10 Steps to Become a Wedding Planner

By Catherine Goulet, Jan Riddell and Tag Goulet

If you are like most people, you have probably attended at least a few weddings. As the excitement of the wedding day approaches, many brides-to-be, along with their family and friends start thinking, “I wonder if I could become a wedding planner?”

If you have been wondering the same thing, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” That’s because today there are more opportunities for wedding planners than ever before. In our busy society many couples turn to a professional wedding planner to ensure their wedding is as stress free as possible.

As a wedding planner you can have a rewarding career that lets you use your creativity to organize the happiest day of people’s lives.

As long as you have the desire, you can become a wedding planner since no special education or experience is necessary. Here are 10 steps to breaking into this dream career, based on the FabJob Guide to Become a Wedding Planner, the textbook for IAP Career College’s Wedding Planner Certificate Course.

1. Learn about weddings

There are numerous details involved in planning a wedding — from selecting the date to choosing the reception menu. To teach yourself wedding planning, help out with as many weddings as possible, visit bridal shows, read wedding magazines and books, and conduct informational interviews. Talk with clergy of various faiths, recently married brides and others connected to the wedding business such as florists and caterers.

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2. Develop your skills to become a wedding planner

Successful wedding planners have a number of traits in common. They are usually creative people with excellent interpersonal skills who love to plan events. While most of these traits come naturally to many wedding planners, an important skill that some need to develop is organizational ability. To help you stay organized, you can create timeline schedules and checklists, and use organizational tools such as a day planner or binder to keep track of all the wedding details and paperwork.

3. Create a portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of photographs that show people your skill at planning weddings. Offer your services to friends and family who are getting married in exchange for pictures for your portfolio. To show your creativity, you can also include photographs of table settings or room decorations you have created in your home, or pictures from your own wedding if you planned it yourself.

4. Find a job in the wedding industry

Even if you plan to start your own business, consider getting a job in the industry first. These positions can be used as a stepping-stone to gain valuable experience and contacts. Wedding coordinators are hired by hotels, country clubs, and churches across the country. Some exciting options include working as a wedding coordinator at an attraction such as Disneyland or at a resort in a location such as Banff, Hawaii, Las Vegas, or the Caribbean.

Many job opportunities for bridal consultants are available with companies that supply products and services for weddings including bridal shops, department stores with gift registries, florists, and caterers.

5. Set up your own business to become a wedding planner

Setting up a wedding planning business is similar to starting any home business. You’ll need to handle matters such as deciding whether to incorporate, setting up your office, and developing systems for getting paid.

There are many excellent resources available to help you start your business including the U.S. Small Business Administration in the United States and the Government of Canada’s Canada Business.

6. Decide what services you want to offer

Wedding planners offer a variety of services and packages based on their specific skills and interests. You might offer complete wedding planning services, wedding day co-ordination only, or consult with brides and grooms who want to plan their own weddings. Some wedding planners specialize in arranging “destination weddings” at resorts or on cruise ships.

7. Develop relationships with vendors

Vendors are suppliers of any product or service related to weddings, such as limousine companies, musicians, photographers, party supply companies, invitation printers, etc. Vendors can be a valued partner in planning a successful wedding.

8. Get clients

Supply business cards and brochures to the vendors you work with, and ask them to recommend your services to their customers who are getting married. Other ways to market your services include advertising, networking, and participating in bridal shows.

9. Consult with clients

Once you start getting calls from brides and grooms, arrange a client consultation meeting. Ask questions to find out what type of wedding they want, their budget, number of guests, etc. At this meeting you will discuss your fees, which might be an hourly rate such as $50 per hour or a flat fee. Explain how you can help the couple have the worry-free wedding of their dreams.

10. Be recognized as a professional

Successful wedding planners are always interested in learning new ideas to use with their clients. Consider joining a professional association for wedding planners to keep up with new developments in the industry. Clients will be impressed, especially if the organization certifies you as a professional wedding planner.

To learn how you can get started in a dream career as a wedding planner, check out the Wedding Planner Certificate Course Online offered by the International Association of Professions Career College (IAP Career College). For information, visit https://www.iapcollege.com/program/wedding-planner-course.