How to Be a More Fun Wedding Planner
Wedding planning is a very popular career goal, and for good reason -- people never stop getting married, and weddings are almost always fun. Like any career, there are several criteria that can help someone determine whether he or she would be successful in wedding planning.
How to Be a Wedding Planner
Wedding planning is unique because you need to ensure two people have the happiest day of your life all while staying within budget and time restraints. Almost anyone can do it, but those who are exceptional share a few key differences.
- They are comfortable with sacrificing spontaneity in your schedule: Most couples hire a full-service planner anywhere from nine to 18 months before their wedding day. By offering a contract to a client so far in advance, planners lose the ability to make long-term personal plans. Vacations, concerts, and even family weddings will be missed if a contract was signed with the client for the same date.
- They are comfortable making a major long-term commitment: The excitement of having a client "sign on the dotted line" can be heady -- the luster can wear off quickly, however, when talented planners realize that dealing with that particular client is a real challenge. It may sound like stating the obvious, but unless they are 100% committed to seeing even a difficult client through to their wedding day, wedding planning would not be a good fit as a career.
- They are passionate about every aspect of weddings: There are many elements that come together as part of a wedding: food, flowers, music, photography, videography, attire, transportation, and favors, just to name a few. Fun wedding planners need to be interested in them all in order to be successful. If they are not genuinely excited about a particular part of the wedding planning, clients will detect this in an instant. People are open to passion, and fun planners know how to harness that openness.
- They are able to be assertive, yet unfailingly polite: As a professional wedding planner, they are the leader of a very complex team of vendors, and they are also working with all kinds of clients, the clients' families, and their friends. Maintaining control of the event, without being domineering or rude, is an essential skill. The number one job, of course, is to advocate for the wishes of the bride and groom; however, offending their guests or stepping on the toes of other vendors is almost as bad. The best wedding planners are able to be firm with needed while maintaining a pleasant disposition and a sense of humor.
- They're good at negotiation and mediation: The best wedding planners are able to review contracts and vendor agreements and have them tailored to meet the unique needs of their clients. They are also able to smooth over rifts between their clients and family members when needed, as no event is as emotionally charged as a wedding. To be a successful wedding planner, you must be a master at "the art of the deal," and at times, a de facto therapist to boot.
- They are able to adapt quickly to last-minute changes: Even the most carefully laid plans may go awry on the wedding day, whether it be a delay in the catering, a stain on the bride's dress, or a groomsman gone AWOL. Fun planners are able to solve the problem without panicking, and often turn it into the best part of the event.
- They possess excellent attention to detail: "Attention to detail" has become somewhat of a buzzword, but it remains a cornerstone of professional wedding planning. Clients are paying for trained eyes and ears, and planners need to be able to spot problems before they happen. Managing a large group of wedding guests and vendors, maintaining a timeline, and making sure that everyone and everything looks great at all times is no easy task, and would be impossible for someone who wasn't naturally vigilant about even the smallest details.
- They are ready and willing to do unglamorous work: Movies about weddings always depict an impeccably-dressed wedding planner flitting about with their clipboard, while other vendors scurry to meet their demands. In reality, the job is much more hands-on than that. Professional wedding planners spend their time doing everything from folding programs to assembling favors, hauling boxes to pinning table skirts. They are on their knees helping to bustle a bride's dress, rushing discarded napkins and dirty glasses away from a food display so they don't ruin the photos, and, at times, practically sprinting from one end of a venue to the other—all with a smile on their face.
- They are excellent at managing your own time and materials: Wedding planners are their own bosses. A disorganized person would never be able to deal with the tremendous amount of paperwork, client appointments and other odds and ends that go with wedding planning. Therefore, the ability to stay on top of the schedule, daily tasks and all of the tangible files and supplies that go along with wedding planning is a must.
- Ability to look at the big picture: Anyone who wants to achieve a viable career as a wedding planner needs to spend time strategically planning goals and building their brand. Developing a business plan, an image, marketing strategy, networking, and finances is the key to being successful, and that success is what makes the long hours worthwhile. Wedding planning should be fun, and seeing the big picture alleviates the stress of minutae.