How to Start a Wedding Planner Business

Wedding planner finalizing details at venue
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If you enjoy organizing and planning, becoming a party planner might be a good option. If you also love romance and helping people create the first day of the rest of their lives, then you might consider saying "I do" to becoming a wedding planner. From flowers to catering to rehearsal to transportation, wedding planners do almost everything to arrange the perfect day.

Wedding planners on average earn $35,608 a year according to PayScale.com. The income includes an hourly rate, along with fees from bonuses and commissions. Event planning, in general, is expected to grow faster than the national average of other occupations, according to the "Occupational Outlook Handbook," published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Top-notch organizational skills are a must for a wedding planner, as are superior people skills, including diplomacy and the ability to keep people calm. Crisis management and attention to detail are imperative as well.

Pros of a Wedding Planner Home Business

There are several great benefits to becoming a wedding planner, including

  • Weddings continue to be a pivotal event in a couple's life, and as a result, people are willing to spend a good deal of money to have it done right.
  • No education, training or certification is required to be a wedding planner.
  • Celebrating romance can be a fun way to make a living.
  • You can get started for little investment.
  • You can run the business from home.
  • If you pull off a good wedding, attendees will remember you for their weddings.

Cons

There are always a few downsides to any business, and wedding planning is no different. A few cons include:

  • Bickering brides, grooms, and parents can get in the way of finalizing wedding plans, and create awkward moments for the wedding planner.
  • It can take time to book your calendar, and several years to see a significant profit in a wedding planning business. Remember, most people strive to get married once, which means you don't have repeat customers.
  • You have to work on weekends. Your busiest time of year will likely be the summer or other times that are traditionally vacation, such as spring, Christmas and New Year's.
  • You need to be your sunniest and calmest at all times, even when wedding party members are acting their worst.
  • Idle time in slow months means erratic income and cash flow issues for wedding planners.

The Background You May Need

The good news is that you don't need any specific training to become a wedding planner. However, you should have experience in wedding planning, or at the very least, event planning. Your experience can come from your own wedding or through planning a friend or family member's wedding. Consider getting experience or apprenticing with another planner. This will give you experience, as well as the opportunity to start building your portfolio and references.

Also, think about taking courses in hospitality or getting certified as a wedding planner to increase your marketability, which can allow you to charge more. Keeping abreast of new wedding trends by reading bridal magazines and attending weddings with a watchful eye is essential.

Establish Your Wedding Planning Business

You'll need to take care of legal issues such as a securing business licenses and establishing your company before you book your first client. Write a business plan, detailing all aspects of your wedding planning business, including your market, how you plan to find clients, what fees you'll charge, and financial goals. Create a marketing plan, including the materials and methods you'll use to attract couples to your business. Obtain needed licenses and insurance.

Organize your schedule to manage all the tasks involved pulling off the perfect wedding. Organization and a schedule will be key especially if you have several weddings in the planning stages at the same time. Your calendar and contacts need to be portable, so a small planner or storing in your mobile phone will ensure you have your appointments, and your client and vendor contacts with you at all times.

Pull together a network of suppliers and vendors, including caterers, tux rental, wedding photographers/videographers, reception halls, florists, restaurants and country clubs.