A wedding planner can be expected to contribute to all aspects of preparation. From the general theme, to creative and practical thinking about all parts of the day, to the essentials of transport, venue, ceremony, flowers, catering, music, decorations, photographs and the cake, to peripherals such as accommodation for guests and safe-keeping of presents until after the honeymoon - and even the clearing up afterwards!
Having a background in industries such as hospitality & catering or design can certainly be beneficial, but they are not the only skills to consider if you’re proposing to be a wedding planner.
Carrying out core wedding preparation tasks effectively means utilising essential skills in negotiation, organisation and communication. It’s also worth considering the challenges you will face as a wedding planner.
• Long and anti-social hours of work (particularly as the calendar flips closer to the event).
• Working with individuals who may not be ‘your type’ of people! High maintenance, demanding or indecisive individuals could all become clients and may not even present themselves as any of these things initially. It’s once those choices start appearing, stresses creep in and decisions need to be made that problems may arise.
• Speaking of problems, both problems and the pressure can cause a crisis of confidence – and competence. With the amount of work involved in organising even a small and exclusive wedding, problems are bound to arise and as these surface, pressure can build leading to an emotionally charged, highly stressful working situation. Managing such issues is largely what a couple is paying a wedding planner to deal with – so that they don’t have to.
Can you handle it all and the client?
The planner – the professional and the personality
Still not sure if you are suited? Spending time exploring your character strengths as well as your skills and knowledge base can help you to identify whether becoming a wedding planner is likely to be a positive career move. As well as offering those essential communication and negotiation skills, now’s the time to ask yourself if your personality fits.
• Calm - but assertive when needed. A calm, measured approach to all aspects of wedding planning is essential. And this does not just extend to working with the couples who may be demanding of attention at all hours, it’s also about the families and service providers who may be involved. Being able to manage family aspects can make a real difference to the success of the wedding day, whilst being able to work productively with the service providers and vendors involved can make a real difference to the success of a wedding planning business, as these other professionals will be integral to your network of contacts.
• Positive and passionate – in equal measures. Part of being an effective wedding planner includes the ability to be passionate and positive even about those aspects of a wedding which hold no interest or relevance to you but are what the clients want! Being positive about new ideas is essential; even if your own opinion is that some things are best avoided. It’s not your dream wedding, but it’s your responsibility to deliver someone else’s.
• Diplomatic – highly emotive, stressful situations mean tempers can easily flare and It’s almost a given that the bride will have ‘a moment’. However, it’s completely unacceptable for the planner to be anything less than patient and diplomatic in the face of any kind of wedding crisis – both in the planning or on the day. A wedding planner needs to be professional despite any extenuating circumstances, facilitating goodwill between all involved.
• Committed - just as marriage works best when individuals are committed, so too does a wedding planner. Being reliable and available are essential, as couples often begin planning a long way ahead and being able to assure them of commitment and availability can be key to gaining a contract. On the business side, a wedding planner also need to be committed to running the business schedule as well as juggling the many individual wedding schedules.
• Flexible – including being happy to put your personal life on the back-burner when your professional schedule demands it -after all, being a wedding planner isn’t a 9 to 5 role! With many weddings being held on the weekend, evenings and weekends will easily become working hours so that you can be available to the individuals involved - the couple, the venue, the service providers, for example. Their availability will impact on yours, so being flexible with your time is essential.
• Capable – in terms of professional competence and personal fitness. Being physically and mentally fit is essential to the wedding planner role, which can mean long hours, physical demands and an exhausting schedule in the run up to each big day. Having a can-do approach also inspires clients’ confidence, so demonstrating capability (as well as calm) can be key to clinching clients.
• Organised – approximately 80% of the wedding planner role is administrative. This includes liaising with contractors and suppliers and keeping full accounts – across more than one wedding at a time! Adding to this the demand of managing a wedding event planning business makes organisation an essential skill all round.
Becoming a wedding planner means being able to demonstrate experience. Building a portfolio or studying an event management qualification which allows this to be achieved can significantly support your venture. After a few weddings if the idea of running your own wedding planning business and being the ‘on call’ person required proves to be too much, the experience and qualifications gained could make you the ideal in-house wedding planner at a specific venue, to deliver the dream but within a more regular context and with a more shared responsibility and adding to your wedding planner options!
Find out how you can deliver the wedding day dream with eventcourse.