Among the madness of a wedding, the one person couples getting married should rely on entirely is the wedding planner extraordinaire– and that could be you!
Every wedding planner is different and offers various planning services, but all planners should save their clients’ time (and hopefully, money) by taking control of events throughout this stressful period.
Most planners will help save their clients money by assisting them in creating and sticking to a given budget.
They’ve usually got money-saving strategies, a network of trusted vendors, and they’ll negotiate to get their clients the best deals yet without sacrificing any quality.
Because as a wedding planner, you’re being hired for your expertise, style, calming attitude, as well as your business acumen.
And for those once-in-a-lifetime wedding celebrations, as the chosen wedding planner, you have to be the person who embodies all of these things – and more.
Because hiring a great wedding planner is like buying peace of mind for one of the most important days in a couple’s life – their dream wedding – and so, for most people who are planning their big day, hiring a wedding planner is a significant investment, emotionally and financially, as mistakes with that essential wedding ceremony and reception can blow their budget and cost them more than mere money…
From the detailed timeline, the planner typically manages the schedule for venues, vendors, the guests’ invitations, the ceremony, flowers, food and the reception.
You’ll be expected to help and give advice every step of the way!
The basics of hiring a professional wedding planner may seem obvious, but the actual role of what a wedding planner does varies from wedding to wedding and planner to planner.
So, how do you get to be the go-to wedding planner?
You don’t have to be an expert to start as a wedding planner, but if you want to become one, you might need a little bit of help from your friends…
The Different Roles of a Wedding Planner
In a nutshell, full-service wedding planners are involved in the entire wedding process, from concept to planning, managing, coordination and countless other details until the very last guest leaves…
Wedding planners’ duties are all about event logistics, from vendor referrals and contract negotiation to the day of a client’s wedding day itself.
They take the guesswork and fingers crossed attitude out of the entire planning process, making organizing a wedding seem as simple and as smooth as possible.
A top wedding planner will keep track of the wedding budget and handle all the logistics, ensuring everyone keeps to the given timeline.
This is a skill that many wedding planners can learn, as only the very best planners have the years of experience and credentials that set them above the rest.
Some wedding planners also offer design or styling services, which means helping with the creative design specifics of the wedding day. In contrast, others decide to leave the design planning process to others.
So, as a wedding planner, do you work on design or just logistics? Or both?
Are you a wedding planner who offers a full service with design, inspiration and mood boards, or are you someone to help with the more practical solutions, spreadsheets and schedules?
And suppose you do want to be a wedding planner who offers design and styling services. In that case, you will be responsible for all the creative elements, from colour and theme recommendations to decor selections and on the wedding day set up.
Whatever type of wedding planner you decide to be, you need to ensure that you can coordinate the whole planning process around your individual clients’ needs, so the wedding day is perfect for them.
How do you get to be the perfect planner?
Because couples need to feel comfortable being open about what they want and need for their wedding day, it’s essential to understand your wedding ethos before you start life off as a wedding planner.
An essential aspect is the wedding planners’ personality – you don’t need to be best friends with your clients, but you need to make sure you’re on the same page as the couple you’re planning the wedding for.
If they need hand-holding, will you do it? If they need harsh honesty, will you be able to provide it?
To decide on this, you need to ask yourself what your approach to their wedding would be. And your strategy needs to be completely personalized to each couple – maybe you’ll begin by discussing how much help they need with their wedding planning.
Some people want their planners to be very involved in their wedding whereas others would like everything to be done for them.
You should be able to work closely with your clients, getting to know them well before and using that as the basis for creating a truly memorable wedding day. Your client could be the most uncreative person on the planet, but you’ll need to get something out of them as it’s a joint effort – it’s their wedding, after all. You can’t take the full credit – you come up with many ideas, but these ideas should ultimately come off the back of the couple whose big day it is.
You are also providing for someone else’s experience – someone who will be with you every step of the way to check and double-check every aspect of the wedding planning process, and of course, who never tires of talking weddings.
The Wedding Day – Little Black Book
As a wedding planner, one of the key things your clients will expect is quality supplier recommendations. It’s not just about managing the logistics so that the day goes off without a hitch. It’s about connecting couples with suitable suppliers who will bring their wedding vision to life. Having a list of important contact of vendors, venues, suppliers etc., is just for starters!
A wedding planner typically starts by meeting with the couple for an initial consultation in order to understand their specific needs and wants for their wedding. This meeting includes not only the details for the wedding day itself but also any other related events – such as the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, the next day brunch etc. As the wedding planner, you will also be informed as to what your clients’ budget is, and depending on that. The clients find out what services they can expect to get for their money. Excellent listening skills are essential here for getting a precise feel and understanding of the couple’s taste and their overall vision. The wedding planner also provides a legal contract for their services, which outlines in detail what the clients can expect to get from hiring them.
A knowledgeable wedding planner has many important contacts in the business, has probably successfully organized many previous weddings, and is, therefore, able to suggest wedding reception venues and suppliers that fit the bill of what the individual couples want.
Could that be you? How do you get to that top level of planning?
The Dreaded Budget!
A good wedding planner can help their clients make the most of their wedding budget – they can stretch that budget because they know what’s more important; they know what will have more impact on the day. A wedding planner knows what they can accomplish with the budget they have been given and can either introduce the couple to vendors and services that can accommodate whatever the size of their budget – they are also quite often able to get discounts on services, which they can pass on to their clients. In fact, managing people is a huge part of a wedding planner’s role, and that extends from suppliers and venue staff to the actual wedding party itself. Weddings tend to throw up all sorts of family dramas, and it is your job as the wedding planner to manage and smooth these over to ensure everything stays on track. You might also be required to attend meetings and make decisions on behalf of your client.
Perhaps your clients want to get married in a barn, marquee, stately home, lighthouse, football club, or at their local pub? Whatever the answer, you’ll need to be a planner who knows how to make the most of the space available. You may even turn out to be a specialist in a particular type of wedding venue or could even provide wedding party inspiration for something you haven’t yet considered.
A Day in the Life of…
The typical work life of a professional wedding planner often involves:
1. Providing vendor referrals and negotiates any contracts.
2. Scheduling and attendance at all vendor meetings.
3. Creating detailed timelines and all floor plans.
4. Helping determine and managing budgets.
5. Attending site tours and menu tastings.
6. Discussions on style ideas and coordination of all design details.
7. Floral design and proposal reviews.
8. Coordinating hotel bookings and transportation.
9. Organizing honeymoon, if required.
10. Managing the wedding rehearsal.
11. Weather contingency planning.
12. Overseeing everything on the wedding day.
If you are a wedding planner a la carte, you need to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in the wedding industry – you never stop learning when you’re a wedding planner, however, experienced you may be.
So, How Does a Wedding Planner Learn the Skills?
There’s no mandatory license or certification that is required to practice wedding planning—and whilst you can belong to an organization such as the Association of Bridal Consultants, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, or the Wedding Industry Professionals Association – all of which are indicators of experience, they’re not the only factors that can influence possible clients.
Yes, talent also speaks for itself by fabulous photos on the wedding planner’s company website or blog – and of course, reviews are a great asset.
However, being associated with an established educational provider such as the Wedding Academy can also give you serious street cred…
Learning up-to-date skills about the wedding industry and how to manage an event, however large or small, can help give you confidence as well as some really essential skills. Obtaining certification with the Wedding Academy will help reassure prospective clients of your professionalism and capabilities until you have built up the reputation and testimonials of a more experienced planner. If you are already a planner, obtaining further credentials keeps you on-trend and helps you develop more essential contacts by networking.
Why You Need to Get Some Wedding Education
You may have been a guest at many weddings, you may have planned your own perfect day, and you may have helped plan for friends and family. If you have, that’s great, you already know some of the fundamentals, and you have discovered a passion for wedding planning. However, planning the wedding of paying clients who have employed you is a very different ballgame. For a start, the expectations are much higher. Not everyone employs a wedding planner, and those who do will expect a skilled and knowledgeable professional who knows all the trade tricks.
If you take a course with the Wedding Academy, you will ensure you have the skills and confidence to take on your first clients, which is a daunting task at any time. Because, when it comes to getting clients to sign on the dotted line, an industry-recognized certificate can be the reason clients may employ you over another planner.
For clients hiring a wedding planner, it’s a significant investment. Still, it can also be a total sanity-saver, as the nitty-gritty details that make up the less-fun parts of planning a wedding can really get someone inexperienced down. Being a fantastic planner to help with mundane tasks such as checking if the caterer can provide gluten-free cupcakes or making sure you hire the exact number of wine glasses will ensure a potentially good wedding becomes a great one – by learning the skills with the Wedding Academy, ensures for your wedding planning business, as well as the big day itself.
Check out the number of different courses available throughout the year at the Wedding Academy, and book yourself a place to determine your role as a Wedding Planner Extraordinaire goes without a hitch…