Wedding Planner FAQ
Weddings are labor-intensive occasions that require the planning of everything from the ceremony to the decor to the guest favors. Families often spend large amounts of money on a single day of activities and expect an event that will make memories that last a lifetime and impress the guests.
A wedding planner's job begins with a client consultation with the bride and groom, and often their parents. The consultation consists of setting out expectations, needs, and a budget. The planner can help with all aspects of organizing the occasion, allowing the couple to achieve the wedding they desire without the multitude of tasks and responsibilities that come along with such a production.
A bridal consultant or wedding planner sometimes acts as a mediator, helping to hash out differences of opinion, negotiate priorities and budget allocations, and provide advice in matters of tradition, etiquette, and other sensitive areas. They can also assist a couple with sorting through song selections, incorporating cultural and religious traditions, planning a menu, and more. In addition, they can offer guidance in developing a theme, choosing a cake, selecting wedding favors, and creating a seating plan.
Plus, a wedding professional is expected to work with vendors to obtain the best value possible for the client. They are generally also charged with developing a schedule of events that includes the ceremony and other wedding-related proceedings such as the engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and gift opening.
On the day of the wedding, a planner is typically responsible for making sure everything goes just as planned, handling any details that need attention. They make sure deliveries are made on time and decorations are set up. In essence, they safeguard the ability of the couple to be "guests" at their own wedding, enjoying the day rather than worrying about the details.
After the event, they will oversee the cleanup and final payment of vendors. Plus, they often sit down with clients to obtain feedback about the event, coordinate thank you cards and take care of any other post-wedding items.
How Do I Become a Wedding Planner?
You may want to consider a more specialized education, such as a wedding planning or bridal consulting program. These programs often contain condensed curricula and cover every aspect of preparing for and executing weddings and related events.
While these programs can provide valuable information, it is recommended that hands-on experience accompany this training before you jump in and start up a business. Such experience can include offering to help friends and family plan their weddings or pursuing a job within a related field. Settings such as florist shops, party rental businesses, and catering companies can be great places to start. Of course, a wedding planning firm would provide the most relevant experience.
After gaining some practical experience, you may then be ready to set up your own business. This is a common route, but joining an existing company is also an option.
What Can I Learn in School?
A wedding consultant school can cover a long list of specialized topics such as:
- The role and expectations of a wedding planner
- Developing a theme
- Ceremony and reception venues
- Wedding customs and traditions
- Wedding etiquette
- Invitations and thank you cards
- Wedding reception
- Decor and flowers
- Speeches and toasts
- Rehearsal ceremony and dinner
- Bridal showers and engagement parties
- Bachelor/bachelorette parties
- Types of wedding ceremonies
- Menu planning
- Marriage licenses
- Honeymoon planning
- Photography and videography
- Budget creation and management
- Working with vendors
- Negotiations and contracts
- Professionalism and client relations
- Wedding industry trends
- Wedding planning portfolios
- Networking and marketing
- Small business management
How Long Does a Program Usually Last?
Specialized programs tend to be quite short in length and are often delivered through online or distance learning formats. This means they can be completed in just a short while, depending on the amount of time you are able to dedicate toward studying.
It's helpful to remember that these programs are generally geared for those who want to start and run their own businesses. The ideal students for these programs are already working and will continue to work until their businesses can provide full-time pay.
So, although the programs might be short, the time to develop a career as a wedding planner can be longer, depending on the strength and size of your business.
What is the Typical Salary?
Wedding planners often charge for various types of services, from day-of packages to all-inclusive options. Some charge a set fee for their services, while others choose to structure pricing as a percentage of the overall wedding cost (generally from 10 to 15 percent).
Plus, since many wedding planners operate as small business owners, they do not necessarily collect a wage per se. Rather, they profit from their businesses, and this can mean subtracting all costs before paying themselves an appropriate amount.
The median annual pay for all types of event planners in 2016 rings in at $47,350. The highest earning bracket took in as much as $83,030 per year.*
What is the Career Outlook?
The event planning industry is expected to have a bright outlook with projected national growth of 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, which indicates an above-average increase. This growth may account for an additional 11,800 jobs in the event planning field over that time period.**
The significant rise in opportunities can be attributed to a wide range of factors, which most notably include the globalization of business. Companies are bringing individuals with common interests together on a larger scale, more frequently.
In addition, those with industry-recognized credentials, such as event planning certifications and a degree, may benefit from better career prospects.
Where you live can also play a role in the viability of a career in event planning. Urban markets tend to be competitive because of already-established planning firms, and rural areas generally have less demand. This means that researching your potential target demographic could be a worthwhile activity before deciding where you're going to start your career.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last accessed on September 8, 2017.
** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, website last accessed on December 14, 2017.
Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), web site last accessed on April 21, 2016.
American Association of Certified Wedding Planners (AACWP), web site last accessed on April 21, 2016.
Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC), web site last accessed on April 21, 2016.