating detailed timelines, getting to know reputable vendors, designing a wedding, and dealing with all sorts of different personalities and family dynamics are all things that need to be learned and refined in order to be a successful wedding planner.