How to Become a Wedding Planner
Feb 7, 2023
Photo by Katie Julia, Planned by Wonderlust Events
One of the most common questions we get - how do you actually become a professional wedding planner these days? That's The One has interviewed a cohort of planners to get their top tips for how to break into the crazy world of wedding planning.
What does a planner do?
First and foremost, it's important to understand the role of a wedding planner. A wedding planner is responsible for coordinating and organising all aspects of a couple's big day, from venue selection and vendor management to budgeting and timeline creation. They act as a liaison between the couple and vendors, and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the wedding. The types of services a typical wedding planner may include are:
Full Planning - This is helping a couple from beginning to end and is inclusive of all tasks from sourcing a wedding venue, to the final closing of a wedding day. It usually includes guestlist management, supplier sourcing and designing a wedding day aesthetic.
Partial Planning - This service is popular for couples who enjoy planning a wedding but may feel a little overwhelmed with aspects that you may just enjoy. This can be the design of the day or logistics of the day and anything in between. Either way, the couple enjoys getting involved and it really is a collaborative process.
On-the-Day Coordination - This service does not have to just be on-the-day, it can be flexible when you start this service with your couples. The aim is to gather all of your couples’ own wedding plans and vision, and put them altogether logistically. Your role as a wedding planner is to ensure all suppliers are managed and guests are looked after throughout the final parts of the planning process and on the day too. You become the point of call for a super organised couple.
Venue Sourcing - If you could spend your days looking at inspiring venues or rustic warehouses then this service is for you. Couples have limited access to hidden gem venues because Google does not know everything! This service requires being proactive, attending venue open days and networking with other suppliers to ensure you can find your couples’ venues and important information they cannot find on Google to help make their decision.
Wedding Planning Consultation Service - Couples approach you at different points of the planning process and you help them address a particular task or issue - it could be anything like creating an estimated budget, creating a detailed timeline of a wedding day, providing a list of trusted vendors within a specific field, wedding planning audit and helping to identify the next steps. In this case, you offer couples your expert advice on how different things can be done, but do not own the process of executing it.
Photo by Nicola Dixon Photography Co, Planning by Wonderlust Events
5 suggestions for how to become a wedding planner; tips from real planners:
Tip 1- Gain experience: Arguably, the most crucial step! Many wedding planners start out as assistants or coordinators before striking out on their own. Consider interning or working with an experienced planner to gain hands-on experience in the industry. Keep an eye out on wedding planning Facebook groups and Instagram, as sometimes planners advertise for on-the-day assistants at certain weddings. Even getting experience working with suppliers in different areas (eg. florists, catering companies, photographers) can be a valuable glimpse into how they work behind the scenes.
Tip 2- Network and market yourself: Building a strong network of contacts in the wedding industry is crucial for success as a wedding planner. Attend events, join professional organisations, and use social media to promote your business and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Make sure to engage with other wedding planners by commenting and interacting with their social media content.
Tip 3- Know your niche and research: Work out who your ideal client is and market yourself towards those clients. Do as much research and background work as possible before acquiring clients so that you are ready to go once clients are secured. You may want to service destination weddings, local or national weddings. Knowing this in advance can allow you to define your research and processes when becoming a wedding planner. It’s worth getting a list of your favourite venues and viewing them if you can, as well as getting to know suppliers so you have a list.
Tip 4- Get your processing in place before taking your first client: This includes proposal documents, contracts and both venue and supplier documents. Canva.com is a great tool for making documents look professional, yet modern.
Tip 5- Utilise the correct software: Finally, having the right software to plan weddings is essential. That’s The One saves planners so much time by streamlining everything from guest management, to seating plans, and even accommodation, all in one place. Not to mention, it’s entirely free to use too!
Optional workshops & certifications
Whilst certifications are not mandatory, here are some useful online wedding planning courses:
Planning Redefined - for aspiring planners who want to grow their skills through a range of workshops and one-to-one support.
The Event School London - event management courses in London & online.
SA School of Weddings - creative, practical courses for both the wedding and event industry.
US & Worldwide
Mae&Co Monthly - a monthly membership for planners, designers, and all other wedding industry professionals.
Wedding Academy - wedding planning certificates online to become a certified wedding planner, plus other wedding planning courses covering all aspects of the wedding industry.
Refine - a monthly membership offering monthly wedding planner training courses and one-to-one coaching.
The Planner's Vault - a comprehensive and supportive educational membership and community for wedding planners looking for high-quality and relevant content to grow their wedding business.
By following these steps and taking a look at some of these fantastic wedding planning courses, you can become a successful wedding planner in 2023. With hard work, organisation and attention to detail, you can make a career out of helping couples plan the wedding of their dreams.