How To Become a Wedding Planner (With Tips and Key Skills)

Updated 24 August 2023

Weddings are momentous life events, and many couples have very specific arrangements they want to follow when planning for one. Planning a wedding takes an enormous amount of organisation. Wedding planning itself is an aspirational career path that offers you real job satisfaction as you help make memories for others to treasure. In this article, we explain how to become a wedding planner, including what they do and the skills you need.

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How to become a wedding planner

If you are thinking of becoming a professional wedding planner, knowing where to start is difficult. Use the following steps to learn how to become a wedding planner:

1. Get a formal education

There are no legal requirements that dictate the qualifications of a wedding planner. However, obtaining a diploma or degree increases your chances of securing more clients, since most prefer planners with proof of acquired skills. Many event planning and hospitality diploma programmes cover the specifics of wedding planning and preparation. Areas of learning include:

  • Negotiation of contracts

  • Budget management

  • Bridal registration documents and procedures

  • Vendor relations

  • Marketing strategies

In focused modules, students may also learn the specifics of wedding etiquette, conduct and how to plan for various kinds of wedding ceremonies.

2. Acquire practical experience

Some academic institutions allow you to get hands-on experience in affiliate event-planning firms. After completing studies in event planning and hospitality, it is important to put your skills to practical use. Establishing yourself and accepting jobs from clients is a crucial process in your career since it measures how accurate and effective your planning is. Alternatively, you can acquire hands-on skills by volunteering to offer your planning services for family and friends' events.

Related: ​​How to become a celebrant in Scotland (With duties)

3. Research the industry and set goals

Conduct research about the wedding planning industry to enable you to set achievable goals. You may ask yourself these questions to get a better understanding of the market and your goals:

  • What kinds of weddings are in high demand for wedding planners?

  • Which type of wedding matches your passion and personality?

  • How can you get your first client?

After understanding your market clearly, you can set targets and work towards achieving them. For instance, you can set a goal to find a certain number of paying clients within a particular time frame. If establishing an events management business sounds lucrative and rewarding to you, put a plan in place. Setting goals helps you visualise what you can really achieve and gives you the motivation to strive further.

4. Make contacts

Networking is great for developing your career, just as in any other profession. Besides meeting new people and making new friends, making contacts can provide you with inspiration and connect you with vendors, florists and entertainers whom you can enlist for future events. Building a positive rapport with those you come into contact with can help projects go smoothly and may put you in a good position if you need their services in the future.

Related: Event Manager Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Find a mentor

When starting out, having someone who can advise and instruct you through your first projects can be a source of support and confidence. Find an experienced wedding planner who can teach you the ropes as you encounter the realities of your day-to-day working life. If you want to start your own company, finding a notable mentor may greatly influence your growth in the industry. For example, they may share contacts with you, such as reliable florists and bar staff.

6. Market your skills

When you are ready to go into business, learn the best methods to market yourself. Some of these include online advertisements, a website and business cards. You may even wish to take part-time marketing or business courses to give you the knowledge and understanding of how to start and manage a business. To be more noticeable, you can implement a few different tactics to market your skills. Create an online photo gallery and attach it to your portfolio. Write business cards and leave them with any contacts you make in the hospitality industry.

7. Keep learning

Even after setting up and running a wedding planning business, you can keep growing it by learning more. Take online courses, attend webinars or read free e-books to guide you on how to manage and grow your business. The events industry is constantly changing, with new trending products and services, so keep your business and inspiration fresh by always researching around the topic.

Related: How to become a registrar for weddings (plus skills)

What does a wedding planner do?

A wedding planner manages the coordination of all important duties before and during a wedding. This may include:

  • Discussing visions to draw up concrete plans with couples

  • Helping with finding venues

  • Organising wedding services, such as catering, entertainment and decorations

  • Overseeing the general wedding arrangements and schedule

Different couples have different tastes and needs. Some couples look for large, lavish weddings while others may want a more intimate, casual event. Regardless, they look to a wedding planner and their previous experience to help them create their dream wedding. As a wedding planner, having good organisational skills and a flair for design can help you create your client's ideal event.

Related: 11 Diverse Hospitality Jobs

Tips to starting a successful wedding planning business

Follow these steps to come up with a successful wedding planning firm:

Join an association

There are no formal licensing requirements, but it may benefit your company to join a professional association, such as the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners or the National Association of Professional Wedding Services. Membership in a professional body can help set your business apart from others and show that you abide by ethical standards and understand best practices. You may also have access to business tools and a directory to promote your service, plus a logo to display on your website and marketing.

Embrace digital marketing

Look online to find a huge number of new opportunities. Boost your business by creating content across social media, your blog and a digital brochure. Your website may contain your personal information, contact channels, the services that you offer, photos from recent weddings and reviews. Paid search-engine ads can help advertise your services to a set budget and you can even target a specific location.

Use high-quality media

When creating your online photo gallery, ensure you don't use stock photos. If you have never planned a wedding, consider preparing a flower table arrangement in your home or offer to plan a small event for family and hire a photographer to take some professional shots that you can use in your materials. Clients want assurances you provide high-quality services, so ensure your videos and photos sell your company.

Get the necessary paperwork

It's vital to ensure you sign a contract or agreement with every client. This covers any liability if suppliers or clients cancel or, in case things don't go as expected. A lawyer can help you draw up this paperwork and ensure everything is correct and secure. Look to ensure your business with public liability insurance to protect you and your client(s) if something unforeseen happens.

Research your competitors

The best way to bring in customers is to understand your market. Know who your competitors are and look at what they are doing, not only in terms of event planning but also in how they market and the rates they charge. After analysing your competition, come up with a strategic plan that can set you apart.

Related: Guide: How To Succeed at a Virtual Hiring Event

Key skills of a professional wedding planner

Some defined skills are always useful to have when planning a successful wedding. They may include:

Calm under pressure

Organising and conducting a wedding involves lots of aspects that need to come together at once. Being able to remain calm and resourceful is essential to avoid panicking your clients. Consider having methods in place that can help ease stress during this time.

Communication skills

You need excellent verbal and written skills in event planning, especially since planners need to meet clients and suppliers face to face, and handle lots of phone calls and emails. Being able to listen to clients effectively and help them express their vision in a solid brief is important to ensure all information is correct. With proper communication skills, you can easily avoid miscommunication and ensure all schedules run accordingly.

Negotiation skills

Venue owners, caterers, decorators and other service owners are in charge of setting their own rates, which might fluctuate from one client to the next. When working within your clients' budgets, try to negotiate the best deals. Negotiation is also about helping clients explore and accept alternatives if their preferred options are not possible.

Organisational skills

The success of a wedding typically depends on how well organised it is. If you can manage all aspects comfortably, you can conduct a wedding that stays on deadline and on budget. Organisational skills are also important for coordinating all preparation duties successfully and ensuring that you communicate with all parties regularly.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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