Just because you’ve successfully planned a wedding doesn’t make you an expert yet. Consequently, anyone who attempts to become a wedding planner as business venture will learn this lesson in a big hurry. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of tools and skills that you need to build well in advance of starting an actual wedding planning business. Most importantly, being under prepared will almost certainly doom you to failure before you ever get it off the ground.
The biggest problem is that most people looking to become a wedding planner assume that planning one for someone else is as easy as planning their own. However, balancing your customer’s vision and budget can be more challenging than it seems. There’s a lot more to it than just picking out wedding favors and centerpieces! So, here is a brief list of some skills that are needed to become a wedding planner and thrive in the industry.
One of the most crucial character traits that you need to possess in order to be successful is the ability to stay calm. You will be dealing with brides that are going to have meltdowns every other day! So, being able to stay calm and project that ease onto the stressed out bride can go a very long way. If you have a short fuse, then this industry is not for you.
Many couples will make you “audition” to be their wedding planner. Often times they are going to meet with more than just one person for the job. By being charming and polite, you can immediately get on the good side of the couple’s favor. This can earn you a lot more paying gigs; and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a wedding planner!
Every planner needs to negotiate with the client about your fees. However, where your negotiating skills can truly shine is when you’re dealing with venues and vendors. There are a lot of people planning weddings at any given time! So, being able to negotiate a better price or squeeze yourself into a calendar date can do wonders for generating future referrals from your clients. Negotiating is one of the most overlooked skills in this industry.
Staying on budget when your planning someone else’s wedding may seem like an easy task on paper. However, balancing everything that they want to accomplish with the amount of money they have available can often times be tricky. On top of that, sometimes budget scenarios will change at the very last minute. That means you’ll have to make changes to the original plan on very short notice. By developing great budgeting skills and being very resourceful, you can mitigate a lot of the problems that this may cause. This is one of the most important skills to develop if you plan to successfully become a wedding planner.
Organization is crucial when planning any wedding. So, if you struggle in this area, then you should probably consider another line of work. Most brides are counting on their wedding planner to keep everything organized from start to finish. After all, that’s why you were probably hired in the first place. Make sure you master organization before getting into the game.
Most of your clients will be planning their first and only wedding. That means they will be relying on you to know the ins and outs of the industry. There is nothing worse than telling your client “I don’t know” when they ask you a wedding related question! So, make sure you know everything there is to know and then some before you start billing yourself as a wedding expert.
Another key aspect to being a fantastic wedding planner is being resourceful. A lot of this will come with experience and networking, but being aware of your client’s needs is the first step. You’ll want to work out deals with caterers, wedding sparkler suppliers, and local venues. Any chance to build a relationship with a vendor or supplier should not be wasted. That way, if you need sparklers at the last minute or a vendor cancels, you have options.
Stay Positive if you Want to Become a Wedding Planner
No matter how well you plan a wedding in advance, things are going to happen on occasion that can really make things difficult. For instance, a nasty storm could come tearing through on the day of a wedding and you’ll need to play the hero. A caterer won’t show up one day and you’ll need to figure out how to feed 150 people; and find a wedding caterer on a tight budget at the last second! Through all of this you’ll need to stay positive and calm or it will further hinder the couple’s special day.