How to become a wedding planner
Wedding planners are often envied for enjoying one of the most romantic and fun-filled careers available. Their role is seen as one that allows them entry to parties constantly and surrounds them with love and excitement. Although this is in part true, the role of a wedding planner is also one of the most demanding and socially stressful positions.
£17,000 to £25,000
Guide to starting a career as a wedding planner
Tasked with ensuring that the most important day of a couple’s life goes perfectly, the wedding planner is relied upon to deliver outstanding results and a seamless service. If obstacles occur in the planning or on the big day, the wedding planner is responsible for overcoming them without transferring any concern to the couple or guests.
This role is ideal for individuals who are highly organised, have an exceptional eye for detail and aim for perfection in all undertakings.
What qualifications will I need to become a wedding planner?
Effectively, anyone can become a wedding planner as there are no set requirements for entering the career. That said, couples are likely to only want to hire a wedding planner who has experience, good reviews and is supported by qualifications.
You may be able to gain experience by volunteering with a local wedding planner or by working in a wedding venue such as a hotel. Some people develop their passion and abilities by helping those close to them plan their weddings in an informal way.
Some jobs are very similar to that of a wedding planner and so working in these positions will also offer a wealth of relevant experience. Similar roles include:
- Event manager
- Party planner
- Marketing assistant or executive
- Public Relations (PR)
- Hospitality and catering roles
- Project manager.
Some wedding planning firms have a host of employment opportunities and you could work as an administrator or assistant in order to build up your knowledge and experience before working toward becoming a wedding planner.
There are a number of courses available, both in colleges and online, that serve to provide you with a rounded understanding of the tasks involved in wedding planning. A Diploma in Wedding Planning and Event Management, for example, provides study on:
- Building a portfolio of contacts
- How to manage the emotions of the couple and calm their nerves
- What to do in the event of a problem
- Health and safety at events
- How to arrange a wedding on a small budget
- How to achieve the best deals from all professionals
- Important checklists for the day
- Time planning programmes for the lead up to the wedding.
Although this type of qualification is not essential, it is likely to help you get a job in this field and establish yourself as a committed and eager candidate.
Essential Skills for Being a Wedding Planner
Wedding planners are required to have a huge variety of skills and multitasking and drawing on these skills will be essential for the smooth delivery of all plans. Whether it be keeping a cool head when a problem arises, managing a drunk wedding guest, making urgent alterations to suppliers if one lets you down or offering advice on the best invitations. A wedding planner will have a multitude of things to think about but must deal with them all and present an enthusiastic and calm appearance at all times.
Some of the most important skills that a wedding planner should possess include:
- The ability to understand a couple’s desires without diluting them with your own preferences.
- To be able to explain choices and present alternative ideas when necessary.
- To help couples manage any family difficulties they might have. Particular when considering placements for dining and photographs.
- To be able to secure favourable rates from other professionals and negotiate better deals.
- To maintain a calm and organised demeanour at all times.
- To always remain energetic, compassionate and enthusiastic for your client’s day.
- Superb organisational skills.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
- Attention to detail and a consistent commitment to getting the best results.
- Excellent time management skills and the ability to meet strict deadlines.
- Strong financial understanding and the ability to set and maintain a budget.
- The ability to manage problems calmly and to deal with unexpected events.
- A happy and engaging personality.
- The ability to manage a multitude of other professionals, some of whom you have not met or worked with previously.
Day to Day Work of a Wedding Planner
Wedding planners are recognised as being one of the most organised professionals and are trusted to multitask like an expert. Their day can involve a multitude of duties and it is essential that their organisational skills allow them to complete all tasks within strict deadlines. Some of the possible day to day tasks of a wedding planner could include:
- Meeting new couples to discuss their plans, desires, your services and fees.
- Liaising with other professionals and service providers to get quotes, secure discounts and make bookings.
- Viewing and evaluating different venues and service providers to add to your portfolio.
- Helping your couple choose the best additions such as invitations, place settings, flowers and favours.
- Making recommendations to your couple on alternative ideas if original plans change.
- Helping your couple overcome nerves and other emotions.
- Drawing up timetables and lists for yourself, your team and your couple to ensure that all deadlines are met.
- Being present on the wedding day to ensure that all plans run smoothly and any unforeseen issues are addressed quickly and out of sight of the couple.
- Giving advice on wedding traditions, etiquette and customs.
- Following up with all suppliers to help maintain professional contacts and providing reviews and feedback when required.
How much does a wedding planner get paid?
The amount that you earn as a wedding planner will depend on your level of experience, the needs of your clients, your location and whether you are employed or self-employed. As a guideline, the average starting salary for a wedding planner is between £17,000 and £20,000.
With experience and positive reviews, a wedding planner can expect their salary to increase to between £20,000 and £25,000. With highly experienced and sought-after planners earning in excess of £25,000 each year.
Self-employed wedding planners can set their own fees and may charge an hourly rate or a fixed fee. However, in order to secure business, it is likely that they will fall in line with the above averages to ensure that they are competitive. If you work in London or specialise in high-end weddings for the rich and famous, the amount you can charge per wedding can be in the tens of thousands or based on a percentage of the overall wedding budget.
Career Progression for a Wedding Planner
Once you have established yourself as a wedding planner, it may be possible to progress your career. You may decide to leave employment to become self-employed and set up your own wedding planning business. This might lead to you taking on an assistant or training others to become a wedding planner.
You might also use your skills to develop your services into full event management, where you help to plan and deliver a wider variety of events, such as birthdays, Christmas parties and corporate events.
Working Hours and Working Environment for a Wedding Planner
Working as a wedding planner will often mean that you don’t have set hours each week. You may be required by your couple at short notice or find that unexpected events mean you need to work urgently or manage matters at unsociable times.
Most wedding planners try to complete the bulk of their planning and organisation during office hours. This allows them some structure and gives them a better opportunity to liaise with other service providers. However, with the majority of weddings taking place at weekends, most wedding planners will have to be available for evening and weekend work. Particularly during the peak wedding period of April to September.
You will work hours that are necessary to meet your deadlines and complete your tasks and most wedding planners can do this in an 8 hour day. However, on the day of a wedding, you are likely to work at least 12 hours.