Before you decide to make wedding planning your career, ask yourself this…
Why do you want to be a wedding planner? Yes, it may sound like a fun job, but there is a lot of work that goes with it. Are you an organized person? Detail oriented? Are you an outgoing person overall? Do you like to plan events? If you answer yes to those question, then a career in wedding planning might be for you. Remember, you will be the couple’s co-pilot in planning their big day, you will be involved in lots of decision making, as well as some family issues along the way. There are a lot of steps in planning a wedding.
Once you’ve answered that question, you’re now on your way to becoming an educated professional. You will need to do some research on this one, as there are many different programs out there. Personally, I chose to go through the career certificate program with PCDI (Professional Career Development Institute) Ashworth college for Wedding Planner Course. I know that there are many other companies to chose from. Another great website is the Association of Bridal Consultants www.bridalassn.com.
After enrolling in a program, be sure to stay on track with your courses. If you are truly interested in wedding planning, then this should be no problem at all. You will definitely enjoy reading the course material. PCDI had a great program, and all of their materials were up-to-date and very informing. I learned so much. With most program courses, you will learn everything there is to know about wedding planning, the good and the bad. Everything from choosing a caterer, to ceremony traditions. Take your time with your studies, don’t rush. It’s important to read through everything thoroughly, to avoid mistakes. The average time it takes to complete your program is all up to you and how hard you work at it. I completed my program in about 6 weeks. I completed about 3 lessons per night because I really didn’t have much else to do!
Once you have finished your program of choice, you will receive your certificate or diploma in the mail, stating you successfully completed their bridal consulting program. Congratulations! Now it’s time to start looking for work. Whether you decide to work for a company, or just strictly work on your own, it’s up to you. It may be a little harder to find work when you’re out on your own career first, it takes time and word of mouth to spread before you get any real business from brides. At first, you may not even want to charge people for your services. My first few party planning experiences, I just did for the fun of it and didn’t charge a dime. Remember, you have the education to plan weddings, but you can also plan baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties and graduation parties. While building your references, take lots of pictures of the events you help to plan. If you don’t already have a good camera, I’d recommend investing in one, it’s worth it. Once you have pictures, you can use them to show future clients of the past parties you planned. Advertising your services is also a good idea to get work since people really don’t know about you yet. You can use business cards, or even flyers to promote your business. And if you really want, make your own website. For business cards, I use www.vistaprint.com.
If you decide to work for a company, that’s great too. There are many places that will hire valuable planners like you. Hotels, banquet halls, restaurants, tourist attractions, churches, bridal shops, florists, wedding planning firms, caterers…any place you can think of that may have to do with a wedding. Most places you could have a wedding, they need to have a wedding coordinator there to help. You will be working for an already established business and will be part of their team. You can still take pictures of the events you plan, and use them for reference as well if ever you decide to go out on your own. It’s nice to have a portfolio for all of your pictures so that they are displayed in a nice, organized manner. Brides will be impressed with your organization skills (which is one of the most important characteristics of a good wedding planner).
Once you have established yourself in the town you’ll be working, it’s time to decide on getting your business registered if you’ll be working for yourself. You will need to take the appropriate steps in your city to do this. Once it’s official, definitely make up business cards and gets the word out. Where will you be doing most of your consulting? Are you going to be working from home, or would you rather work out of your own office? Personally, I like working from home. I have my own office set up, and it’s much more comfortable for me, as well as my clients, to be discussing details in a home environment. Some office equipment you may want to consider investing in is a computer (my laptop is great for me, I can take it anywhere to show the bride something), a large desk with filing systems, fax machine and a 2nd phone line for business calls only at home.
The rest is all you, how you present yourself to others, and how effectively you work. Word of mouth will be your #1 advertising tool. You will learn all about the details of your program courses, I have just covered the basics of getting started. Best of luck!