How to become a wedding planner!
I have had so many people ask me how to go about becoming a wedding planner. I thought it might be time to write a post about it and spell it all out.
First, being a wedding planner is not all glamorous. It is just good old fashioned hard work. You must be detail oriented and have the ability to keep up with a multitude of small things. Items that seem minimal to you could be a major deal to the bride who has been dreaming about her wedding for years, if not her whole life. There is a reason why someone coined the phrase, “making a mountain out of a mole hill.” You certainly don’t want to forget anything or you will definitely hear about it.
Second, if you plan on being a self-employed wedding planner, you must consider that you probably won’t turn a significant profit for many years, if ever. More new wedding planning businesses go under before anyone really ever hears about them, than those who break the glass ceiling and explode on the scene. I have been in this business for 31 years. That’s right, 31 years. You get the picture! The costs of advertising and marketing yourself, as well as labor for people to help you keep up with those fine details, are very expensive. It is also considered a high-risk venture by banks; so, don’t think it will be easy to get a small business loan to help carry you until you get to the point where you make some money.
Now, if I haven’t talked you out of pursuing this career choice, read on.
- You need to be certified by a reputable accredited association’s planning course. There are several on the market. The most widely known are ABC (Association for Bridal Consultants), ISES (International Special Events Society), AFWPI (Association for Wedding Planners International) and finally, JWI (June Wedding, Inc.). I am certified by the latter, JWI. JWI was founded by Robbi Ernst, III. Robbi is noted for inventing the modern day wedding planner nearly 35 years ago. He has a mail order course that is the best, in my opinion for helping a person become an independent wedding planner. He is a veritable icon in the industry and has written books and been published in every major bridal publication in the US over the past 30 years.
- It is very expensive to advertise and market your company so you need an initial flood of potential clients. My suggestion is that you get a part time job initially at a bridal salon or boutique that knows you are planning weddings part time as well. This is a great way to meet new brides in the marketplace. Just make sure you are up front with the owners about what you are doing. Otherwise, it could be considered stealing clients. The salon or boutique has spent a lot of money marketing their company and you want to make sure they understand your motivations. Otherwise, you could find yourself out of that job with no potential clients and a bad rep for having done it. The wedding industry, as large as it is, is a very tight knit community and everyone knows everyone else. And they all talk too!
- There are now college courses in many junior colleges around the country that can give you basic information on how to become a wedding planner or work in the industry. Check your local colleges for their course lists to see if you have that availability nearby.
- Network, network, network! You must meet and greet the wedding professionals in your community. They refer one another and generally only refer those who return the favor in kind. Develop a list of wedding professionals that you want to do business with and court them.
- Read my book, Donnie Brown Weddings: from the couture to the cake. It is not just for brides. Wedding professionals can get a lot out of it too!
I hope this information helps and you are successful in your endeavors!