Are you inherently in love with organizing events, making a good party possible, and ensuring couples have a memorable wedding and their guests have fun? You have some of the top qualities of a wedding planner. Now, you might be wondering how to start a wedding planning business. It requires more than knowing how to put on an exquisite wedding event, pick the perfect wedding linens, or choose the right flowers.
Get the Necessary Training to Learn How to Start a Wedding Planning Business
If you don’t have experience planning a wedding, you must learn the necessary skills to pull off one. That is if you want to use these skills as the foundation of your business. Some wedding planners have the privilege of learning on the job and picking up how to get the best wedding charger plates or what decorations to choose, but others hone their skills by going to community colleges and private schools. There are courses where you can create and organize weddings with contracts and budgets.
Do you need a degree to start a wedding planner career and make a business out of it? No, you don’t need a degree to start a business in this field. But you will need it if you have minimal or zero experience. A course will help you learn the ropes and the ins and outs of wedding planning. For instance, you can get a certificate from the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, founded by wedding professionals seeking to educate aspiring wedding planners and provide continuing education to those in the field.
If you want to get certified, how long does it take to earn it? The average time to finish a certification course is about 8 to 12 weeks. These certificate programs usually teach students about wedding ceremonies, budget management, wedding attire, and marketing strategies. Programs that cover more topics may take around six months to finish.
Wedding planners are not legally required to earn a certificate or degree, but having credentials can assure clients that you are competent and help you keep up with the industry trends. Complete courses or certifications if you are interested in how to become a wedding planner with no experience.
After learning about the field through certifications and courses, putting what you learn into action is equally important. You can work for a wedding planning company or as an assistant or wedding coordinator for an established wedding planner. These will help you gain insights into how the business works.
Another option you can try is to strike out on your own as a freelancer at venues, floral designers, bridal salons, wedding photographers, or catering companies. These experiences will help you learn about the different areas of organizing weddings and start building relationships with vendors.
Define what wedding planning services you want to offer
If you are curious about how to become a wedding coordinator, choose what type of services you want to offer. These are categorized into these four types:
Full Wedding Planning
Services under this category cover the entire wedding, from the couple’s consultation to the day of the special event. You will help the couple develop a wedding concept, pick a venue, find vendors, negotiate and communicate, book hotels, arrange transportation, choose design elements, create a timeline, and oversee everything.
Partial Wedding Planning
Wedding planners offering this service assist couples with establishing a timeline and managing their wedding day. Most of them provide a set number of hours for wedding planning, a set number of meetings with the vendors, and periodical check-ins to ensure that the couple is on track. It may also include sending the couple reminders to help them keep up with their timeline.
Month Off Wedding Planning
With this service, the couple does the wedding planning on their own while the wedding planners provide a list of vetted vendors. If you offer this, you will serve as a consultant to your clients or work with them closer to the big day. Some month off coordination services include gathering the details of the clients’ wedding plans, establishing a timeline, confirming the details with the booked vendors, running the wedding rehearsal, and coordinating on the wedding day.
Day-of wedding planning
This wedding planning service only has the wedding planner come in on the big day to oversee everything. If you provide this service, you will contact the couple on the week of the wedding to get familiar with the vendors and timeline and supervise the flow of events on the big day.
Comply with the legal requirements of starting a wedding planning business
There are financial and legal requirements you need to comply with before opening a business. Consider consulting with a lawyer to help you choose the right business structure to set your taxes and protect your personal assets. Then, pick a business name, register your business, and obtain your employer identification number.
Next, open a bank account. Separate your business account from your personal one, even if you are working alone.
Make sure to protect your business with general or professional liability insurance. General liability protects you from any claims from a third party for property damage or injury that may come from vendors, venues, contractors, or guests. Professional liability protects you from claims of mistakes or negligence related to wedding planning services.
For additional protection, you should consult an attorney to customize wedding planning contracts that provide details of your responsibilities, scope of work, and expectations.
Establish your Brand
Now that you have a legal entity as a wedding planner, build a brand that distinguishes you from your competitors. Choose your business name wisely. Pick a brand voice and keep it consistent in your content throughout your website, email marketing, social media accounts, newsletters, and marketing materials. Keep that brand identity in your logo and the color palette you use on your website, marketing materials, and business cards.
If you don’t know how to develop your website, hire a professional. Your website should create a good first impression on potential clients because it will likely be their first point of contact with you. It should contain the important details of your wedding planning services, pricing, contact information, credentials, and portfolio of work.
Promote and Create a Network
Make some noise in the market by promoting your business. Start with signing up on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook. Use these platforms to show mock wedding plans, ideas for wedding decors, and promos. Connect with potential clients and build relationships by providing helpful wedding planning tips and making them see you as a reliable resource in your field.
Create relationships with existing clients by being attentive to their concerns or questions, giving them excellent alternatives to work with their budget, and exerting extra effort to keep them satisfied. Happy clients can easily become your allies in promoting your business to their friends.
If you have envisioned yourself as a wedding planner and want to know how to start a wedding planning business, know that it should start with building your skills and knowledge in the field. It may be about gaining experience or taking a wedding planning course before you can move on to complying with the legal requirements, building a brand, and promoting your business. Only then can you focus on choosing the event draping, finding a reliable wedding supplier, and making the couple happy on the day they say, “I do.”