Being a wedding planner is a fun, challenging, and sometimes stressful career. You are running the business, constantly marketing to entice new clients, planning events for current clients, managing staff, and trying to stay on top of the latest industry news and trends.
With all of these responsibilities (and many others), we are going to make mistakes and miss opportunities. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to stay on top of every possible task. In this post, we are sharing the six most common areas where wedding planners tend to make mistakes AND how to fix them.
Six common areas where wedding planners make mistakes:
1) Sneaky Market Research
When wedding planners start their business, they are often unsure how to price their services and what should be offered in their wedding planning packages. In an effort to gather information, some planners reach out to competitors under the guise of being an engaged bride asking for pricing and service descriptions.
This is never a good idea!
Not only are you lying about your intentions but the wedding industry is small. Don’t make the mistake starting your career in a close-knit industry as someone who is sneaky and untrustworthy.
My advice is to reach out to fellow wedding planners in the off-season and start to build relationships with them. You will likely form a friendship with a few planners and can share pricing information and details with each other.
This article has advice that will help you build relationships with other event planners: Reaching out to experienced planners as a new wedding planner
The Pricing With Confidence: Secrets to Profitable Pricing & Services for Professional Wedding Planners has all the information you could possibly need regarding wedding planner pricing and services including ready-to-use planning package templates and pricing spreadsheets. You can also invest in a one-on-one wedding business coaching session with Planner’s Louge to determine the best pricing method and formula for your specific needs.
2) No Wedding Industry Experience
There are no education or experience requirements for starting a wedding planning business.
You don’t even need to go to school to become a wedding planner!
It is easy to get business cards, launch a wedding planning business website, and start looking for potential clients. If you are serious about succeeding in your event planning business, take the time to get educated and get experience first. It is really important to understand how to plan and coordinate a wedding on your own before you have clients paying you to manage one of the most important days in their life.
Here are more resources on getting experience and education in wedding and event planning:
3) DIY Contracts
From the moment you start taking clients, you must protect yourself and your planning business with a solid wedding planning contract outlining your services. Many planners will book clients without a contract or they will create a do-it-yourself contract by cutting and pasting sentences from contract examples they find on Google. Without a professional services contract, you leave yourself open to misunderstanding, unhappy clients, and at worst, a lawsuit.
Your wedding client contract should outline details such as:
- the exact services provided and not provided
- the specific number of meetings or hours included
- what happens if you or the client wants to cancel the planning contract
- what happens if the wedding or event is canceled or rescheduled
- what the payment schedule is for your fees
It is always a smart idea to consult with a lawyer when creating and finalizing your wedding services contract so that you are protected.
4) Not Setting Business Policies
When working with engaged couples, wedding planners often become very close to their clients during the planning process. It can be easy to blur boundaries if the expectations are not set from the beginning.
Make sure you have your business policies clearly stated before any work begins.
Your event planner business policies should include information about:
- your office hours and work schedule
- how quickly clients can expect a response when they email or call you
- how quickly you expect clients to respond to your emails and calls
- what your policy is on texting with clients
- what your general planning process is
- whether you negotiate pricing with vendors on their behalf
Making the mistake of not having these policies leads to a stressful career as a wedding planner and can end in complete business burn-out.
You are the business owner and get to set the rules for how you work, when you work, and how you interact with clients.
5) Lack of Marketing
As mentioned before, wedding planners can enter the market quite easily, so you need a solid marketing plan to stand out from the crowd.
First you need the best website you can afford – it’s your storefront and what every potential client is going to look at. Once you have your website, then spend your effort and money driving traffic and potential clients to it.
You should also have an aggressive networking plan that helps create connections with other wedding professionals who can be business referrals.
6) Lack of Financial Knowledge
To run a profitable business, you have to know your numbers. As wedding planners, it can be very easy to discount the amount of time we put into planning and coordinating a wedding. There is so much more involved than just the hours on the wedding day.
Keep meticulous track of the time spent on each event ensures you are pricing accordingly. As the business owner, it is necessary to keep track of all business-related expenses, cash in and out, and know what amount of money is going to be coming in over the next 6-12 months. Here is a helpful blog post about knowing your cash flow.
Your wedding planner pricing needs to cover your time, staff and assistant pay, travel expenses, event-related expenses, and money to cover taxes. Your pricing should reflect your time and expertise.
Your pricing when you start out will be vastly different from what you charge after being in business for 5 years. Price accordingly. This wedding planner pricing guide offers excellent templates, worksheets, and the information needed to create your wedding planning packages and pricing.
Avoid these six common wedding planner mistakes and you will be able to reach your business goals and grow your wedding planning business to the level of success you desire!
This is a guest post from Amber Peterson. Amber is the owner of Cheers Consulting Group and Cheers Wedding Planning & Design in western Washington. She has a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and consults with wedding professionals about their marketing and business challenges. Amber is also the co-founder of the Skagit Wedding Society.
Not sure how to price your services and what to offer in your wedding planning packages?
Pricing With Confidence: Secrets to Profitable Pricing & Services for Professional Wedding Planners is a comprehensive guide with templates and worksheets that give you the tools and information needed to confidently offer profitable and sustainable wedding planning packages and pricing.
This guide is ideal for both new and experienced wedding planners who want to understand pricing methods and techniques. This guidebook is also perfect for wedding planners who want to save time by having ready-to-use templates for planning packages, examples of website wording, and a professional spreadsheet to rely on for calculating prices for weddings and events.