How to become a wedding planner
It is one of the most popular questions I receive, “How Do I Become a Wedding Planner?, or How Do I Open My Own Wedding Planning Business?”
I had the same question when I started my planning journey almost 15 years ago. After I attended college and did an internship in NYC, I started my company with very minimal knowledge about business. It was a tough first couple of years, learning how to plan weddings & grow my business through trial and error. As a result, I wish I could go back and tell my younger self the correct steps to becoming a successful wedding planner, how to save money on education, and where to look for mentors and connections. If I knew what I know now, my wedding planning journey would have been smoother, and my company would have grown faster. Here is what I would tell her:
SEVEN STEPS TO BECOMING A WEDDING PLANNER
Step 1: Get Experience
You do not need a bachelor’s degree, certification, or any formal credentials to be a wedding planner. Let me repeat that, you DO NOT have to spend money on education. Wedding planning is a trade. Therefore, the fastest way to get started and grow in this business is to gain experience. First, find a job or internship working for another wedding planner, as a venue coordinator at a venue, or with a wedding vendor. Then, your goal is to learn the hands-on skills to being a great event planner.
Step 2: Get to Know Your Local Event Industry
Your local vendors and venues are your colleagues and your biggest source of leads. Look through Instagram or Facebook to find out who the major vendors and venues are for weddings. Then, send them a message to introduce yourself as a new wedding planner. You can also attend networkers or association meetings where these vendors and venue coordinators frequent. Look online to see if there is a NAWP (National Association Wedding Professionals) or WIPA (Wedding International Professionals Association) near you.
Step 4: Get to Know Your Potential Brides & Grooms
Get to know what wedding types are popular in your area. Are there many tourists coming in for beach weddings, is the area popular for Jewish weddings, are you in a destination wedding hub? Knowing where most of the clients will come from, will help you determine what skills you need to learn. You can use sources like YouTube to find out more about the traditions and intricacies you should know to handle a particular type of wedding.
Step 5: Build a Portfolio
A good portfolio is essential to your credibility in your client’s eyes. If you work with another wedding planner, a venue, or a vendor; make sure to consistently keep photos and videos of the weddings you work on for your portfolio. However, if you are starting a wedding planning company and don’t have client’s yet, you can post your mood boards and designs in your portfolio. You can also set up styled shoots with other vendors that are also looking to promote their services.
Step 6: Learn New Skills
Being a great wedding planner is very similar to being a great entrepreneur. You need to know about finance (handling client’s budgets), design (creating moodboards), marketing (attracting clients), advertising (Google Adwords), law (contracts and COIs), sales (landing clients), and more. First, we recommend writing down your current skills and then rating them from strongest to weakest. Then, starting with the weakest skill, look up an online course, podcast, or a book by someone who is a master at that skill. Finally, take a couple of months to learn and apply the teachings in your wedding planning. Having amazing skills is what will make you stand shoulders above your competition.
Step 7: Setup Your Company
Once you have a very good understanding of the wedding planning business, it is time to setup your own! In the US, you will need to file your company in your state, apply for an EIN number with the IRS, and open a business bank account. Then, you can move on to the fun stuff, like creating a logo, branding board, social media strategy, and website. We created a free e-booklet with the first 5-steps to establishing your own event planning company. It has links, resources, and information to make each step easy to do.
Being a wedding planner is a great responsibility, and a great joy. You get to be there to celebrate one of the biggest moments in a person’s life. I have been doing it for over twelve years and I think it is the best job on earth. I hope you do to ♥️