Becoming a wedding planner is an exciting and rewarding career choice. Wedding planners spend months working with their clients to plan and coordinate the perfect wedding day. They feel privileged to work with couples on one of the most important days in their life.
Being a wedding planner comes with great perks such as attending event industry parties, touring gorgeous venues and hotels, tasting sumptuous wedding cakes, and playing with beautiful linens and flowers. Many event planners enjoy setting their own schedule and the freedom of being creative in their career.
As a successful wedding planner and event planner for more than 10 years, and a mentor and coach to other wedding planners for the past 7 years, I have seen all of the ups and downs of starting a wedding planning career. I’ve assembled my best tips, tricks, and resources for you in this article.
How To Start Your Wedding Planning Business
Starting a wedding planning business is an exciting adventure! Careers in wedding planning are popular and appeal to many people. Many wedding planners start their own business as a part-time side gig and build it up to a full-time career.
Before you can take on clients, you want to learn all you can about planning and coordinating a wedding. If you do not have much experience in this area, consider building relationships with experienced planners and inquire about assisting at their events. You can also hire a wedding planner business coach and use tools such as the Wedding Planner’s Toolbox to guide you. You don’t want to risk ruining someone’s wedding day (and your reputation) because you promised more than you could deliver as a planner.
In addition to learning how to actually plan and coordinate a wedding, you may be learning how to start and run a business for the first time.
Here are the basics that you need to have in place to start your own wedding planning business:
- Name of your business that isn’t already trademarked or in-use
- Register the business with your state and obtain necessary licenses
- Purchase a domain name with web hosting
- Open a business bank account
- Obtain business insurance
- Hire someone to build and launch your website
- Get a professional wedding planning services contract
- Decide how to accept payments for your planning services
- Market your business
These are the absolute basics of starting a wedding planning business. There are many other considerations such as trademarking, marketing strategy, branding, creating a solid business plan, accounting and bookkeeping methods, choosing the best type of legal entity (LLC, sole proprietor, etc.), business systems, planning process with clients, budgeting for business investments, tax planning, education, and much more.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the details involved in starting a wedding planning business, you can invest in the guide 25 Steps to Start Your Wedding Planning Business to help you through each step, provide advice, and give you additional resources that might be needed.
Income as a Wedding Planner
Your income as a wedding planner will depend on your experience, education, and how well you market yourself. For more information, check out my in-depth wedding planner salary post.
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4 Key Personality Traits You Need As A Wedding Planner
There is a huge range of personalities and styles in the world of wedding planning professionals. There isn’t a particular personality that is better than others, however, there are a few key traits that many successful wedding planners have in common.
Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful and emotional events in life. For many engaged couples, having a planner who has empathy and understanding for what they are going through is the key to a stress-free and happy engagement.
A good wedding planner will also understand how important the wedding is for the parents of the engaged couple and will listen and understand their concerns and desires for the wedding as well.
2) Ability to listen more than talk
As wedding planners, we need to tell clients about what we offer and our experience but we should also be listening and asking questions during consultations. A great wedding planner wants to make the wedding all about the client. To do that, we must get to know our clients on a deeper level and listen to their spoken and unspoken feelings.
3) Good mediation skills
A great wedding planner will mediate issues that arise with clients, vendors, and venues, then come up with a win-win solution for everyone. You may also be asked to mediate between what your clients want and what their parents’ desires are for the wedding.
Most successful wedding planners who have been in the industry a while have a great deal of patience. If you choose to start your own wedding planning business, it may take a few years before you are comfortable working with clients and running your own business. Working with challenging clients and managing unruly guests on the wedding day also requires extra patience.
4 Things to Consider Before You Decide to Become a Wedding Planner
Before you choose to become a wedding planner, there are a few questions to ask yourself.
1) Do I want to work evenings and weekends?
Wedding planners often work in the evenings to meet with clients since many engaged couples work regular 9-5 jobs and can’t meet their wedding professionals during the day. Since most weddings are on Saturdays, you may be spending your weekends working then taking a few days off during the week.
Depending on where you live, certain months of the year can be significantly busier than others. For example, most weddings in the northern part of the US take place in late spring through early fall. The advantage of having a busy season is that you can take more time off during your offseason.
If you choose to become a wedding planner, does this schedule fit your ideal lifestyle?
2) Can I handle the mental and physical challenges of being a wedding planner?
Engaged couples and their families can be emotional and stressed during the wedding planning process and on the wedding day. As their wedding planner, you must remain calm in the face of adversity, be the voice of reason, and provide comfort and reassurance to your clients. Clients want their weddings to be perfect, which means they can often be demanding.
Coordinating a wedding day involves physical work. During the wedding day, you can expect to be on your feet for 10-15 hours. Physical tasks that a wedding planner might do include setting up decorations, moving boxes, assisting the florist with centerpieces, and packing up gifts and decor after the wedding is over. Typically, you will take the day off after a wedding to rest, recover, and reminisce about the fabulous event you just coordinated!
As a wedding planner, you will be mentally “on” during the entire wedding day. Many of us choose this career because we thrive on the excitement, the challenge, and the madness that happens on the wedding day. We live to solve problems, keep everything on time, and manage 20+ vendors without breaking a sweat. If you can handle stress AND keep your cool, this will be a great career for you.
Do you feel physically and mentally strong enough to plan and coordinate a wedding with potentially challenging couples and families?
3) Do I want to learn a new career?
Some people plan their own wedding and decide to become a wedding planner the next day. There is a significant difference between planning your own wedding and working with a paying client to plan their wedding. The family dynamics, knowledge of reputable vendors, properly coordinating a wedding day, cultivating an eye for design, creating detailed and correct wedding day timelines, knowing what to look for when reviewing vendor contracts, knowing what to do before/during/after vendor meetings, and creating and managing a wedding budget with someone else’s money are all tasks that need to be learned and refined to be a successful wedding planner.
If you would like to start your own wedding planning business, you will also be learning how to run a business. In addition to ensuring you have all the steps covered to legally start your business, you will learn how to market your business to get clients, be able to price and package your wedding planning services properly, invoice and bill clients, attend networking events, balance your financial records, hire and manage staff, and much more.
Just like any career or new business, it takes time and learning. Luckily, wedding planning happens to be a very fun career to learn! There are many educational resources for wedding planners such as books, online courses, private coaching, conferences, college courses, downloadable templates, and more.
Are you ready to commit to learning a new career and possibly how to start and manage your own wedding planning business?
4) Am I naturally good at multitasking and staying organized?
Being a wedding planner takes multi-tasking and organization to a whole new level. Not only will you have to multi-task and remember the many details about your client’s events, you have to think and act quickly.
During the wedding planning process, you could be working with 10-20 different couples at a time. If you aren’t organized, it will show in your work and in your reputation. If you are working with 10 couples to plan their wedding and each couple has at least 10 wedding vendors, you may be communicating with over 100 different people in a week!
In this career, you have to be on the ball ALL the time. Juggling many weddings, each with its own set of vendors, can be daunting for even the most organized of wedding planners.
Do you tend to keep your life and the work well organized? Can you multitask when needed? Do you like to plan events and parties in general? These are important traits to have as a professional wedding planner.
Challenges To Expect as a Wedding Planner
Before leaping into a career as a wedding planner, there are some challenges you can expect, especially if you haven’t worked in the events industry before.
The first challenge is getting experience. Consider what experience you already have planning events. This could be event planning at your current job, planning events at your church, or just planning parties for family and friends (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries). Any prior experience will help you build your wedding planner portfolio. Working for a catering company, a hotel, an event venue, or at an event rental company will give you valuable experience to use in your wedding planning career. If you have business or marketing experience, that will be very helpful as well.
Another challenge is deciding what education you need. There are wedding planner courses, wedding industry conferences, business conferences, marketing classes, coaching and mentoring programs, and many other resources available for your wedding planner education. Take time to evaluate all the opportunities and the investment required for each of them before making a decision.
While a certification in wedding planning is not required, it can give you credibility and knowledge if you do not have previous experience in the wedding industry. There is no set path to become a wedding planner. If you ask ten successful wedding planners how they got started, you will get ten completely different answers.
One final challenge you might encounter on your path to becoming a wedding planner is the financial expectations you have for this career. Most successful wedding planners have sustained a long-term career because of their passion for planning events and for helping couples plan one of the biggest days in their lives. Successful event planners are driven by a passion for what they do, not by financial gain. Many wedding planners support themselves and their families with their wedding planning career, however, it is unusual to become financially wealthy through a career in wedding planning. You can read more about income as a wedding planner in our wedding planner salary post.
It takes years of hard work to build a reputation and strong business as a wedding planner. The good news is that once you build your reputation and network, you will reap the rewards of your hard work for years to come.
5 Ways Start Marketing Your Wedding Planning Business
There are many ways to market your wedding planning business. These are the most common marketing strategies used by wedding professionals.
1) Invest in a Professional Website
One of the most important things to invest in when you become a wedding planner is a professional website. Since most wedding planners start out working from a home office, your website is your storefront. It is often the first impression that a potential client sees for your business. Invest as much as you can afford for your website.
2) Build Relationships
Building relationships with vendors, planners, and venues who can refer business to you is a key marketing tactic for wedding planners. Search online for local event industry organizations to find out about upcoming networking meetings and events that you can attend.
You can also reach out to other industry professionals and invite them to meet for coffee or at their studio or office. During the meeting, you can ask questions about their services and can also share information about your business.
When you are starting out, you will be building a list of your recommended event professionals to use with future clients as well as letting other business owners know what wedding planning services you offer so they can refer business to you.
If there are a few popular wedding venues in your area, call and schedule a tour of each property with the events manager so that you can get a good feel for the venues and introduce yourself and your business to the staff.
3) Use Social Media Effectively
Social media is impossible to ignore these days. Wedding planning is a visual process for most engaged couples. Being active and engaging on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are great ways to market your business as a new wedding planner. If you have a blog for your wedding planning business, you can use social media to gain more exposure for the content you share on your blog.
Not only can you share your ideas and expertise, you can share photos from your events, testimonials from clients, information about a workshop or conference you attended, and much more. Social media also makes it easy to connect with others in the wedding industry.
4) Pay for Online Advertising
Paid online advertising is another way to market your wedding planning business. Websites such as the Knot.com and WeddingWire.com have paid advertising options for wedding planners. There may be local wedding blogs and websites based on weddings in your city or state that have paid advertising options. You can also invest in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Pinterest Ads.
5) Get Your Work Published
Having your weddings, photo shoots, and events published online and in print is a great way to gain traction with your wedding planning business. Not only do you get potential leads from engaged couples who read the publication, you can gain trust and jump start your reputation by promoting the fact that you have had your work published.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to market your wedding planning business. Try out different tactics until you find what brings you the most business. Keep in mind that building relationships with venues and vendors takes time to show a return on investment. Once those relationships are established and you become a trusted planner in your market, these relationships can provide you with referrals for years to come.
More Tools and Resources For Wedding and Event Planning
There are many great tools and resources available online for wedding and event planners. The Planner’s Lounge is the first place to start. Planner’s Lounge is a community and resource site for wedding and event planners to relax, talk, learn, and inspire. Start on the New Here page to see the most popular blog posts or check out the Tools+Resources page for the latest resources to power your wedding planning career including:
- The Wedding Planner’s Toolbox
- Pricing With Confidence: Secrets to Profitable Pricing and Services for Professional Wedding Planners
- 25 Steps to Start Your Own Wedding Planning Business
- The Complete Wedding Budget Guide for Wedding Planners
- The Ultimate Business Success Checklist for Wedding Planners
Becoming a wedding planner is an exciting and fun adventure, and I hope I can help you. Take time to read through this article again and click on the links to read more resources to help you start and grow your wedding planner career!