Photo courtesy of Leslie Spurlock Photography
If you’ve read our previous blogs on the skills and qualities needed to be a great wedding planner then you may be ready to take further action! Here are some steps you can take to becoming a wedding planner (and becoming an entrepreneur):
1. Consider an internship. For those who have no experience with weddings, or events at all for that matter, this is a GREAT first step. Good internship programs allow you to see the daily life of a wedding planner first hand. From observing the simple things like emails, phone calls and vendor meetings, to sitting alongside them as they plan the wedding with their couples and execute their plans on wedding day. Nothing can help you better understand if this is the life for you than walking beside a planner and seeing what it’s like daily, good and bad.
We offer an internship ourselves, which you can find out more about here. We highly recommend asking lots of questions when trying to find the right internship for you, like what your responsibilities will be and what you’ll do each day. Also, make sure the company you will be working with is a reputable one by checking out online reviews. Check to see where they received their training and if they participate in continuing education. You want to make sure the experience you receive from your internship will be a good one!
Photo courtesy of Miranda Marrs Photography
2. Enroll in an education program. While there are no licensing requirements for wedding planning as a career on the state or federal level, education is always a great tool to have in your pocket. There are many, many programs to choose from. There are programs available at colleges and universities, such as courses dedicated to wedding planning or event planning. There are also degrees such as hospitality management that teaches you about the industry as a whole and different roles in it, such as sales and management from a venue perspective. You can also focus in on local and national programs that are available, either in person or online. These are usually either work through on your own, or an in-person seminar for 2 days to a week, granting you a certificate completion at the end. Some programs give you the title Certified Wedding Planner with this certificate and others may make you work for that a bit more.
We are supportive of the training courses offered through the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, which you can find here. This particular program is offered in person or attending virtually, allowing you to interact either way with the instructors as they teach. The instructors are members with the status of Certified Wedding Planner and they each bring different experiences to bear when teaching about wedding planning. The course is updated constantly and our planners have participated as instructors many times, so if you take it, we might see you there. Other courses you might check into if AACWP isn’t a match for you are: Alison Howard’s Refine Course, the Association of Bridal Consultant’s online course or the QC Event School.
Photo courtesy of Thompson Pictures
3. Decide if you want to be a business owner or work for an established firm. If you want to work for someone else, to gain experience or simply not have to run the business yourself, we strongly suggest you start by attending local wedding planning industry network events. The wedding industry is very relationship based industry, with people being hired without a job description even being posted at times. If you can begin networking to find out who is who and what businesses are hiring, this is a great place to start. I would also suggest looking up wedding planning firms in your area, doing your research on who you want to work for and then emailing them a strong cover letter and resume to let them know why you want to work for them and find out if they have any opening. Of course you can look for local job postings too on the major employment websites, but this allows you to really focus in on who your next boss might be. If you don’t have a lot of experience, you might try for a job that is in something related, such as venue sales and coordination. This will really allow you to gain that experience for a variety of events, not just weddings, and build your resume quickly.
If entrepreneurship interests you, start with a business plan. You can get free help with this at your local Small Business Development Center, which is organized by the Small Business Administration. These centers offer help in the way of seminars, reference libraries and even the services of lawyers and accountants volunteering to help entrepreneurs get started. Another great resource is Sage Wedding Pros. This company is geared towards helping people get started in the wedding industry, including a seminar called The Simple Plan, that helps you create your business plan in two days. They offer all sorts of other tools, so make sure to check out their website.
We love our careers as wedding planners and owning a business is an awesome adventure, so we welcome you to the journey and wish you the best of luck! If you have questions on starting you career please feel free to contact us!